A story by Michael Pravec

President / founder of Special Needs K9, Inc.


How “Special Needs K9” was born:  At the beginning of the summer in 2009, I was volunteering at one of the local animal shelters, 0824091836a copy2 copywhich was housing about a hundred dogs and over two hundred cats. I was walking and training dogs who unfortunately called the shelter their home. One day, I was passing by one of the outdoor runs when I noticed a Boston terrier just standing there, looking at the ground. I made a sound and he looked up. I saw his eyes were very cloudy and it was obvious that he could barely see and was most likely in pain. My heart sunk to a familiar level. I don’t think I’ve seen such sadness in anyone’s eyes in a long time. He made a lasting impression on me. The next day, he was gone and I thought he was adopted and found his forever home.


About 2 weeks later, as I was walking inside by the kennels, I saw a familiar face. It was him. He was back, but this time, he only had one eye. The other side was stitched up, with puss oozing from the empty eye socket. They called him Mr. Blue. I guess since his remaining eye was blue, and he was now a resident at the shelter. One eye had to be removed due to the previous owner’s neglect, to alleviate some of his pain. He appeared a little happier, but I could still see some of that sad look in his eye. It’s as if he was wondering, “How come I have no one…why…what did I do wrong?” I felt his pain and from that point on, he had me!



That summer, I didn’t go to my friends’ BBQs, I didn’t sit and relax on my deck, or go to the beach. I had to get to the shelter, walk the dogs, and although every animal is special in my book, Mr. Blue was saved for last. I would walk down his row calling “Here I am Mr. Blue, here I am,” and I could hear his distinct howl and bark. We had formed a strong bond. We would walk together, run together, play together and of course training was part of each day. I wanted to take him, but Mr. Blue had developed some insecurities around other dogs after the one eye was removed. I already had two special needs dogs at home and my whole family had dogs also. He was sweet as ever around people, but I didn’t want to put him in that situation. I knew that he would be a hard adoption due to his medical needs for the rest of his life in order to retain the vision in his remaining eye. The remaining eye was not 100% and it could be quite costly for the new owners. All I could do was to continue the same routine everyday.
 One day, after walking other dogs, I was walking down row one calling “Here I am…here I am Mr. Blue.” I heard no response, except the barking of all the other dogs. When I got to his cage, he was standing there and when he looked up at me with that one big blue eye, I was terrified. His eye looked red, cloudy and he could not follow my hand, which was only a couple of feet from his face. I thought, “There goes the other one.” He did recognize me, and looked up. I was sad and angry, thinking “What can I do for this little guy?”




As I was looking at him, I caught a glimpse of a sign on his kennel door. The sign read “special needs adoption.” The “seed” was planted.


Mr. Blue-office I notified the staff and the shelter’s veterinarian was willing  to temporarily place Mr. Blue in her office and administered medication that he would need for the remainder of his life. After each walk, I placed him back in the office and looked at him from the outside window as he was staring at the door, waiting for me to come back for him. My heart was already bleeding for him as well as for all the other homeless animals. The “seed” was being watered every day.


As the eye improved, he was eventually moved to a front window kennel, where he’d receive more exposure. Then, the first week of September 2009, I walked into the lobby of the shelter to sign in. I saw a mom, with two teenage kids. They were there to get a bunny. I said to myself, “I wish my Mr. Blue could have a family like that one day.”

While I was walking another dog, next thing I saw was one of the shelter employees running towards me yelling, “We were looking for you, somebody wants to see Mr. Blue.” I ran to the front lobby, and what do you know? It was my “perfect” family that was there to get a bunny. I showed Mr. Blue to them and explained all his issues, history and medical needs. They seemed to love him and I loved them. They said they would come back over the weekend, which happened to be the Labor Day weekend. I wasn’t sure if they would, but gave them my cell phone number in case they did. I was ecstatic to receive a phone call stating that they were coming again on Saturday. Saturday came and the mom came back to the shelter to adopt Mr. Blue and take him home. It was bitter sweet for me. I took them and their new dog to a pet store and bought a few things for them as my gift to my little friend. When I dropped him off at their home, I promised them that I would personally help them with any medical costs to ensure that Mr. Blue would be able to see for the rest of his life. At that moment, the planted “seed” had germinated and “Special Needs K9” was born.

Incorporated on October 21, 2009, “Special Needs K9, Inc.” filed all the necessary federal and state documents for a non-profit, 501(c)(3), organization status. A board of trustees was recruited, bylaws were adopted, and a non-profit business bank account was established. We became fully operational in November 2009. Mr. Blue, now named Willie, has since received medical attention financed by “Special Needs K9“, and is living a happy life with his wonderful family.


I am proud to be the founder and president of Special Needs K9, Inc. There are thousands of dogs and other animals like Mr. Blue. Some are sick, some are blind, some have three legs and some have no legs. Most of them were hurt by the human hand and now they need to be helped by the human hand. It’s up to us…all of us. We need your help.     




Michael Pravec
President / founder


Mr. Blue/Willie’s Journey…Slide show/Video

Mr.Blue/Willie – Slide show – RUN – When photo appears, click on the image to start video.  (Scanned by Micro Trend Internet Security.)