PerroStory: Living With A Tripod Dog
A missing leg doesn’t make a three-legged furball less lovable!
As a pet caregiver, a true animal lover would always think of their pets’ needs above themselves most of the times and we should, because we choose to have them in OUR lives and we owe them the best care and love and it is “til death do us part, unless under very special circumstances”.
I already have a male toy schnoodle, (schnauzer x poodle) Dante and seeing that I do go out, it’s always a very heavy feeling for me and I noted his separation anxiety, I’d come back to a messed up home. The best solution would be to get another dog to keep him company. I had my criteria – small, female and (mildly disabled) either one-eyed or tripod. I waited for this dog to appear in my life, I will not seek it.
One night, I was just looking through Petfinder, when I came across a posting called “Supergirl” posted up by a lady in Ipoh with the same name as me, Sue. I saw Supergirl’s picture and video, indeed this poor little thing was galloping in her cage on three legs . I kept Sue’s number and the next morning I messaged her and established that Sue is a very well known animal rescuer, advocate and foster for cats and dogs. Before she could ask me the questions that should be asked, I told her my set-up at home, security measures, my plus and minus points and Dante. I told her I am very serious about adopting her, come what may, on the condition if she can arrange for her to have her spayed and vaccinated, expenses borne by me. Sue, and by which this time, I had re-named Supergirl to Olive in my brain, the advocate wasn’t so sure about her story as she had sent some street cats to the vet’s clinic when she spotted Olive in the cage, and the staff there told them her story, abandoned when her leg couldn’t be fixed, then adopted and abandoned again because of hyperactivity.
As I discovered later, Olive had luxating patellar, a condition where the kneecap has dislocated from the usual spot. Judging from Olive’s arched spine, and her shrivelled up hind-leg, she must have had it since birth. Her disabled leg is still functional, as she can use it to scratch herself! My take is, she was bred by inexperienced and irresponsible people looking to create cute tiny toy-sized pomapoos (pomeranian x poodle) So, Sue and I arranged our schedule to pick up Olive but before that, she sent her friend Sangeetha based in KL to inspect my house. They were so apologetic about having to do this but I told them I am very pleased with that. I would do the same if I were in the same place. On Olive’s “Gotcha day”, my friend and I drove up to Ipoh to pick her up. We met Sue, a really kind and lovely lady and until today, we still keep in touch, I will send her pictures and videos. Everything went well, Olive was very well taken care of but it must have not healthy, mentally for her to be stuck in a cage most of the time.
When Olive arrived at my home, Dante grudgingly accepted her after a few hours and now their play consists of play-fighting which I believe has strengthened her body. She now can climb down stairs and dance backwards, even do a downward dog stretch balancing on her three legs. When I first bathed her, she was really a pitiful sight, with visible ribs and an arched spine which I discovered is one of the symptoms of her luxating patellar. It took her a few months to come out of her shell and become the jolly girl she is today.
Randomly going through Petfinder again, I almost adopted a one-eyed smooth haired terrier but friends, family and Sue discouraged me from it for good reasons! When I was a teenager we had a tripod dog that came about when it had an accident and we kept it after failing to find the owners and based on that experience, I know that having a tripod pet is not a problem at all, it’s paralyzed dogs and cats that need specialized care. I come from a family of dog lovers, my brother and his wife have two very gentle and overly friendly senior large breed dogs and his wife’s sister has a 4-pug squad in Kota Kinabalu! As I myself have mild acute disability issues myself, but it hasn’t stopped me from travelling, gardening and having a full life, just like Olive. Everyone who has met Olive love her immediately, it isn’t hard to, she is full of smiles and love to give and she is a poster girl for people who are considering a mildly disabled pet.
I think everyone should consider these overlooked dogs and cats because I don’t see any physical limitations, in fact, Olive is more active than Dante, and has never shown any viciousness, she just wants to kiss and lick you to death and sit in your lap. She also has very keen hearing and will alert Dante and I to any unusual sounds and Dante would jump into action to inspect the whole house himself, truly a dream team for me! My advice is, don’t spoil your disabled pet, treat them the same you would any able-bodied dog and you will be rewarded with lots of love, amusement and companionship.
——Written by Sumay Woo
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