Three legged dogs suffer a lot of discrimination. Especially when it comes to adoption, most people are reluctant to pick one, and the reason range from fear to simple ego (who am I to be seen with a tripod? It’s embarrassing)
The truth is that three legged dogs (and cats) are perfectly functional. They get used to their new bodies very fast, they find their balance and ways to do everything they did before. Missing a limb even seems to make them smarter, since they need to figure out new ways to use their remaining legs to scratch, stretch, catch something etc.
And when it comes to psychology, not they don’t feel bad – most of them don’t even realize they are missing something. They don’t sit around pitying themselves thinking “why should it be me the different one ?”. They don’t feel different and other dogs don’t see them as different either. Only people do.
missing a limb even seems to make them smarter
Keeping a three legged dog healthy
If you are considering adopting a tripod, here are some VERY simple things that can help you keep it healthy:
1 Protect its remaining limbs. I guess that’s obvious. Try to monitor the dog’s activity, and don’t let it overdo it. Compounding forces on the remaining leg can cause arthritis from overuse.
2 Since the remaining leg is the only one carrying the dogs entire weight, you might want to protect its elbow with a pad or a sock, to prevent pressure sores.
3 Keep their weight down. The idea is to protect the remaining limbs as much as possible, so having the three remaining legs carry more weight than normal is not a good thing.
4 Maintain the dog’s good health (ok, this goes for every dog owner)
That’s it! Sorry if you expected more, but the truth is that adopting a three legged dog is not that big a deal. It’s just a dog actually, so don’t feel sorry for them (they don’t feel sorry for themselves) and don’t see it as a burden – a few minutes in the company of one will convince you of the opposite.