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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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Pawsitive, Funny and Great Things About the Tripawd Lifestyle: A List
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On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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29 September 2010 - 11:00 am
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Getting the news that your pup needs a leg amputated is devastating to say the least. And if you're considering adopting a three legged family member, you might be apprehensive because you don't know what to expect.

We'd like to present the following list of the best and funniest things about living with a Tripawd, as originally started in this thread from 2009.

We know you have some great things to add to this list, let's keep it going!

I say the best things about being a Tripawd include:

  • Instantly losing 5 to 10 pounds
  • Less nail scratches on hardwood floors
  • One less muddy paw print to clean up
  • Everyone wants to know your story
  • We get to forever change the impression people have of "special needs" dogs, by showing them that tripawds can do anything a quadruped can do, and with much more style.


Captain Jack's Mom says:

  • Since Captain Jack was named after a pirate, we can now officially get him a peg leg! (just kidding…kind of)
  • I am looking forward to watching him learn new things and have new experiences as a tripawd (he just taught himself how to get on the couch today)
  • Snuggling is easier without that leg in the way
  • He looks cute in his little bandage covering t-shirt!
  • I no longer have to tell him to stop making bad cells
  • I get to make him new clothes!


Nester says:

  • There is much less hair in the house.
  • They don't try to give you their paw all the time.
  • Re above-mentioned snuggle factor: The cat can really squeeze in there now.
  • Other pets constantly hiding limbs to get attention.
  • Disabled cat and duck feel pretty cool to have a pit bull in their club.
  • They get to wear chic Ruff Wear accoutrements.
  • Resident teenage son instantly cooler.
  • We also have a four-legged, super-fluffy, tail-curling-up-onto-his-back dog.  One time a little boy asked me where his tail was.  I unfurled the tail to show him and then the tail curled back up.  I would say, "See?  Here's his tail."  And over and over he would say, "Yeah, but where's his tail?"  
  • And then recently, the same kind of thing with Lily, our tripod.  I explained it over and over but kept getting, "Yeah, but where's her leg?"

Wrigley says:

  • You can make a lot of  wonderful new friends with a tripawd.


Trouble said:

  • It's cool to support yourself against the wall when you eat.
  • Little kids don't notice you only have three legs.

Cemil added:

  • Noticing the good things a day has to offer
  • Stopping to smell the roses …or whatever
  • Barking to be let out instead of pounding on the door (and mom dreading the day it breaks)
  • Amen! to the wonderful new friends we never would have met without a Tripawd
  • Ease of brushing off the tummy when Tripawd has been lying outside in dirt
  • Fewer toenails to trim
  • General improvement in everyones health as a result of learning so much about fighting cancer



Shelby has a great comeback:

  • Someone asked "why would you get a dog with only 3 legs?" I told her, "that's all we could afford," the look on her face was amazing and 10 seconds later we all laughed!

Chuy uses this great line:

  • People ask me "What happened to his (Chuy's) leg?"  I look at them and say What do you mean?"
  • They say "He's missing a leg!" 
  • I look at Chuy and say "Chuy!  Did you leave your leg at home again?!"


Angel said:

  • Angel just figured out how to roll over and wiggle side to side to scratch her back in the grass.  (It will be even better when she doesn't have a 'full body' bandage on!)
  • And she lets me know when she has to potty bc we have to hold her up to do it.  (She wasn't perfectly potty trained before and liked to leave little puddles for us.)

Koda says:

  • I was at Home Depot ordering fence supplies and a shed.  When we were walking back to the counter I told the salesman that I have a beagle and had been ready to put in a board of pebbles around the fence to keep him from digging out,,,,  BUT I really REALLY needed a fence , so I just had his leg cut off so I didn't have to worry about his getting out.  His look was priceless till I couldn't hold my straight face anymore.  He did tell me I had a warped sense of humor Clown
  • Having a good laugh at watching him relearn how to lift his leg to piddle ….. 
  • Instant kid magnet …
  • While in a handicap spot, I can't wait for people to wonder about him when we get out and then tell them they give out passes for animals now ( it really is mine, but my limp at times isn't to obvious)

Zeus' list includes:

  • Smiles – all the time just for the little things such as chasing a tail with 3 legs
  • Chewing a stick and figuring out how to hold it when you have one of your front legs missing
  • Climbing the stairs for the first time after amputation
  • Going down the stairs for the first time
  • Chasing the tennis ball
  • Getting back to living life – smiles, happy tears and laughter – nothing like it!
  • Best of all for me? All these amazing, wonderful people that I have met through Tripawds. My life has been forever changed and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

Last but not least, Kazy just said:

  • Getting — and shamelessly milking — the sympathy vote on the mean streets of NYC (it's not easy)
  • Able to pick up enormous Labrador which I haven't been able to do since he was 6 mos. old (same weight, just easier to get my arms around him)  He says I am abusing the privilege.
  • Getting to be teacher's pet in therapy dog training class – everybody wants us (though we are grateful for the efforts of our four legged friends as well)
So, Tripawd members, what are the most pawsitive, humorous and touching things you can think of when it comes to life on three legs?

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

29 September 2010 - 1:56 pm
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Who are my real friends and who are now only my acquaintances.....(from a post by Shaun, aka Supai, when replying to one of my first topics) His post meant a lot to me.


