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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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Totem and anxiety
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Forum Posts: 20
Member Since:
16 July 2020
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1 August 2020 - 8:23 am
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Totem is doing great. Here is my concern, and it may not really fall in with the consequences of the tripawd experience.

We live in the country where there are numerous neighbors who allow their dogs to roam freely.  They are all well cared for dogs, but “country dogs.”  Before Totem was attacked he had encountered a few of them and was thrilled to interact with them even though he was on a leash.  Then, the attack.

Now that he is bounding back, running and playing, at least once a day I put the harness and leash on and take him “out front” on our country lane.  But we don’t venture very far from home.  The lab next door, Ace, is well trained and has met Totem a couple of times exhibiting mild curiosity while Totem fawns all over him–nothing threatening.  There is a young dog that when she meets Totem they embark on a tumbling free for all–all in fun.  Since the attack, however, Totem has not encountered another dog, even previously friendly neighbor dogs.  This morning while walking I saw that Ace’s owner was out and feared Ace would be out as well and turned around to avoid Totem meeting Ace.

So, I am aware that I am anxious about Totem encountering another dog.  I now carry a stick with  me.  He has been around humans and is his joyful self.  He no longer has any leg to spare nor does he need any more trauma…nor do I!  

If any of you have any thoughts on how best to re-introduce him to dogs I’d love to hear your suggestions.  If this is inappropriate for this website I apologize.

The Rainbow Bridge

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1 August 2020 - 3:28 pm
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This is TOTALLY appropriate for the Tripawds Discussion Forums, it’s totally relevant.

I can relate to your fears, and concerns. I would be too. I know what you mean about off-leash dogs and there’s not a lot that those of us with leashed dogs can do, other than trying our best to mitigate the risk of a full-on attack.

Totem is such a young guy, and it’s understandable to be concerned over his ability to stand his ground. Plus, it’s early on in recovery. His body is still healing. So honestly I wouldn’t do any kind of interaction with other dogs right now. Remember, walking isn’t the only thing that you can do for fun with him. Focus on activities around the house. I’m guessing Totem doesn’t care where he goes or how far he walks, as long as he’s with you, his favorite person in the world.

Give it time before you re-introduce him to Ace, say another month. Then maybe you can arrange a socially distanced play date with Ace. Perhaps a leashed walk down the road if Ace’s human is into the idea. I would start with that kind of interaction, then slowly allow off-leash play. 

I hope others chime in here, this is a great discussion topic!

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Forum Posts: 20
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16 July 2020
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1 August 2020 - 4:52 pm
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thank you Jerry.  I think you are right.  I’m certainly not expecting Totem to go walking with me.  I just thought he should be on a leash a few minutes each day.  But, I am going to avoid other dogs for now.  My sister, a therapist and dog lover, gave me the same advice and confirmed my reticence to expose Totem to dogs for a while.  

And I further realize I not only want to protect Totem but myself as well.  I NEVER want to experience another brutal attack like that again.  I have never felt so helpless.  So, Totem and I are going to stick close to home.

He is back into tugging games and short distance fetch games.  He runs all over our fenced back yard. His physical recovery is going so well.  I’m not going to push him into any confrontations–even friendly ones.

Thank you so much for your reassurance.

Livermore, CA

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1 August 2020 - 7:57 pm
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I think your instincts are right on! 

I would keep working with him on his leash skills in the back yard.  Make it fun and positive- it will pay off in the long run.  And like Jerry said- there are lots of games you can play with him to help him learn, build confidence and burn off some energy.

The other thing I want to mention is how much your emotions transfer to ‘the other end of the leash’.  If you go out walking with Totem and are nervous and/or tense (with good reason!) he is going to pick up on that and be nervous and tense as well.  This might push him toward being overly cautious or even leash aggressive around other dogs.  And having dogs interact where one is on leash and the other(s) is off leash can lead to problems.  So you want to have Totem fully healed and confident before you try to introduce him to other dogs again.  It is important to socialize puppies though so you don’t want to wait too long. 

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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