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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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Las Vegas, Nevada
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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16
6 February 2012 - 9:09 pm
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The world gets smaller...

I'm originally from Ardmore, OK - raised there.   I was going to go to OSU but went and got married and somewhat went to OU.  Lived in OKC.  Moved to Vegas in '87.

 

Back to the "looks" -  

At least you guys didn't have a leg that looked like it needed to be fixed!  At the park, people looked at me like  - you are a dreadful person for not getting that leg fixed!  And at the vet's - "Oh my!  What happened?  Is she here to get her leg fixed?".  I swear it happened EVERYTIME FOR 12 years at the vet's! 

Me rescuing a dog with a deformed leg actually made me look like a bad person most of the time! rasberry

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

Member Since:
18 January 2012
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6 February 2012 - 11:45 pm
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Totally get the guilt thing.  We almost couldn't afford to take care of Baby because I screwed up the insurance waiting period exam stuff.  Guilt can tear you up.  So destructive, yet so hard to get past.  As days went on, I found myself changing my focus to Baby.  She lives in the present, knows no blame, no regrets, just lives in the present.  I'm learning from her and finding joy in watching her get better every day.  I think our dogs know we are only human (poor us) and they accept us, so we may as well accept ourselves.

Think I'll get some boxer shorts with hearts or puppies on them for her to wear at the vets.  Maybe smiles will counteract the awwws.

Thought about a peg leg, eye patch and parrot on the shoulder, but don't think I could keep the pet leg on.  Arggg.

Find lots of smiles.

Judy and Baby

Peoria, IL
Member Since:
8 November 2010
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18
7 February 2012 - 1:35 am
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Lisa,

I honestly think that most people give our dogs the pity looks because they are not familiar with the situation and are afraid our dogs are handicapped or suffering. Last year, while in The Villages in Florida, we often took Sammy down to one of the "town squares." He was a huge hit! Although we heard the chorus or Ohs and Ahs as we walked around, we also heard honest concern in the voices. We could barely get two or three steps without being approached. People just flat-out asked what happened to his leg and we were glad to share our experience. Sammy thought he was a star — his tail waved like a flag and the smile never left his face. Of course, he loved getting there in the golf cart, too. Just for fun, I included a picture of him riding. My job, as passenger, was to keep his tail in the cart and Rick's was to keep him from getting his head knocked off by other carts. He really liked to stick his head out the side so his ears could flap in the breeze!

Also, just FYI, everytime I see your avatar I grin. Zeus

 has the sweetest, silliest smile. What a cutie — I think I would love your dog! He looks like he has personality to spare ...

And, Shari, you are really funny!

— Beth and Spirit Smilin' Sammy

Smilin' Sammy, March 16, 2004 – Dec. 5, 2011
Golden retriever, diagnosed with osteosarcoma in September 2010 — right front leg amputated November 2010. He fought valiantly to stay with us; but a second diagnosis of osteosarcoma, this time in his left front leg, was more than our golden warrior could overcome. He loved his pack — and everyone else he met.

We loved him even more.
Thanks for the pennies, Sammy. They helped.

Edmond, Oklahoma
Member Since:
7 January 2011
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7 February 2012 - 7:45 am
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I agree that it can help to have a child around--  anytime anyone came over to inquire about Scout, Anna would say "this is MY dog Scout; he got his leg chopped off"  It was oh so dramatic.  She took him for show and tell once and opened with that same line-- while the teacher looked a tad uncomfortable at the "chopping off" bit, the class of 2nd graders absolutely LOVED it!  Very exciting stuff and it made for lots of questions-- was it a machete, a sword, a chainsaw, did you do it, was it totally bloody?... Scout was a hit and even got invited back!

PS That line about "paying up" had me in stitches!!!!  SOOO funny!!!!!!!!!!!

PPS  I am ooh-ing and ah-ing over Sammy in that golf cart right now-- he was so incredibly gorgeous!  I like your golf cart responsibilities too-- very important- especially  Rick's! 

