Three Legged Dog Story

This is a lovely story from Nicole, about her very special friend Alex … 


I have never looked for others with tripods until today and find myself doing so because I believe we are coming to the end of a wonderful 11 year odyssey.

Alex lost her left foreleg for reasons unknown to us. She was reportedly a 3 yo American Rottweiler, with a fresh surgical wound when we adopted her from a shelter. She has touched many with her jaunty little walk. Often people would assume at first that she was limping, but woould then stop when they noted a missing limb. After hearing her story, many would then continue on with their day with a little more “can-doedness.”

Arthritis has taken the grace from her step and cataracts have clouded her vision, but her nubby tail always greets us with a rapid wag and makes us feel loved. The shelter staff still keep in touch with us and often remark at how lucky Alex was to find a home with us. However, it is clear that it is us that should be giving thanks for the blessings that she has brought to us.

For those of you just beginning with a “tripod wonder” and wondering how it will impact your family. Both of our daughters were yong when Alex came and both learned about tolerance and acceptance in the procee. One is finishing her doctorate in physical therapy and the other is in her first year of premed, as tribute to what they have learned.

Sorry for the windedness, but just wanted to share what we have gotten in exchange for our little bit of effort. We will certainly miss our Alex when her years are done. God Bless to all of you just taking up this uncertain and sometimes painful path…it is worth it!

Thank you for the story Nicole. Shania and I enjoyed it very much. We would love to see Alex, so please post us some pictures when you can. Below are some pictures of Shania giving licky licks 🙂

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  1. Elika says

    Hi! Thank you so much for your amazing website! I am fostering a 6 month old puppy who was rescued from the streets with a badly broken front leg. The vet tells us she will need to have her leg amputated on Monday, and in the meantime (4 days) I am trying to help her through the pain while we wait for the surgery. It’s now 3 am and she is crying out in pain, but reading about sweet shania and her story helps me focus on what a great life Hildy will have starting next week! God bless, thank you so much for your insight!

    • shibashake says

      Four paws up for helping a young puppy in need.

      I know what you mean about helping a dog through a painful experience. Shania was bitten by a rattlesnake a few years ago (in our backyard), and it was a very difficult thing trying to help her through that whole ordeal. But as you say, looking forward to when things will get better helps a lot.

      Very BIG hugs to Hildy. I am so glad that she is now getting the care that she deserves, and things are looking up. Shania also sends her love and some super Husky kisses! Please let us know how things go on Monday if you get the time.

  2. Pat says

    I have had 3 Siberian Huskies over the years. They all lived to be 13 or 14. I am struggling with the decision of amputation on my beloved mixed breed rescue dog Hatton. He is only 5. He probably has a osteosarcoma in his left rear tibia near the knee. He has a biopsy scheduled in about a week. The options are to do nothing and treat the pain with a predicted lifespan of 2 to 3 months or amputation with chemo which might buy him a year. Reading your blog is helpful that a big dog can do ok with an amputation. My boy is 81 pounds. thanks

  3. Eric Pedersen says

    I’m so glad that I found your website. I have a 9 month old black lab mix that we have been told by our vet an amputation may be needed. His story is sad like most. He was in the care of a bad owner who’s son tossed him over a balcony. This broke his front right leg and he was never treated for it. We adopted him not knowing this until just a few days ago, he has been with us since April. The radius and Ulna healed incorrectly and now he has developed elbow displasia and has a deep limp and pain. We are working with the vet to control the pain in hopes that an amputation is not needed however I wanted to see what life with a tripod pet was like. We do have another disabled dog, Max, that is in a wheel chair due to a back injury from several years ago. We adopted him in April as well. The decision to amputate has shaken my wife and I in the way that we feel its our fault that something was missed while he was in our care. We know this is not the case and he is going to get whatever care he will need but its still a hard choice to make. I wanted to thank you for sharing your story with us as it has inspired my wife and I.

    • shibashake says

      I am glad that the puppy has found a good and happy home.

      I also had a difficult time dealing with Shania’s amputation. Things have really turned out quite well tho. We have great fun together and many of my neighbors love her to bits. She is more than a little bit spoilt, but that is ok. 😀

      Four paws up to you and your wife for helping out dogs who are in great need. Please let us know how things go and send us some picture links when you have the time. Big hugs to both your furry boys!

