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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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Be More DogWhat does it mean to Be More Dog?

Find out in Be More Dog: Learning to Live in the Now by Tripawds founders Rene and Jim. Learn life lessons learned from their Chief Fun Officer Jerry G. Dawg! Get the book and find fun gifts in the Be More Dog Bookstore.

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Ruffwear has a new harness!!!!
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Madison, WI
Forum Posts: 616
Member Since:
5 December 2009
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1 November 2014 - 10:44 pm
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Tossing my two cents in, even though we only have experience with the ol' Ruffwear (Webmaster, right?) that's still working for Gerry.  I had gotten out of the habit of using the harness because he hadn't needed support yet anyhow, and he was going through one of his crazy poop-eating-as-much-as-he-can-get-away-with phases (much easier to control when the leash is on the collar, though I felt bad about pulling on his neck at the same time).  Well, he hurt his shoulder and so I asked the rehab vet if she felt it would be better to get him back into the harness, or worse, or if it would make no difference.  She was in favor (not strongly, but not neutral on the subject either) because of the weight distribution.  My understanding was that the more of a puller he is (which he can be), the more helpful that is.  I have noticed that he is a much more effective "sled dog" (he fancies himself a Husky mix) in his Ruffwear harness .  But that's make sense, the better it is for their mobility, the more mobile they're going to be - haha!!! 

Gerry loves the "arm-hole."  OK, that's probably not true - he just loves his walks - but he lifts is leg up to go through it too fast for me much of the time. big-grinI can't recall if he knew it was for walking when he first learned putting it on though, but I was just thinking it might be easier to teach the use of it if you don't let them associate it going for a walk (which is so exciting!!!) until they have it down pat. Just a thought, if anyone is getting their first of that style.

After all the exercises/stretches the rehab folks recommended, I wouldn't be surprised if putting it on and off isn't good for range of motion too. way-cool

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:


Forum Posts: 21441
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1 November 2014 - 11:00 pm
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MUUUUUUUURRRRPHY! ¡ I have has so much cuteness overload watching your videos tonight!!!

I just watched you teaching your mom to do the Granny Bump, and now yoj stepping and AND out of your harness!!!!

You are ine BRILLIANT pup!!! I just LOVE you....LOVE YOU!!!

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!

The Rainbow Bridge

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2 November 2014 - 1:31 pm
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Kathi this is pawesome! Thank you for sharing your videos with us. A lot of people wonder how they would get their Tripawd to put it on and take it off, you've just shown that it's entirely possible. I wish we had taken video of Jerry taking his on and off with his one front leg. If anyone has a vid of their front legger taking the harness on and off I'd love to see it.

Bri, good insight there! I personally love the Webmaster handle for holding back Wyatt when he gets too excited. I tend to grab that more than tighten my hold on his leash. It turns him into an instant suitcase!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 1601
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2 November 2014 - 1:51 pm
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I love that phrase!  Instant suitcase, indeed.  Murphy rarely wears his harness any more, but when we head to the vet or to rehab, he puts it on.  The floors at both places are not carpeted and there is always something interesting going on.  Being able to restrain 75 pounds of rambunctious dog when he smells a kitty in the vicinity is mandatory.

After the hip replacement, Murphy literally lived in his Webmaster for the first two months.  It allowed us to give him support, but it was also crucial in keeping him slowed down until his bones could start growing into the implant.

He also uses it when we load him up the ramp into the car or the travel trailer.  It is more of a confidence thing than a necessity, as he is usually capable of just running up the ramp without having us hold onto the handle.

Kathi and Murphy

Murphy is a five year old Lab/Chessie cross. He was hit by a car on 10/29/12 and became a Tripawd on 11/24/12. On 2/5/13, he had a total hip replacement on his remaining back leg. He has absolutely no idea that he has only three legs!

UPDATE: Murphy lived his life to the fullest, right up until an aggressive bone lesion took him across the Rainbow Bridge on April 9, 2015 and he gained his membership in the April Angels. Run free, my love. You deserve it!

The Rainbow Bridge

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2 November 2014 - 3:53 pm
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Awesome feedback! Thanks Kathi!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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2 November 2014 - 5:11 pm
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jerry said
 If anyone has a vid of their front legger taking the harness on and off I'd love to see it.

I can try to get a video of Domino putting his on and off. He's learned to balance and give his paw so I can put it through for him. I just have to try and get one when he's not so excited lol. He turns into a blur of a tripawd when it's time to put his harness on! 

Cassie and Domino

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
Domino had his left front leg amputate on May 13th 2014 after being hit by a car. He's now living a happy healthy life on three legs :)

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