Wobbly Hannah & Wild Hearts
After meeting one of the happiest dogs we’ve ever encountered, @wobblyhannahtotherescue, on Instagram, we were inspired to learn more about her and her condition, Cerebellar Hypoplasia. Once we educated ourselves about challenges dogs like Hannah face, we wanted to find a way to support mobility impaired pets. Hannah doesn’t let anything hold her back, though, and her perseverance and happy attitude are a lesson for all of us. Dogs really are the best people!
Hannah’s mom told us about their favorite 501(c)3 charity, Wild Hearts, whose mission is to “…provide continuous, comprehensive care to animals with mobility issues and the people that love them. ” The work this org does to enable pet parents to care for their special needs pets is so important, and after reading how Wild Hearts helps families like Hannah’s care for these special dogs, we had to do more to help. Keep reading to learn how you can help us raise money for Wild Hearts and their important work supporting mobility impaired pets.
How Hannah Found Her Furever People
How did Hannah come into your life?
Completely by accident. I had been following and admired a couple other dogs with her condition on social media and started following some special needs rescues. One day, Hannah appeared on a rescue posting. She was going on 3 years in shelter, foster, and rescue care without a home, and in two different states. They were begging for people to share her and get the word out for her. I shared her and shared her, and continued to check back daily to see if she was adopted for a month, with nothing.
My heart was breaking. I could just see how much she needed someone to step up, and how deserving she was of having a home to call her own. On November 5, 2019, I couldn’t handle it any longer and applied to adopt her from states away, and we were approved. We later found out that day I applied to adopt her was her exact 3rd birthday. It felt like a sign. She came to our home and finally had her furever.
What Condition Does Hannah Live With?
Hannah has cerebellar hypoplasia. It’s a congenital condition that essentially means her cerebellum did not fully develop prior to birth. This part of your brain controls your motor functions- maintaining balance, coordinating the timing and force of different muscle groups to produce fluid movements. Her brain doesn’t communicate movement messages effectively with her limbs. Despite her mobility struggles, she is a “typical” dog. She loves to play, treats, meal times, pets, long naps on the couch, and to be outside enjoying the weather.
How Did You Hear About Wild Hearts?
I got connected with Wild Hearts through Hannah’s Instagram account. That is one very cool thing about social media is it allows you to connect with other families and organizations who become like a part of your family. Wild Hearts is one of the organizations I got connected with and I really value their mission. It can be very stressful and expensive to care for these pets at times, and also difficult to find what works best for each one individually in terms of supports, care, treatment, etc. The bigger army you build, the better when it comes to these pets. Wild Hearts does so much for pets and families and we appreciate and admire this about them. They work hard to help families feel supported and confident in caring for their mobility impaired pets, and truly care about the pets and families they serve.
What’s Required to Care for a Special Needs Dog? What is a Typical Day for Hannah?
We won’t ever lie and say that caring for Hannah is easy. It’s not. Some days are better than others and some days are worse than others. There also is an element of unknowns when it comes to neurological disorders as many symptoms can mimic others and it can be a lot of trial and error. Caring for Hannah requires hands-on, several times daily, support and care. For the basic things (using the restroom), as well as for things such as exercise and enrichment. We need to keep her limbs flexible, mobile and strong since she can’t just get up and walk around the house throughout the day.
Smile for Miles #happylikehannah
She goes to hydrotherapy weekly, acupuncture, stretching and mobility exercises at home, she gets out in her wheelchair daily (weather permitting), she is carried in/outside and up/downstairs. Now we are in a very good routine with her, but for the first year at LEAST and in some aspects still, we were trying to figure out what worked BEST for HER. It’s trial and error with wheelchair fitting, harnesses, clothing and tools to help with her temperature dysregulation in various seasons. Also food/diet/supplements, what products to use to help her (food bowls, harnesses, water bowls, cooling mats…), enrichment activities, mobility activities, bathroom schedule, the best option for her when we are not home, and transporting her places outside the home. Caring for Hannah means extra time each day and for each activity. She didn’t learn how to use her wheelchair until we adopted her. It took hours upon hours and a daily commitment. It was a learning process both ways, for her and for us, and still is. She is beyond worth it all though.
What ‘s One Thing About Hannah You’d Like Us to Know?
She does not use her wheelchair in the house and has no desire to. Even when we go out on daily adventures, the wheelchair is her secondary option. It is important as it allows her to get exercise and full range of motion with her legs, but she honestly prefers to move without her wheels. We pick places that allow her to do this (soft grass typically) as she will lunge, scoot, step, and fall down/get up her way to what she wants. She falls down, but she gets up immediately unphased.
She adapted to her condition and it’s what she knows. It doesn’t bother her that she falls down, it’s just the normal part of HER process to get what/where she wants. It may not be part of OURS, but it is part of hers and that is what we have to remember. This freedom and independence is crucial for her and has helped strengthen her confidence.
What’s the Biggest Lesson Hannah Has Taught You?
To think outside the box, and that it’s okay to do things a different. What is “standard” is usually not what works for Hannah. We have had to learn to think outside the box in every aspect to find what is right for her. That starts with listening to Hannah. Luckily, she is very expressive and an amazing communicator. She allows us the trials, the errors, and then the successes together. She trusts us and building that trust with her is the most rewarding feeling in the world.
Follow Hannah on Insta @wobblyhannatotherescue
How You Can Support Dogs Like Hannah
Wild Hearts supports mobility impaired pets like Hannah by providing financial and resource support, vet services, holistic rehab therapy, assistive devices, ongoing education, and a supportive community. We are partnering with Hannah and Wild Hearts to offer a 10% off &10% donation offer on all orders using Hannah’s special code. That means 10% off any Cool Bed for you, and we will donate 10% of your order total to Wild Hearts in yours and Hannah’s name. Together we can impact the lives of mobility impaired pets by getting them and their families the support they need. Follow Hannah on Instagram for the donation code and to keep up with her amazing journey!