By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- The social dachshund that races along as fast as his two front legs and two-wheeled cart can take him, spent Christmas with his new forever family.
Jana Hutchins of Sebastian adopted Kody, a disabled, 8-year-old dapper dachshund, from the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County on Dec. 20. Kody had been waiting for a loving family to take him home since he arrived at the animal shelter in July.
Hometown News wrote a story about Kody in October.
Ms. Hutchins said she had been checking the animal shelter website for dogs for several months ago when her son expressed an interest in getting another animal and every time she looked, Kody was still there. After a successful meet and greet with Kody and Ms. Hutchins' existing dog, she knew he was the one.
Kody's new family consists of a sister, another dachshund named Gracey, and two human companions, Ms. Hutchins and her 9-year-old son, Mikey.
Soon after adopting Kody, Ms. Hutchins posted a note on the Humane Society's Facebook page about his adjustment to his new family.
"Kody is faster on his two feet than Gracey! We feel blessed to have him enter our lives," Ms. Hutchins said.
Kody's back legs were paralyzed before he came to the shelter and while there, a volunteer donated and fitted him with a new doggy wheelchair that allows him to dash around and chase other dogs or critters, just like any other dog.
"Honestly, I could not think of a better gift for our family for Christmas," she said of adopting Kody.
Mikey has something in common with Kody, as he also has special needs, Ms. Hutchins said.
He was diagnosed with autism at age 4, and has also had extra challenges to overcome in his life so far. He is currently on grade level and his accomplishments make his mother very proud.
"When I saw Kody, I wondered why no one would adopt him. I have a special needs son and I know with my support and encouragement, my son has been able to grow.
"What difference does it make if Kody has special needs? He can still have a great life and I can help give it to him," Ms. Hutchins said.
Since coming to the Hutchins' home, Kody has fully embraced life with Gracey, even picking up some of her habits and playing with some of her toys.
"They even snore exactly the same," Ms. Hutchins said with a laugh.
Humane Society staff and volunteers were very excited to see Kody find a new home, although they will miss seeing him exploring the halls of the shelter, drawing smiles everywhere he rolled.
"We're all very happy for him," said Janet Winikoff, education director for the animal shelter.
Ms. Hutchins said after a consultation with a chiropractor, she is helping Kody with some therapeutic exercises that could possibly help strengthen his leg muscles.
"Who knows, maybe one day he will walk again," she said.