Some of us humans can find ourselves susceptible to bouts of insecurity and even self-pity when we’re faced with physical obstacles or disabilities. But our friends in the animal world tend to react quite differently to injuries or other physical challenges. You’re about to read some truly inspirational stories about animals who have not just survived, but have thrived, with their disabilities. Prepare to be wowed!
A Bunny With A Wheelchair
Hello, meet Cynio (the Polish word for “Cinnamon”). The poor little fellow was discovered out in the rain and was soaking wet. His rescuers soon realized that his back legs were completely paralyzed, and that he couldn’t get around very well. So they adopted Cynio, and he has been working very hard ever since. He even has his own wheelchair that he’s learned to use!
Now, Cynio can do pretty much everything that other rabbits can do. He loves to run around in the yard, play with toys, receive plenty of snuggles, and eat his favorite snacks!
An Appropriate Name
Most people have heard of this amazing dog by now. Faith was born with just three legs. Her one front leg ended up needing to be amputated because it never fully developed and was slowing her down. Veterinarians advised Faith’s rescuer, Jude, to put the pup down but Jude refused. Instead, she taught Faith to hop around on her hind legs.
Faith became famous and spent her life traveling the world, visiting with injured soldiers. She was even bestowed with a non-commission rank of E5 Sgt. at Ft. Lewis, Washington, and had her own military jacket. Although Faith passed away in 2014, her amazing story continues to inspire others.
The Dolphin With A Prosthetic Tail
When Winter the dolphin was only two months old, she got caught in a crab trap rope. The rope cut off circulation to her tail flukes. Although Winter was rescued and brought to Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida, her tail could not be saved due to extensive deterioration.
Researchers outfitted Winter with a custom prosthetic tail fluke. Once it was in place, she adjusted quickly to her new way of swimming. Staff at the aquarium say that she is doing great now, eating about 12 pounds of fish per day and inspiring everyone she comes into contact with (especially fellow amputees!).
No Legs? No Worries
Kelly Anne is a very special cat who suffered through a bad accident. A few years ago, she was chased up a tree by some dogs and somehow got electrocuted in the process. The veterinarian who took her in had no choice but to amputate all four of Kelly Anne’s legs.
But instead of withering away, this determined kitty learned to cope with her new condition. She is now able to get around by scooting on her shoulders. In fact, the only things she can’t do are bathing and scratching herself. Her owner even claims that Kelly Anne once caught a mouse!
Lego To The Rescue!
Who knew that Lego blocks could be used for so much more than toys? Blade the tortoise found that out firsthand. Blade’s human companion noticed that he wasn’t as active as her other tortoises. So she took him to the vet, where it was discovered that Blade has metabolic bone disease. This makes him unable to carry around the weight of his shell.
The smart vet used six Lego blocks to make a customized “wheelchair” which he then glued to the bottom of Blade’s shell. It took some time to adjust to his new wheelchair, but now Blade zooms around on it! Now that’s an inspirational tortoise.
Disability Doesn’t Stop Pig The Dog
The mixed-breed pup here is named Pig. Pig has a very unusual appearance, due to a rare birth defect called "short spine syndrome." She was born to a feral mother in a wooded area, and barked to alert a passing human that the puppies were there. The woman who found the pups adopted Pig.
Pig doesn’t let her strange look get in the way of enjoying life to the fullest, and even seems to like all the attention she gets from it! Pig enjoys doing all the things that “normal” dogs like to do: going on long walks, playing with friends, and napping.
Chris P. Bacon
Laugh it up all you want… this pig is really named Chris P. Bacon and he is such an inspiration that there are books and even toys based on him. The cute little pig was born with a congenital defect that affected his back legs and made it impossible for him to put any weight on them.
