Three Legged Dog Club
Cassie's Club Members

Hi, I have a Dog "Sparky" a Jack Russell terrier, who is missing a front leg. His larynx is sensitive so he can't use a collar & leash. Do you know of any company that makes a harness for 3 legged dogs? A standard harness doesn't work too well.

Thanks, Jim

Mr. Bear

Hi. My Sheltie, Mr. Bear, is a rescue from Precious Secrets Sheltie Rescue near Cincinnati, Ohio. He was brought in with a shattered front leg, a fractured muzzle, a ruptured disc in his back, and no grooming. He had sustained the fractures years ago, and the lady who owned the farm he lived on had died recently. They were frugal farm people and didn't have the money to get care for him when they found he was injured. In spite of his injuries, the old farmer had taken him in the truck with him frequently until the farmer died 6 yrs ago. The wife was on oxygen and could not get out much and after her husband's death, a neighboring farmer came to feed Bear and the farm cats. A friend from Michigan who came to the funeral saw Bear, and with the help of a friend, located PSSR, and it was arranged for him to get transport after it was learned the family did not want him. In rescue, the vet found that Bear's leg, in fact, was crushed and it was necessary to amputate it. The muzzle was too well healed to repair. He came into rescue September 2003. In May, I was allowed to adopt him, and bring him home to Michigan with me. This fall we are going to meet the woman responsible for contacting rescue. Bear is wonderful!!! Uncomplaining, and in spite of arthritis and cataracts (he is probably between 8 and 10 years old) he is active and loving and LOVES to go for rides!

God bless you,

PJ, Milady, Jenny Wren, Miz Pookie, Heather Happy Tail and Mr. Bear-Bear
"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."

On Friday, Sept. 5, 2003 we received an email from a woman who was trying to find a rescue to take in an injured, homeless sheltie. We soon learned that Bear's elderly owner had recently passed away and the family did not want him. When the writer of the email had gone to the funeral, she stopped by the family farm. While visiting the family, she noticed Bear. Although she only saw him for a few seconds, the vision of this crippled dog hobbling around would not go away. As soon as she returned to Michigan, she began her search.

The second Pam read that email, she set the wheels in motion to get Bear. Almost immediately we had two volunteers (Megan Benjamin and Sharon Witt) committed to transporting Bear across the state of Ohio. Bear arrived into our care on Sunday, Sept. 7th. When Sharon opened the crate door, and he hobbled out of her van, Pam immediately dropped to her knees and cried at the sight of this pitiful dog. Besides his coat being in absolutely deplorable condition, Bear has a badly broken right front leg. He literally walks on his shoulder and elbow instead of that leg. His rear legs, trying to compensate for the lack of the front leg, forced him to walk on his hocks. You almost have to see it to believe it.

This poor Sheltie, who obviously is a picture of cruelty and neglect, had been forced to live outside his entire life. After the death of his owner, his only friends at the farm were a few cats that were also left behind, and a farmer who stopped by daily to feed them. The second he saw our cats, his tail started spinning like an airplane propeller. We swear he smiled, because he was so happy. Although he can only walk short distances, before he has to stop and rest, he managed to get himself into our backyard. After looking and smelling around, we think he finally realized he was at the "Sheltie Spa".

Our groomer (Dena Ware) was called and told about Bear. Although it was Sunday, she met Pam at the salon. Approximately three hours later, Bear was a real handsome dude. Most groomers would have shaved him down, but Dena understands how important it is to save their coats. For once, Bear looked...and a million bucks.

When Bear got home, we called the woman who initiated Bear's rescue from the farm. We were hoping she could give us some insight as to what happened to his leg and face. It was then that we were told that he had been this way when the family adopted him...6 years earlier!!!!!

Yes, he has lived like this for at least 6 years! How in the world did he survive all the pain and suffering?

