Health Care
Print|Email|Text Size: ||
Three-Legged Dogs Do Adapt


“Sometimes,” she answered. “I passed two women the other day, and the first loved her up and never said a word about her missing leg and it was great, but then another one got all upset and worried about how Zoe could possibly cope, and I found myself getting really angry at her.”

Hmm, I thought. Perspective can be a funny thing.

“And what about your other Boxer? How’s he acting around Zoe?” “Absolutely no different,” said Ellyn. “It’s as though it never happened.”

I smiled, hesitated and said, “I like that,” thinking, once again, it takes another dog to see all that matters, proving a point that what counts hasn’t changed one little bit.



This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 60: Jun/Jul/Aug 2010
Nick Trout is a Diplomate of the American and European Colleges of Veterinary Surgeons and a staff surgeon at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston. facebook.com/DrNickTrout
CommentsPost a Comment
Please note comments are moderated. After being approved your comment will appear below.
Submitted by Frances | November 12 2010 |

I recently watched a dog running, hunting through the hedge, clearing a stile, and generally having a wonderful time - it took me several minutes to realise that the slight oddness I was aware of was that he had three legs. I hope Zoe does as well!

Submitted by Anonymous | November 13 2010 |

I have a little tripawd Dachshund/Terrier mix. She lost her leg last year, due to nerve damage. The leg was already dead when I met her. I find the reactions to her very interesting. They range from awe and admiration to sad, complete with condolences, to sometimes vaguely accusatory.
The hardest thing is convincing people she doesn't need their sympathy. She's a very happy girl.

Submitted by Ellaina | September 14 2014 |

I took in a 3 legged Dachshund recently that was born with only a partial fourth leg. In reading about back problems with this breed, I wonder if having 3 legs would be an additional burden on her back and if anything additional should be done for her. She was born 6/15/14.

Submitted by Literary Dog | November 15 2010 |

I often see three-leggers and can't help but smile at them -- they seem just as happy to be on a walk as any other dog.

Submitted by Lynne | November 17 2010 |

What a wonderful story and perspective. It reminded us of the moment our tri-pawed, Maty, met a 9 year old girl at the Skyhoundz World Canine Disc Championship in 2006. We were told a young fan was waiting on the sideline across the field who had come specifically to see the first 3-legged dog to ever qualify & compete in a Worlds Disc Dog Championship. Maty was not competing that day, so we asked if she wanted to toss the disc for Maty. When she stood-up, we realized the connection between this girl and Maty, she was missing both hands and a leg. They played frisbee and laughed and forged a lasting friendship across the nation.

See Maty at work and play: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4KJMXnmQH4

More on the day Maty met Sushma can be read at: http://www.peoplepets.com/news/heart-warming/meet-a-member-maty-the-3-le...

Submitted by Anthony | July 1 2014 |

I enjoyed reading this article as it gave me reassurance my 9 year old boxer is going through the same thing. 7 years ago he was run over by a tractor breaking his back left leg. He got a metal plate inserted into his leg to fuse the bone back together. It worked really well and he was back to his old self within months. But a month ago i noticed him holding it up and walking on 3 legs and in extreme pain I took him to our vet for an xray and he confirmed he had cancer in that leg. Without hesitation i agreed to to have it removed to prevent it spreading, so as i type this hes had the operation and is recovering in the vets and im picking him up in the morning hoping he will fully recover and back to his old happy self bopping around on 3 legs pain free fingers crossed.

More From The Bark

More in Health Care:
Healing with Oxygen
Stem Cell Therapy For Treating Canine Osteoarthritis
Vet Advice: Dry Eye
Titer Testing
Power of Canine Determination
Is It Time?
Saying Good-Bye
What makes a good vet?
The Scoop on Poop