Mom talked to me, and to the boys, about three-legged dogs a lot.
What she talked about most was that dogs aren’t attached to their legs–not like humans. And, really, we aren’t.
Look at your dog. Go ahead. Take a long hard look.
Your dog, like me, wants you to be happy. Your dog wants food daily. Your dog wants water. Exercise or playtime. And snuggles. Exercise, playtime, and snuggles are all about you. Of course we like it. But if we’re doing those things with you, we’re doing it for you, because we want you happy.
Your dog doesn’t care what you look like. Your dog doesn’t care what you smell like. He doesn’t care if your breath stinks, if you’ve got bad gas, if you’re short, round, tall, skinny, blonde, brunette, or bald. If you yell, we cower. If you cry, we try to lick away tears. If you’re excited about the walk, we are too.
Think about the reverse.
If I roll in eau de poop, you wrinkle your nose and bathe me. If my teeth are rotting and I have halitosis, you do something to make it better. If I fart at your feet, you remark on it or get up and move away. If I look like a drowned rat after a bath, you laugh. If I get a bad haircut at the groomers you are horrified. Shoot, they even make prosthetic testicles, and believe me, dogs have been running around without their junk and never given the lack of it a second thought. Do you think spayed dogs miss their ovaries?
Of course we don’t. And those of us that were spayed after a heat cycle or so are more than happy not to have those boys following us around and making fools of themselves.
We don’t miss our legs either. Once the surgery pain is over, we are up and going. Just like we are if we have those ovaries taken out. We might fall on our noses. But, our motive in life still exists. You are there to make happy. So, we figure it out. Food means get up and walk. Water means not laying on the couch. Happy owners mean going on with life, without looking back.
That’s what struck my Mom too. She started to think about the dogs she’d known that had three legs. Her first husband (a vet) always said, (jokingly) dogs were just tripods with an extra leg. Not a single tripod dog ever regretted the loss of his leg. His humans might have made excuses for him, but he just wagged his tail and kept on wagging. And in cases where tails had been lost, he wagged his butt.
Plus, Mom took a good hard look at her thirteen-year-old cat. He’d been virtually born without a leg. (His mom ate it off, before she found him in the barn loft.) He has never been deprived of any aspect of life, because he has three legs. Except for maybe a good scratch on that side of his body, which Mom is always happy to help him out.
So if you’re starting to consider options, I hope you’ll take my word for it here. I don’t know you may be thinking; I don’t reason like you do to know what “amputation” means prior to it happening. And if it happens, my job is to keep going. I adapt. Find me food, find me water, find me love… that’s all I need.