All shelter dogs are waiting to be adopted by a loving family—but it can be hard for some to find the right home, especially pets with disabilities. These animals require a little extra care and love, and sadly it proves to be too much for some people and they get brought back to the shelters.
One poor dog was adopted four times, and each time he was returned to the shelter… but now he’s finally found his true home with someone who really understands him.
Bandit, a Shepherd mix, has always had a rough life. He was first found as a stray and brought to a local animal shelter, and then was taken in by the Gwinnett Jail Dogs Program, according to The Dodo.
But after receiving a routine heartworm treatment, Bandit suffered a rare allergic reaction and ended up paralyzed from the waist down.
After a few months, Society of Humane Friends of Georgia was able to fund a wheelchair for Bandit, allowing him to get around on his own.
He adapted well to his new wheels and soon proved to be a friendly, happy dog… and a vital part of the Gwinnett Jail Dogs Program, a system that lets prison inmates to train and care for shelter dogs.
“Bandit is the best dog that Operation Second Chance has ever seen,” his inmate handler said. “All other dogs respect him and vice versa… He’s very loyal and will sit and listen to you for as long as you want him to.”
“He is truly the best friend that I have ever met in jail, outshining even the coolest of people that have crossed my path. From the bottom of my heart, I love that fur ball!”
“He is probably one of the most happy-go-lucky dogs in the program,” volunteer Lori Cronin told The Dodo. “[His handlers] have taught him some pretty unique tricks since he is in a wheelchair. He does just about everything the other dogs do, if not more!”
While Bandit was a beloved in the program, finding him a forever home proved to be more difficult.
Over the years, he was adopted four separate times, only to be returned soon after, once his owners realized the extra responsibilities it would entail.
While Bandit can get around on his own, his paralysis makes him unable to tell when he’s using the bathroom, requiring his owners to keep track of a schedule. He also needs to be lifted into his cart every day.
“People don’t realize what it takes to accommodate a special needs dog,” Lori said.
It’s always sad when dogs are returned to the shelter, but the bright side is it gives them another chance to find their true forever home, someone who is the right match and won’t give up on them.
And it turns out everything worked out in the end, because Bandit found someone perfect for him.
Darrell Rider and his wife Sue saw a Facebook post about Bandit and inquired about adoption. It turns out, Darrell felt a pretty strong connection to the dog because they have something major in common:
They both use wheelchairs, and have the same type of paralysis.
They met Bandit, and the rescue made sure they were aware of all the responsibilities they’d be taking on. The couple knew they were the right ones to give this dog a fully loving home.
“Because Sue and I know what it’s like for life in a wheelchair, we knew what was needed for Bandit,” Darrell told The Dodo. “We also felt a much deeper connection.”
“Darrell stated that Bandit was ‘just like him’ and they wanted to provide him with a life where he would be understood and well cared for,” Lori said.
While it was a bittersweet day for everyone in the program to say goodbye to Bandit, they knew he had finally gotten his true happy ending.