When Mandy Evans picked out a three-month-old pug named Molly from a breeder six years ago, she had no idea how her new friend would change her life. At first, her new pug was active and energetic, but just a few weeks later, Molly was suddenly unable to walk on all fours. Testing revealed a birth defect that twisted Molly’s spine, cutting off the nerves to her hind legs. For Evans, who had just lost a cat to cancer, the news was devastating. Luckily, her vet gave her information about Doggon’ Wheels, a company that makes rehabilitating wheelchairs for animals. Evans ordered one for Molly, and said, “After an hour, Molly was totally used to it, but it still took me six months to realize Molly was a normal dog, and not a disabled dog.”
A few years later, Evans’s niece asked her to bring Molly to her classroom for show-and-tell, and the experience showed Evans what a powerful little pug Molly could be. “When you talk to children about a differently-abled animal, it takes away their fear and allows kids to ask questions about what life is like for Molly. Then we can start talking about people with different abilities, and educate them on human social issues,” Evan explained.
Since that first trip, Evans and Molly have spread awareness to more than 50 classrooms, and the response is overwhelming. “I get letters from kids who have been touched by our program, thanking Molly for helping them understand differently-abled people better, and it’s so rewarding,” said Evans. She also launched the Web site MySpecialDog.com and MollyInspiresFoundation.org to provide resources for owners of special-needs pets, and to share Molly’s message. Evans also plans to launch Breederintegrity.org, which will hold breeders accountable for responsible practices, to make sure fewer animals are born with disabilities.
“Molly’s taught me so much-to be more aware, and to live for the moment,” said Evans, who hopes to one day have programs like Molly Inspires in classrooms across the nation. To learn more about how you can help spread this powerful message, visit MollyInspiresFoundation.org.