Club Tripod


Many members are welcoming Bowie and me:

Congrats on the new family member. You said about the missing leg: “it is, of course, the first thing you notice about her”. Not necessarily.  We have a three-legged labrador.  Time after time, we’ve had people over for dinner, only to have them exclaim at the end of the evening, “Wow, I just realized your dog has three legs!”


Congratulations on finding Bowie, who “runs like the wind.”  Shortly after adopting our three-legged dog, Ceiba, my wife and I were walking with Ceiba and our other dog, Chloe, along the C&O Canal towpath outside D.C. Both dogs were off leash. When a deer ran past in the nearby woods, it was Ceiba who led the charge, leaping over fallen trees and crashing through the brush. Both dogs were soon out of sight, their barking growing ever fainter. So much for the handicap.

Fortunately, the deer was faster than the dogs. On another walk along the canal, Ceiba charged into the brush and reappeared with a freshly caught squirrel between her jaws. Hopping along ahead of us (there was no way she was going to give up that rodent), she proceeded to devour the animal, starting by crunching into its skull.

Dog paddling seems to be the only thing our girl can’t do; it’s tough when you’re missing a front leg. At the local park, she’s got dozens of fans, especially kids – “Look, the three-legged dog!” Ten years on, she remains a joy and an inspiration.


Welcome to the three-legged beagle club! Jake came to my wife Sharon and me via a beagle Jake 1rescue organization near Nashville (where we live) several years ago. His previous owners had him tied to a chain in the yard. While they were mowing the yard, the chain had become wrapped around the shaft of the mower and Jake was pulled under, mangling his left front leg beyond saving. Afterward, they were planning to turn him over to a shelter before the rescue organization took him in.

The two things that are most amazing about Jake (it’s hard to narrow down to just two!) are that his default setting is happy – he wakes up wagging his tail every morning – and, as you note about Bowie, he is utterly oblivious to his handicap. Nobody has ever told Jake that missing a leg is a problem, so for him it isn’t. He digs massive holes in the yard, he runs after squirrels and plays with his “sisters” – our two other dogs – and never gives a thought that there is some sort of problem with his curious, hoppy gait.

He is also, of course, nothing but trouble. As Bowie will be.


One of our older greyhounds got bone cancer in his right rear leg.  Instead of putting him down as everybody suggested, a vet surgeon removed his leg and he happily lived for three more years as a tripod … until the cancer returned with a vengeance.  But those three years were glorious and happy for him. He could go for long walks and run on the beach and splash in the water and swim though waves.  He was also one heck of a draw (and a ham); people would cross the street to say hello to him and give him an ear rub.

And another:

Welcome to the world of a 3-legged rescue dog. We got Lego (formerly Rambo, but he’s no Rambo) about a year and a half ago. A lab mix, he is the sweetest, most joyful dog I’ve ever known. I couldn’t be happier that my wife took him in.

Another asks:

Who is rescuing whom?