All shelter dogs deserve a loving family. But sometimes, it can be hard to find the right match between owner and pet especially if the latter has a disability.
Bandit the Shepherd mix is paralyzed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair. Due to the challenging nature of caring for dogs like him, he has been adopted and returned on four different occasions.
Bandit is part of the Gwinnett Jail Dogs Program in Georgia where inmates are assigned to train and care for dogs. The pup has earned the adoration of many because of his sweet and friendly personality. Though he would surely be missed, everyone in the program wanted him to experience the joy of having a forever home and a loving family.
Unfortunately, however, all of his four adopters returned him. Bandit needed a little extra love and care as a dog with special needs and sadly, it was all too much to handle for them. It seemed as though the dog would never find the perfect family – until the Riders came along.
Darrell and Sue Rider first learned about Bandit through a Facebook post and from that moment, they knew in their heart that they would be his parents. The couple wasn’t intimidated by the extra attention he would be needing – because Darrell happens to be a wheelchair-user, too.
“The most intriguing part of Bandit is that he and I share the same type of paralysis and use a wheelchair to get around,” Darrell told The Dodo. “Because Sue and I know what it’s like for life in a wheelchair, we knew what was needed for Bandit. We also felt a much deeper connection.”
Darrell and Sue wanted to be responsible parents to Bandit, so they reached out to the Gwinnett Jail Dogs Program to discuss everything they need to know about his care. After a month of talks and careful consideration, both parties agreed that they were the perfect fit. They made arrangements to finally meet Bandit for the first time.
“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 Cronin, a volunteer with the program, said.
After their first meeting, Darrell and Sue instantly knew that they were meant to be Bandit’s new family. They talked to his handlers and veterinarian to make sure that their house was ready for the dog, then they finally took him home.
Saying goodbye to Bandit wasn’t easy. Everyone at the detention center would miss his raspy bark and the way he runs up to people for treats. Despite the bittersweet parting, they all felt so glad that the long-time resident has found his forever family after so many years of waiting.
Bandit has settled so well in the Riders’ home that it’s as if he’s been there all his life. Darrell and Sue spoil him with lots of love and care, and they plan on enjoying many adventures with their new companion.
“Bandit is doing great, and has settled in better than we could have imagined with his new family and surroundings,” Darrell said. “We as his family couldn’t be happier to have Bandit in our lives.”
The wait had been long, but it’s definitely worth it now that Bandit is in the arms of people who accept him wholeheartedly!
Story h/t : The Dodo (This site is for everyone who loves animals and wants to spread that love and make the world a better place for them.)