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New foster mom - anything I should know?

January 18th, 2008, 03:53 PM
I just picked up two pups today from a rescue agency. One is four and one is about 11 and they are inseperable- and three legged. They are incredibly sweet and good natured and calm but I have to admit I'm a bit freaked out. I've never owned - or seen - a three legged dog before, and I'm not entirely clear on limitations and things. I feel a little bit like I've bitten off more than I can chew - and I'm worried about crying myself silly when they find their forever home. They might be with us awhile as finding a home for a middle-aged and older dog (since they have to go together), both with limitations, is hard :sad: .

Any tips anyone can offer on caring for three legged dogs, older dogs, foster dogs?

January 18th, 2008, 04:11 PM
First of all, congrats on fostering these two fuzzbots! You're an :angel:

As for taking care of them - I've never had a three legged dog, but I did have a three legged cat, and although I know dogs are different, I never had any problems with my little Bernie (nicknamed Tripod, of course :)). He could even scale the top parts of fences, and ran faster than some of my four legged friends!

He did have a problem with crystals at one point, but I think that had more to do with his weight and what he was eating than his missing leg.

Good luck, keep us posted on your progress, and send us some pictures of your new additions!

January 18th, 2008, 04:19 PM
Gibbons,I was reading your intro and these two 3-legged pups must feel like they are in heaven:thumbs up
I don't think there really are any limitations,I think they would set their own.
They are just needy dogs,like any other shelter-dog,needy for love and affection and a couch to sleep on.:cloud9:

January 18th, 2008, 07:26 PM
You'll do just fine , don't worry ! Bendyfoot (member here) has a 3 legged dog. She was amputated not too long ago and she's already doing fine. So I wouldn't worry about your fosters. They're as much capable than 4 legged dogs. They may stay with you a little longer , maybe not ! We never know what the future holds. :fingerscr :goodvibes:

Could you post pictures of them ? (I think you have to post a certain amount before you can post pictures though :sad:) so post away :laughing:

the gang
January 18th, 2008, 09:07 PM
we need more :angel: s like you in rescue thank you for being the caring person you are!!!! brenda and the pins.:thumbs up

January 18th, 2008, 09:28 PM
*chuckles* i dont have any advice, im a failed foster mom. Frances is still with us. we keep trying to tell ourselves that we could foster more if we found her a home but you know...

what you are doing as a foster mom is probably even more important than their forever home. without fostering from absolutely amazing folks like you, so many dogs and cats would never have the chance to find their forever homes.



January 19th, 2008, 11:08 AM
Here are a couple of pictures I've manage to resize so far before my computer had a fit.

I'm still feel rather tense about this decision- and the lack of sleep isn't helping too much :sleepy: Schroder, the 13 yr old grey dog, howled pretty much all day and all night. All that distracted him was being outside, so my lovely husband took him out probably 10 times in a 8 hour period - not that he wants to walk. Just stand and sniff the air. Maybe our house smells. lol

Tango, the 4 year old, is a sweetheart and rather patient with Schroder during the non-walking walks. But the second Schroder starts to settle and stop howling, Tango starts nibbling at his neck (like she's helping him scratch or something?) and whining until he starts up again. I don't know whats going on.

Our cat is also not helping much. The super mellow cat who can handle car rides, a house full of people, other cats and small dogs is TERRIFIED of these two and will not come out of hiding for anything. He hasn't eaten a bite in 23 hrs., which is making me nervous. Silly cat.

Somehow, in my head, fostering dogs was all going to be a snap! Everyone would get along, they'd settle in and sleep pretty early on, etc. Not the case at all, apparently! I took them out for a good run and now they're both dozing (Schroder in his preferred under-the-table spot, and Tango on the couch).

January 19th, 2008, 11:10 AM
And one of Gibson for good measure :)

He's also sort of a rescue cat. 3 homes in 5 years, and I just happened to be over at someones house the day before they were taking him to the humane society (they were installing new carpets, didn't feel like vaccuming up his hair once they were in). I love him to bits.

January 19th, 2008, 11:30 AM
omg they're adorable ! :lovestruck: The second picture would be a good one to put on their adoption page :lovestruck:

Thank YOU and your husband for fostering them , these dogs will be so grateful to you ! About the howling and wanted to go out too often , give it time. They will settled in , doesn't take too long , usually. I often say this : I speak and explain things to my fosters :o and the funny thing is : they seem to understand :shrug: :o Gibson will also get use to them , if he's not use to dogs , it will take a while , but it is doable !

Are they both 3 legged ? So they're missing one of their hind leg ?

January 19th, 2008, 01:28 PM
Yes, they are both missing their back right leg. There is some confusion as to what happened - either a complete accident (such as a car accident) but there is some rumor from a neighbour that it may have been gunshot related from their previous owner.

