Inside the Pet Shelter Caring for Pets with Special Needs: The “Imperfect Babies”


About 6.3 million animals enter rescue centers in the United States each year, but a special shelter works hard to care for animals that others may overlook.

Pumpkin Patch Pet Rescue is based in Los Angeles and was founded six years ago before becoming an established nonprofit nearly two years ago. The pet shelter fosters cats and dogs with special needs, giving them the medical care and support they need to find future forever homes.

“We started rescuing and hosting about 6 years ago. The rescue was inspired and named after our adorable boy, Pumpkin. He was our first baby with special needs,” Pumpkin’s owner says. Patch Pet Rescue, Melissa Lamprey. Newsweek.

“Pumpkin was in a shelter and had to be euthanized because he was sick. His illnesses were treatable, but most Los Angeles shelters don’t have the time, space or resources to care for sick, injured animals. or very young,” Lamprey said. “Unfortunately, in the currently overburdened shelter system, animals are euthanized daily for treatable illnesses or injuries. That’s why we decided to focus on these types of animals.”

Above, Mel Lamprey, owner of Pumpkin Patch Pet Rescue, feeds some new arrivals (L). Pinocchio (R) is one of the residents of the shelter.
@mellamprey/Instagram

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) states that each year approximately 920,000 shelter animals are euthanized in the United States.

Lamprey Pet Rescue welcomes a range of animals with conditions such as limb abnormalities, eye removal and mouth or tooth problems.

“We take care of everything from hernia repairs to leg removal to brain issues,” Lamprey said. “These animals most often require surgery and longer term care for a disability, birth defect or injury. We provide the animal with all the medical care necessary to ensure they are in the best condition possible.”

Animals at Pumpkin Patch Pet Rescue
Photos of some of the cats cared for at Pumpkin Patch Pet Rescue in Los Angeles. Arthur (L) was born with hydrocephalus and entropion in one eye. Tulip (R) has a limb abnormality called radial aplasia.
@mellamprey/Instagram

“Thank you so much for all you do,” a Pumpkin Patch Pet Rescue follower posted on social media. With thousands of followers and posts featuring their residents frequently garnering viral attention, the work of the rescue does not go unnoticed.

“We hope to inspire and educate others through our own humorous adventures in fostering, rescuing and adopting, especially ‘imperfect babies,'” Lamprey said.

Pumpkin Patch is currently caring for five special needs animals, three of which are ready for adoption.

Cats at Pumpkin Patch Pet Rescue
Mr Dobson, aka ‘Dobbie’ (L) and Siamese cat Thumbelina (R), who underwent treatment for an underdeveloped eye. Pumpkin Patch is currently caring for five animals with special needs.
@mellamprey/Instagram

“We currently have Tulip with radial aplasia, which is an abnormality of the limbs. She was born without the radius of both front legs, and Arthur, who was born with hydrocephalus and entropion in one eye. He had corrective surgery of the eye,” the salvage owner said.

Other members of their current cohort include Thumbelina who needed treatment for an underdeveloped eye, Tabitha who had her teeth removed due to a misaligned jaw, Dobbie who underwent surgery on both eyes and Lilibet who had her front leg removed.

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