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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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First time Tripawd mom, 2.5 months in, looking for guidance!
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Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
22 July 2020
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22 July 2020 - 1:51 pm
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Hi everyone!

I’ve been reading through some of the site, and some of these forums and I know I have a lot more to read, but I thought I’d just post a little here and see what some of you seasoned tripawd parents had to say! I’ve been reading some stories and responses and I am encouraged and full of love just seeing the support and resources that are available.

So, at the beginning of the pandemic, I had to suddenly move, went through a break up, and ended up in a small basement apartment on long island, and knew I was going to be here for a bit-and for the last 2 years I have been without a dog for various reasons, and I knew it was time to start looking.  I reached out to multiple rescues, I was looking more for a smaller, small-medium sized dog, adult, who was good with kids (i have an 8 year old) and who’s temperament was more laid back.  I applied for 8 different dogs.  No response.  Then all of a sudden, on my facebook feed appears Tryla (I had been following rescues in CT where i had previously lived prior to moving).  And I knew she was it.  She was my soul mate.  She was a 55 pound pit (mix?), a tripawd, (front right leg missing), and I knew nothing else about her.  I immediately reached out to the rescue and we went through the interview process, I asked how she was with kids, other dogs, other medical problems, etc etc etc.  I did a little research about tripawds, (but not enough honestly), and a week later, she was here.  She came from a kill shelter in georgia and the rescue I got her through was trying to get her somewhere safe.  

Upon arrival, she bonded to me immediately.  As well as my 8 year old daughter.  But we have struggled. She is not okay with other dogs.  Fearful of loud noises, she recently had to have emergency anal gland surgery due to perpetual infections and probability of impending rupture.  She does not like to go for walks, she will run around in the (unfenced) yard on a lead/tether for a few minutes but tires out very quickly.  We are slowly but surely working on the behavior issues with a behaviorist and the other medical issues with the vet.  Its going to take a while with her.  And I am willing to do whatever it takes (as long as its safe for me and my daughter and the people and animals around us) to help this dog.  But how can I help her go on walks?  

Also, currently? My financial resources are limited and have been strained by the medical emergencies she has been plagued with along with other issues going on in the world.  Is there a way to help her walk better?  Maybe with some sort of sling or harness where I can bear more of her weight?  (while still having some degree of control in case another dog walks by)?  

Also, just ordered the socks for traction .  Had been trying the area rugs but she has severe separation anxiety so that causes problems when I leave her (and she has destroyed a few crates-working on it!!)

I can see beyond her issues. 

It turns out that she was most likely hit by a car (or so the vet thinks) as she also has jaw and teeth damage on the same side which has resulted in some neurological issues.  Also, he said whoever did the amputation did a terrible job and didnt do it at the joint, left a nub, and didnt put a pad in between the bone and the skin.

She was also over-bred and most likely sexually abused-which has resulted in a lot of her behavior issues and also her anal gland issues.  

This dog has been through so much and yet has SO much love to give.  You can see it in how gentle and loving she is with both me and my daughter.  You can see it in her eyes.  We both love her so much.  

Anything that anyone has to suggest to help her would be welcomed!  I very much appreciate it (in advance).

So grateful for stumbling upon this site. 

Hope everyone is staying well in all the craziness.

-Casey and Tryla

The Rainbow Bridge

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22 July 2020 - 3:07 pm
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Hi Casey and Tryla, welcome! We are so glad you joined us and decided to post. You have given Tryla such an amazing life, bless you for adopting her. To think of the awful circumstances in which she once lived smiley7! AGGGH! Breathe! Ok, but now…what a lucky girl to find her way to you, she really won the doggie lotto. Thank you for giving her a great home. 

I have lots of thoughts for you. Have you seen our “Ten Things to Know About Adopting a Tripawd” articles? Check ’em out. You may know some of these things already but maybe not.

To answer your question:

 Is there a way to help her walk better?  Maybe with some sort of sling or harness where I can bear more of her weight?  (while still having some degree of control in case another dog walks by)?  

Yes! Rehabilitation therapy will help you, help her, get strong and stay injury free. It does sound like she just isn’t strong enough to do a lot of things yet. When was her amputation? 

I know you mentioned money is tight, but we hope you’ll take her to a therapist so that the Tripawds Foundation can reimburse you for your first rehab visit ! The link has details. Therapists understand that not everyone can bring their dog in repeatedly for visits, and they’re always willing to design a program that you can do with her at home. Get her into therapy asap because the symptoms you describe give me the impression that she doesn’t have the strength built up yet for any kind of longish walks, and her activity level is way too high at this point in time (“She does not like to go for walks, she will run around in the (unfenced) yard on a lead/tether for a few minutes but tires out very quickly.”)

You may also want to check out our e-book, Loving Life On Three Legs , and the DIY at-home rehab therapy guide book for Tripawdsby Dr. Debbie Torrica. They’re full of great tips!

Also, just ordered the socks for traction 

Hmmm. It will be interesting to see if she accepts them. If she eats rugs she may eat socks too. If so, Dr. Buzby’s Toe Grips are a better solution for now, as long as she is good about letting you touch her feet. If not, it’s a great way to desensitize her to it. Your vet can also help.

