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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is your home 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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Member Since:
20 February 2011
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21 April 2011 - 6:49 pm
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Most people think Cocoa rocks. There are the very few that go all "poor doggy" on us. I try to show a really positive attitude and talk about how great she's doing, point out how well she walks, etc... I just don't feel like I've got a good spiel down pat. Do any of you have some good "talking points" you use?

Same goes for younger kids about explaining where her leg went. I get through the why, but I can tell they get confused when I say something like, "the doctor had to take it off." I want her to be a good learning experience for kids, cause they think she's awesome. I am just looking for phrases that won't scar them for life! surprised



Stray Rescue – Ampuversary 2/15/2011


Monkeybutt-Bunny Vampire
21 April 2011 - 6:55 pm
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There is a video of admin Jim telling kids at the park that came up to Spirit Jerry (no kid would come close to Wyatt!) and he explained it so well.  Maybe they can find the video since I don't have a clue where I saw it.


Since Comet had a deformed looking shoulder blade and the leg looked semi-normal - I got dirty looks - like I wasn't getting her leg fixed!

Monkeybutt-Bunny Vampire
21 April 2011 - 6:55 pm
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Monkeydogs Rules!

Greater Western Washington area
Member Since:
25 August 2010
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21 April 2011 - 6:59 pm
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I get that too, every time I say "bone cancer".  If Sammy is standing right there with me he will put his ears back when they get sympathetic.  I think he is sensitive enough he understands they are feeling bad for him.

I don't know about anyone else, but I just say in the happiest voice I can that I think he is doing wonderfully, and all tests indicate that he is beating the crap out of cancer.  I finish with saying he will be one of the lucky 10%. 

Then, I talk in a happy voice to Sammy, he grunts back at me, and then I ask if they want to pet him.  I show whoever it is he is an awesome guy and worthy of getting to know him despite cancer.  Cancer?  Whats that?  It isn't Sammy! 


laughing  Elizabeth and Sammysmile

Diagnosed with osteosarcoma in the right front leg 8/23/10,

leg fractured 8/27/10,

leg amputated 8/30/10


I couldn't begin to say how special Sammy is to us.  Living and laughing with and loving this wonderful boy is priceless.

21 April 2011 - 7:10 pm
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If the kids are really young, I just tell them her leg was really sick & the doctor had to take it off so she could play again…I don't say it hurt, because then they think legs get amputated if they hurt. You could tell them Cocoa"s leg was too badly injured to work anymore and it had to be removed so she could run & play. They usually move on so quickly from the why & are either fascinated or don't pay attention at all. They are usually more interested in the spot of hair that hasn't grown back or her poor dentition. Isabelle was a therapy dog, so she almost always launches into some series of behaviors she thinks will pay off and they are much more impressed with that.

If the kids are older, I just explain what happened. Kids are smart. They usually think it's great how she gets around and not much else.

Adults…if they continue with the poor dog comments, I ask them why they think she's a poor dog, because her life is pretty good…and she's a $30K dog!!!!! Then they just think I'm nuts and forget all about Isabelle! Sometimes, if they are really annoying me, I ask them why they feel it's such a disability…then they get uncomfortable and go away….

The funniest thing a kid ever said, a few days after Isabelle's amputation, the 3 year old next door asked if she was going to work (therapy) when we were leaving. I said she was going to the doctor...She asked "To get her leg put back on?"

Leicester, NY
Member Since:
23 August 2010
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21 April 2011 - 7:32 pm
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Hey, at least you guys arent in a wheelchair ….we do not have any dogparks within a 50 mile drive so our favorite haunt is a playground (and the Tractor Supply Store). I cant tell you how many parents look at Daisy and grab their children and pull them away like she is some kind of leper. How are these kids going to treat people they meet with disabilities? Geesh. When we are walking around the store we get alot of "poor dog" but every now and then someone asks to hear her story and we get "what a survivor".

Daisy earned her wings on Oct 22, 2011 at 14 years old

She is now the official greeter at the rainbow bridge

Everyone is guaranteed a welcome sniff and Dalmatian smile

Member Since:
10 February 2011
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21 April 2011 - 7:37 pm
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Just watched a great episode of Clifford the Big Red Dog on PBS. He had a new triwpawd friend named Casey. All of the dogs felt sorry for Casey and wanted to do everything for him. Casey showed them and told them that he was just like them and  as capable as the rest of the other "well meaning" dogs. The three year old in my group looked at me and said "that is just like Bud"' very matter of factly. 

Sometimes kids "get it" way more than adults. They are smart, accepting and resilient. Just answer the questions honestly! Focus on all of the "can do's". 

 The adults well....not to sure what to do about them....some of them just dont or wont "get it" Cynthia's answer about the "poor dog" was the best response I've heard!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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22 April 2011 - 10:47 am
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Check out these topics with some rather humorous comebacks for those who ask about three legged dogs:

Tika's great camping adventure

Positive Experiences!!

Here's a post with a video of Jerry having fun with young kids, but I think this is the video Monkeybrains is referring to:

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Wherever the Wind Takes Me, Dude

Member Since:
25 July 2009
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22 April 2011 - 11:34 am
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Bah! I get that "oooh poor dog" sometimes but that's before they get to know me! Then my pawrents say "Uh huh, poor dog, yeah RIGHT!" and start cracking up. Usually the kids react the same way their parents do. It's my job to change their minds.

"Look at him!" my peeps say. "Does he look like he's suffering?"


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

Read all about my adventures at my Tripawds Blog

Monkeybutt-Bunny Vampire
22 April 2011 - 12:03 pm
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Wyatt is lying through his pointy teeth!  No one even notices he is missing a leg because everyone's ears hurt and they are running away as fast as they can from him!!


Forget his ears!  Look at my poor ears – they hurt because he never shut up! 

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Member Since:
10 March 2011
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22 April 2011 - 1:13 pm
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"To put her leg back on" - Now that was a funny response, Cynthia. 

I had a little girl ask me if Maddie's leg was going to grow back! big-blink

I agree, kids are much more accepting and cool with it than adults.

I haven't gotten too many 'poor dog' comments, yet, and the few I have, I just tell them 'Don't feel sorry for her! She doesn't feel sorry for herself' 

She has actually ran right up to people and they didn't even realize she had a leg missing until that side turned towards them.

I LOVE Cynthia's comments. 

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
Member Since:
28 November 2008
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22 April 2011 - 1:55 pm
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I was amazed at the number of small kids who didn't notice Trouble was missing a leg.  She was so excited to see them, that they apparently overlooked the abnormality.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

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