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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is your home 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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Member Since:
20 February 2011
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20 February 2011 - 7:00 pm
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Laying on my floor right now is a stray dog from the neighborhood. I'd seen her limping around for weeks now. I figured her leg was broken, and it made me angry seeing her go in and out of a house down the block. How could they let the dog be like that??

Valentine's Day, while walking my baby Gigi, a toy poodle mix, this dog came to greet us from the front yard. I was horrified to see the right hip bone sticking out. I immediately walked home to get my phone and started making calls. I needed to street address to file an abuse complaint with Animal Care Services.

As I stood in front of "the" house, a teenager from the home came up and and I asked if the dog was theirs. He said no. I asked if he'd noticed the bone sticking out and told him I'd seen the dog go in the house. He then said his mom felt sorry for her and fed her. But again, the dog was NOT theirs.  I asked, "So it's ok for me to call Animal Care Services to pick her up?" and was told, "Go ahead." ACS = euthanasia for an injury like this one.

Then I saw these two boys running off with her. To "lose" her, I was certain. I live three blocks one way from a major street and two blocks from an interstate. I was really worried they would run her so that she'd get hit by a car. My neighbor went walking and I got in the car. I found her several blocks over and used some dog food to walk her back to my house and put her in the yard. ASC was scheduled to come get her.

My Mom happened by and we decided to take her to a vet to see what the cost would be to get her fixed up. After about 90 minutes we saw a vet who told us the leg would need to be amputated or she needed to be put down. They worked up an approximate cost of $1500. After great wrestling with the cost I decided to have her put down. I told the vet and she let me know I would just need to sign some paperwork. When she came back in the room, she told me she'd called the owner of the hospital and volunteered her services, we would just need to pay for everything but the her fee. Cocoa is alive today because of that vet.

Her leg was amputated on Tuesday. "Grandma" and I went to see her that night. She was pretty doped up, but she acknowledged us with a few tail thumps. I was able to find a large crate via craigslist that night, pick it up and get it set up. I felt a little more calm knowing she would have a safe place to recoup.

The vet called Wednesday to let us know she was up and about, eating, drinking and going to the bathroom. She could come "home" that night. Since things have been progressing at great speed. She is getting around really well, but the vet guessed the leg had been broken about a month, so she had a lot of practice already. She eats well, goes the the bathroom fine (as long as I'm not watching). She has found every dog toy in the house (even a few I'd forgotten). She loves squeaking them. I can tell she was an outdoor dog and wishes she could run and play.

I can also tell she enjoys knowing where her next meal is coming from. That she has toys and soft places to sleep. She is a huge lover and every square inch of skin has been licked by her. Our biggest issue is the stupid collar. It can't come off quick enough for any of us.

The vet thinks she's about a year old. She weighs 40 lbs (a big change from my 8 lb poodle!). They believe she is a shar pei / german shepard mix.


I've been reading everything I can on tripawds. I have to much to learn to help her live a healthy, happy life.


Stray Rescue – Ampuversary 2/15/2011


On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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20 February 2011 - 7:08 pm
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Ohhhh...I started to cry reading this story and then I rejoiced with hoppiness knowing the fantastic turn of events that transpired.

Bless you and bless that wonderful vet for giving this sweetie a second chance. Thank you so much. Your story gives everyone here hope for all of those dogs who get such a raw deal in life. Thank you thank you thank you.

Whatever we can do to make your recovery together easier, please let us know, we're here to help OK? It sounds like she's doing pretty darn well though. Yipee!

Pictures! We need pictures!

Many hugs and well wishes. Thanks for joining us here!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
14 April 2010
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20 February 2011 - 7:34 pm
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Welcome to the family, now that's a story that proves everything happens for a reason, I can already tell you won't regret taking her in. Kudo's to your vet also, once in a while we see or hear a story about a vet that makes you wonder how they stay in business, but I like yours. Sounds like your off to a good start, we usually say the first 2 weeks are the toughest, but sounds like your doing pretty good so far. Don't be afraid to ask questions, experience gives the best answers. You will be amazed at how well these guys do once they heal, and you have an added bonus with not dealing with cancer, so you should  expect several years of a good life with Cocoa. Big paws up to you for taking her in, this is just a really good story, keep us posted, Spirit Gus and Dan  

My buddy Gus had a left front amputation on April 7, 2010 and lived a great life until July 26,2010

Monkeybutt-Bunny Vampire
20 February 2011 - 8:25 pm
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OH!  What a wonderful story to the beginning of a beautiful relationship!  I, too was nervous about reading the whole story!


