A Very Special Dog Rescue Family

Justine Abel of Wisconsin loves dogs. She and her fiancé, Matt, rescue dogs . . . lots of dogs. They share their home with eight of them, including one very special disabled Bulldog named Gidget.

Specially-abled Rescue Dog

rescued bulldog puppyGidget was born with spina bifida, which caused partial paralysis of her rear legs, as well as incontinence. She gets around with the use of a Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair, complete with Walkin’ Ski Attachments for the winter.

Justine first spotted Gidget online; the five-month-old puppy had been rescued by Opie’s Special Needs English Bulldog Rescue. Justine and Matt brought Gidget home shortly after to join their growing canine family.

“Gidget is such a happy girl,” says Justine. “She gets so bouncy when she is excited and snorts like crazy! She also has a great imagination. Gidget often will just start rolling around on her back, barking, biting things playfully –  who knows what vision she has in her mind! She loves stuffed animal dog toys, food, and treats. We recently discovered how much she loves ice cream!”

Dog Rescue Family at Its Best

In addition to the dogs, Justine and Matt have a cat named Princess, two chinchillas, and two horses. All this to say, life can be extremely busy caring for this array of pets, in addition to their beautiful farm and home. But Justine and Matt both work full-time as well; (Justine is an Emergency Physician). That said, if photos tell a story, they paint a picture of a sanctuary, where humans and dogs can relax and enjoy the companionship of each other and the beauty of nature.

happy rescue dog family

happy rescue dog family
Dog names: Gidget, Miss Pickles, Moose, Wiggles, Gypsy, Aevie, Bessie, and Bugsy (not in any particular order!) 

happy rescue dog family

Which brings us to the “Doggy Spa” and “Doggy Nursery!” Gidget sleeps in the nursery in a crib so that she can sleep without a diaper and be more comfortable.

“We just change her sheets regularly,” says Justine. “She also has a changing table. Another one of our younger Bulldogs sleeps in the nursery with her, but in a separate area.”

doggy-nursery    dog-shower-area

The doggy spa makes bathing the eight canine kids easy. And it’s clearly enjoyable for them!

doggy-spa-for-rescue-dogs     doggy-spa

The spa and the nursery make caring for a special needs dog like Gidget a “smooth process,” per Justine.

“It definitely is something one needs to consider and think about before deciding to adopt a disabled dog. Because it’s still a lot of work, and there are a lot of expenses that go along with it. However, it has been extremely rewarding!


She is super content and happy just how she is, and her condition does not limit her – a lesson us humans could all stand to learn!
Gidget just makes do with what she has. She doesn’t know any different. She is very inspirational.”

Inspiration All Around

kindhearted-dog-rescude-familyGidget isn’t the only one who is an inspiration! Justine and Matt are such generous, kindhearted people; their pets are certainly fortunate to be part of their happy family.

For Justine and Matt, starting off in life this way can only mean a lifelong journey of rich happiness together!

dog rescue farm family

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  1. Hello!

    We are English Bulldog breeders. We have a pup who was born with suspected spina bifida, a very severe form. We had x-rays done by our vet when he was around 4 weeks old. She confirmed the SB. We wanted to keep him and have taken him to a neurologist. It was just a consultation. We were told he would need further testing to diagnose, but he was strongly suggesting SB.

    His SB is so severe that he cannot walk at all. It is affecting his whole body so that his front legs have partial paralysis as well (that is what the vet suggested).

    We are not able to afford the best care for him and what he would need. We are hoping to find a rescue to take him.

    Please let me know if you have a spot available, and if you would be willing to take him!

    Thank you!

    Tracy Lee
    724-762-6166