But then a veterinarian built him a special wheeled harness, allowing the pig to walk around freely. The vet, Dr. Len Lucero, said “[f]or most animals, this would lead to their ultimate demise. For Chris P. Bacon, this is only the beginning of the rest of his life.” Chris P. Bacon has grown over the years and is now in a larger wheelchair-type contraption, but he’s still motivating and inspiring people with his unique story.
Almost Euthanized For Looking Different
This Tabby cat named Maya, who is just a year old, was discovered behind a Chinese food restaurant. The people who found her brought her to a shelter with a high-kill rate, where she was tops on the list to be put down. The reason? An extra chromosome makes her eyes look a little funny and gives her vision problems. She also tends to sneeze a lot because of her flattened nose.
Luckily, Maya's "furrever" family found her in the shelter. Now, she lives in a home filled with love, catnaps, kisses, and favorite toys.
Daisy The Dalmation/Greyhound Mix
Poor Daisy had been given up on not once, but twice. First, the family who owned her mother gave her up, and then a foster family did the same. This was because Daisy, born deaf and blind, required very special care. She can only get along with her sense of smell and touch, and found it difficult to trust humans.
But she finally met her forever family. They taught her how to navigate stairs and to swim, and Daisy learned to trust them. Now they travel to hospitals and schools together, where Daisy inspires and motivates disabled people. Human companion Maryam Faresh told the Los Angeles Times, "[yo]u have this daily strength and inspiration and joy she gives off, and we felt we couldn't keep that to ourselves."
A Skateboarding Turtle
AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images
Sounds a little like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but this female turtle really does get around on a skateboard. Arava, a 55-pound turtle who lives at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo in Israel, has paralyzed rear legs. Due to her weight, she is unable to get around using just her front legs.
The clever zoo staff fitted her with a custom skateboard, and Arava now walks around just like any other turtle. She’s even gained a handsome suitor since getting her new wheels! Zoo officials say that there’s a 10-year-old male turtle who seems to be crushing on Arava these days, when he barely noticed her before.
Quasi Modo (funny play on the the Hunchback of Notre Dame’s name) is another dog living with the birth defect called short spine syndrome. She lives with her human companions in Florida and she’s no shrinking violet just because of her strange appearance.
In fact, Quasi Modo has won a national beauty competition! Although the official title she won was “World’s Ugliest Dog,” we’re betting that no one really finds this sweet girl to be ugly. Quasi Modo made several television appearances after her win and there’s currently a bronze statue being modeled after her, according to her Facebook page. See, she’s not hiding from her disability!
Chase No Face
We’re not being mean here – that’s what Chase the cat’s owner calls her on social media. But it’s a nickname of love, not cruelty. You see, when Chase was a kitten she was hit by a car. The accident left her with a severely disfigured face. Even after two rounds of plastic surgery Chase doesn’t have eyelids or any fur on her face.
But that is the extent of her limitations. Human companion Melissa says that Chase is a very happy cat and likes to do all the things that normal-looking cats do. Chase shows us that you don’t have to look “purrfect” in order to lead a full life!
Coal, The Bionic Dog
This gorgeous bulldog is Coal. Unfortunately, he developed cancer and had to have one of his paws removed a couple of years ago. But luckily for Coal he has a human companion, Reg, who loves him very much. So much that Reg shelled out $13,000 for Coal to be fitted with a new bionic front foot.
Reg told the Daily Mail “[Coal] goes everywhere with me - he goes on tour, he's the only dog to have allowed into Live 8 and the only dog that has ever been backstage at the Royal Albert Hall.” Sounds like Coal is coping pretty well with his bionic paw!
Believe it or not, “bubble butt” is a real condition that affects some turtles. The turtle you see here is named Charlotte. She was rescued from the water off the Georgia coast after she was struck by a boat. The impact paralyzed her lower digestive tract, so air now gets trapped in her rear end and forces her to float with her hindquarters up. Her hind flippers were also paralyzed.
Charlotte now lives at Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, where she was outfitted with some special pouches that help her swim. She’s been such an inspiration to people that one fan even wrote a book about Charlotte. It’s called Bubble Butt! The Challenged Sea Turtle of the Mystic Aquarium.