Our veterinarian checked him over this morning and took many x-rays. It was determined that his right elbow has been shattered, as well as the pastern joint and the ulna. Due to bearing all his weight on his left side, his left elbow may not be able to support his weight if the right leg must be amputated (which is a high probability). If his right leg has to be amputated he will first need his left leg stabilized by a fusion. His muzzle has also been broken although an x-ray of that could not be obtained without sedation and he had been through enough for one day. Our vet is personally taking his x-rays to our orthopedic surgeon this afternoon so we should know more tomorrow or the next day. In the meantime we will make him as comfortable as possible.

On top of all of his orthopedic problems he also needs to be neutered as soon as possible. One of his testicles is larger than the other and the vet is concerned about possible prostrate complications. The only good health news about him is the fact that he is heartworm negative. We were dumbfounded when his test came up negative. But then again, no mosquito could have bitten through that horribly matted coat of his!

What impresses us the most about Bear is his spirit. Although it was the human race who let him down, and allowed him to suffer for so long, he has a heart of gold. He loves everyone and everything. Please keep this marvelously strong and determined Sheltie in your prayers. Bear is truly the "poster dog" for rescue!

Cathy and Pam
Precious Secrets Sheltie Rescue
6690 Hamilton Road
Middletown, OH 45044-9310


Many of you have emailed and asked about Bear. Since we did not want to put this email out until we had the facts, here they are. Bear went to see Dr. Steven Schrader on September 11th. He concurs with our Vet that this injury happened when Bear was probably less than a year old. He says it has been a long time since he has seen such a horrible case, but he "thinks" he can save Bear's leg. As of now, the surgery is scheduled for October 15th. The three of us talked for a hour and we all agree that Bear can not continue to live with this leg being in his way of trying to walk. It is obvious that his left leg has carried the majority of his weight over the past six years and is wearing out. If he can save his right leg, Bear can use it to help even out is weight and take some stress off his left leg. Once Bear is knocked out, Dr. Schrader has many options. First, he will check his right wrist area (the bad leg). If he thinks it is okay, and able to hold his weight, then he will remove Bear's elbow and then attach the two leg bones with two plates. Right now Bear's leg is shaped like an L. Therefore, the hardest part of the surgery will be to twist the bones in a straight line. When the surgery is over, his leg may always be a little crooked, but that is okay. This handsome man cannot continue to live like this. If Dr. Schrader does not think the wrist is strong enough, Bear may need a plate placed in his wrist; as well as his elbow. Depending upon how bad it is, Dr. Schrader may only do the wrist that day and quit. If it is not bad, he may do both the wrist and leg in one surgery. As we all know, x-rays can only show so much. Sadly, it is obvious that Bear's elbow is gone. Cathy described his elbow as "mashed potatoes" and Dr. Schrader said, "that is putting it nicely." If Dr. Schrader gets in there and sees that it is a lot worse than he ever expected, then, and only then, will Bear's leg be amputated. We are praying that this does not happen, but if Dr. Schrader says this has to happen, we have complete confidence in his judgment.

Since Bear has only been in our care for a short time, Dr. Schrader suggested that he be neutered before having his leg surgery. Since our Vet was concerned that his one testicle was bigger than the other, we agreed. This way we would have more time to make sure there are not any other medical issues, such as seizures, possible cancer due to his testicle problems, etc. Therefore, Bear was neutered on September 15th. When he was neutered, Dr. Collins found that he had a hernia inside which made his one testicle smaller. Needless to say, his simple neutering ended up being a major surgery. After spending the night in the hospital, Bear is now back with us recuperating nicely. Dr. Schrader also wanted us wait a month so that we had time enough to try to come up with the funds to pay for his surgery. The written estimate we received is for $1700 to $2200. Since all the proceeds from the picnic were dedicated to Bear, we are over half way there. Pending no health issues, we will have Bear's surgery done on October 15th, no matter what!


As you know, Bear's surgery was scheduled for October 15th. Sadly we had to cancel his appointment because he came down with congestion... possibly kennel cough. He has been living with his foster family (Bill & Erin) since the first part of October and doing wonderfully. If all goes as expected, his surgery will be this Thursday, October 30th. Keep him in your prayers, too. He is a wonderful dog who will soon be looking for a "forever home."


