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About Special Needs K9

Our History and Mission


Special Needs K9, Inc. is a non-profit  organization dedicated to the rescue of abused, neglected, sick and  unwanted dogs from high Kill Shelters, especially those on Death Row due  to overcrowding or being “undesirable” dogs. Nearly all our rescues  have extensive medical issues that were never addressed. We provide them  with all the medical care they need as well as obedience training and  behavior modification where needed. Once fully medically cleared, spayed  or neutered, vaccinated and fit for adoption, we place these dogs in  loving forever homes.

We are also advocates for animal rights, we  stand against animal cruelty, Puppy Mills and any type of irresponsible  breeding. With hard work and dedication, we believe we can make a  difference in the world or at the very least in the lives of the many  underdogs that come through our doors.

Mr. Blue Willie getting checked out

Mr. Blue Willie getting checked out

By Michael Pravec President / founder of Special Needs K9

How Special Needs K9 was Born


At the beginning of the summer in 2009, I was volunteering at one of the local animal shelters, which  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.



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. 


 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