An Adaptable Dog
Meet Rowan. The German Spitz, who looks normal in nearly every other way, was born without eyes. But he never seemed bothered by it, and instead adapted to overcome the condition that many would consider a major disability.
Rowan uses echolocation to help himself get around, just like a bat! He barks and listens for the sound to echo off nearby objects. His human companion told Express that ''[w]hen he first started going out there were no leaves on the trees but when the leaves grew there was the rustling and we noticed the change in his behavior. He would go out and to find his direction he would use his bark. It really does seem to be a form of echolocation.” So cool!
The Cutest Underbite
And another “Daisy” makes the list of resilient animals! This Daisy is a Chihuahua mix who was born with severe deformations of her shoulders, elbows, and back hips. Walking was a challenge for her, and running was impossible. She was rescued from a Los Angeles shelter just in time to avoid being put down.
Daisy found her forever home and her new family provided her with a wheelchair. However, a vet told them that the chair was putting too much pressure on little Daisy’s spine. An orthopedics company stepped in and made her a set of prosthetic limbs, and Daisy took to them immediately. Now she runs and plays like there is nothing at all wrong with her. “Daisy is now RUNNING! Both her ears and spirit are bouncing with joy,” her family posted to Facebook after watching as she tested out her new legs.
This Oscar Is A Cat, Not A Grouch
In 2009, Oscar the cat was involved in a horrific accident. Both his hind paws were severed in a combine harvester while he was out playing in a field near his home. His human companions rushed him to the vet, but were sure Oscar would have to be put down because of all the blood he had lost.
Not so fast! In one of the first surgeries of its kind, a neuro-orthopedic surgeon attached custom foot implants into both Oscar’s rear legs. After some rehabilitation, Oscar was able to get around like the horrific accident had never happened. He has been featured in two documentaries: The Supervet and The Bionic Vet. He is an inspiration to cats and humans alike.
Special First Steps
This is Mick, a Boston Terrier that was born with a condition called Swimmer Puppy Syndrome. The disability prevented him from standing at all. His human mom Sue Rogers told TODAY that “I never thought anyone would be able to help him. He was flat as a pancake.”
But after Rogers did physical therapy with Mick for weeks, using a special harness as well as swimming sessions, something miraculous happened: Mick stood up. The pup was walking soon after that. “[A]ll of a sudden, one day he put one foot in front of the other, and he just took off,” said Rogers. She runs a rescue group for animals with disabilities, and Mick has been a great spokesdog for her.
This Is One Special Goldfish…
… and special person as well! An aquarium manager named Derek Burnett was distressed when one of the store’s goldfish developed a condition called swim bladder disease. Affected fish aren’t able to swim upright and rarely survive for long. So Burnett made a special “wheelchair” for the fish, enabling it to swim normally and live out its normal lifespan.
As he explained to TODAY, “I got some airline tubing that people usually use in their tank and just placed it around the goldfish. I added some valves to the bottom of it, which acted as a ‘chair’ to prop him up.” The touching story about the ailing fish and his custom-made wheelchair was shared many thousand times on social media and has warmed many hearts. In fact, the director of the National Aquarium said that due to Burnett's actions, "more and more we’re finding and creating innovative practices and devices like this to help animals."
Roosevelt The Collie
This happy dog certainly has a fitting name! Meet Roosevelt, who was named after President Franklin D. Roosevelt. President Roosevelt was forced to use a wheelchair for much of his life due to polio, and Roosevelt the dog uses one on long walks because his legs were deformed when he was born.
Roosevelt certainly isn’t slowed down by his wheelchair. His human companion, Stephanie Fox, told DailyMail that '[h]e doesn't know he's any different' than other dogs. “He wakes up happy every day,” she added. Roosevelt’s attitude should serve to inspire all of us to live life to the fullest.