Meet your new favourite humans: This couple dedicate their life to helping disabled dogs get back on their proverbial paws.
Man’s best friend comes in all shapes and sizes, each as deserving of love as the last.
So when Cassie Carney and Tim Giles discovered many disabled dogs were left without a loving home for life, they were determined to make a difference to dogs across Europe.
Alongside their day jobs, graphic designer Cassie, 40, and her husband, Tim, run Broken Biscuits, a charity providing essential equipment – such as the special wheelchairs – for disabled dogs.
The couple met travelling in New Zealand, where Cassie was using her skills as a graphic designer to help a charity which rescued chimpanzees from the circus.
When they moved to London together seven years ago, Cassie’s love of animals and philanthropic spirit followed them around Europe, where they were dismayed to see so many disabled dogs go homeless or be euthanised.
So, they started fundraising to provide disabled dogs with the tools they’d need to live a happy life; from wheelchairs to rehabilitation to their forever homes.
Over time, their efforts gave way to the charity which they run from their home in their spare time.
Introducing the dogs of Broken Biscuits and their amazing wheelchairs:
Tim, a 50-year-old marketing executive by day and joint trustee of Broken Biscuits by night, told UNILAD how the disabled animal advocacy group works with a number of organisations across Europe to help improve the lives of animals who have been injured.
With Otto, his own disabled rescue dog by his side, he said:
We’ve built up a network across Europe through working with various organisations. What tends to happen is an animal gets hit by a car and that dog gets brought into a shelter.
We get contacted to help, whether it’s with their medical care or to help with the dog’s accommodation and ultimately find them foster care or a permanent home.
The couple, and their five-year-old daughter Lily, are living proof the system works.
The family are the proud owners of a three-legged cat, a deaf Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a mixed breed triple amputee Yorkshire Terrier and Maltese cross called Otto, who uses a wheelchair.
Otto, a Romanian-born rascal, was injured in a car accident, recounted Tim:
We were involved right from the start to firstly rescue him off the streets where he’d been abandoned and then to help him through all the surgeries he needed to get him fit and healthy.
We fell in love with him along the way and, rather than adopting him out, we ended up taking him in as a member of our family. Now, as you can see, he’s very much an active, healthy dog.
Doggie disability, however isn’t to be underestimated, and Tim explains part of their mission is to make sure people understand how to care for dogs like Otto.
Tim said it’s sometimes hard for him, adding:
Obviously there are certain things he can’t do. Otto gets frustrated when he tries to chase a bird or something like that, but when he’s in his wheel-car he’s as fast as any of them.
Otto isn’t alone, as Tim and Cassie discovered first-hand while volunteering for a number of spay and neuter charities.
They quickly realised a lot off the shelters with spay and neuter programs were also looking after hundreds of disabled dogs.
Tim was saddened to tell UNILAD these dogs were called ‘lifers’ because ‘they were dogs who never had a chance of getting adopted’.
The Australian-born animal lover described the life and death conditions too many dogs find themselves in.
He explained euthanasia can be common, adding:
A lot of these dogs would end up rotting in shelters where they would just be kept alive but really wouldn’t have a quality of life or in some cases, you know, they’d be euthanised.
Unable to stand idly by, the couple felt someone needed to do something to help those animals, so ‘decided to see what we could do’.
Between their love of animals and a lot of hard work, Broken Biscuits formed not long after their realisation.
Tim explained how Broken Biscuits helps dogs like Bambi, whose condition when he was found on the streets, abandoned and injured, was ‘distressing’ to say the least.
Of Bambi’s rescue and recovery, Tim said:
Just to see him as the smiley, happy dog he is now and to see the life he can still have in the wheel-car is really heartwarming.
So what we can do is provide support networks for other owner, fosterers and carers to help them care for these dogs and show them the basics so they can become part of the family and have fulfilling lives.
After all, an accident doesn’t need to be the end of the road for a dog.
Tim and Cassie both know it could actually be a new beginning, if they’re nurtured back to health and rehoused with loving families.
The disabilities range from life-changing injuries like loss of legs to simple aesthetic differences like cleft palettes.
Say hello to Peggy a 5 month old English bull terrier who has been surrounded to us because if a cleft palates and pressure sores that have become too bad to simply bandage . Peggy has spent all her short life chained to a outdoor kennel . Today her future just changed . Support her surgery and recovery join Broken Biscuits on Facebook to share her appeal
Broken Biscuits is now on a mission to educate the public about disabled dogs, said Tim:
The lesson is these dogs are just normal dogs who’ve been through a lot; who have had an accident and now are mended and so we’re just all about giving them a future.
Our mission is to inform people that just because a dog’s had an accident doesn’t mean the only option is to put it down. There are options. It’s about informing vets as well.
Asked whether it’s sometimes hard to see dogs in pain, Tim replied:
We aren’t in a depressing industry. This is all about improving the quality of life and getting them up, active and involved. Dogs will respond well if you give them the opportunity.
…Because dogs are awesome and we don’t deserve our canine companions.
There are plenty of humans out there who are taking care of Very Good Boys and Girls across the UK.
People like Ruby Shorrock, a vet who lives in Glasgow and treats homeless people’s dogs for free, perfectly prove we’re a nation who knows the special bond between man and dog must be upheld.
You can hear Ruby’s story – and those of the countless pups and people she helps – below:
All dogs – big or small, fluffy or hairless, two legs or four – deserve love and care from us. It’s also important to remember the notion of disability is a human construct which the innocent pups of this world can do without.
Tim agrees, adding:
Aside for a few small preparatory steps, they’re just normal dogs. The dogs don’t even realise they’re disabled. Once they get better and are no longer in any pain, they just go about their lives.
Just ask Otto, who looks pretty pleased with all the help he’s getting from his beloved family and his new set of wheels. It’s a dog’s life, after all.
If you have a story full of goodness to tell, contact UNILAD via [email protected]
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.