We have been active in animal welfare for 20 years. The journey to the idea of Unconditional began when we adopted Carlo, a stray pug with a missing rear leg. Carlo taught us that disabled means different — not sad or limited. In fact, he was the most exuberant and wildly personable dog we had ever had! Carlo inspired us to dig more deeply into the plight of senior and disabled dogs, and sadly we found out that our misconceptions were common. In SoCal, senior dogs are the only population being left behind in shelters, and disabled dogs are routinely euthanized.
We adopted more ’special’ dogs – including StanLee, a senior in a wheelchair; Levi, also in a wheelchair; Tomas, a blind senior with impaired mobility; Asher, a senior who had suffered terrible neglect; Oona, a lively girl with a wheelchair; and Harper, a tiny super-senior with mobility challenges found alone on the streets of Los Angeles. They are all fantastic and loving companions, full of spirit and fiercely loyal (and strong!). We decided we had to do something. In speaking with other rescues, we concluded that we needed a new model — a place purpose-built to help these special dogs recover and shine. Designed in collaboration with leading shelter medicine researchers and rescue entrepreneurs, Unconditional will be a model that can be replicated in other cities.
No adoptable dog should be denied a chance to bring their hearts to a home simply because they are older or different!