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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Dealing with "the pity look"
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Rock Hill, SC
Member Since:
28 November 2011
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1
6 February 2012 - 8:54 am
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It just kills me when we walk into the vet and the people in the waiting room give us "the look."  You know the one.  Most then look away and won't look back.  Some say "oh, he only has three legs".  One lady literally snatched her two young kids up as they walked toward him like she thought missing leg syndrome was contagious.

At first I explained - "Yeah, he has cancer and we had to amputate, but he's doing great and doesn't miss the leg at all.  Really."

Then I tried just ignoring it.

As time went on, it became:  "he only has THREE LEGS, awww..." and my response was "OH MY GOSH, don't TELL HIM!"

I really don't want people to feel sorry for him or us.  And, truth be told, I don't like being a smart butt and making them feel awkward.  I am really open to other suggestions....

Zeus was a Husky mix diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at age 11.  A visible lung met and suspicious spot on his liver meant a poor prognosis-six weeks was our vet's best guess. We decided to fight for our boy and his right front leg was amputated on 12/1/11. We did six rounds of chemo, changed his diet and spoiled him completely rotten. We were blessed with 10 great months after diagnosis. Against the odds, the lung met remained a single met and grew very little over those months. A wonderful furbaby with the most gentle spirit, he fought with a strength that we never imagined he possessed. We have no regrets...
http://zeuspod......pawds.com/

Edmond, Oklahoma
Member Since:
7 January 2011
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6 February 2012 - 9:11 am
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Ha-- the "lady" snatching her kids up made me laugh.  Seriously though, we encountered overwhelmingly positive reactions-- I think because Scout was always running around and having such a good time. Our comments were along the lines of "look how well he gets around" or "he doesn't miss that leg a bit"  Interestingly, when Scout was visiting "Camp Grandma" and my mother would walk him around the lake, she would get "the look".  She reported that she gave them "the evil eye" in return!

Scout: January 31, 2002 to November 7, 2011

Scout's diagnosis was "poorly differentiated sarcoma"; amputation 1/11/2011.  Scout enjoyed 9 fantastic years on 4 legs and 9 glorious months on 3 legs.  If love alone could have saved you…

Rock Hill, SC
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28 November 2011
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6 February 2012 - 9:52 am
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OK Scout, it seems to mostly happen in confined areas such as the vet's lobby when he is not moving around much.  Other times I don't think people realize it is missing. 

I just realized your avatar says Edmond, OK.  Greg's job almost moved us to Stillwater a couple of years ago.  Instead they sent us here to PA.  Would have been nice to be near another Tripawd member!

Zeus was a Husky mix diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at age 11.  A visible lung met and suspicious spot on his liver meant a poor prognosis-six weeks was our vet's best guess. We decided to fight for our boy and his right front leg was amputated on 12/1/11. We did six rounds of chemo, changed his diet and spoiled him completely rotten. We were blessed with 10 great months after diagnosis. Against the odds, the lung met remained a single met and grew very little over those months. A wonderful furbaby with the most gentle spirit, he fought with a strength that we never imagined he possessed. We have no regrets...
http://zeuspod......pawds.com/

Edmond, Oklahoma
Member Since:
7 January 2011
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6 February 2012 - 10:07 am
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Small world--  I grew up in Stillwater.  My father taught at OSU for 40 years.  It would have been so great if you guys were nearby, although based on our experiences, Zeus is better off with the vets in PA!!!

We also got disapproving looks at the vet-- although that was probably because the vet (STUPIDLY, VERY, VERY STUPIDLY) kept all the dog and cat food in the waiting area and SOMEBODY kept climbing up on the shelves and trying (and occasionally succeeding) to tear open the bags of food and treats.  Combine this with three small kids who are not yet model citizens and and one stressed out mama and the looks just kept a coming!