  4. Janice Baker says

    I am considering amputation for my 8 yr. old Goldendoodle. Her name is Goldie.
    She has a wonderfull personality and every one she meets falls in love with her.
    She had trouble walking about 3 weeks ago. Had needle biopsies done and we were told it was an infection in her right thigh area. She was in pain and I decided to take her to another vet, a specialist oncolgist. She feels it is a cancer tumor and is to large to remove and suggested amputation. We are doing another bioosy to confirm and will do a CT scan. We don’t even know at this point if it will be an option, until we find out what Grade the cancer is and how close to the spinal column it is. I am praying it will be an option and your information was really helpful. I don’t want to put Goldie through chemo so I am hoping the amputation will be enough. Is there any alternatives to chemo?

    Thank you for posting your ariticle.


    • shibashake says

      Have you been to the site? They have a lot of information there on dog cancer as well as a very supportive community of people who have gone through cancer and amputation with their dogs.

      How is Goldie doing? Are her test results back yet?

      Big hugs. Shania sends her love and lots of Husky kisses.

  5. Van says

    This site was really helpful. Our golden retriever is going to lose a leg from cancer tomorrow, and it is such an emotional thing to go through. We’re so worried he won’t be able to play or enjoy life anymore, and reading these pages has really lifted my spirits. Thanks for putting it together. It makes me more hopeful that we and he will get through this.

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, I was very worried with Shania as well, and it really helped to write about my experiences with her. How did things go with the surgery? How is your golden boy?

      Big hugs and lots of licks from Shania.

  6. Amanda C. says

    I stumbled across this blog and I just wanted to say that I too have a three legged siberian husky missing the front left leg. I adopted Kodah from the San Diego Humane Society…there his name was Houston. He was brought to the Humane Society because he was a victim of a hit and run, I guess his leg was too badly mangled that they had to amputate it. Kodah does great, I forget he has three legs most of the time. He does get a little clumsy sometimes when he gets very excited but he can run faster than I can! 🙂

    • shibashake says

      It is always so good to hear of a Husky finding a wonderful home. Big hugs and tummy rubs to Kodah! Shania sends lots of Husky kisses!

  7. shelly says

    I am on the brink of having to decide wether or not to amputate my 2.5 yr old husky fronr right leg. He was involved in a pretty serious accident with a pick up truck on Feb, 16th 2012(the worst day of my life). The weather is getting warmer up here in North dakota which would usually mean spring time runs through the park with Konas sister Kaienne. His options are arthrodesis(bone fusion), amputation, or going to sleep… forever. This little man is my shadow, a best friend, and a brother. I want the best life for him possible. I am really struggling with making this desicion. The fusion surgery is only about $1500 more than the amputation but this comes after the $4000 i have already spent, and with no promises. i am just looking for some input.. If you have never owned a husky, they just dont understand.. please help. these guys are my life.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Shelly,

      I had to make a similar decision with my Siberian Husky Shania. With Shania, we elected to try to fix her leg by realigning her bones. It would cost a lot, and Shania would have to go through several surgeries, but this was something that would affect the rest of her life. If successful, the procedure would allow her crooked leg to be weight bearing – which would be a significant enhancement. Therefore, I decided that it was worth it.

      Sadly, the procedure did not work because there was already too much cartilage damage in her leg. Ultimately, the surgeon suggested amputation, and we agreed. Here is Shania’s amputation story, how I made my decision, and how things were after the amputation.

      Shania is now 4.5 years old and she is happy, bouncy, and an awesome companion. Even though the bone alignment surgery did not ‘work’, I am glad I tried everything I could to try and save her leg. I still wish we could have saved her leg, however, that does not stop Shania from living her life and having fun. She digs, plays with my other dogs, goes on walks every day, and likes to cuddle.

      She takes a bit of extra special care and some extra supervision, but I am so glad that I get to share my life with such a special and kind soul.

      Bigs hugs to your Huskies.

  8. Jennifer says

    I just wanted you to know that your page has helped me with a decision I had to make about amputation in my Shiba. He was hit by a car at 6 months old and has been suffering from nerve damage since then. We’ve tried all that we could but ultimately the vet recommended amputation. Reading about the wonderful life your husky has had with 3 legs has really helped us. A big thanks to you from me and Kramer. 🙂

    • shibashake says

      Hi Jennifer, I am glad that Shania’s story was of some help to you in this difficult time.
      It is really amazing how quickly they will bounce back. Shibas are also smaller, so they will be able to adapt to having 3 legs even better than a Siberian.

      Hugs and kisses to Kramer. Although being a Shiba, he probably prefers to just go off on his own with some yummy chicken 😀

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