Bear had his surgery late yesterday afternoon and has survived the ordeal, although sadly he did loose his leg. Dr. Schrader called us with the news. After more x-rays of the good leg (wrist area) he determined that although that wrist was not in the best of shape and very arthritic, he felt that Bear could reasonably support himself. When he began working on the bad leg he discovered more extensive damage than he originally thought. The elbow was very bad, the tibia was broken and the wrist was horrible. He had hoped that he could fuse the elbow and the wrist would be good enough to use but that was not the case. He explained that he could not fuse the elbow and the wrist; if he did Bear would have a totally straight leg and foot causing him to walk on his toes. The leg would then really be useless. He had no choice but to amputate the leg.

This great doctor kept apologizing to us. He kept saying how sorry he was that he couldn't save Bear's leg. He made us feel that he was suffering this loss as much as we were. We assured him that we always had the utmost confidence in him and we knew that he did his best. We have taken several of our rescues to him for orthopedic surgery and he has surprised us with his skills. Although the outcome was not what we had all hoped for, Bear is alive and able to enjoy another day in the sun. Rehab will be lengthy and painful for us to watch but, knowing Bear's spirit and determination he will do fine. Our good friend Erin has been fostering Bear and will continue to foster him. She has fostered several "special needs" for us in the past. She now has the most wonderful dog to love and care for until his forever home is found. Thank you for all your donations to Bear's Fund. We now have enough to pay for his surgery in full.

UPDATE: We called to check on Bear this morning and they told us that he has already been up and walking!


It has been a month since Bear's surgery and he has been a delight to foster. When he came home on October 31 he was quite tired and sore from surgery but hearing the voices of children coming and going pushed him to get up and join us at the front door for Halloween festivities. I slept next to him on the floor each night that weekend in the hopes of giving him comfort and reassurance. It paid off! Within two days, he began to wag his tail again and give kisses. I had purchased a special harness to assist him in standing and moving (I had even used it pre-surgery to prepare him) but by the end of the weekend, he was getting up and moving without it. When the weather was warm and sunny, he was taken outside to enjoy the sun and savor the autumn smells. Although he was still sore, he never missed barking at a passing motorcycle or searching the direction of a scent of barbecue. He was fabulous to watch and his relentless efforts were inspiring to me and others.

Before surgery, he was given a morning and evening walk around the house but after surgery, I didn't push him to go any further than he wanted to go. I saw small improvements as the days went by but it wasn't until the next weekend (November 8 and 9th) that he took a huge "leap" in recovery. He heard the boy next door playing and laughing in his backyard and Bear walked the full length of the house to greet him. As the boy began to pet him, Bear sat down! This may not seem outstanding unless you knew that Bear had never been able to sit before with his broken leg. Bear was on his feet, walking longer distances and sitting down; I was so happy, I was crying. From that moment on, I knew Bear's enduring spirit would keep him on the path to recovery and I felt all of our prayers had been answered. Two weeks after the amputation, the stitches were removed and Bear was moving up and down steps (not stairs!) pretty well. I purchased a ramp for him to use even before the surgery but he does well without it as long as the steps are wide. He is now back to eating his dry food formulated for joint maintenance and the "Missing Link" seems to be helping him. He has been wanting to play again even though the extent of it is mostly hand play, gentle wrestling and some light tug of war. I have begun taking him on 10 minute walks on the sidewalk because he leads me there and seems bored with the walks around the house on the grass. I occasionally take him to the park to enjoy new scents (he loves to sniff the air and search for interesting smells) and this is helping ease his car anxiety.

As each week goes by, I enjoy the quiet moments I spend with him on the floor; his big smile and wagging tail are my welcome in the morning and in the evening when I return from work. I love his game of "steal the sock" every time I do the laundry and now always leave a sock for him to find. He makes me laugh when he comes over to me for a butt rub and falls into my lap afterwards. There are more things but it is too much to list. Let's just say; he is one of the most wonderful, courageous dogs I have had the pleasure of knowing.

