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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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Chicago, IL
Member Since:
5 March 2011
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16
3 June 2011 - 7:33 pm
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I don't even respond, I let Tate demonstrate why he's not a "poor doggie" because he's usually running around, sniffing every available surface and being his usual waggy-pants self.  After a minute of watching, they usually go, "oh", or "he's okay then?"  Yeah, he's okay.

http://tate.tripawds.com/
August 16, 2006 to November 28, 2011
TATE ~ Forever in our hearts.

Bauxite, AR
Member Since:
24 May 2011
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3 June 2011 - 10:20 pm
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I get the same reactions. None have been negative yet. I get the "Awwww. Poor baby. What happened to her?" response. I just explain what happened and let them watch her a little bit. And then they get surprised and say "Oh! She gets around like she isn't even missing it." or "Hmmm. She seems to get around fine without it." I just reply with a yep, and a smile.

Read Sasha's Story At…..My Dear Sasha

Member Since:
14 October 2010
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4 June 2011 - 7:58 am
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I just moved to a new neighborhood a couple of weeks ago and have spent lots of time answering Charley questions!  It's been a great way to meet new neighbors!  We're even referred to as "the people with the 3-legged dog"!  Charley is way more famous than us....

Most of the questions are of a "what happened to him??" nature.  Some are more pathetic in tone when asked.  Others are just straightforward - mostly from the kids.  I tell them he got hit by a car because he wasn't very good at looking both ways when he crossed the street and his leg was really hurt so they had to take it off.

Lots of kids then go into the, "Well - how did they get the leg off??" and "Where did they put the leg after they took it off?" line of questions.  One little boy just last night wanted to examine the shoulder where the leg used to be attached.  wink  I try to let them talk to Charley and pet his shoulder (or wherever they're comfortable) and then I tell them that he's still the same funny, silly, crazy, wild dog he's ever been!

He certainly can still run faster than me and he's awfully happy!

I try to accept the sympathy from others -- after all, this has been a rotten set of circumstances for Charley.  I wish he still had his 4th leg.  But I'm also celebrating all the good stuff and his smile and kisses.

Becky + Charley

New Jersey
Member Since:
4 June 2011
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25 June 2011 - 7:53 am
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I love this thread! So many of you have such great responses…it's really helpful. Rumbles is nearly 6 weeks post-amp. I had nothing but positive and curious comments until this week. Someone asked what happened, I explained briefly…"he had cancer…we had his leg amputated…no other options, really…" and what I got in return was a back and forth head-shake followed by "some people will do anything for their dogs". I was stunned and didn't really reply. But now that I've read some of your snappy comebacks, I will be better prepared for the next jerk who crosses our new, somewhat wobbly path!

Here's my happy boy with the big, semi-toothless smile...who could ever think that we didn't do the right thing?

Smiley Rumbles

Member Since:
9 March 2010
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25 June 2011 - 3:36 pm
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I love kids for this kind of stuff!

Last night we had our friends and their little boys over for dinner and a visit. These boys have been around since before the pups came along, and have seen the puppies frequently and interacted with them since day one. The oldest has just recently taken an interest in them (he's 5) and last night he realized they look very similar and he was asking me who is who and "How can you tell them apart?" I pointed out Mina's white spot on her chest and chin and then I told him to "Count their legs!" he peered back and forth a few times, looking really puzzled and then turned to me, wide eyed and in horror "WHY did you chop his leg off?!"  So I explained it to him, that another dog hurt Dante's leg and the vet had to take it off.

It just amazes me the difference between adults and kids - adults usually notice first thing with Dante, they pull over to ask questions or "Bless" us for taking on a dog no body would want, etc. A lot of pity and sympathy for him. Kids just seem to accept without asking questions - up until last night, until I'd pointed it out, none of the kids that have walked in this house and played with the dogs (which is many) have even batted and eye, or noticed. Or if they have noticed, they've accepted him as he is without needing any explanation.

And for the record, it's true, in the dark we do have to count legs - I can't tell who is who in the dark without feeling for legs! 

Member Since:
15 October 2010
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25 June 2011 - 7:20 pm
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I remember taking Tess out after her surgery and got the "Awwww...poor doggie" thing, and I looked the person straight in the eye and said "Please don't feel sorry for her.  She doesn't feel sorry for herself."  It may have been my imagination, but I always thought I heard Tess laughing after I said that.

