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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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Things you wish you knew.
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Forum Posts: 3
Member Since:
28 October 2017
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28 October 2017 - 7:19 pm
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Hello! So my husband and I hoping to adopt a tripawd Rottweiler named Roscoe. What is one thing you wish you had known about living with a tripawd?  We are already looking into a balance pad for him.  He had his surgery 7 weeks ago and is right at about 2 years old. 

 We are doing our home check and meet and greet tomorrow.  Though my husband knows foster mom so, this will be my 1st time meeting the pupper. 

 We currently have a 3 year old german shepherd and 8 year old deaf Australian cattle dog. And 3 cats. I know it seems like a lot of critters, but over a month ago we lost our oldest girl at 17 years old, and life without 3 k9 friends just isn’t right for us. 

Livermore, CA

Forum Posts: 3695
Member Since:
18 October 2009
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28 October 2017 - 8:38 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

Is Roscoe missing a front or back leg?

For me with my first Tripawd Maggie it would have been helpful to know how difficult the recovery period would be.  Mag had her amp before Tripawds was established so we went it alone.  But you don’t have to deal with that…yay!

Another thing I didn’t know with Maggie was how important core strength is for Tripawds.  I pretty much let Maggie do what ever she wanted after her surgery- although as a 7.5 year old pug she wasn’t prone to wild bursts of energy big-grin

My current Tripawd is a little pug mix named Elly who lost her right back leg after being hit by a car at 7 months old.  I have spent a lot of time with Elly on core strength and I do limit her walk lengths and try to keep her from doing too much that strains her one back leg.  I adopted Elly at 10 months old so she had quite a bit of energy!  We spend lots of time on food games and puzzles, obedience and trick training, and Nose Work.  All activities that are pretty easy on her joints but challenge her mind and do wear her out. 

Good luck with the home check and keep us posted!

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010


              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Forum Posts: 3
Member Since:
28 October 2017
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28 October 2017 - 10:45 pm
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Thank you! He is missing a rear leg. 

Forum Posts: 1601
Member Since:
12 March 2013
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29 October 2017 - 9:26 am
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I wish we had known about the Ruffwear Webmaster harness when Murphy had his amp. We didn’t find ours until after his hip replacement. It was such a great help for getting him up and walking…and for slowing him down when he tried to do too much. The handle on top was great for giving us control. As Jerry once said, “It can help turn your Tripawd into a piece of luggage when necessary.” It was invaluable for things like trips to the vet once Murphy had healed. He was so accustomed to wearing it that he would refuse to load into our travel trailer unless he had it on.

Kathi and the Turbotail April Angel…and the Labradork

Murphy is a five year old Lab/Chessie cross. He was hit by a car on 10/29/12 and became a Tripawd on 11/24/12. On 2/5/13, he had a total hip replacement on his remaining back leg. He has absolutely no idea that he has only three legs!

UPDATE: Murphy lived his life to the fullest, right up until an aggressive bone lesion took him across the Rainbow Bridge on April 9, 2015 and he gained his membership in the April Angels. Run free, my love. You deserve it!

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 26328
Member Since:
25 April 2007
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29 October 2017 - 12:18 pm
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Awww what a great pack you have already, this pup is going to make it even more fun! Don’t forget, the Tripawds Foundation will reimburse that adoption fee as long as the rescue is a 501c3. See: 

Tripawds Rescue Reimbursement Fund

You ask a GREAT question, what an important subject! As for what we wish we knew most: the importance of proper, safe exercise for Tripawds. We wrote a blog post about it, see:

Tripawd Health Tips to Avoid Injury to Remaining Legs

We hope everything goes through and Roscoe gets to join your pack. Keep us posted OK?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 978
Member Since:
26 January 2014
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29 October 2017 - 6:17 pm
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A house is not a home without critters 🙂 I have 2 dogs and three cats, 4 if you include the one on my front porch who’s trying to move in. I have had 3 tripawds, still have my Tanner who’s rear leg was amputated when he was about 6 months old. Two of the most useful items I found are:

Yoga mats (best for anti-slippage on wood floors)

Ruffwear Front Range harness . They don’t need to lift one leg to get in, it has two buckles. I have 3 different Ruffwear harnesses, this one, the webmaster and the double back and found this one to be the best for the rear legger…mainly because of those buckles. Trying to get a rear legger to lift a front leg isn’t always pretty, especially if you have a wiggle worm hahaha. 

BTW, one of my tripawds was a Roscoe too 🙂 

Mom to Tripawd Angels Jake (2001-2014) and Rosco (2012-2015) and Tripawd Tanner. “Whatever happens tomorrow, we had today; and I'll always remember it”  


Forum Posts: 3
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28 October 2017
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30 October 2017 - 11:23 pm
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Hey guys so quick update. 

Roscoe is super sweet but we don’t feel he is the right fit for our family at this time. Unknow to anyone he does not get along well with other large dogs. All his previous k9 interactions have been with small dogs, and he and Sophie didnt vibe at all. He need a lot of socialization work, among with other various types of training. 

Meeting him has given his rescue the opportunity to learn where he will need work and what type of family will work best with him , and thats all we really want here. 

I have passed along this site to his rescue and I can only hope that they use all of the wonderful resources that you have provided. 

Thank you all of your advice!

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 26328
Member Since:
25 April 2007
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31 October 2017 - 10:57 am
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Oh gosh better that you find out now than later. You did such a good thing by investigating life on 3 legs and learning all you could, what a pawsome parent you will make when the right doggie comes along. Sophie will be so grateful too!

Thanks for telling the rescue about us, that’s really sweet 🙂

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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