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I’ve seen it a million times at each veterinary hospital I have worked at, the head shake followed by the solemn words of  “That’s such a shame.” As a society in general I thought we may have progressed to a better understanding of amputation as a viable surgical option. Since becoming the proud parent of a future tripaw I have heard these words more than ever.

I’m finding it a little hard not to take those four little words so personally. Currently, I’m fighting more and more to not feel like a failure for not being able to fix my own dog’s leg. Accepting that no surgeon is a miracle worker is far easier for me than for those around me. There is only so much patching, sawing, and pinning you can do such fragile little bones. If I choose not to put my baby through all those surgeries for no guaranteed result, am I really such a bad person?

Maverick starts puppy classes in a few weeks and I know that more stares and questions are in order. However, I have decided to make it my mission to demystify amputation. There is no ‘shame’ in having a three-legged dog. I have lived with a one-eyed cat for years and after an initial clumsiness post-surgery she has become a beautiful, graceful feline. I think Grace and Maverick have nothing to prove to the world – handicapped animals are not shameful!

I am taking the Tripawds motto to heart; it is better to hop on three legs than to limp on four. Our animals hop so proudly, I think we can too.

9 Responses to “Dealing With the ‘Shame’ of Amputation”

  1. Michelle said:

    You are right nothing shameful at all. Its a great thing. Not many people would do. (well, except us here on this site) A lot just choose to put them down. Keep going and you will just show them how great a Tripawd is.

    Michelle & Angel Sassy

  2. fetchon3 said:

    Cutie puppy! Enjoy puppy classes, Maverick. You’re perfect!!!

    ~ Katy & Jackson

  3. Murphsmom said:

    My favorite thing to say when people tell me it’s a shame that Murphy only has three legs is, “Shhh! He doesn’t know.”

    The most awesome response we ever had was on vacation this summer when Murphy met two little boys whose Daddy is an amputee. They thought it was just fine that Murphy was like their Dad.

    Kathi and Murphy

  4. fourminipups said:

    Maverick and you will carry the banner proudly. It made me so happy to see he is a black-tri. He will carry on Shooter’s work for the tripawd community.

    Luanne and Spirit Shooter

  5. Christine said:

    When someone says that… just say..
    Nah.. this way I get a discount at the groomers..
    What? he’s only got three legs? when did that happen?
    Yea.. I know.. took him to get clipped and they clipped him a little short!!
    Nah.. a good dog like that.. you can’t eat him all at once!
    (ok.. I know that one is sick.. but I will admit I laughed at it.. )

    Absolutely NO SHAME.. the only shame is the ones that don’t understand!

    Christine…. with Franklin in her heart♥

  6. broc said:

    Everytime you hear that just remember how strong little Maverick is. Our Broc had not walked more than 20 feet out of the vet’s after his front leg amputation when some food cart vendor said loudly to his buddy “that’s not a dog anymore”. As badly as I wanted to punch him in his face, I didn’t, and we just use that as motivation to show people like that how wrong they are and how strong dogs can be. The most amazing part is that dogs aren’t bothered by those kind of things, and we shouldn’t be either. You have the best intentions for your dog, so don’t ever question your decisions. Go Maverick!

  7. micaroxy said:

    You have a great outlook. We can do our best to demystify, and one thing I’ve found helps is to explain how when Roxy was in pain because of her leg, she seemed so much older and sadder (which anyone could attribute to simple aging), but as soon as it was gone, she started acting like herself again, the self I remembered from years before. And that just solidified that I had made the right decision.

  8. mavericksmom said:

    Thanks everyone for your support. Last night was just a little ruff 😉 Maverick would be proud to pick up Shooter’s banner, Luanne, and hop on forward. Christine, I am definitely stealing that joke!

    With love, Mandy and Maverick

  9. jerry said:

    Maverick I’m sorry that you had to lose your leg but we are honored to have you and your Momma Mandy here, I know you will do lots of great things to educate humans about life on three legs. xoxo

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