In late March of this year my leg was broken and I had to have surgery.  I am a very active person and riding horses is my hobby so being on crutches and in a wheelchair is very depressing.  Whenever I got down in the dumps I would look over at Tess and think "Be as good as the dog and don't feel sorry for yourself."  I walked 4 weeks and 2 days after my surgery, the earliest the surgeon had ever let anyone walk after my type of injury.  Clearly I had a good surgeon, but attitude helps a lot and Tess was my inspiration.

We learn so much from these marvelous creatures.

New Jersey
Member Since:
4 June 2011
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22
25 June 2011 - 9:02 pm
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Tonight on our walk we encountered a little boy who had A LOT of questions about Rumbles' missing leg.

One of his questions was, "What did they do with the leg after they took it off?" I told him that I didn't know, but that it was a very good question.

He replied, "Well I hope they took it to a Bio Lab so they could study it and figure out how to cure dog cancer."

I sure hope so.

Madison, WI
Member Since:
5 December 2009
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26 June 2011 - 12:37 pm
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The only negative comments I've heard have actually come from kids, which distresses me more for the kids' sake in the end.  Just two kids though.  The first was when I had Yoda and he asked me why I just didn't get another dog - after I explained about the tumor Yoda had had in his leg.  I think I said something like, "Cause I like this one," and then moved on.  Once I cooled down from my initial reaction to the comment I was able to feel bad for the kid that he didn't understand the bond between people and dogs and that they aren't just things to play with and then dispose of when they break.  Wondered about his home life, frankly.  The other comment was from a kid who had recently had his own dog surrendered by his parent after we called Animal Control because the dog was getting out multiple times a day for about two months and finally came under our fence into the yard and Gerry and my housemate's dog went after the little guy.  We heard from neighbors who checked the dog out after that he wasn't bitten and seemed ok, but it was only a matter of time before that dog got run over or attacked by another dog.  Anyway, my point is just that the kid made his nasty comment because he was mad about losing his dog and blamed me.  I have to wonder though how upset he would have been if his dog had gotten run over instead.

I've gotten a little off topic here, but I have to vent that it amazes me how anyone in my neighborhood could let their dog run loose when they've seen Yoda and now Gerry.  I'd rather they did think "poor doggie," if it would make them more cautious about their four-legged dog's safety.  A lot of my neighbors let their dogs off leash in their unfenced yards, even though they will wander if not watched and some even used to walk their dogs off leash.  In recent years that has decreased, thank dog.  Who knows, maybe my tripawds did have an effect on some folks (or maybe somebody else called Animal Control on them).  But it baffles me how anyone from my neighborhood, who sees me and my Gerry (or me and my Yoda) walking through the neighborhood doesn't rethink letting his/her dog be unleashed and unfenced.  There are enough ways for a dog to get sick or hurt without making it easier.  Haha, I even got mad at an old episode of Lassie on TV yesterday because they were going on about some politician who thought Lassie shouldn't be allowed to run loose was so mean and rotten.  Could be where my neighbors got their ideas from. whatever  Apples and oranges folks.  Our dogs don't live in the country and they can't be expected to follow complicated instructions like, "Lassie, run home and put the horse back in the paddock and close the gate," or "Lassie, always look both ways before you cross the street."

Ok, getting off my soapbox now...

I should say that we mostly get lots of positive comments and attention around here for Gerry (and previously Yoda).  Didn't mean to make it sound like we only get the bad - that's very rare.

Gerry has been a tripawd since 12/16/2009.

He was a shelter dog with a mysterious past and an irrepairable knee injury.

Videos and pics of Gerry's pawesomeness can be found at: http://gerry.tripawds.com

Member Since:
30 July 2010
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30 June 2011 - 7:02 am
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as I posted on another thread my neighbour suggested My dog needs putting down.

I just said he was cheerful and didnt want to die.

the most upsetting comments where from some teenagers in a car when we where at the beach, I ignored them but really felt like smashing their windscreen in.

one funny comment from a small child at the petting zoo I worked at was after  turning almost upside down to have a look under my dog

 "mummy that doggie has 3 legs,

No doggies have 4 legs,

 no mummy 3 legs! 

doggies have 4 legs ! look, 1 2 3 oh ...."

Tennessee
Member Since:
5 June 2012
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11 June 2012 - 9:19 pm
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I'm coming to this thread kinda late and wished I had found it earlier today.  We posted a picture of our dog Piper on his way to the vet for surgery.  My Aunt said "Poor guy. Doesn't have a clue what's coming his way".  It of course only made me mad and I wanted to say... "a longer life is coming his way".  If I'd read some of your ideas, I'd have had TONS of great lines to use!  laughing

 

I especially like the payment plan comeback...genius!

