Three Legged Dog Club
Cassie's Club Members

My 13 year old sheltie had her right front leg amputated two weeks ago. She had a large hemangiopericytoma tumour which could not be removed due to it's size and location. After much soul searching I decided on amputation. I was very worried both about the surgery and about how well she would adapt at her age. I found Cassie's club and was encouraged by the stories and was helped by the "What to Expect" information.

I saw Shayna shortly after the surgery and she was already trying to move around in her cage at the vet's. The next day when I visited she stood up to greet me and the vet tech said that she was walking well when they took her out to potty. Walking!! I couldn't believe my ears. She came home later that day and was up and walking that night and running within days. A week after surgery she surprised me by running up the basement stairs ahead of me before I could pick her up to carry her. Now two weeks after surgery she is running and playing in the yard with her two sheltie brothers!

Every day she inspires me with her courage and ability to overcome obstacles. Not only is she an inspiration, she is my hero! Shayna is doing incredibly well adapting at her age. Of course it has only been two weeks since she lost her leg. I am worried about her overdoing it at her age...don't want her to have trouble with her remaining joints. So far she does not have arthritis, but I worry about what the added stress to her other limbs will do. I joined a web group called "Able Dogs" and couple of their members wrote that, now that their dogs have gone to Rainbow Bridge, in hindsight they wish they had limited their dogs' jumping etc. due to the eventual problems and pain in their other joints.

Thanks so much for your page....the information helped me enormously as I was anticipating (with fear) Shayna's surgery.

Barbara Hicks


I am volunteering at an awful high kill shelter near my home. I volunteer for the dog's sake. If I do not go in to walk these dogs... they do not get out for even a few minutes for a walk in the grass. I have been there often enough that I know all the dogs by name, sex, breed, and temperament. I know that all of the 16 dogs in this unfortunate place at the moment are adoptable. I could not bear to see this beautiful 7-year-old neutered male yellow Labrador retriever/golden retriever cross sitting here with his ever present smile and wagging butt. He is pale yellow all over his body with distinctly matching butterscotch-coloured ears and a butterscotch nose. The dogs are often left to sit in their own excrement and this neat dog is missing his rear right leg which makes it even more difficult for him to hop to greet visitors and avoid the mess. Sometimes when I take him out for a walk his kennel is soaking wet and so is his hair. He cannot lie down without getting wet. They will not allow me to clean the kennels. This dog has only three legs and although people sometimes come in and walk by his kennel, they do not notice... if they do they usually ooh and ahh and coo while saying, "Oh what a pity" as they keep on walking. I know this makes him more difficult to adopt and they euthanize here often and indiscriminately. I suppose this dog had been hit by a car in the past and wonder why a family that went to considerable time and expense to have the amputation done would now surrender their companion to this awful place. There is a 'sale' on this month, as they do not normally have this many dogs. A sign on the front door reads that the dogs are only $35 for the month of June plus NY State licence fees. There are eighteen kennels available for use... fifteen are occupied and one has a sign on it saying "Do Not Use - Door Broken!" It has been over a week since they moved a new dog into this adoptable area from the infamous closed and off-limits custody area. While driving home I commit the dogs to memory and go over the mathematics in my head...eighteen minus one broken kennel equals seventeen minus fifteen kennels being used equals ONLY two available kennels left before the dogs that I have come to know and love will start disappearing by the time I next go in to walk them. They will always tell you, "Oh he was adopted and turn away quickly." I have stopped asking. I grimly drive home thinking about asking someone to go in there and please repair the broken kennel door.

Butterscotch is mine for $15 and $7.50 for the NY State Licence fees. They tell me you can go in the back and get him. I am walking out and saying, "Come on Butterscotch". The woman at the front counter asks me whether or not he answers to his name. I am surprised and ask, "Well that is his name, is it not?" She replies, "Yes, but you can give him a piece of cheese and call him whatever you like." She is serious! Butterscotch and I get into the jeep together... he has no trouble getting in and we do not feel the need to hang around to say goodbye. As we drive home I tell him, "Gosh, you sure do stink boy...we are having a bath as soon as we get home." He looks at me and smiles as he sits beside me in the front passenger seat. When we get home Butterscotch climbs the 30 steps to the second floor as if he has lived here all of his life and straight into the bathtub... no trouble. As I bathe him I feel stitches in his groin and at the end of his stump. How can this be? His body is built up through the shoulders...leading me to believe is accident must have been some time ago. The rabies tag they gave me is attached to a veterinarian's printout...the owner's name is whited out. I hold it up to the window as I read it and think...I wonder who are you, Mr. Robbins, and why did you part with your wonderful companion. I later find out he has had these missed stitches for three years. Butterscotch is clean but the stink of the shelter permeates his hair. I call a friend who tells me to sock the baby powder to him. I do and the smell is bearable to be able to sleep with him tonight. He stretches out on the king sized bed and snuggles up next to me as I stroke his butterscotch-coloured, silky ears. He chews on his new rawhide bone awhile and falls asleep. I wonder if he is dreaming as I am of those eighteen kennels and doing the math.


My Butterscotch Boy passed on with congestive heart failure but he had the best 17 months of his entire life with us. He had been left tied up to a dog house and left outside all his life...ran off and was hit by a truck, survived and then they dumped him at the local SPCA when the kids went off to college. I had been volunteering at the SPCA and adopted him. From that point on it was doggie bones slipped home in my husband's pocket (so the others did not notice), and sleeping in the king sized bed.
We will always treasure the time that he spent with us.
Glad your Cassie is still going strong.

Caroline C.
Tuesday January 9, 2007

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