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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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"Poor doggie" comments - how do you react?
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Member Since:
29 December 2010
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2 June 2011 - 10:26 am
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For the most part, people who see Hunter are either amazed or curious about her tripawdness.  Lots of folks don't realize that she is missing a leg until they've been watching her for a while and then they completely amazed by how well she gets around.  Other folks, who notice right away, are curious and ask how it happened.  After they hear her story they are usually so excited to hear that she had a "second chance".  But every once in a while someone will sigh and say "Awww… poor doggie" and give her a look of pity.  I don't say anything in response but I often wonder why they feel sorry for her – especially because she's always smiling (yes, I swear, Hunter smiles) and playing when she's out with us.  Even at the vet!  She LOVES being out and about.  The "poor doggie" comments don't bother me because, considering the alternative, I feel great for Hunter, not sorry in the least!  But they do make me scratch my head and think about why they might feel bad for her.  I usually make the assumption that they aren't dog people and don't understand their resilience and zest for life.

I've never had anyone confront me with "Why would you do that to your dog?" or something along those lines but I'm fairly certain I'd have a good reply unless I was caught off-guard winker.  Which I was once at the oncologist's office.  A person in the waiting room was telling us his dog's cancer story and how he had decided against amputation because he "could never do that to a dog".  A few minutes later the tech was dragged out of the back and over to us by our very own galloping three legged doggie.  Poor soul – Hunter looked so miserable running through the hospital with her big smile and tail wagging.wink 

Does anyone else get the "poor doggie" comments?  Or worse, has anyone ever been confronted by someone who thought you had done something terrible to your dog?  How did you respond?

Hunter's Journey

Hunter – 12 yo female Rottie/Lab mix

Diagnosed with a fracture in an osteosarcoma on 12/23/10 (right rear leg)

Amputation on 12/29/10

7-Month Ampuversary on 07/29/11 – clean bill of health, great blood work and clear chest x-rays

Hunter gained her wings and flew free on 08/19/11

Member Since:
30 July 2010
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2 June 2011 - 10:45 am
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Welcome to the tripawd celebrity world!!!  Yes, we have new found fame through our three legged dogs. People stop me on walks to ask, others stop their cars in the middle of the street just to tell me that she looks great or ask about how it happened (happened at least 3 times in the last 10 months)...One guy said it's lucky whenever he sees her.  And yes, I do get the occasional "poor doggie" comments whispered when I walk by.  

Mostly these "poor doggie" comments are from kids. I usually turn to them and say "No, she's not a poor doggie" in a sweet voice "because she was sick and now she is better. She can run, loves going to the beach and licking everyones face!" That usually cheers them up and then they want to pet her.  Nobody has ever said anything like "why would you do that", more along the lines of "most people wouldn't do that for a dog, but I admire you for having done so since she is obviously so happy and healthy looking".

-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:
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2 June 2011 - 10:54 am
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That's true Chloe's mom - most of the comments are positive and along the lines of "wow, what an amazing thing you've done for your dog".  And we get the people who stop their cars in the middle of the road too!  Isn't that hilarious?  We've met more people on our street in the last 5 months than we have in the 10+ years we've lived here because people stop to say hi and say how great she looks.  Our mailman (who our dogs bark at ferociously) always asks "How's my buddy doing?".  He saw her out shortly after her surgery and even though she still barks at him from inside the house like she wants to kill him, they are good buddies.  I agree - the positive comments definitely do outweigh the negative ones.  And I love your response to "poor doggie" - it's perfect!

Hunter's Journey

Hunter – 12 yo female Rottie/Lab mix

Diagnosed with a fracture in an osteosarcoma on 12/23/10 (right rear leg)

Amputation on 12/29/10

7-Month Ampuversary on 07/29/11 – clean bill of health, great blood work and clear chest x-rays

Hunter gained her wings and flew free on 08/19/11

Member Since:
21 April 2011
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2 June 2011 - 11:38 am
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I get that all the time here. I now go on longer walks with   both dogs and have Benji hop in and out of his Doggie cart. Most people generally think he must have been hit by a car. As soon as they find out that he is turning 12 and had his leg amputated I get that awkward look or head shaking which used to make me mad. I now respond before they can make their statement by tell them how great he is doing and how happy he is to have his pain away and can do almost anything he did before except for walking long hours.

But thats fine..noone expects a 80 year old human to run a marathon so why should I expect that from my older dog. I also do get alot of positive and comforting remarks from people because we went through all of this and lets be honest, Benji's quality of Life has probably improved.  He gets to go to accupuncture, hydro therapy, swim with me ( yes I now go with him into the cold water to help him bend his body in certain ways to relax the muscle  ,something I would never have done ), gets pushed around in the cart when tired, gets carried up stairs ,gets home cooked food. Me on the other hand: Backache and constant worry, but would do it all over again without a second thought.

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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2 June 2011 - 12:43 pm
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We like to say... A dog that good, you can't eat all at once!

Another good comeback, especially for kids is... well, she still has one more leg than you!

Tika's great camping adventure post includes some other fun comebacks from members.

