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Tripawd Tuesday: Ari the Tripawd Rally & Obedience Advocate

Did you know that Tripawds are not allowed to compete in American Kennel Club sanctioned agility competitions? Today on Tripawd Tuesday, you’ll meet Ari the Tripawd Agility Advocate who’s fighting to change that.

Tripawd agility advocate Ari
Ari earning her Canine Good Citizen Title at 6 mos old!

We learned about Tripawd discrimination in the AKC several years ago when former agility dogs James the Poodle and Maggie the Agile Cow Dog educated us about it. We hoped this had changed but not according to Carolyn, Ari’s parent. She recently wrote to us to share her amazing pup’s story for Tripawd Tuesday. Here it is, we know you’ll love meeting this sweet, talented girl!

Meet Ari, the Tripawd Agility Advocate

I have a Tripawd Ari. I rescued her from a litter in terrible condition at 6 weeks old. Had I not taken her she surely would have died! I wasn’t going to keep her.  I was going to “fix up” her leg which I thought was broken and find a good home for her.  Took her to 4 vets in an effort to save her leg but was told by all that she had severe nerve damage and eventually would loose the leg. 2 weeks later the leg was literally dragging and I had her leg amputated at 10 weeks old.

I found many good homes for her but each time I told the prospective owners, “She just needs a little more time”!  Needless to say, I could not let her go. Once she healed, there has been no stopping her.

Ari has earned her AKC Star Puppy Title and Canine Good Citizen Title at 6 mos old.  Ari earned her Novice Trick Dog Title and Intermediate Trick Dog Title at 8 mos old.  Ari is now a registered Therapy Dog and earned that title at 12 mos old.  

I have been training her in Rally and was shocked to find out that AKC does not allow 3 legged dogs to compete in Rally or Obedience because they state that “3 legged dogs are deemed lame and lacking in locomotion”! 

Ari is ready for the big leagues!

I found out that in 2018 I believe they have changed their ruling to now allow 3 legged dogs to compete in Tracking. Up until March of that year they were deemed “lame” and could not compete. Rally is WAY less vigorous and demanding on the body than tracking so I have been on a mission to have AKC allow 3 legged dogs to compete in Rally.

Ari doing Therapy Dog work with her brother Chayce
Ari doing Therapy Dog work with her brother Chayce

Ari has performed several “unofficial” AKC Rally tests.  I forwarded several videos of Ari performing these tests to Rally Judge Sylvia Brownlee and she said she would have scored her a solid 100% in one and a solid 98% in the other. Sylvia also wrote me a letter to send to AKC with my videos stating “this dog is not lame and does not lack locomotion!  Ari is incredible, has incredible balance and would be welcome in my ring at any time!” 

I also sent AKC letters from our Rally Trainer who is an AKC Agility Judge, our veterinarian stating she is sound and can compete in any venue as well as many other letters from people who have either known Ari since she was a pup and/or have been in our classes.  

These letters and videos have been submitted to AKC a week ago and I am waiting their response. Please see my youtube channel that I submitted to the AKC.  I have videos that chronicle Ari’s progress thru her very short 1 year of life and how much this energetic lovable pup has accomplished!  

I will not stop until Tripawds are permitted to compete in AKC Rally Trials!  They deserve a chance to show what they can do!

Get Your Hero Featured in Tripawd Tuesday!

Share your three-legged hero’s story with the world! Send your Tripawd Tuesday shout-out now. Each Tuesday is the best way to celebrate Tripawd amputee pets from around the world. Enter for a chance to be “Tripawd of the Week.” Just share your story in a few words and you’re in!

Whether you are a bonafide registered Tripawds member, or part of our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram communities, we want to tell the world about your three-legged cat or dog.

Send Your Tripawd Tuesday Story in 3 easy steps:

  1. In a short paragraph or two (or longer if you’d like!), describe your three-legged hero’s story.
  2. Share a photo, video or both.
  3. Got a Tripawds Forum topic and/or Tripawds blog that you started? Be sure to include that link too! Of course let us know any social media handles that feature your Tripawd.

Then send your story to us via email, Facebook Messenger, or direct message us on Twitter or Instagram @TripawdsCommunity.

We publish a new Tripawd story each week. It’s time for yours to get featured!