I'm feeling more relaxed now- Schroder is still under the table and my husband is doing his little geek thing and there are 7 guys around the table, and he is blissfully happy sprawled out on his back. Gibson is also mellowing out and has come out of hiding and eaten a bit - I have a picture of Gibson sleeping just around the corner from Schroder, but the picture is really weird and grainy.

And another picture of Tango being mellow on the couch.

January 19th, 2008, 04:19 PM
Darned adorable babies!! So sweet. :cloud9:
Good to know there are still people like you out there. :D
The three legged thing shouldn't bother you at all. Dogs are amazingly adaptable to whatever limitations are put on them. We are the ones who see it as a problem.
Sounds for all the world like Tango is a bit of an instigator with the nibbling on the neck until Schroder starts up again. :rolleyes: Silly puppy.
And Gibson is a handsome fellow too. He has started accepting the dogs pretty quickly for a kitty who has been on his own for a while.
Again, thanks for being the doggies' angel. They deserve a happy home.
Oh, and welcome to the forum. :o

January 19th, 2008, 05:54 PM
And another picture of Tango being mellow on the couch.

ahhhh ! See ? Already so comfy on your couch , you're doing a great job ! :thumbs up

Gun shot wound by their previous owner ? :mad: I hope it's not the case. :sad:

January 19th, 2008, 06:01 PM
That picture of Tango lazing on the couch is so great! Looks like he has lived wth you forever....or wants to live with you forever!!! :thumbs up

You are such an :angel: for taking in those two!

January 20th, 2008, 07:15 AM
Aww look at the pic of the 2 pups together,it just screams"please love us:pray:"beautiful faces..
I too think you are doing amazingly well after such a short time as is Gibson,my cats would pack their bags and move out:laughing:
Gibson is really sweet,by the way:lovestruck:just give him lots of attention and love as before and if the dogs don't bother him,there will be no problems.
You and your boy-friend are wonderful for caring for these 2 pups:thumbs up

January 20th, 2008, 06:50 PM
:thumbs up

Thank you, thank you !

I have a foster right now and had numerous in the past. It is both rewarding and sad. But, when they go to a forever home and you see how happy they are it is the best reward you can receive.

It takes a little while for everyone to get used to each other, but it will all work out in the end.

The animal world needs more fosters, it is not the easiest thing to do, but a worthwhile event.

Good luck, but it does not seem that you will need it, as you are on the right track.

January 21st, 2008, 09:35 AM
Hi there,

I'm a farily new three-legged dog mom, and have spent a lot of time over the past year talking with other tripod dog owners.

First, I'll say RELAAAAAAAAX. They're fine.:D

The truth of the matter is these dogs will tell you what they're capable and not capable of. It looks like they've been tripods for a while, so you've really come into their lives at a time when they're used to the condition, and how to get around, and they know what limitations (if any) they have. You don't have to worry about the discomfort associated with the recovery. They're good to go.

Now that you know this, there is one super-duper important thing you need to be mindful of: DO NOT LET THEM BE OR GET OVERWEIGHT. I cannot stress this enough. This is absolutely essential for the long-term health of the remaining legs, as extra body weight will add strain and wear to the remaining three legs. Now, since they've lost hind legs, you're a bit ahead of the game, since the weight re-distribution is not as drastic as a foreleg amputee (my dog Jaida, for example, now carries about 60% of her body weight on one leg...your doggies now carry 40% on one leg, which isn't as bad, but still very significant, and the front two are also compensating as well). So, I strongly recommend feeding them a low carb, grain-free, high-protein food, such as Orijen...(the foodies on this site can advise you about other brands, but my gang is on this food and it's oh-so-good to them). These will help them loose fat and build nice lean muscle mass. I think, from the pictures, they look like they could stand to loose a few pounds (couldn't we all?) Consider joint-friendly supplements like Chondroitin, Glucosamine and Omega 3's.

What else can I tell you? They can and should exercise...but not anything high-impact. They should probably not be agility or flyball dogs. However, a nice stroll once or twice a day will be great for them. They will likely simply sit down if they need to take a break. Ideally, walk them on grass or snow, and not on concrete...grass/snow is lower-impact and better for the joints. They may get a tired from play/walking faster than a four-legged dog, and it's simply because they have to exert more energy. That said, this weekend, Jaida went for a 4-km walk in the woods yesterday, then ran around and wrestled with the neighbour's dog for about an hour, while our four-legged dog retired by the fire. Every dog is different, but don't shy away from the activity.

If you have a lot of hardwood or tile flooring in your house, you may want to consider getting some cheap, anti-skid floor mats for areas the dogs travel frequently...IF the dogs are having trouble. Not all do.

