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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is the place to learn how to care for a three legged dog or cat, with answers about dog leg amputation, and cat amputation recovery from many years of member experiences.
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Got our first negative comment re: amputation
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Forum Posts: 37
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3 January 2013 - 7:58 am
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My husband told his uncle about our story with Bailey.  His comment:  “you should have just put him down.”  Of course, he doesn’t view pets like we do.  His dog and cat live outside and they are really an afterthought.

 

Does anyone have an interesting stories about how they handled comments like this? 

The Rainbow Bridge



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3 January 2013 - 10:42 am
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Eh, sorry for him. You get it, that’s all that matters.

Oy vey do we have some great comebacks to consider. Here’s a post with some good ones:

“Poor doggie” comments – how do you react?

 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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concord,ca
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3 January 2013 - 4:14 pm
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Sometimes people just dont get it.   Don’t let his negative comment get you down.  The only person’s opinion that matters is your own.  You love your dog and your dog is part of the family.  People that have pets and make them just pets, dont understand and never will.    Ive been lucky that everyone in my family and circle of friends has been very supportive.  If they weren’t, they know what I would tell them to kiss……..  I have found total strangers to be so understanding and sympathetic towards what my Cadence is going through.  There is not one time on our walks that we have not been stopped and asked about how she lost her leg.  I even had one lady almost start to cry.  There are alot of people out there who are supportive, so dont let one comment, make you doubt, even for one second, that you didnt do right by your Bailey.  You have given Bailey more time to be loved and there is nothing better than that.

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.” ― Milan Kundera

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3 January 2013 - 5:34 pm
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michele said
 

Sometimes people just dont get it.   Don’t let his negative comment get you down.  The only person’s opinion that matters is your own.  You love your dog and your dog is part of the family.  People that have pets and make them just pets, dont understand and never will.    Ive been lucky that everyone in my family and circle of friends has been very supportive.  If they weren’t, they know what I would tell them to kiss……..  I have found total strangers to be so understanding and sympathetic towards what my Cadence is going through.  There is not one time on our walks that we have not been stoppedTh and asked about how she lost her leg.  I even had one lady almost start to cry.  There are alot of people out there who are supportive, so dont let one comment, make you doubt, even for one second, that you didnt do right by your Bailey.  You have given Bailey more time to be loved and there is nothing better than that.

Thanks Michele.  Your post made me cry. big-blink

In your heart, where I belong.
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3 January 2013 - 7:10 pm
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As you can see from Jerry’s links, many people here have been practicing these comebacks for a very long time. So you are in good company.

My parents used to be the same way your husband’s uncle is regarding pets. As a kid, the only time my dog came inside was when there was a thunderstorm. She was put in the closet where she wanted to be and then returned to the great outdoors when it was all over. As a teen, we had a couple of cats. They came in the house but my parents didn’t care for them much. They were really mine, and in fact when I moved out they came with me.

My mom and dad were pet-free for years. Then about 17 years ago, they got a puppy. Blew me away. They thought they were getting a wolf hybrid, one of my dad’s dreams. Well, he was sandbagged. As the puppy, Cocoa, grew, it became obvious she was likely a shepherd-golden cross. She was woolly and fuzzy and huge. S.M.A.R.T. That dog was smarter than my parents. My dad fell in love even as he cursed the guy who took a lot of money from him for the “wolf hybrid.” 

Down the road, Cocoa came in the house though her heavy coat meant she preferred to be outside. She spent hours laying in the creek. She was pampered with ice cream and whole watermelons, went on road trips, ran errands–but she was always reminded that she was a dog.

And then she got old and she died. My father sat outside in the woods for the better part of a day crying. He refused to come to the house so my mother wouldn’t see him. My mother mourned, too, but Cocoa worked most of her magic on my dad’s hard heart. She has a tombstone in the woods near that creek, and the bottom line on it says “A damn good dog.”

They refuse to get another dog.

So there is hope for your uncle. smiley

Shari

P.S. Sorry my shaggy dog tale was a bit off-topic, but oh well. I ramble.

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/

WYO
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3 January 2013 - 9:37 pm
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Negative people and negative comments are out there….just “lift a leg 0r squat on them”

 

Focus one the pawsitive and each day you have together!!!

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7 January 2013 - 8:46 pm
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I have a dear 86 yr old friend who I told about Maggie’s cancer. The first thing he said was that “I should put her down”. I was really hurt by the comment but I knew he was saying that because he didn’t want to see me get hurt. He has 2 older French Bulldogs that frequent the vet. So I know he loves animals. I assured him that whatever happens I’ll be fine, sad but fine. I’ve had many dogs, cats and horses die. It’s never easy but life without animals would be unbearable.

krun15
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7 January 2013 - 10:02 pm
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Thanks for posting Penny, nice to see you in the forums. Your future posts will not require moderation.

Karen and the pugapalooza

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18 January 2013 - 5:52 pm
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My Grandpa had a very sad reaction when I brought Shine over to their house. He asked if I thought about putting Shine to sleep when he had the accident. I said the only way I wouldve put him down is if he would’ve been in pain the restt of his life. My Grandpa has a yellow lab (Sunny) that goes duck hunting with him, and he loves her so I thought he would understand. He told me he would’ve put him down because he could no longer be a “working dog.” My Grandpa is very opinionated anyway, but my reply was, “Shine can do anything a regular dog can, he just needs time to heal.”

I thought about saying if you lost your leg in a car accident would we put you down?? But I held back.. Anyway, as others have said, some people get it, and some DON’T!

Jena & Moon Shine :)

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18 January 2013 - 8:16 pm
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Our vet costs an arm and a leg….we had to pay up. Heehee… You made the right choice for you and your pack. Don’t let others make you question that.