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8 thoughts on “Tripawd Tuesday: Ari the Tripawd Rally & Obedience Advocate”

  1. So great to see this! My dog Gidge is in advanced agility classes. He’s missing the same leg as Ari but doesn’t seem to notice! I’ve never had a more active, intelligent dog than my tripawd. He fords rivers, climbs trees, and runs circles around his four legged friends at the park. (He even caught a squirrel!)
    We hike together, backpack together, raft rivers together. He gives hope to those facing amputation that life will be great afterwards.

    For all his running around, he’s also, for the most part, impeccably behaved. He got his CGC shortly after I adopted him (he was down to three legs before he was adopted), and he’s my workplace’s official Office Dog. He has a way with children, and we’ve been asked to volunteer as a therapy dog and handler team by nursing staff at two hospitals and by other connections at a school and a daycare.

    There’s only one national organization that will register or certify therapy dogs where we live (no local options), and my question has to do with that. We’ve done all the training and all the paperwork, paid all the fees, and are set to be evaluated in one week, a test which we’ll easily pass as it’s easier than the CGC. However, I’m uneasy about some tripawd discrimination we’re experiencing. Our vet has written that Gidge needs a disability accommodation, and I’ve submitted that request according to this organization’s paperwork process. Gidge needs to be allowed to wear simple booties on slick flooring. The organization denied this accommodation, saying that he cannot wear booties only on slick flooring, but must either wear booties constantly or never at all! This is problematic as booties are a necessity on slick hospital flooring, but are unnecessary on non-slick flooring, and can actually be a hindrance to good body mechanics and movement on the carpeting in daycares and schools. The organization says they won’t go through with the evaluation unless I say that I’ll make Gidge wear booties all the time. Since there aren’t other options, and this organization is unwilling to meet our vet’s request for an accommodation as that request was written, I’m planning to lie and say, “Sure, he’ll wear booties 24/7” and then not actually have him wear them when they’re not needed.

    I’m a bit uneasy about planning to lie, so I’m wondering if you know of any precedents or resources that could help me convince this organization that what they’re asking is unreasonable, and that my Gidge should be allowed to wear booties on slick floors and no booties on non-slick flooring. I’m sure I’m not the only one experiencing this – for lack of a better word – tripawd discrimination, and I’m hoping that with this community’s help, I can pressure the evaluating organization to change their rigid policy to be more inclusive.

    It might be worth noting that this organization, Pet Partners, claims in their marketing and training materials to be inclusive of tripawds and other types of differently-abled dogs and cats. Yet I find myself needing to advocate for my dog in my communications with them, and failing to secure my dog the accommodation that his vet agrees he needs. Conversely, the organizations that we do far more rigorous activity through, such as Nosework classes, agility, and Canine Good Citizen, never had any issues with meeting any accommodations so that we could participate. Notably, those organizations were all local, and our problems are with a national organization.

    Apologies for the length of my comment; I wasn’t sure where else to post it, and Ari’s struggle to be allowed to participate in agility seemed the closest thing to our current struggle with a national organization’s anti-tripawd policies. Any help will be greatly appreciated!

      • Thanks Jerry! I think we’re registered? We have a login and password, if that’s what you mean.

        I’ve used this site as a resource since a couple days before Gidge came home, and it’s been wonderful. Just wanted to say thank you for providing it!

  2. Ari shows that, just because a dog loses a leg, doesn’t mean that they have to retire to the couch! I have an 11 year of flat-coated retriever named Neon who lost his left front leg to cancer 2 years ago. He was a performance dog prior to diagnosis and has bounced back from the treatment still able to do just about everything he did before! He runs NADAC agility, field and does tracking. We were working towards our AKC novice obedience title when this happened and were not able to finish due to the rules set forth by the AKC regarding lameness. I feel cheated that he is not able to finish what he is capable of finishing just as well as a dog that still has all 4 legs. Kudos to you and please keep fighting. Our tri-paws as so worth it!

    • Thank you penny! I won’t stop until trpawds can compete in Rally and Obedience! Would you be interested in writing a letter/email to the AKC I’m working with to support this mission? If so I can send you AKC contact info!

  3. Ari is one of the most agile dogs I ever met. She can hold her own with most dogs. She is smart and learns fast. I should know Her brother is my pup.


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