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Utah Pet Parent Raises Awareness About Disabled Dogs


A dog mom in Salt Lake City, Utah, is raising awareness about disabled dogs. She was inspired to do this work by Luna, her canine companion who uses a wheelchair.

Woman adopts disabled dog

According to FOX 13, Watkins adopted Luna from a shelter in 2021.

“She is happy and fun and loves everything about life,” Watkins told the news outlet. “We walk and everybody just smiles at her.”

When Watkins says “we walk,” she means that she walks. Luna rolls. That’s because Luna has a spine disease. The condition paralyzed her two hind legs. A wheelchair allows the pup to get around.

“She’s the light of everybody’s life that meets her,” Watkins said.

Luna is unique, but dogs with disabilities are not uncommon, even in shelters. Pups with amputated or broken limbs as well as those who can no longer see or hear populate shelters all over the country. At the Salt Lake County Animal Services shelter, staff try to help pets adapt to these challenges.

“They come in scared of the big unknown and helping them adjust to the environment and watching them get adopted is rewarding,” Cori Hedelius, an animal care specialist at Salt Lake County Animal Services, told the news outlet.

Shelter staff aim to rehabilitate animals with disabilities. “We don’t give up on them,” Hedelius said.

But they also search for families that can care for them competently and compassionately. Watkins and Luna are a perfect example of this.

Dog mom educates others about disabilities

Occasionally, when Watkins is out walking Luna, someone might comment, “Poor dog.”

Her response? “We say, ‘she’s not a poor dog, look at how happy she is.’”

Luna gets plenty of attention – not just because of her wheelchair but also because of her endearing personality. Watkins aims to inspire others, be it to take a chance on a disabled dog or simply to acknowledge that having a disability doesn’t mean a lower quality of life.

“I hope that transfers in their life to humans, that a child in a wheelchair or an adult in a wheelchair is not a poor human, they can also live a full life,” the proud dog mom said.


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