If you can dream it, you can do it. ~ Walt Disney

The very first dog The Animal Protectorates ever rescued was from a shelter in the Coachella Valley, CA. He was a little dog named Yoda who was brought to shelter after being hit by a car. The medical staff was going to euthanize him because he needed to have his leg amputated and they didn’t have the resources. Because of our very first donors, we were able to rescue him and get him the surgery he needed.

Since then, helping dogs who have had traumatic bodily injury has been part of who the nonprofit is – helping single amputates, double amputees, dogs who need eye removals, dogs who have been burned.

Over the years, through the process of helping these dogs, we noticed that people spending time with them are always amazed at how quickly they adapt. And, just something about being around them – makes you feel good.

These dogs don’t care how they look, they just give us their best selves
– they are Beautiful Dogs®.

When people have life-altering injuries like losing a limb, they go through phases of loss, grief and depression.  This is where our Beautiful Dogs® program focuses.

The Beautiful Dogs® therapy program is all about dogs who have suffered body trauma helping and motivating people who are going through a similar experience. They see that if the dogs can do it – can overcome their limitations and become strong –  so can they. With a three person therapy team consisting of a Beautiful Dog®, a handler and an amputee volunteer – they help bring smiles and comfort at a time when people are assimilating to a new normal.

Therapy dogs are not service dogs. Service dogs are specially trained to perform specific tasks for people with disabilities.  Therapy dogs, instead, work as a team to improve the lives of others in some way just by being present

Meet the Beautiful Dogs®:

Blossom, Honey and Rufio are the founding dogs of the Beautiful Dog® program. They are in residence at Friendsville Animal Center.

We don’t have much history on Blossom except that when she arrived at the shelter as a stray in February 2021, her right front leg was injured. The veterinarian noted that given the muscle wasting on that leg and traumatic abrasions on the front of it from dragging it – she had likely been hurt for a long time – but no one cared for her. The shelter amputated her leg on February 18, 2021 and she was put up for adoption. Blossom was actually adopted into a home – but the person who adopted her returned her to the shelter just a few days later because caring for a special needs dog took more of a time commitment than she realized. We met Blossom several weeks later and she became the first Beautiful Dog®.

Having had a front leg for several years of her life, Blossom is aware that she has to be more careful. Blossom received donations for a custom wheelchair so that she is comfortable when she is out and about for long periods of time.

Blossom loves to sunbathe, watch movies and give great big hugs. She is patient and instantly became a tolerant big sister when Honey arrived.

Blossom is a front leg amputee, she carries over 60% of her weight in her left front leg. For that reason, we keep Blossom on a lean diet to reduce the impact on her joints. She also receives a joint supplement. If you would like to help Blossom, please consider purchasing and shipping the joint supplement on our Beautiful Dogs Wishlist, a shop card to Costco or making a donation to the Homing Dorm where the Beautiful Dogs will have special rooms to fit their special needs.

We celebrate Blossom’s birthday on February 18th.   Make a donation in honor of Blossom’s birthday!

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Honey was just a baby (8-12 weeks old) when she arrived at the shelter – someone brought her in after finding her by herself on a backroad. The veterinarian noted she was in poor condition – back left femur shattered, skin greasy and scaly with many fleas, maggot inside one of the deep skin lesions, dead sarcoptic mange mites. A volunteer from the shelter reached out to see if we had a space for Honey. With logistics in place – a quarantine area and a veterinarian to amputate her leg – we were able to help the green-eyed puppy.

Honey recovered quickly from her surgery and doesn’t miss her leg – practically all she knows is how to balance on three. Being a rear leg amputee and a very daring puppy, our concern with Honey is that she doesn’t know any limitations – she is the fastest at the Center!

She is active, friendly and has a deep bark – she definitely would be an alto in the dog choir! Honey enjoys her favorite toys, especially like the ones on the Beautiful Dogs Wishlist!

If you would like to help Honey, please consider a gift card to Costco or making a donation to the Homing Dorm.

We celebrate Honey’s birthday on June 20th.   Make a donation in honor of Honey’s birthday!

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Cheerios story starts near Seattle, Washington. Cheerios (formerly known as Rufio) was born with a birth defect – no front paw. His elderly owner did what she could for him because she also had Cheerio’s dad and felt obligated, but as he grew and became more and more active, his nub kept getting infected over and over again. In addition to that, he was (and still is) a counter surfer – trying to get whatever is on the counter to eat or just chew on – which is dangerous because he can ingest something that could block his intestines. After many trips to the veterinarian and emergency room, his owner was not financially able to care for him any longer.

The owner and staff of the emergency hospital where Cheerios frequently went agreed to become his new guardians. Their goal was to further amputate the leg so that it was long enough to help him balance, but short enough that he would not try to use it. Cheerios had multiple surgeries until it got to the right length.

During this time, we found out about Cheerios and just knew he was destined to become a Beautiful Dog because of his social and goofy temperament! We completed a very thorough application about what Cheerios’ life would look like at Friendsville Animal Center as part of the Beautiful Dogs® program and then waited to hear back. It was months until the hospital was ready to make a decision on who out of the many applicants was the right match for Cheerios. We were interviewed three times by phone and ultimately were overjoyed when we were chosen!

With help from friends in the Seattle area, Cheerios boarded a jet and headed to Tennessee!

Soon after arrival, Cheerios was fitted for a prosthetic leg at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Hospital which, after many prototypes, was made to look like a real golden leg. Unlike Blossom, Cheerios was born without a front paw, so all he knows is using three legs. He continues his therapy to get comfortable with it so that we can make his joints last longer.

Cheerios definitely gives 100% – whether he is playing or sleeping or eating (he’s first in line for every meal)!

If you would like to help Cheerios, please consider purchasing and shipping the joint supplement on our Beautiful Dogs Wishlist, a gift card to Costco or make a donation to the Homing Dorm where the Beautiful Dogs will have a safe aquatics area for exercise to keep their joints healthy.

We celebrate Cheerios’ birthday on May 15th.   Make a donation in honor of Cheerio’s birthday!

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