Something Special Pets, Mickey the Bulldog & the Padded Bum Crew
It takes a special person to adopt a special needs pet. So you can imagine how special Selina and Sandi Kenitzer are to have three healthy English Bulldogs plus FIVE with spina bifida. And, at the risk of obnoxiously over-using the word ‘special’, I have a special interest in them. One rescue was adopted from me!
Known on Facebook as Mickey the Bulldog and the Padded Bum Crew, they are helping spread the message that dogs with spina bifida have quality of life and deserve to live. In the past it has been common practice for breeders and vets to automatically euthanize them, but thankfully that is changing.
The Kenitzers have owned bulldogs for 15 years. After losing their beloved bully Tubby in 2012, they were feeling the void when Selina came across puppy Mickey. There was just something about him – although she soon began to wonder what she’d got herself into. “The first week, I remember trying to change a diaper and I had to wrestle him like an alligator. It was tough. But then everything fell into place.” She later found out that Mickey was born the same day Tubby died.
Mickey’s crew has now grown to also include Bessie, Minnie, Lilo and Stitch. According to Selina, the daily routine is pretty much the same as with any dog – only she changes diapers four times a day. Whilst most dogs with spina bifida are generally not in pain, they are incontinent. Every day begins, after feeding, with a butt bath. “Then I put on a fresh diaper and they go and play or lay down. They’re changed again around noon, in the afternoon, and after dinner.”
Mickey the Bulldog, Happy:
Though cute, most diaper bulldogs are badly bred. Which means, they come with other medical issues. Mickey’s hind legs were fused, and he had to be hobbled for the first year. Bessie’s back leg issues put strain on her front end, causing arthritis. Stitch’s rear tendons are so poor he needs weekly therapy at UC Davis. Sadly too, some don’t survive. Jeyda, the Kenitzer’s beloved second spina bifida rescue, died a year later from surgical complications due to palate and trachea problems.
For many, the ups and downs of caring for these dogs would be overwhelming. But Sandi and Selina’s passion is contagious. When their local vet was faced with euthanizing a spina bifida bulldog puppy, he called them instead. Pup Grady is now in a loving home. Even their specialist vet is now fostering a rescue bulldog puppy with spina bifida! “I believe this is our calling,” concludes Selina, “There’s no guarantee that they’ll live a long life but look at how they live every day. They’re so in the moment. Especially when playing… they’re my babies.”
Slideshow of Mickey & the Padded Bum Crew:
You can follow Mickey the Bulldog and the Padded Bum Crew on Facebook. And be sure to be inspired by other stories of special needs pets in our regular series, Something Special Pets.