For now, it’s safe to re-think activity with her. Instead of long walks, try interactive brain games and other mental activities to tire her mind. It really works to tire out a dog faster than any old walk can do! 

A dog stroller is another great way to get out into the world, for all Tripawds, regardless of their fitness level. And it comes in super handy when they reach senior status.

Does this help at all? Feel free to ask as many questions as you’d like.

It sounds like you have all that it takes to make sure that Tryla has a great life ahead of her. I’m so hoppy you adopted this sweetheart. Her avatar pic is adorable. Stay tuned for more feedback from the community!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 15
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22 July 2020 - 8:27 pm
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Hi Casey and Tryla, 

I so love that you adopted this rescued dog. I first met Jake two days after his back leg was amputated at my local animal shelter because of damage done when he was in the care of his previous family. I too knew nothing about him. I’ve had him now for close to a year and a half. His transition was easier in my home  than Tryla’s has been in yours thus far but having adopted many dogs I know that chances are Tryla will settle down the longer you have her. I know several people here who are better versed than I at helping you wade through the trials of adopting a three legged dog. They helped me so much and I’m grateful for this site. I I found Jake too does so much better on the area that has the inexpensive (to some but like you I have a very fixed income) throw rug. However he does manage okay now in the laminated tile areas. It just took him a bit of time and building up of his muscles to do so. He is much small than Tryla considering he’s a chihuahua/dachshund cross (neither breed is my breed of choice but it works in Jake). I think the best purchase I made for him was his Ruffwear harness . Again quite pricey for me and I was able to purchase the xxs size. It makes walks so much easier for both of us. However, I can hear from your words that your girl is quite afraid of things so although her breed is one that does great with activity walks may be terrifying for her. But the one positive thing that walking a dog does is improve her bond to her owner. I know Tryla is very afraid and destructive when your not with her. This happens a lot to very good dogs who so want to bond with their owner but have been abused in some way. You already can see she will become a great dog for you but she’s not there yet. I’ve noticed it takes a good six months on average for those animals to settle down and regain confidence In humans that they lost in their own fight to survive. I’m glad that you’re not giving up on her but I’m sure that thought or the the you made a mistake has crossed your mind. If you can hang in there she most likely will amaze you at how different she is from the dog you see before you. It is hard for you to find any bedding that she’s not tearing up in her separation anxiety but you’re right she is more comfortable with something not so hard underneath her. Jake is better about the amputated area being touched now but I know he still prefers a soft area to a hard one. I want to encourage you to look up the Jerry wrote as he is a terrific resource and quite a blessing. Your are in great hands on this site. 



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22 July 2020 - 9:50 pm
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Gloria, you put so much thought and heart into your post.  Very kind and very thoughtful❤

Casey, as you can see, you sre definitely in the right place for support and information !  

I’ll be back later, just wanted to add my welcome and a great big thank you for opening your heart up for That Sweet Soul


Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

Livermore, CA

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22 July 2020 - 11:06 pm
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Hi Casey and Tryla, welcome!

You did a wonderful thing adopting Tryla!

My current Tripawd is a little Pug mix who was hit by a car when she was 7 months old and lost a rear leg as a result.  I adopted her at 10 months old, Elly is her name and she is about 5.5 years old now. I had a Tripawd before so that wasn’t new for me but Elly has fear and anxiety issues and severe separation anxiety.  Wow- is that a challenge!  The fear stuff showed up right away but the worst of the sep anx didn’t show up for about a year and a half.  Her sep anx is the worst when she is left or thinks she is going to be left in my truck, or if she thinks I am taking her somewhere to leave her.  We do the sport of Nose Work and she has to wait in the truck between turns.  It was when we first started Nose Work classes that I discovered her issues being left in the truck.  I had a ‘light bulb’ moment one day and put her history (that I knew of) together with her behavior- I was her fourth home at 10 months old and every time she had been driven somewhere and dropped off with a stranger!  At home I would say her sep anx is mild or moderate.  She is not destructive and does not potty in the house but she spends 80 to 90 percent of the time looking out the window waiting for me.  I should add that I am retired and live with my elderly father and we have another small dog so she is rarely alone at home- but she still waits for me.  I do have a couple volunteer jobs that usually take me out of the house but with current events I’m home a lot more than usual.

So, with that back story I will share that we have made great progress on the sep anx but it was slow going.  It takes tons of patience and consistent training.  It took a year for me to be able to leave her alone in my truck for 15 minutes!  We worked on her fear issues and that took lots of patience as well.  She was afraid of moving cars (of course) but also just about everything else… plastic bags, gloves, leaves blowing down the street.  She wouldn’t walk under a chair or go out the dog door. She was afraid of everyone that wasn’t me or Dad, and she didn’t trust my dad for almost a year.

One of the best things I did was take a bunch of classes- but that’s probably not an option right now although I have seen lots of on-line classes.  Also the Nose Work sport has really helped her confidence.  But with everything else that is on hold although we have been able to start classes again.  It’s great you are working with a behaviorist.  I have a good book on working with dogs with sep anx. It is written for dog trainers but I was able to use it to develop a plan for working with Elly.  If you are interested I can find the title and author for you.

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

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