ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (FOX 13) - Pets don't typically see disabilities or discouragements; they just feel love. One St. Petersburg woman showers them with it. Her crusade is to save misfit animals of all kinds.
One look inside Paige Graham’s home and there’s no doubt she loves animals. She has pictures of her furry friends on the wall, leashes at the front door and their outfits hanging in a closet.
“There’s so many animals being discarded. I can’t save all of them right now but I wish I could,” she said.
It all started with her first chihuahua, Peter Jennings.
“He was my best friend,” she recalled.
He was your typical happy pup, until one day an injury left him paralyzed. Instead of giving him up or putting him down she researched therapies to keep him pain-free.
“He was rehabbed back from near total paralysis. I had another seven years with him after that,” she explained.
Peter set the wheels in motion, and two years later, Paige’s home is full of special-needs animals. She calls it “The Isle of Misfits."
“I don’t think there’s such thing as unadoptable. I think all lives has value," she said. "When I see these dogs, I see potential in them that other people don’t."
She saw something special in Charlie, and rescued him after his owners dropped him off at a kill shelter. His hind legs don’t work, but it doesn’t slow him down.
“He does not even realize he's paralyzed. He sees the ball and he runs after it. He sees the other dogs and he just goes,” Paige said.
He runs with a pretty cool pack. There’s Ninja, who Paige calls a "gentle giant." A stroke left him paralyzed.
There’s Jellybean, who Paige wishes she named "Jumping Bean." He got hit by a car and now has plates and screws in his legs. Despite his injury, he is very energetic.
Someone found 10-year-old Abraham on the side of a road. He had to have his eye removed.
And we can't forget Nala the pig. Paige describes her as a "diva."
“Just because they’re old doesn’t mean they need to be put down. There’s things we can do to keep them healthy, active and happy,” Paige said.
Even though her island is getting full, Paige said watching her “misfits” go from rehab to recovery makes her heart even fuller.
“Just to be able to see them living their best life, enjoying themselves, and living the life they deserve to have is wonderful,” said Paige.
Paige is currently working on making the “Isle of Misfits” an official non-profit organization. In the meantime, she said she'll continue advocating for the underdogs, pigs and cats. Paige has two special needs felines named Walter Cron-cat and Hope.
If you’re interested in adopting a special needs animal, Paige is looking for Ninja’s forever home. More information on her website: islandofmisfitchihuahuas.com.