Las Vegas, Nevada
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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29 September 2010 - 2:11 pm
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This is for my lawyer tripawd friends:


"And you thought lawyers charged an arm and a leg!" little-devil

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:
11 August 2010
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29 September 2010 - 3:28 pm
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I tried to convince James' groomer that I should only have to pay 3/4 of her normal fee!!

James the poodle had his left front leg amputated due to osteosarcoma on Aug. 4, 2010.  He is currently doing chemo.

Northeastern PA
Member Since:
19 September 2010
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29 September 2010 - 5:41 pm
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  • Other pets constantly hiding limbs to get attention.

That one had me LOL!!!!!


Here's Zack's list:

  • Getting spoiled rotten with attention (and the occasional extra treat!)
  • Since booties/no-slip socks come in packs of 4, when my Mom loses one in the dryer, it's no big deal, because there's a spare.
  • My chemo vet shaving my front leg to match the other, so it looks like I'm rockin' cool arm bands.

  • The look of utter adoration from my Mom & Dad when I do things that used to annoy them (ha!)  little-devil
  • Adding to my wardrobe.

Zack, King of Dogs, 1996 to 2010

Zack lived a full 14 years, even to the end.

The joy and memories he provided us will last a lifetime.

Surviving him is his sister, Izzy, a 12-year-old boxer mix quadpawd.
And the latest addition, Zula, an 11-month-old pit bull mix tripawd.

Member Since:
30 July 2010
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29 September 2010 - 9:06 pm
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nstephenson said:

I tried to convince James' groomer that I should only have to pay 3/4 of her normal fee!!

I try this too when I pay for her nails to be trimmed. C'mon its 3 legs, not 4!

Excuse my humor on this one (applies to rear amp dogs)

  • Easier access for other dogs to do their butt sniffing.
  • Funny comebacks to jokes: For example, my professor was saying that his purebreds basically cost like $500/leg. I told him that Chloe was $2500 for just one leg.
  • And Tripawds Rule, Monkeydogs drool!

-Chloe's mom

Chloe became a rear amp tripawd on 7-29-10. Another tumor was removed on front leg 2-20-14. Found 3rd tumor on neck 2-2015, but she's still kicking cancer's butt at age 14. Chloe's blog

On The Road

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24 September 2009
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30 September 2010 - 10:17 am
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Thankz for the zupport Zack, you look mahvelouz in your Tripawd tee!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Wherever the Wind Takes Me, Dude

Member Since:
25 July 2009
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30 September 2010 - 10:41 am
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  • Being a rear-leg Tripawd, I don't need to expend any effort lifting my leg to pee!

Wyatt Ray Dawg . . . The Tripawds Leg-A-Cy Continues!

Read all about my adventures at my Tripawds Blog

2 October 2010 - 10:29 pm
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The SMALL tripawd lifestyle:

Wrapping Grandma and Grandpa around my remaining 3 paws which resulted in:

-NEVER having to go up stairs on my own  if I didn't want to, even one or two.  Just one look got them to carry me.

-Secret snacks, Grandma slipped them to me when the quad sister wasn't around.

-I did not have to actually perform tricks for snacks.  Grandpa always gave me a pass, but made the quad sister perform.


My own carriage.  I got to ride when ever I wanted (well, mom made me walk part way, but Grandpa always let me in).

-added benefit to above-   my mom trying to explain why she was pushing her dog in a stroller.

Beds and rugs in all rooms of the house- at Grandma and Grandpa's too.

I always got tons of adulation (she is soooo cute) as a quad pug, but it was even better as a tri-pug (she is soooo cute, and brave!).


And mom would this add since finding Tripawds: 

ICE CREAM for every milestone (ampuversaries), other tripawd milestones, (hey, it's so and sos ampuversary), anything that could be construed as a milestone (Mag walked 3 sidewalk squares farther today) and even made up milestones (it's the summer solstice and Maggie still has 3 legs).


Spirit Maggie

Member Since:
10 March 2010
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3 October 2010 - 8:38 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost and everything and everyone contained they two legged or three or heck, even four.

Member Since:
30 July 2010
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1 November 2010 - 7:59 pm
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I thought of a new funny joke.

"You know you are going slow when a tripawd passes you on the street"

Happens all the time when we go on walks.

-Chloe's mom

Chloe became a rear amp tripawd on 7-29-10. Another tumor was removed on front leg 2-20-14. Found 3rd tumor on neck 2-2015, but she's still kicking cancer's butt at age 14. Chloe's blog

Member Since:
22 September 2010
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2 November 2010 - 5:30 pm
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To Chloe:  HEY!  Monkeydogs rock!  - Harrumph! -- Monkeyface Mattie


I think Opie would say:  One less bootie to toss.  Finding  Getting a poofier bed.  Sooooo many more treats.


On another note, I was actually thinking the other day about the comedian who does the "You might be a redneck" jokes  and because I now have Mattie, who I am convinced is Lucifer in disguise, i thought of these:

If,  you hop around your bedroom on one foot in order to put on your might have a puppy.

If your shoes are on your kitchen might have a puppy.

If one of your shoes is missing its might have a puppy.

If you find your wedding ring in the back yard and have to don rubber gloves to retrieve might have a puppy.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to come up with some for tripawds.  Feel free to add to it:


If your beautiful hardwood floor is covered with a jillion second-hand, threadbare throw might have a tripawd.

If you suddenly went from "walking the dog" to trotting the might have a tripawd.

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