Vermont
Member Since:
25 May 2012
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26
12 June 2012 - 12:54 pm
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Ursa is only 10-days post-amp and we live out on a farm so we barely see people when we walk her in the area. I'll be interested to see how people respond when we take her into town for the first time. I was of course hurt and taken aback when a number of people expressed surprise that we opted for amputation instead of "being kinder, and putting her down." They just don't understand that Ursa is full of life and had a leg that was hindering that. She shouldn't have been put down for that! Geesh! It's crazy how much people often don't "get" it. I've been awed by Ursa's recovery and it just proves that we absolutely made the right choice! Thanks for all these witty responses. Love em!

Member Since:
26 May 2012
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27
12 June 2012 - 3:03 pm
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I tell his story almost every day, because people ask all the time. In the, in the streets etc. Some of them ask "what happened to his leg?" or "poor thing..what happened". But some of them just come to me and ask "What happened?" without even looking at the dog a lot, so they confuse me - i dont even get they that talk about the dog lol
Most of people we meet on the streets say "poor thing" "people can be so mean and sellfish" etc but then i respond that people are jerks and that horrible thing happened to him, but he is fine now, and that he runs better than he walks, and he is happy to have a new home. (thats because i have him on leash, so they dont get to see how mobile he is, they only see him limping). People in the park mostly say "wooow look at him go! amazing! good boy! what a champ! etc"

I dont get a lots of comments from children, because I mostly try to stay away from them, since I dont know him very good. He is big and strong dog, and i dont want to make any risks. He has never shown any agression towards people, but children are small, make strange noises etc, so i stay away untill i will know him better.
For those who dont know, he was abandoned in the woods (together with his sister) this winter, at -20°C, his leg got stuck in a rock, was hurt badly and got frozen.

Im glad we have this thread, I thought I was the only not liking when people call him "poor". As a matter of fact, i thought something is wrong with me that i dont think he is "poor".

Shelby, the P.P.
28
12 June 2012 - 6:00 pm
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While visiting Memorial hospital with the P.P., a doctor said losing her leg was paying too much for the life she now lives. We told her no, it wasn't, and, it wasn't her choice, it was the only choice. And guess what, she doesn't miss it. She just does the best she can with what she has.

Poor dog, I don't think so. She has a ton of friends, her own chauffeur and maid, her own wagon to ride in and a new 2012 model on the way, a custom made ramp to get her in out the front door and her own couch which she is gracious enough to share with me. A foster mom and dad, a big sister and brother, 2 fur ball cats, grandparents who love her, and Cindi and I who love her and thank God he brought her half way around the world to share her life with us.

Mostly, we tell them, we couldn't afford a dog with four legs and change the subject.

the chauffeurway-cool

Member Since:
12 June 2012
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13 June 2012 - 11:26 pm
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Really interesting thread! I don't have my tripawd yet, I'm [hopefully] adopting next week. I know many of you have saved your dogs' lives from cancer by amputating, so your answers to inquiries are a bit different. The dog I hope to be bringing home has a different story - maybe you can help me get ideas how to handle questions that might come our way. He is a 6 month post amputee as a result of entanglement in a chain, and the report I got is that he chewed his paw off to get free of the chain.

I don't know if this is an accurate story, the injury photos actually look like a pretty clean cut as opposed to a 'gnawing', although the two bones are broken off below the muscle. [As a nurse, I asked to see the photos, from a medical standpoint.]  At any rate, it's a rather gruesome background.

He will be my first tri. Thanks for your support.

Member Since:
26 May 2012
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14 June 2012 - 11:53 am
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kungfunurse said
Really interesting thread! I don't have my tripawd yet, I'm [hopefully] adopting next week. I know many of you have saved your dogs' lives from cancer by amputating, so your answers to inquiries are a bit different. The dog I hope to be bringing home has a different story - maybe you can help me get ideas how to handle questions that might come our way. He is a 6 month post amputee as a result of entanglement in a chain, and the report I got is that he chewed his paw off to get free of the chain.

I don't know if this is an accurate story, the injury photos actually look like a pretty clean cut as opposed to a 'gnawing', although the two bones are broken off below the muscle. [As a nurse, I asked to see the photos, from a medical standpoint.]  At any rate, it's a rather gruesome background.

He will be my first tri. Thanks for your support.

Id probably go with "he is brave, treasures life etc" and for the mean people "he chewed off his own leg, what do you think he could to to yours?!"ugh

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