Much like you, my journey with my tripawd started similar.  She had a deformed front leg/shoulder blade.  She was in the shelter and in the old days, they didn't like to tell you much.  I just wanted to see if her leg could be fixed and I'd pay for it.  The shelter said I had to adopt her and by golly, she was only $10!  I wasn't there to adopt a dog!  I was there to help find a stray dog!  I adopted her.

My life was never the same after getting my Comet.  It was better.  I was a better person, thanks to her.  Here it is 12 years later.  Just 4 weeks ago tonight she died unexpectedly and suddenly.  The realization of not being her mom feels like I'm childless.  She wasn't just a dog with a deformed leg, she was Comet. My Comet.  My special furry baby girl.

As you start your journey with Cocoa, I can say this with complete confidence - Cocoa will become your super special dog.  She'll become your soul dog.  There was a reason that everything happened.   Your journey together will have a lot of meaning.

You saved her.  You helped her.  You now will be rewarded.  I promise.

Like jerry said, if there is anything we can do to help, please reach out.  We are here!

YES!  We have to see a picture!

Comet's mom

20 February 2011 - 8:28 pm
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What a wonderful thing you (and the vet) have already done! It sounds like she's doing well. My dog too, had learned not to rely on her leg prior to amputation, and sailed through recovery. You will find whatever guidance & support you need here. Best of luck.

Cynthia & Isabelle

Las Vegas, Nevada
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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20 February 2011 - 8:32 pm
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OH!  I'm sorry to confuse you!


Comet's mom here (again)!  I was logged in as Monkeybutt-bunny when I wrote that! Sorry!  I didn't catch it until I hit save!  Monkeybutt is Comet's little brother (4 legs)!  And no, that's not his real name.  But he pestered her so badly that we made Rocket aka monkeybutt the nemesis of ALL the tripawds!  We even have a Anti-Monkeybutt Force (in which Comet was the leader of until she signed over the title to Fearless Sooper Cooper!!) 




Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
Member Since:
28 November 2008
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21 February 2011 - 6:29 am
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A lovely story - a lovely new beginning!

Bless you and bless the vet who donated the time to help Cocoa.  Sending lots of good thoughts that Cocoa will have a speedy and uneventful recovery. 

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.

Greater Western Washington area
Member Since:
25 August 2010
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21 February 2011 - 7:29 am
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Yay for Cocoa!

I am so glad to know that there are compassionate people out there.  There are so many sad stories, so wonderful stories like this make me happy!!!

My rescue boy has become my most special companion, he is the light in my day.  I am sure you will be rewarded for a million times over with love from this girl.

Elizabeth and Sammy

Diagnosed with osteosarcoma in the right front leg 8/23/10,

leg fractured 8/27/10,

leg amputated 8/30/10


I couldn't begin to say how special Sammy is to us.  Living and laughing with and loving this wonderful boy is priceless.

Pahrump, NV
Member Since:
17 February 2010
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21 February 2011 - 9:55 am
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Welcome to Tripawds! Glad you found us, and soooo glad you found Cocoa!  She sounds like an awesome dog.  Her story is similar to my Tripawd Ranger.  Ranger was hit by a car and deprived of veterinary care to the point  where he was trying to remove the bad leg himself.  When they finally took him in it was to be euthanized.  Luckily, a vet tech knew of a charity that would provide the amputation. We adopted him from his foster Mom and Dad .  He reminds me every day that I did something special by adopting him.  I know Cocoa will remind you every day too!  I can't wait to hear more about her.


Sadie is my 9yr old Rott/Shepherd mix. Diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her right scapula 1/28/10. Our brave girl had her amputation 2/13/10 and her last chemotherapy on 6/6/10. Unfortunately, a tumor appeared in her back right leg and on 10/7/2010 Sadie's earthly journey came to an end.  On 10/24/2010 we adopted Ranger, a handsome Rott/Lab mix tripawd (got hit by a car) I think Sadie sent him to us.