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
Member Since:
28 November 2011
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7 February 2012 - 8:14 am
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Ge'Lena, I can imagine the comments.  On that note, I will tell you that right after Greg and I married I convinced him to go by the animal shelter (we lived in Gastonia, NC at the time).  It was (and still is, unfortunately) a high-kill, horrible county-run shelter.  As we walked around, I noticed a dog with a deformed front leg - it was as if someone shrunk her front leg to 1/4 the normal size.  She was in the "unadoptable" section which was always full b/c that shelter was horrible and any dog with any problem at all was classified as unadoptable and was put down after the reclaim period.  She was standing at the kennel door smiling and wagging her tail.  I left there in tears b/c that dog was being punished and killed for absolutely no reason.  That dog has haunted me for 14 years.  I can still see her face as if she is standing in front of me right now.

That began my work in animal rescue.  I became a volunteer with the no-kill 501(c)3 shelter in that area.  The founder would go and "claim" as many dogs as possible each week.  They knew these weren't her dogs but surprisingly they let her get away with re-claiming hundreds of dogs per year.

I thank you all for your comments above because they remind me of what I already knew about people's ignorance (I truly mean no disrespect using that word - I do believe it is ignorance and not usually stupidity).  I had lost sight of that b/c this time it is personal and it is my family they are criticizing and I become a bit defensive.  I need to go back to my rescue roots and use this as a teaching opportunity.  Thank you for reminding me of that!

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/

21
17 February 2012 - 7:21 am
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Well, because Sadie and I are out so much with her daily visits to the vet, we have met many people and now know about the "pity look". One man pulled up in his truck while we were in the grass at the vet and just stared with sad eyes. He then said, "That is a real shame, she WAS a beautiful dog." He was a stranger..i just petted Sadie and replied, "yes, she IS a beautiful dog. She's doing really well." And a littel girl said " If your dog had 4 legs she would really like my dogs." I smiled and said "I bet she would like your dogs even with 3 legs"...she giggled and as she opened the door to leave the vet she called back, "at least she survived!!". I think it is sometimes compassion, sometimes ignorance (many people I know and have told didn't know a dog could even survive on 3 legs!). sometimes genuine interest. The way I respond, I now know, can make the biggest difference. I've used many of the comebacks suggested in these posts! Especially the "your dog has 3 legs!" and we say "shhhh, don't tell her!" hahaha. It sure is a learning experience isn't it! I can't believe the new experiences I am having since this all started..meeting new people, learning things about my dog I didn't know before, understanding others points of view. Could I become a better human being because of Sadie's amputation?....I think so!! wow.

Rock Hill, SC
Member Since:
28 November 2011
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22
5 April 2012 - 7:25 am
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I felt compelled to update this thread.  I think it maybe it was us all along!  I think, very early on, I did feel sad about what life has thrown at my boy not to mention the exhaustion from recovery that presents as slow movements, slumped posture and bags under my eyes the size of cow boobies.  As time has passed Zeus gets around great, is SO happy and has amazed me to the point that I can't explain and I have learned to truly appreciate this one day for what it is - a gift.  We are at four months and 5 days - 125 days more than we almost had when the pessimistic diagnosis caused us to seriously consider letting him go rather than amputation.  That said, I think we "present" differently.  We walk with our heads held high and a smile on our faces.  We are so proud of Zeus as he bounces along next to us.  He is no longer our poor baby - instead he is our hero.  We still get the pity look on occasion, but mostly I notice people look at him, their eyes dart to me and I am smiling.  Now, with a tiny tilt of their head, they smile back.  A true, sincere smile.  Go figure....

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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23
5 April 2012 - 9:07 am
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I love this update Zeuspod! What a great observance, I do believe you're right, a smile goes a long way in showing the world your confidence. The energy is contagious!

 bags under my eyes the size of cow boobies. 

Eeeek! I've never heard this before! Funny thought!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
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