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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Reinventing Buddy
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8 May 2010 - 12:30 am
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My name is Jessica and my golden retriever’s name is buddy. He was shot on May 5, by my neighbor for no reason. He shot him in his left front elbow with a 38. I rushed him to a vet and his elbow was completely shattered. We had the choice to pay $3000 and try to have it repaired with no guarantees. We chose to amputate. I was scared. I went and got him yesterday with my four year old daughter. I went in the room first so I could get over the shock I was expecting. When I saw him it didn’t matter if he had four legs or three. He was so happy it took away all my fears. We are just starting our journey. He hates the E collar so I am putting Tshirts on him. I don’t know if this is a good idea or not because I am new to this so any help anyone can offer is greatly appreciated. He is walking better than I thought he would. He is having trouble balancing when peeing. He can actually jump in the air and catch his treat. I am willing to walk this road with him paw in hand..I appreciate any advice

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
Member Since:
28 November 2008
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8 May 2010 - 6:45 am
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Welcome.  What a horrible story - I guess there is a jerk born every minute.

I'm glad to see Buddy is doing so well and adjusting quickly to his new life on three legs. I would suggest you not let him overdo the activity until he is fully recovered.  There is risk of injury and complications as he adjusts to life with three legs.

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.

Los Angeles
Member Since:
2 November 2009
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8 May 2010 - 7:43 am
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Welcome Jessica and Buddy! What a horrible neighbor and awful thing to do....I hope he was arrested.  I imagine this is quite a traumatic thing you are going through right now.  Just know that once you get through the first 2 weeks of recovery (which can be very dfficult at times) Buddy will be getting better every day and before you know it, you'll have your Buddy back doing all those things he loves to do.  You won't even know he only has 3 legs. 

I also have a Golden Retriever and when I first saw her after her surgery, I was just so relieved and happy that she was alive.  All of my fears went out the window too.  So I know what you mean.  I had Mackenzie wear T-shirts until her stitches came out. This really helped with her healing and prevented her from scratching at her incision.  Plus she didn't have to wear that awful collar - that would have really made her miserable.  So I highly recommend the t-shirts. 

Hang in there and just know that these next two weeks may be a little rough - the pain meds can really affect them and once they're off those, you'll see a dramatic change. But for now you need them because this is such a major surgery.  Managing his pain can be a little tricky so it's a good idea to keep in touch with your vet on a regular basis to monitor his progress. You can find all kinds of information on this website about the 2 week recovery time and what to expect following an amputation.  You've come to the right place.


Wish you the best for Buddy's recovery! Keep us posted on how he's doing.   

Kami (Mackenzie's Mom)


My sweet golden Mackenzie.  She became my angel on Dec 29, 2010 at the age of 8 1/2  although she was always my angel from the time we brought her home.  She was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in Sept 2009 and officially became a tripawd (front leg) on Nov 5, 2009.  She will be forever in my heart and now she's running free with all of our other tripawd heroes.  I love you Mackenzie!

Livermore CA
Member Since:
24 January 2009
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8 May 2010 - 10:09 am
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Hi Jessica and Buddy!  Welcome to the best place for support and information. 

Cemil wore a t-shirt too, instead of an e-collar, and it worked really well to keep the incision clean and left alone.  Also, he drained quite a bit, so I put paper towels inside the t-shirt to soak it up.  That worked too.

I hate what your neighbor did. I can think of lots of punishments for it--I hope he gets them all.


Cemil and mom Mary, Mujde and Radzi….appreciating and enjoying Today

Cemil's blog

Portage Lake, Maine
Member Since:
8 December 2009
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8 May 2010 - 11:57 am
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OMG!  I'd have all I could do to not return the shot in the neighbor's direction!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  WTH!?!??!?

I hope Buddy recovers well and thankfully he's OK otherwise!  This is THE place to come for help and support 🙂

Tracy, Maggie's Mom

Maggie was amputated for soft tissue sarcoma 10-20-09

Maggie lost her battle with kidney disease on 8-24-13


On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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8 May 2010 - 1:32 pm
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Welcome Jessica! Thanks for joining. In case you missed it, here's our reply to your Guestbook comment …

T-shirts are a great way to protect the surgery site from dirt and scratching. You can also lightly tape a sock on Buddy’s rear leg (on the amp side) if he continues to scratch at his stitches. Just be extra careful with that jumping around! Buddy no longer has a spare leg and needs time to rebuild his strength. You will find much more help, advice and support in the Tripawds featured blogs and discussion forums. And don’t miss Jerry’s top ten dog leg amputation Q&A.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
20 May 2009
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8 May 2010 - 10:33 pm
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Welcome to tripawds.   I can't believe your neighbor!  I hope he gets a long jail sentence and has to pay your vet bills, as well.  Makes me want to scream.

I am glad that Buddy is doing well but also agree that until the stitches are out it would be good to limit some of the jumping and running.

Keep us informed.

Debra & Angel Emily

Debra & Emily, a five year old doberman mix, who was diagnosed with an osteosaecoma. She had a right rear leg amputation on May 19, 2009. On November 10, 2009 she earned her wings and regained her fourth leg.

Wesley Chapel, FL
Member Since:
13 September 2009
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8 May 2010 - 10:55 pm
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What the hell is wrong with your neighbor???!!! I hope that they are in trouble and will pay all the vet expenses. I'm so sorry that this happened to your Buddy...

I also had a beautiful golden named Jake. He lost his leg due to bone cancer... He did so well after his surgery... but unfortunately his cancer spread to his spine within 8 weeks...