Golden Girls
21 February 2011 - 2:34 pm
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I haven't been on here in awhile, as I needed to regroup with the 1 year anniversary of Spirit Skyler's ampuversary coming up. I've been feeling really low lately (living in the past)....until I read this story!

What a wonderful, selfless thing you have done for Cocoa. Your vet is pawsome too. May you have many, many happy years with your new pup. Can't wait to see pictures of her.

Welcome to our Tripawd family. We are all here to help, listen, make you laugh...


Member Since:
20 May 2009
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21 February 2011 - 2:36 pm
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Every time I read a story like yours I am horrified that people can see a dog injured like that and not do anything.  Well. God bless you for bringing Cocoa into your lives and giving her a forever home.  You will never be sorry.  It seems like a lot of the dogs on tripawds were rescue dogs and every one of us that has taken in a stray has repeated great joy from them.  It sounds like you are already doing so.


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.

Leicester, NY
Member Since:
23 August 2010
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21 February 2011 - 4:31 pm
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A super special welcome to Tripawds. Thank you for saving this dog.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed with saddness by the number of stories in the paper and online of dogs like Cocoa that dont get help. What a happy ending for both you and Cocoa. You will have a loving and faithful companion and Cocoa will live the life she deserves..

How much longer does she have to wear the e-collar? I have a soft one that will probably fit her and I will be happy to overnight to you. (as long as your in the US wink)

Send me a pm and let me know

Julie, Bob, tripawd Daisy and monkeydog Sam

Daisy earned her wings on Oct 22, 2011 at 14 years old

She is now the official greeter at the rainbow bridge

Everyone is guaranteed a welcome sniff and Dalmatian smile

Member Since:
20 February 2011
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21 February 2011 - 4:50 pm
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So many kind hearts here, thank you. I've started a Facebook album that anyone can see (no need to be a member), so here's Cocoa:


I asked my friends to help name this sweet dog, wanting to choose something Valentine-ish. I received over three dozen suggestions! I liked Coco right away and a niece suggested the a to give it the chocolate hook.

We've had a nice, three-day weekend together. She is just super sweet. My other dog, well, she's not so sure what's going on. Obviously the size difference, but I do think things will get better when the collar comes off.


I've been rubbing her with a warm wash cloth each night. I can tell it feels really, really good. Are there other things I can do to help her? Would a heating pad be ok? I'm worried about the other hind leg. It's working pretty hard. Any thoughts?

Thanks so much.


Stray Rescue – Ampuversary 2/15/2011


In your heart, where I belong.
Member Since:
9 February 2011
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21 February 2011 - 5:54 pm
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Thank you so much for rescuing Cocoa from a fate she didn't deserve! It does seem like saving a dog's life creates a different sort of bond than the average one. Our new tripawd was rescued from certain death, and he behaves as if he is obligated to pay us back. He is incredibly devoted, loyal and loving. I say he is my conjoined twin (but he is hairier than I am).

Can you take the e-collar off of Cocoa and instead put her in boxers? If you put her tail through the fly, it might provide enough protection to keep her from licking. Just remember to pull her pants down when it's potty time!

Also, since you've been thrown into this with no warning, there is a forum on here called Angel Exchange that might help you. People there are donating their speciality items after their tripawds have passed away. So you might find one of the awesome RuffWear harnesses or something else useful that you could acquire for free. You might have to pay for the cost of mailing, but that's all.

Good luck with the recovery, and please update now and again. Start a blog! Everyone here loves a happy ending so they'll all want to see how Cocoa progresses and what a gift her new life is!

Shari, Dakota's wrangler

From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at

21 February 2011 - 6:20 pm
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She looks terrific. Is she having any traction issues on the floors? I have extra PowerPaws socks, I'm sure will fit Coco, I can send to you. Send me a PM if you want to try them. Her operative site is still going to be inflammed at this point in her recovery. Heat may make that worse. Does she have pain medication if she needs it?  It's going to take a little time for her to build strength in both her other leg & core. She'll get tired, but taking her for short walks will get you started. You'll be surprised how quickly she progresses. It looks like she's already able to stand pretty tall on that leg.


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