The hardest pets to adopt out of a shelter are the old and infirmed. The car manufacturer Subaru is once again trying to change that Tuesday as part of Subaru Loves Pets month.

Subaru and its partners have joined together for National #MakeADogsDay to help dogs find homes. If you haven’t seen the ads you should. In dignified images, Subaru captures amputee dogs, the blind and deaf, the ugly dog, the dog that is too old and too big and makes the case they need a home, too.

From a communication standpoint, Subaru has hit one over the fence with a special emphasis on shelter dogs with special needs. Unlike some other organizations, including those it partners with, Subaru avoids the images of an emaciated dog outside in a snowstorm, shivering while tethered to a tree by a log chain.

Those are videos often of dogs awaiting rescue from criminal neglect. I say get to the rescue and make the arrest, not a video appeal for donations.

Subaru brought the pooches into a studio, cleaned them up, and had them pose with missing eyes, a crooked jaw, a missing limb, and unable to hear, to persuade people that a dog can be a great companion even if it has a physical challenge. Bravo, Subaru.

Yeah, they sell cars, too. I have no beef with that as long as they keep the money flowing to charitable causes. Through an 11-year partnership with the ASPCA, the company has provided nearly $25 million to support the health, rescue, transport and adoption of more than 57,000 animals.

The car company and its retailers, with a lifetime commitment to loving pets, invites dog lovers to do something special for their dogs Tuesday, in addition to joining their nationwide effort to help shelter dogs find loving homes.

One of the dogs featured in the television ads is a little, white, wire-haired mutt named Charlie. Charlie sports two lower fangs that stick out above his upper lip so it looks like he has Dracula fangs in reverse. What’s not to like? Special needs? Not really, he just needs a dose of love and a good talker to introduce him to people.

Cooper is another crossbreed, brown with a greying muzzle. He’s limited by an amputation to a front leg, but I’d bet not by much. Dogs do well with just three legs, although they may develop age-related arthritis more frequently. He’s alert and appears to have plenty of energy. Cooper looks like a launched tennis ball’s worst nightmare.

Echo sports the name in part because she was born deaf. A white Staffordshire terrier mix, she makes pig-like playful grunts and uses her big brown eyes to track hand signals and treats thrown on command.

Our local shelters feature rock star dogs every day. They also feature cats — plenty of cats all the time.

At this writing, Humane Society of the Palouse in Moscow is featuring Cecilia, a 4-year-old Lab and border collie mix. Found with multiple injuries, she was brought to the shelter, received medical care and is healthy. Now her only challenges are separation anxiety and barking at strangers. For the right retired, older couple needing a good dog and a reason to get off the sofa at least twice a day, Cecilia might fit the bill.


Charlie Powell is the public information officer for the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, which provides this column as a community service. For questions or concerns about animals you’d like to read about, email cpowell@vetmed.wsu.edu.

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