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Warning: Some of the photos within this blog post show graphic images of canine amputations.
Joey’s P.A.W. (Prosthetics and Wheels) is a nonprofit (501c3) located in Pennsylvania, created to optimize the quality of life for special needs dogs. Their focus is on the acquisition of prosthetics and dog wheelchairs for dogs in need. Focusing on special needs dogs often brings founder Tanya Diable face to face with cases of animal abuse – which is exactly why she is doing this work.
Canine Inspiration Found Online
Tanya and her husband Charlie already had four other dogs when she saw the photo of a dog named Joey on her Facebook newsfeed.
“I knew we were going to bring him home!” said Tanya.
Joey, a Novia Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, had been the victim of severe abuse. Rescued by Second Chance Rescue in New York, the six-week-old puppy was found on the side of the road with both rear legs intentionally cut off. He was fitted with two prosthetics for his nubs and had been in the rescue for close to a year before Tanya saw him online.
Tanya had to wait three months to get Joey, because first, he needed surgery. Once healed, Tanya and Charlie drove from Pennsylvania to New York to pick him up and bring him home. Tanya said,
“I knew in car on the way home that I had to turn what had happened to him into something good.”
Transforming Bad to Good
And so, the inspiration for the creation of Joey’s P.A.W. was borne! Although Joey had several fairly intensive medical issues within the first year in his new home, Tanya says without hesitation,
“Joey is the happiest dog in the entire household! He’s so playful, and he smiles constantly. He’s such a joy!”
Tanya’s determination to turn what had happened to Joey into something good quickly manifested. Joey’s P.A.W. officially opened in August 2017. They have already helped many dogs get the wheelchair or prosthetics they need to become mobile again. Tanya’s hope is to touch as many lives as possible through Joey’s P.A.W.
“I want to help get dogs up and moving and help advocate for adopting special needs dogs. I’m drawn to dogs that aren’t ‘perfect’ – the dogs that nobody wants. I just have a heart for them. They’re just sitting there, perfectly fine other than they can’t see or walk. They still give kisses. They still want attention.”
Family of Special Needs Dogs
If anyone knows something about adopting a special needs dog, it’s Tanya. In addition to Joey, she and her husband have five other special needs dogs:
Kingston isa blind chocolate Lab. He’s a lightweight; at four years old, he only weighs 30 pounds. He was born blind and was going to be euthanized by the breeder.
Harper has a heart condition. She was thrown from a car at three months old and picked up by a shelter. Once again, Tanya fell in love with her photo online!
Temperance, a five-year-old Pit Bull, has idiopathic head tremors and epilepsy. Tanya says,
“She is the only dog we bought — from a backyard breeder. We have learned a lot since then about backyard breeding!”
Boone was five months old when his rear legs were cut off. His previous owner brought him to a shelter, claiming the pup’s legs were cut off by a train, although there was evidence to the contrary. Tanya spotted Boone online and offered to donate a wheelchair and foster him. She picked him up in December 2017 and knew once again on the ride home that he was another ‘foster failure’ and would be part of their family. Tanya says,
“I saw firsthand the pain and suffering of what this dog went through mentally. It made me put more emphasis on Joey’s P.A.W. It means even more to me now.”
Photos of Boone’s rear legs, and then Boone in his new home and sporting a Drag Bag.
Zoey is a Pit Bull rescue with food issues from being starved as a puppy. She is still highly sensitive to loud sounds due to severe emotional abuse, although it’s been nine years since Tanya got her from the shelter at just five months old.
Be Part of It!
Joey’s P.A.W. recently ran their first local fundraiser. They’ve also partnered with Gunnar’s Wheels for wheelchairs, a nonprofit organization that loans wheelchairs to pets in need. Tanya works one or two days outside of the home, but the majority of her time is spent on Joey’s P.A.W. and her dogs.