Paw-some! Adorable pups find new home in Europe’s FIRST rehabilitation centre for disabled dogs
The first animal rescue centre in Europe specifically dedicated to dogs and puppies with disabilities has opened its doors and received its first patients.
The Judyta Asylum just north of Płońsk in northern Mazowsze has been set up to give dogs and puppies that would otherwise almost certainly be put down because of their ailments a chance of finding a loving home with an adoptive family.
The 450-square-metre centre, situated in beautiful countryside among corn fields and woodland, is built on the site of a small production plant that made roofing materials. The production has now been fully adapted to accommodate up to 100 dogs and boasts an impressive range of facilities.
The lucky canines have at their disposal six rooms for mums and pups, three rooms for dogs with disabilities, a quarantine room, a room where dogs can recuperate after surgery, a veterinary clinic and two physio rooms, one of which is equipped with wet treadmill that allows dogs to exercise without placing excessive pressure on fragile joints.
Agnieszka Rutowicz, a member of the Judyta foundation, told TFN: “We want to give puppies and dogs with disabilities conditions like they are home and allow them to get to know people and learn that people won’t necessarily harm them.
“The more time they spend with people, the more they are socialised and that gives them the best chance of finding a home.”
The first resident we meet is proud mother of five Lilo. “Lilo came to us with five of her own puppies, three of which have already found new homes. The other three pups were abandoned and Lilo has taken them under her wing,” she said.
“We don’t think she was a stray. Probably she got pregnant and her owners didn’t want to deal with that so they threw her away,” she added.
The next room is home to three young pups all with similar disabilities in their rear legs, possibly caused by a difficult pregnancy. A fourteen-year-old girl tried to look after them, but the task was too much and now they are being helped at Judyta.
The plan is to put them through intensive physiotherapy and then they will be ready for adoption.
According to Rutowicz: “Their condition doesn’t cause them pain and they think they are normal, they just get on with it.
“Their disability is only in our minds; they enjoy life to the same extent as fully healthy dogs. Our mission is to show people that these are normal dogs that enjoy life.”
Some of the dogs are brought to the centre by people who have found dogs that have been abandoned; however, call-outs are also common.
“Last night, we got a call at 19.00 about an abandoned mother with puppies near Kielce. We arrived at 22.00 to find her alive with five puppies in a ditch,” she recounted.
“Another litter of puppies that we’ve got at the centre had been thrown off a bridge in a plastic bag towards a river. Luckily they missed the river and landed on a grassy bank, otherwise they would have died for sure,” she added.
All the time she is speaking she is also dealing with the dogs, picking them up, setting them on the floor, cleaning up little accidents, constantly telling them she loves them and issuing gentle reprimands for errant behaviour. Her passion and limitless energy for helping her charges emanates like an aura.
“I always wanted to have a dog when I was a kid in Łódź but I wasn’t allowed to have one,” she said. “Then, one day when I was 18, I was on the way to a party and I found a dog that had been abandoned. I took him home and my dad said I could only keep him until Wednesday, but he didn’t say which Wednesday and Skipper has been with us ever since,” she smiled.
Work on the centre started in November last year and there is still much to be done. All the funding has come from private donors and sponsors with no involvement from an public or European institutions.
One of the foundation’s ideas is that that disabled puppies and adult dogs will be looked after by disabled people, and one person with disabilities has already started work and will live on site. In addition, the centre will be operated by a large crew of volunteers and foundation members as well as a team of visiting vets.
The foundation, which was set up three years ago, is named after a very special dog called Judyta. Several years ago, a young married couple had been trying for a baby for a long time; however, in the end they gave up and instead poured all their love into young St. Bernhard pup they named Judyta.
When she finally passed away, the couple gave all the dog equipment that they had gathered over the years to the foundation’s founders. Miraculously, a short while later the couple finally managed to conceive and they are now the parents of twins.
Before centre’s opening, the foundation had operated in a private home in Sochaczew for several years and grew both in the scale of its operation and its renown.
Dogs that it has cared for have found homes in many countries in Europe and even top Polish actors such as Tomasz Kot and Joanna Brodzik have adopted dogs from the foundation.