Nails...I find that Jaida's nails don't get worn down like our four-legger...keep an eye on them and trim before they get too long.

There's really not much else to know...the weight is really the key thing for you at this point, and keeping them active .

If you want to chat with other amputee pet parents, try the forum here: and look for the Amputation Forum.

Truly, though, three-legged dogs are not really disabled, they're simply disfigured. You'll be surprised what these guys can do! Thanks for taking them in!

January 21st, 2008, 11:01 AM
Thank you for fostering these poor dogs:thumbs up. I second Frenchy's comment on the second picture, it would be a great one for posting the adoption ad.

You may find there are many failed foster moms here on this site, too easy to fall in love with these poor, loving creatures, that will give you back so much love that we end up adopting them. We celebrate failure in this category:D.

January 21st, 2008, 04:25 PM
Thanks so much for all the info. I've emailed the rescue the picture you are all suggesting and they say they'll put it up on the adoption page. I'm also toying with the idea of making a blog-type-thing - I've seen them on some rescues, where the foster family types up a bit about how the dog is doing and posts new pictures. I'm sure the fact that they come together is a bit scary for a lot of people, but really- it's like having one dog with double the personality!

I've been thinking Schroder is a bit chub. Tango looks good- she's very strong and fit, and you can feel her ribs just a little bit and she's nice and trim from the top :P I think they over-fed a bit at the shelter because they came in very very underweight. I've cut back on food a little bit so Schroder gets around a bit easier.

I like the carpet idea a lot! Schroder did this nasty face-plant today - his back leg slipped and he tried to compensate with his front leg and lost his balance. Poor puppy. I'll go swing by Zellers or Walmart or something and pick up a few cheap runners for the most-used areas of the house.

I'm hoping not to be a failed foster mom- they like our house, but I can see them having so much more fun with kids or other dogs, people with more consistent schedules (someone is home all the time, but we're all over the place) that sort of thing. On the other hand, I am also madly in love with them, as are my roommates and my husband :P We'll see!

January 21st, 2008, 05:23 PM
Awww you an :angel: for giving these guys a foster home!!:thumbs up
They are so cute, and look very gentle and loving:lovestruck:

January 21st, 2008, 05:35 PM
Something tells me you have one heckofa big heart :lovestruck:

Thank you for doing this, they are lovely pictures and I am hoping all goes well for them. Some great advise here!

Did you ever see the dog with only two back legs? Was a rescue as well was going to be killed but a lady decided to save her. Her front legs were deformed and dragging the ground so amputation was the only choice. The dog walks hops runs and does everything on two back legs and adapted very very well.

God love you for doing this! THAnk you so much!!!

January 21st, 2008, 08:16 PM
I'm also toying with the idea of making a blog-type-thing -

That is a great idea ! :thumbs up People will follow their story and will get "attach" to them ...

Good luck and keep on the great work ! These 2 dogs are very lucky to have found such good foster parents ! :angel:

January 21st, 2008, 09:27 PM
I have to say, I'm getting a bit addicted to this forum! :laughing: Whenever I start feeling overwhelmed, I just come in here and read the posts and start feeling better instantly.

I just spent a good hour or so cuddling with Tango (who was snoring and drooling in my lap, very attractive) and talked with my room mate about how cute she is and how happy we are to have dogs in the house. It was a good moment. Still having a few issues here and there, but it's going way smoother than I could have ever dreamed. I even had Gibson sitting in my lap today with Tango on the floor in front of us for a while, Gibson purring and Tango chasing bunnies or whatever in her dreams (the REALLY shocking part of this is that Gibson never sits on me! Everyone else, but never me!)

Thanks so much for the support and care and helpful advice from everyone. I sent an email off to the rescue to mention the blog idea and see if they can create a link for it. I know my first reaction to having two dogs all of a sudden was "oh god, what have a I done?" so I can see people thinking the exact same thing and not adopt because of it, which is hardly fair to them.

January 22nd, 2008, 09:00 AM
Faceplants come with the tripod territory. :D They're an inevitable fact of three-legger life...
They still make me cringe even after all these months, but Jaida barely registers them...she's back up on her feet and hopping back to whatever she'd been planning on doing.
Those carpets do help some, though:D
They sound like sweeties!

I've seen videos of a few two-legged dogs, it's amazing how they adapt. My favourite was a greyhound who lost one front and one back leg, but boy oh boy could he run like crazy!!! He really had the "ideal" body type for that kind of thing. I've also seen a few pups with paralyzed back legs (and one kitten) who learn to walk on their front legs while balancing their hind legs up off the ground...critters are amazing if given the chance.

As my vet likes to say: "Dogs are born with three legs and spare"...three-leggedness is no big deal...