But when it comes down to it, the best thing to suggest about the "poor dog" comment is how amputation is much better than the alternative! Or, just tell them to look at hunter's smile. laugh

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Sunny California
Member Since:
23 February 2010
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2 June 2011 - 5:18 pm
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Rosie has a pink shirt that has the motto " 3 legs is still 1 more than I need to kick your butt!"  with a cute little skull and crossbones on it.  Anybody who tries the pity play with us usually shuts up once she starts running around like the little maniac she is. That's when the sympathetic looks get turned on me for having to corral her. laughingwhateverwhateverwhatever

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3 June 2011 - 3:33 am
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We also have gotten that look of pity and then of admiration. Zip is, on her days off from being the animal shelter mascot, is a therapy pet at the human hospital. She goes to ICU, Cardiac ICU, everywhere but maternity. People, once they get over a dog being in the hospital, really bond with her and her situation. We tell them when they ask about it that when we looked at Zip after we got the news we said, hmmm, life or limb plus she has 3 more, so life won out. In the hospital setting it is amazing to see how many people bury their heads in her neck and just hold on to her. I regularly get choked up and thank the Lord for a chance to witness the miracle of a dog doing His work. 

Washington
Member Since:
1 February 2011
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3 June 2011 - 9:29 am
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Oh Rosie, where did you get that shirt?!!! Rio needs one! (She's not really the butt-kicking type, but her momma will if anyone messes with the Woo.)

I get a lot of the sympathy, especially since its still so very obvious because of her lack of hair (more about that on my blog). But it's funny, that's what people notice first! The lack of leg is secondary.

I don't think I would react well if someone were to make a comment about "why would I do that to my dog." This was such a heart-wrenching decision for me, and not something that I approached without a lot of research, thought and agonized second-guessing. However if anyone did say something along those lines, I would say without question, I did it because I love her and this was a better option than to just let her die.

the Woo

~ ~ Rio ~ ~
Forever in my heart...

April 2000 – January 20, 2012
Diagnosed with Mast Cell Cancer in June 2007. Left rear leg amputated Feb. 8, 2011.
Mets discovered Aug. 31, 2011. Read more of Rio's story here.

Member Since:
4 May 2011
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3 June 2011 - 11:35 am
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I usually get the "poor doggie" comments from kids.  I was at a dog event a couple of weeks ago and that's exactly what happened, but before I knew it, I had about 12 kids surrounding us, petting and kissing Sunny as I explained how sick she was before her leg was amputated and how well she's doing now without the pain in her leg, 2 1/2 years after her cancer diagnosis.  Several adults that day asked me if she was limping without even noticing the leg was missing and when I replied that no, she's hopping, they asked me all kinds of questions like how long it took her to adapt, how she's doing otherwise, etc.  I quoted Jerry G. Dawg a few times that day, but I'm going to have to remember the other comeback above that "she still has 1 more leg than you!"

 

I have to admit that when one of my choices for Sunny's treatment was amputation, I didn't know about the tripawds group, or had ever met a 3-legged dog, and I had my doubts about how it would work out, but now it gives me the opportunity to educate other people wherever we go in case they're faced with the same situation.  I have had people tell me to "put her down" when she was first diagnosed with cancer, but since then nobody has said "why would you do that to your dog", at least to my face!

 

By the way, at the event I mentioned above, they had a doggie fashion show and even though Sunny was only wearing her Tripawds bandanna and her Ruff Wear harness, she won 2nd place for her "beautiful spirit and big heart"!

Olympia, WA
Member Since:
24 May 2011
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3 June 2011 - 11:43 am
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When I walk Jewels around the neighborhood, I end up stopping to talk to almost every person we encounter. It does get sort of exhausting to repeat myself so much, but people are just curious. I'm usually all business on dog walks, so stopping to chat is a new part of the routine for me.

On our last walk, one guy asked me, "What did you do to your dog?" It was annoying to me that he phrased his question that way, but I just dismissed it as poor social skills and told him her story.

Jewels still has 4 legs, but she just holds the non-functioning one up while she hops, so it takes a second for people to realize what is different about her. I did have some kids ride by on bikes and stop to stare at her. They called her, "poor doggie," but I just told them that her leg doesn't hurt her anymore and she's a happy dog.

On The Road


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3 June 2011 - 11:53 am
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@sunnysmom Thanks for the comment! Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

San Diego, CA
Member Since:
29 October 2010
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3 June 2011 - 5:14 pm
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We get all the same - cars stopping in the street to talk to us, many questions asked, "Awww, poor doggy" from kids, "What a hero/inspiration/trooper, etc." from others. It's an adjustment since I am usually a "don't talk to strangers" sorta gal, but it's been nice that everyone is generally so impressed with her and they all wish her continuing good health. She is becoming quite well known at our usual dog park/beach where we walk. Sometimes I'll hear people I don't even recognize say, "There's Abby!"

Thank god I've never had anyone say anything negative to me! The pity response does kind of bother me (and baffle me really), since she runs and smiles like a crazy thing at the beach, but if I get a chance to, I usually explain to the person how happy she is and what a great life she has. Most people then say, "She's lucky to have you." And I always respond that we are the lucky ones.

Jackie, Abby's proud mom

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!

Rainbow Bridge
Member Since:
18 May 2009
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3 June 2011 - 5:49 pm
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I typically tell them "My vet charges an arm and a leg, and we're on a payment plan."  Even made Max a bandana with the same thing.  I use the "still has one more than you" line often. 

Angel Max ***
2000-2014 ***
I miss my boy so much

RuthieGirl
14
3 June 2011 - 5:51 pm
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I don't even respond anymore to my parents who still don't understand.  Ruthie's been gone almost a year and they still ask if I don't regret it.  They still think of her as the "poor dog"...they never could see her happiness during the extra time she got.

Pat, Angel Ruthie & Tess

San Diego, CA
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29 October 2010
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3 June 2011 - 6:00 pm
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Threeleggedmax - I love your line. I'm going to have to borrow it...

 

I'm working up the nerve to someday say to someone, "It tasted like chicken."

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!

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