Scout: January 31, 2002 to November 7, 2011

Scout's diagnosis was "poorly differentiated sarcoma"; amputation 1/11/2011.  Scout enjoyed 9 fantastic years on 4 legs and 9 glorious months on 3 legs.  If love alone could have saved you…

5
6 February 2012 - 10:17 am
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I am going to remember the comment "Oh gosh, don't tell him!" That is priceless. I'm not quite far enough along in my experience to comment appropriately on this blog, but here I am. I am still GIVING the pity look...to my Sadie...at least in my mind. We are 4 days post op from an injury which required amputation. Many have advised me not to dwell on the past, and rightfully so, but this entire experience was avoidable..my husband and I didnt use the invisible fence (reasons don't really matter) and she went in the street and got hit. We are working on the guilt. It is not my intention to make this blog about that, just wanted to explain, I guess. My point is, by addressing the pity issue here, I am better able to have perspective for myself and others. Thank you for that.

Rock Hill, SC
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28 November 2011
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6
6 February 2012 - 10:29 am
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Hi Dee!  Good to see you here in the forums!  I can't see your post until a moderator approves it (that only has to be done for your very first post - after the first one your comments show up immediately).  Glad you figured out how to join in here - you will get so many more responses from the forums than from the chat room .

Lisa

Zeus was a Husky mix diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at age 11.  A visible lung met and suspicious spot on his liver meant a poor prognosis-six weeks was our vet's best guess. We decided to fight for our boy and his right front leg was amputated on 12/1/11. We did six rounds of chemo, changed his diet and spoiled him completely rotten. We were blessed with 10 great months after diagnosis. Against the odds, the lung met remained a single met and grew very little over those months. A wonderful furbaby with the most gentle spirit, he fought with a strength that we never imagined he possessed. We have no regrets...
http://zeuspod......pawds.com/

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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7
6 February 2012 - 11:03 am
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dee40 said:

...by addressing the pity issue here, I am better able to have perspective for myself and others.

Acknowledgement is the first step. smiley

We're happy you made it to the forums! Your future forum posts will not require moderation. Consider starting a new topic to share your story and get more advice and support from members.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Rock Hill, SC
Member Since:
28 November 2011
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8
6 February 2012 - 11:06 am
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Dee, I can see your post now.  I was one of the ones on the live chat with you yesterday, so I heard a bit of your story.  Really, do not pity your baby.  You are in the trenches of the first two weeks which others here have, quite appropriately, described as "hell weeks".  In no time at all, you will see your Sadie re-emerge better than ever.  Hang in there!!

Zeus was a Husky mix diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at age 11.  A visible lung met and suspicious spot on his liver meant a poor prognosis-six weeks was our vet's best guess. We decided to fight for our boy and his right front leg was amputated on 12/1/11. We did six rounds of chemo, changed his diet and spoiled him completely rotten. We were blessed with 10 great months after diagnosis. Against the odds, the lung met remained a single met and grew very little over those months. A wonderful furbaby with the most gentle spirit, he fought with a strength that we never imagined he possessed. We have no regrets...
http://zeuspod......pawds.com/

In your heart, where I belong.
Member Since:
9 February 2011
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9
6 February 2012 - 11:26 am
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This has been a fairly frequent topic, one that many people have had to deal with. It seems that some people get the pity stuff while others get the "oh cool!" stuff, and then others get ignored. 

I will go out on a limb and ask if it's possible that the mom snatched her kids away because she was concerned they might bump into Zeus and knock him down?

If memory serves, some of the comebacks to "he only has 3 legs!" or "what the hell happened to the poor baby?" were along the lines of "oh my God! You mean he should have more?" to "it tasted like chicken."

Personally, I've wanted to use "what's wrong with your dog? It has 4 legs" but so far, we have been in the mostly ignored category.

"The coffee table's leg was wobbly and Zeus was just the right height" is also one to consider, as is "Ever heard of the Donner party?"

And for the real pity cases ("oh the poor schmooky wookums, what happened to the widdle baby?") that make you want to vomit on principal, I think "That's the last time he talks back to us, for damn sure" is an excellent choice.  little-devil

Shari

From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at http://shari.tr.....pawds.com/

Rock Hill, SC
Member Since:
28 November 2011
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10
6 February 2012 - 11:35 am
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Oh, those are good.