Shari, I always enjoy reading your rambles.. :-)

Meghan & Angel Bo

Madison, WI
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19 January 2013 - 8:51 am
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I used to take Gerry to visit a nursing home near us (we’re doing other visits now through Pet Partners).  Now, everyone there was wonderful and we never ran into anyone that was hurtful about amputation, but there was one staff person there who would feel compelled to say how sorry she was for Gerry every time she saw him and pet him.  Fortunately, it didn’t look like Gerry had a clue that he was being pitied and he still gave her enthusiastic attention – which somehow didn’t seem to get through to her that this was one happy dog who didn’t need any pity.  It did bother me a bit, more each time she reacted that way, but I smiled and kept my mouth shut.  One day though she did this in front of a resident who Gerry had visited often over the months and she snapped at the nurse quite vehemently, something to the effect of, “Don’t you feel sorry for him!  There’s nothing wrong with him – look how happy he is!”  That made me REALLY smile then.  The staff person was visibly taken aback and went on her way pretty quick after that.  We had to stop visiting there not too long after that, so I don’t think we ever got to run into that staff person again, to see if she’d react to Gerry any differently, but it was a great moment for me to get to see that resident try to set her straight on our behalf.  As rough as it is when people don’t get it, it’s that much cooler when they do!

Gerry has been a tripawd since 12/16/2009.

He was a shelter dog with a mysterious past and an irrepairable knee injury.

Videos and pics of Gerry's pawesomeness can be found at: http://gerry.tripawds.com

In your heart, where I belong.
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19 January 2013 - 9:06 am
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I never got negative comments about Dakota, only curiosity, but I generally answered the “what happened” question with “he had a soft tissue cancer that couldn’t be removed, so we took his leg and gave him many more years.” I hoped that made my point for me, that it was a long-term solution. 

I also made a point of saying that D had participated in a clinical trial as part of his surgery, and that canine cancer studies are being used to plan cancer treatment for humans. If I had ever been challenged, I think I would have made sure they understood that D’s leg, shot full of chemo 2 weeks before surgery, was in a study that could benefit that very person someday.

I also think it’s perfectly ok to challenge back, Jena, but instead of saying “we wouldn’t put you down if you lost a leg,” I personally would ask “so would you euthanize me if I lost a leg?” I can be surly when I want to be, but making it that personal can really put the speaker off-balance, and that’s not always a bad thing. 

Shine was 8 weeks old when he lost his leg. His breed lives how long, typically? About 14, 15 years? That’s what you gave him. You gave him an entire life. You took an infant and gave him a lifetime. Certainly you have no idea what his future holds. But whatever it holds, you gave him that future.

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/

krun15
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19 January 2013 - 9:41 am
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We mostly got the pity stuff.  Maggie was pretty little and a rear amp.  Our conversations would go something like this:

 

them: “oh, he only has three legs”  (that is if they notice, usually they ask why she is limping and I have to point it out)

me: “yes she does”

them: “was she born like that or did she have an accident?”

me: “no, she lost her leg to a cancer tumor”

them:  “aaawww” followed by looks of pity, then an awkward silence.

them: (tentatively) “she, um,  seems to get around OK”

me: “yes she does fine, most dogs do well on three legs…”

But today I heard one that I didn’t really know how to respond to.  We walked past a couple who smiled at the pugs, they watched us go by, then the woman said:

“look how cute, she only has three legs…”

And I was thinking yea, she was cute when I got her but not cute enough so…

Karen

I borrowed this story from an old post of mine.

Sydney, Australia
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20 January 2013 - 6:38 pm
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I don’t recall anyone saying anything to my face but I’m sure there was a bit of talk behind my back (mostly from friends and family).  We made more “friends” in our local area in Magnum’s last 8 months (on 3 legs) than we did the previous several years. Because she was a rottie a lot of people avoided us when they saw us coming.  But when she was down a leg they all wanted to meet her and hear her story.   I was always matter of fact when telling them – “she had cancer in her leg so we had it amputated to get rid of the pain.  But, it has probably spread.  We’ve bought her some extra time…. hopefully at least 12 months, that’s another 7 or more years in human terms,…. but we just don’t know…. ” (we got 8 wonderful months).

 

To those well meaning people who have ever tried to give me advice about what I should or shouldn’t do with my dogs my response has been – “no you wouldn’t do that (amputate, operate, do chemo, let them inside the house, get up early every single morning for a walk (no excuses), not go out on new years eve….. make them a priority in life…” but I would because my dogs are more than just a pet, they are family and I like it that way.

 

Karen and Spirit Magnum

Magnum: 30th May 2002 to 5th May 2012. Lost her back left leg to osteosarcoma on 5th Sep 2011. Lung mets found on 20th Mar 2012 but it was bone mets in the hip that ended her brave battle. Magnum's motto - "Dream as if you'll live for ever, live as if you'll die today" (James Dean). Loyal, loving, courageous and spirited to the end. My beloved heart dog, see her memoirs from Rainbow Bridge ...... http://princess.....pawds.com/

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21 January 2013 - 9:43 am
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Dante mostly gets pity, especially when he was a small pup. I’m not really sure if the pity comes from 3 legs or the story behind his only having 3 legs. He was attacked at 6 weeks old and lost his leg…so we got a lot of “ohhh poor little guy” we generally just respond with “He doesn’t know any different!” And tell them how much busier and more active he is than his four legged siblings. I love kids responses to him – they often don’t even notice! I wish adults were more like kids – they just see a happy, friendly, playful dog, not his perceived ‘flaws’ or sad story!

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