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Natural Awakenings Austin

Pet Adoption Creates Special Bonds for Special Needs

by Ericka Miller

At the Austin Humane Society (AHS), the longest-standing no-kill shelter in Austin, animals with special needs are quite common. Opening our hearts and homes to pets with special needs can be one of the most rewarding types of animal adoption because we are truly saving a life that in many other cities across the country would be at risk.

“It’s incredibly important that adopters don’t overlook special-needs animals,” says Shelter Manager Sarah Hammel. “Being a no-kill city means we have more of these animals and we need more families to open their hearts and homes. It’s a critical piece of Austin staying no-kill.”

Special needs can range from something as simple as a cat with allergies that needs daily eye drops or medication to a dog with limited use of its hind legs that needs extra assistance moving around.

While adopting an animal with special needs can be challenging, it’s also incredibly rewarding. In fact, the team at AHS often finds the bond formed between these animals and their families is even greater as they learn to overcome obstacles together.

“Don’t let the words ‘special needs’ scare you away from a pet that might be the perfect addition to your pack,” says Hammel. “At AHS, we make a commitment to our animals and our families, and that means we’ll be there for you and give you all the knowledge and resources you need to be successful.”

When considering animal adoption, be sure to talk with an adoption counselor about lifestyle, pet characteristics, personality and concerns. Professional counselors will ensure the adoption is a good fit.

Ericka Miller is the director of communications for the Austin Humane Society. For more information, visit

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