Special Needs Puppies: Local Woman Devotes Life to Dogs That Can't Walk
WINGATE, N.C. - It is an evening chore common in many households: feeding the dog! For Wingate's Deb Iannone, the dogs are 16-week-old puppies, Savanna and Bella.
At first glance, they look healthy. But these girls can't walk or stand up for more than a few seconds. They have cerebellar hypoplasia, a disorder caused by infections, malnutrition, poisoning or injury. When the dogs were still in utero, their mother was thrown from a truck on Wolf Pond Road in Monroe.
Savanna and Bella were born two weeks later. FOX Charlotte's Morgan Fogarty asked Iannone, "A lot of people would say, why take all this time for two dogs? Why not humanely euthanize them?" Iannone replied, "Because they're not in any pain, they are totally normal puppies, they play. The only thing they can't do is get up and walk but they can stand some."
She's hoping to change that with custom wheelchairs for each dog, but they cost around a thousand dollars each. No matter the price or the work, Iannone says the dogs inspire her. "I look at them and think about the kind of life they so far have got (sic) dealt,” she says.
In addition to the 24 hour care Savanna and Bella require, Deb also has two other dogs. Peanut and Toby, also rescues, treat the disabled dogs just like any other member of the pack. It's that attitude of equality that gave Iannone the idea to some day get the puppies certified for therapy. She says, "My hopes are to bring them to different homes, special homes for children and the elderly."
Until then, she relies on her faith to help her raise two special needs puppies that many others may have turned their backs on.
As if she doesn't have enough on her plate, Iannone is also a full time student, going after a degree in human services.
If you'd like to make a donation to help the puppies get their wheelchairs, go to: http://wheels.chipin.com/SAVANNA-AND-BELLA-FUND-FOR-2-WALKING-WHEELS
Or you can mail a check, cash or money order to:
P.O. Box 957
3806 Highway 74 East
Wingate, NC 28174