Jake wore a T-shirt for the first 2 weeks after surgery, but a few times I'd catch him licking right through the T-shirt... so he had to wear the cone... which he hated!  Don't worry, it's only temporary... He'll be fine once the stitches/staples are out and his incision heals. If you haven't done so already, you should think about getting him a ruffware harness. It was a tremendous help for us with Jake.

Wishing Buddy a speedy recovery... Looking forward to seeing more posts about his progress... Put some pictures of him when you get a chance... We'd love to see your handsome boy!

Angel Jake's Mom

Jake, 10yr old golden retriever (fractured his front right leg on 9/1, bone biopsy revealed osteosarcoma on 9/10, amputation on 9/17) and his family Marguerite, Jacques and Wolfie, 5yr old german shepherd and the newest addition to the family, Nala, a 7mth old Bengal mix kittie. Jake lost his battle on 11/9/2009, almost 8 weeks after his surgery. We will never forget our sweet golden angel… ….. CANCER SUCKS!

Member Since:
13 July 2009
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9 May 2010 - 8:58 am
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I echo everyone else's sentiments.  &##!%!!  Does your neighbour still live there?  Did he face any penalty?

We also went the t-shirt route. It seemed to help dampen the sensation when things get itchy and very importantly works as a sunscreen. Tazzie's baggy pink or green t-shirts were not very fashion forward but I have seen tripawds on this site that looked very hip in their t-shirts or custom designed outfits!

Speaking of sunscreen, I haven't heard anything about that topic, at least since last summer. Someone told me to get a baby sunscreen to use before Tazzie's fur grew back. The skin obviously has never seen the light of day before.

9 May 2010 - 1:06 pm
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Jessica here and I cannot believe all the support you all are great. Buddy is on day three now and he is doing unbelievable. He is still wearing his Tshirt. No licking but more scratching. I don't know how to prevent this since it is his front leg that was amputated. He really is having no side effects to the pain meds. My neighbor cannot be charged criminally or civilly. In the state of Arkansas all he has to do is make up a story saying buddy was being aggressive, which I think is bs. The yet left a small hole for his incision to drain but it is not draining anymore. I don't if that is bad or good. I was able to put a ziploc bag full of ice over is tshirt, but he is not letting me do it anymore. My husband and I are on a limited income and this surgery was expensive as you all know. If anyone has a large ruffwear vest or the Bella's hot and cold pain relief pad I would so much appreciate it. I am 23 and I stay at home with our 4 year old so we have hopefully a long road to go. I just want to say thank u one more time for all the support. Without this website I do not know what I would do. I would have many questions and few answers.. Thanks Jessica, Greg, Alexis and last but surely not least Buddysuperstar

Member Since:
13 July 2009
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9 May 2010 - 1:53 pm
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How horrible. People are allowed to wield guns so freely? Unbelievable.

When my dog had a different surgery, for torsion, the stitches drove him nuts at about 3-5 days. The vet gave us a cream to put on them and it soothed the itching. Don't know what it was. Haven't heard of any of the amputees needing this, but perhaps it will work.

Glad to hear Buddy is recovering well. What you are doing for Buddy is wonderful and you should have many many years ahead to enjoy him, and he you.

9 May 2010 - 3:35 pm
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Ok guys I told you you were great supporters well I just had something amazing happen to me. A guy named Brett called me on the phone and said he was going to purchase a ruffwear vest for me. Is that not wonderful. I haven't had someone be that nice to me in a long time. Brett I don't know what to say. You are an answered prayer for me and Buddy. Thanks so much.. You are an outstanding guy. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart.

Member Since:
22 December 2009
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9 May 2010 - 9:07 pm
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That is outrageous that the neighbor cannot be held accountable.  I am so sorry you have to not only deal with Buddy's recovery, but also this "person" you have to live by.  Makes me sick.

I'm glad to hear Buddy is doing so well.  If Buddy does happen to have a "down" day, don't worry, that is normal for them to have ups and downs.  Best of luck ... and hopefully no down days for Buddy!!!

(Thanks, Brett ... you rock!)

Amputation on 11/10/09, due to Histiocytic Sarcoma in left elbow. Angel Harley earned his wings on 06/24/10.

9 May 2010 - 11:59 pm
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Tonight actually Buddy did have a down night. The vet had left a drainage hole and it is not draining anymore. Earlier in the day he actually slept on the side of his amputated leg. I didn't catch him and he was laying there for awhile. He has a lot of swelling now. The ziploc bag of ice I had been putting over his shirt he doesn't like anymore. I am still needing the Bella's pain relief pad if anyone can donate one. He has progressed well over the last three days and I can't ask for a better dog. I have been reading a lot of the stories and they are both heartwarming and heart breaking. A lot of your dogs have some form of cancer. It is hard enough for a human to go through. My dog is a mixed breed but mostly golden and the vet said mutts usually don't have as much risk as purebreds. but if that is what God wants then I will have to deal. God bless you all and I will post daily. If you do have a pain relief patch private message me. Jessica

knoxville, tn
Member Since:
12 February 2010
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10 May 2010 - 7:57 am
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it's not unusual to have some rough days at the first.  the swelling might be a seroma , which will develop, and hopefully go away on it's own (gayle had a small one at her incision site).  buddy's the lucky one to have you taking such good care of him, make sure you take care of yourself as well, as this is both a tiring and tension-filled time for both of you.  amazingly, time passes and recovery comes.  paws crossed for smoother sailing!!  charon & gayle

Life is good, so very, very good!!! Gayle enjoyed each and every moment of each and every wonderful day (naps included).  She left this world December 12, 2011 – off on a new adventure.

Love Never Ends


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