A Special Needs Bulldog, Beth Edwards & Milo
Beth & Her Special Needs Bulldogs
Beth Edwards has always had a big heart. During her years as a behavioral therapist in NY, she worked with special needs children, among others. After raising two children of her own, she is now an ER technician and behavioral therapist in NJ. Beth is still happily and skillfully caring for others on a daily basis. And that’s just her job! At home, Beth is the pet parent for two special needs bulldogs, Milo and Shayla Grace. Both have spina bifida. And Beth couldn’t be happier to have them in her life!
Beth’s route to Milo and Shayla was a longer, more winding road than one might expect. In fact, it doesn’t start with Milo. Or Shayla. It starts with a very special, special needs bulldog named Luka.
A very special, special needs bulldog…
Beth had been following a group on Facebook, Bulldogs with Special Needs, (BWSN). Having had experience with a deaf bulldog during a previous relationship, Beth fell hard for the breed. She knew she had the patience and skills to nurture a special needs bulldog and wanted very much to adopt one of the wonderful dogs who came across her social media. She applied for a couple, but never heard back. Then she saw a picture of Luka. The connection was instant. The white face. The chocolate chip ear. “I just knew I had to have her,” Beth recalls.
She reached out again to the special needs bulldog Facebook group and this time got in touch with the founder. They corresponded online. It was clear how much Beth wanted Luka and was committed to her care. Now, it was “simply” a matter of getting Luka to Beth.
Luka was in Oregon. She’d been born with spina bifida to a backyard breeder. Luka would have likely been left to die, had it not been for the efforts of many people in the bulldog rescue community. A group of bulldog rescuers and BWSN set up a “Bully Train”. They called it Luka’s Love Light Express. Kodie, from Pacific Northwest Bulldog Rescue drove 4 hours to pick Luka up. A half a dozen other volunteers helped transport Luka the 2500 miles from coast to coast.
Bringer of Light
Luka means “Bringer of Light”. She was named well. Everyone who came in contact with her fell in love with her. Beth remains friends with them all.
It was September of 2013. Luka was 15 weeks old. At the time of Luka’s adoption, Beth’s life had hit a rough patch. She was having serious health challenges. Beth took a leave of absence in January 2014 for medical reasons. Luka, the Bringer of Light, was exactly the medicine Beth needed. They spent all their time together.
Beth set out to train Luka to be a therapy dog. While she couldn’t walk without a wheelchair, Luka had the perfect disposition to be an ambassador of kindness. Beth knew she’d be great with kids, hospital patients and anybody whose spirits needed a lift. Even Beth’s former standoffish chihuahua, Smooch, opened up to Luka and became a more loving dog.
In January of 2014 Beth got a call from Pat Bentz of BWSN. She had another special needs bulldog with spina bifida. This puppy also had spinal damage and deformed back leg. Would Beth be interested in adopting?
Of course! And this is how Milo the Mush Man came to live with Beth. “I call him that because he’s such a mush!” she explains.
Once again, the bulldog rescue community sprung into action. D&M Bulldog Transport traveled the 1000 miles to deliver Milo to his new home with Beth and Luka. BWSN donated the wheelchair – it was fitted especially for him by EddiesWheels.com in MA. Once again, Beth has found good friends in the process of adopting a special needs bulldog.
Milo Gets His Wheels!
Out of suffering, the strongest souls emerge.
Beth has a favorite saying… “Out of the suffering, the strongest souls emerge.” That adage was tested mightily in May of 2014.
In turns out that Luka’s spina bifida wasn’t her only malady. She had undiagnosed renal dysplasia. She died on May 25, 2014 at the age of 11 months. Beth was heartbroken. But, she still had Milo to care for. And she knew that Luka, even in the short time she’d shared with her, had brought love to countless souls. Her social media was an outpouring of grief and sympathy for her and Luka. She got messages from as far away as Germany. Luka’s Light had shown bright!
Beth started a Facebook page, Luka’s Light, because Luka’s spirit was so uplifting to so many people. Including her own.
In the year since Luka’s death, Milo has grown and thrived. Beth has adopted another special needs bulldog with spina bifida, Shayla Grace. Beth was reluctant to get another dog until she saw Shayla. Was it the white face? The chocolate chip ear? Or something in Shayla’s eyes? But, when Pat reached out to Beth with a picture of Shayla, they both knew where that dog would end up!
Shayla is about to become the first therapy dog in the family, taking her test next week. Milo is still doing his training. Both are lively and happy dogs. Beth’s health issues are on track. She’s got lots of friends in the rescue community.
Slideshow of Beth, Milo, Luka, Shayla Grace & Smooch
The Pet Matchmaker solutes Beth Edwards! She proves that special needs bulldogs aren’t a burden. On the contrary, for Beth they’ve all been pure blessings. “Out of suffering, the strongest souls emerge.”
Because of Luka, Milo and Shayla, Beth’s soul has emerged stronger and more resilient.
For more stories of pets with special needs, see our page, Something Special Pets.
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