Three Legged Dog Club
Cassie's Club Members
May 29, 2003, Lalla escaped from home and ended up under a car. From that moment on, she never stood on 4 feet again. She was immediately brought to a veterinarian in the area (who made us wait two hours before seeing her); he made some x-rays and told us to take her home for a couple of days and then come back to see if she's operable.

I was leery of this veterinarian as he hadn't even worried about curing the wounds she had all over her body. The next day, I took her (asking a member of an animal association) to the veterinary clinic university Federico II of Naples (Italy).

I'm about to describe one of the most painful moments of my life and I dont know if it means I've suffered too little during my life or if I love Lalla too much... The ''great'' professor touched her backbone and did some sensibility tests, after which he told me there is nothing to do, she would never walk again and she will not be able to control her kidney; in other words, she was completely paralyzed on all the back part.

At that point I ask him to double check making some x-rays, after which he told me that a vertebra had completely moved causing the interruption of the spinal chord.

So they advised me to put her down!

Now, I agree with euthanasia when living means only suffering, but I know this has rarely, if ever, been suggested to a human in the same condition... am I wrong? After this ''accurate'' visit, that lasted no more than 5 minutes, we went back home with a broken heart.

The first days where the worst because Lalla used to be a very lively dog, it was beautiful seeing her running for hours on the beach, diving from rocks and swimming to catch the stick. Myself, my boyfriend Francesco, and Lalla's buddy Ibu, were desperate.

Initially, we tried various methods to make her move or seem interested; we solved the incontinence problem simply by sitting her there every 3 or 4 hours and pressing on her belly and the problem wasn't there anymore!

After many tries Francesco made a splendid cart that allowed her to move very well and to run faster than before. Lalla was sad only for one week, after which she started playing with Ibu again! We are happy again.

The coming summer we decided to go on vacation with 2 friends and 5 dogs (Lalla, Ibu and 3 puppies) in Molise (Italy); we spent a week in a countryside camping where Lalla could easily moves around with her cart and runs on the lawn going after the ball. The we went down the Puglia coast stopping by the calmest beaches; Lalla started swimming again and from then on things changed...

Once we were back home, we noticed that the back legs had gained muscular tone and gradually something was changing: once in a while she was moving her back legs, but we decided not to go to any other veterinarian.

One day Lalla got wounded on her left back leg, so we brought her to the veterinary near our house.

When she was getting disinfected she moved her leg as if she was able to feel the pain, at that point the veterinarian asked me if at the time, the veterinary clinic had tried a mielography test to see if it was possible to put back the vertebra in its position... but obviously the veterinarians there had told me nothing of this!

Then she told us to let her swim often and who knows if mother nature will do its miracle... I didn't tell this story to have the irresponsible veterinarians pass some horrible 15 minutes, but to remember that a dog is not just some inanimate object; that when his leg breaks you can't throw him away; he has an irreplaceable soul for the people that live with him, none of the dogs and cats I had in the past have taken the place of the other, each have their separate place in my heart.

I hope that our story can be useful to someone that will find himself in our situation, you can mail me if you need any advice on how to help a 4-legged friend live on 2 legs and 2 wheels...

I look with sadness at her amputated front leg. It's terrible, it looks as if precisely cut by scissors... it doesn't even seem real, but it is.

She proudly sits standing on the other leg, very beautiful with a white spot, and looks at me. I look in her sweet and sad eyes the answer to my obstination of wanting to know. I keep asking her: "What have they done to you? Who is that miserable person that has been able to abandon you?" I will never know and she will never be able to tell me how much she suffered. But who cares.

Now she is here with us, safe, forever.

Maybe she will forget her pain, I hope, but often she wakes while dreaming and she cries like a baby, sighing continously making her little honey colored body shake. Also her ears vibrate but the tail is always tight between the two back legs.

Is she dreaming about the trap that caused her so much pain? (maybe this is what happened).

Or worse; is she dreaming about her loneliness when she was abandoned?

So I hug her tighter, to give her all the love that she still hasn't got. And my husband didn't even want to stop at the dog's house that day.

We had passed there, always with our inseparable Ariosto, to leave some bags of bread and crackers; after I insisted, as I usually do, to bring out a female dog to prevent her from arguing with the other dogs.

"Take that dog over there," they told us, pointing at at a nose that was sticking out from a fence,

"she still has to go out." And it was immediately love.

Only the moment after we realized about her leg.

"We can't leave her here," my husband said, knowing I was on his side.

I had often asked to take another dog, female, so that Ariosto wouldn't be alone; in addition, I would have made one of those dogs that sadly stay behind the bars happy.

Now we are four in our little apartment. Of course it represents a little sacrifice for us and also some practical problems like too many hairs on the the carpets.

But in the evening, when we are all laid down on the couch and Ariosto sleeps in peace with Lolita on his side, the atmosphere is so beatiful, relaxing and lovely that we wouldn't be able to live without them.
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