Judging by the "ewww" look on her face I definitely don't think she was worried about Zeus in the least.  Funny thing is that her kids were ALL OVER the waiting room (even dumped out the trash can) while my boy sat perfectly still and acted like the best little gentleman!  I really felt like telling her maybe she should hope they do catch something from him - like manners. twisted

Zeus was a Husky mix diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at age 11.  A visible lung met and suspicious spot on his liver meant a poor prognosis-six weeks was our vet's best guess. We decided to fight for our boy and his right front leg was amputated on 12/1/11. We did six rounds of chemo, changed his diet and spoiled him completely rotten. We were blessed with 10 great months after diagnosis. Against the odds, the lung met remained a single met and grew very little over those months. A wonderful furbaby with the most gentle spirit, he fought with a strength that we never imagined he possessed. We have no regrets...
http://zeuspod......pawds.com/

krun15
11
6 February 2012 - 1:38 pm
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Here is a Post I wrote a couple years ago on this subject.  I had sort of gotten used to the 'aawwww' stuff, but this was a new one!

 

Karen and the pugapalooza

New Zealand
Member Since:
6 November 2011
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12
6 February 2012 - 2:35 pm
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Im going to put my self out there and post from the other side of the arguement. Before Kayla had her amp I remember "pittying" Tripawds but it was through pure ignorance. I remember thinking 'oh god poor dog' till I seen how amazingly they got on with life. After going through the amp experience I have also had those pity looks as well as one guy who said 'holy crap shes only got 3 legs'. People also tend to baby her which is just down right annoying.

So when you get those pity looks just remember that it is probably ignorance rather than being rude, take the chance to educate them about life on three legs and that dogs just get on with it.

Sarah, Kayla and Sarge

Rock Hill, SC
Member Since:
28 November 2011
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13
6 February 2012 - 5:41 pm
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Sarah, that is actually a very valid point.  I really do try to use it as a chance to educate people.  I guess I'm still a little put-off by the one lady that acted so rude and by the people that say things in an almost accusatory tone (like he is suffering) and then don't really give you a chance to explain.

Actually, while Greg was at the vet Friday with Zeus for chemo, the tech told him about another client there that was just diagnosed and was so upset.  As he left, he actually ran into her and her dog in the parking lot.  She stopped him and he was able to talk to her quite a bit (and give her a referral to this site).  It's nice to be able to repay the kindness we have been shown.

Zeus was a Husky mix diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at age 11.  A visible lung met and suspicious spot on his liver meant a poor prognosis-six weeks was our vet's best guess. We decided to fight for our boy and his right front leg was amputated on 12/1/11. We did six rounds of chemo, changed his diet and spoiled him completely rotten. We were blessed with 10 great months after diagnosis. Against the odds, the lung met remained a single met and grew very little over those months. A wonderful furbaby with the most gentle spirit, he fought with a strength that we never imagined he possessed. We have no regrets...
http://zeuspod......pawds.com/

Member Since:
13 June 2011
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14
6 February 2012 - 5:54 pm
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I love the posts with the one-liner comebacks. My favorite is, "my vet charges an arm and a leg and it was time to pay up." People just don't know...good thing we have our Tripawd fam!

Plainfield, Illinois
Member Since:
14 May 2011
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15
6 February 2012 - 6:40 pm
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Sometimes it pays to have a younger child with you.  When we took Chili Dawg to get the stitches out of his ear, my son (4 year old) blurted out in the waiting room, "Momma, our dog is so much cooler than the rest of these dogs, because he has 3 legs.  All these other dogs need 4 legs to do the same stuff that Chili does."  Then we stopped getting the pitying looks, because Noah was now giving all of them the pitying looks.  The tables were turned on them by a 4 year old.  After that, a couple of the younger kids who were with their parents came up and asked us about Chili's missing leg and I was able to talk to them about him having cancer and they asked me all sorts of little kid questions about him.  It was pretty cool.

Diagnosed with OSA: 5/2/2011 Ampuversary: 5/11/2011 OSA returned in hip: 8/26/2011
Chili Dawg crossed the Rainbow Bridge on 8/30/2011 & is now pain free. He was my heart dog, and I miss him every day.

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