If you have thought about fostering, even just for a few minutes thought about it, take a few more minutes to think about it. Every time I foster, I always receive so much more in return beyond knowing that the dog is healthy and adoptable. Bear is a good example of this.

Happy Holidays to All,
Erin, Bill, and our fur-kids: Brittney, Buddy and foster-kid, Bear


Bear went back to the orthopedist today for a check up. It was discovered that Bear appears to have a ruptured disk in his lower back. All this time we were so focused with his front, we never considered that he may also have been injured in the rear. He has been placed on steroids to try to relieve the pain of a pinched nerve at the disk site. We will have him reevaluated in another month and hopefully this wonderful dog will finally be free of pain without having to undergo another possible surgery. Several people have asked us when he would be available for adoption. At this point we are not certain, but we would hope he could go into a "Forever Home" after the New Year. We would like to place Bear into a ranch style home where he would not have to contend with stairs. If you would like to be considered as Bear's new family, please send us an application for adoption from this website and be sure to mark it "For Bear".

UPDATE MAY 3, 2004

It's hard to believe that 6 months have passed since Bear first came into our lives! Since his arrival at Precious Secrets and through pre / post surgery, he has been a pleasure to be with and an inspiration for all. Right after I wrote the update on November, 30, Bear was a few days away from a possible adoption. I wanted to make sure he was rechecked by the surgeon/orthopedist before his adoption; I had also noticed some stumbling during walking and an occasional yelp before getting up. After his December 3rd visit with the orthopedist and diagnosis of a ruptured disk and painful pinched nerves, he was placed on steroids for 2 weeks. He needed bed rest and walking was restricted to potty time only. After a day or two, he was already showing improvement - no yelping and little stumbling. Within a week, he got too bored and wanted to move about the house more and play. And he hasn't looked back since! He has not needed to go back to the vet or be on medication.

Bear has soooo many great qualities about him, it is hard for me to do it in one paragraph but I'll try. Even when he wasn't feeling good, he still was as lovable as he could be; he gives me "bear hugs" and wet kisses. He has never growled or bite anyone but can be protective of a rawhide bone with my dogs but never with me. He always seems to have a smile on his face (you have to see it to believe it). He seems to like his nickname "Boo" and responds to it. When he is really happy, his tail moves like a propeller in a full circle; it's funny to watch. He likes everyone as long as they are not riding a bike or motorcycle. He loves to steal a sock or two when I'm doing the laundry and one time took a bra with him outside for potty time; I laughed the whole day about it.

His blanket is his favorite place to be when things are quiet in the house; otherwise he is where there is activity. He travels well even on long trips, although I gave him Rimadyl to keep him relaxed during the drive to and from Texas. He loves to be outside watching everyone and enjoying the sun. Most of the time he is extremely obedient unless there is a good smell in the air, dogs and people he wants to visit with, or is not feeling good. Here are the other things you need to know. Bear hasn't had any bad days since December but some days he moves a little less. He likes snow but can get cold easily if temperatures are below 30 degrees. Extreme changes in the weather / barometric pressure can make his arthritis in his front leg act up. He enjoys walking on his own with a long lead at the park than taking a walk down the sidewalk on a short lead; a fenced yard would be better for him. He can play catch or other games in a small area for a short period but if he does too much for too long, he'll be sore the next day.

You are probably wondering now, why I haven't adopted him myself. I would to LOVE to but a future move from my current house to an apartment in Columbus would mean I would have to give him back; I have already 2 dogs of my own and that's the limit at an apartment.

Bear deserves a FOREVER HOME now. I hope his story touches your heart as much as it has touched mine. Keep him your thoughts!

Wishing for more sunny days,

Erin, Bill and our fur-kids: Brittney, Buddy and foster-kid, Bear

Update June 15, 2004

Bear has been in his forever home for a month now and I promised I would write a pup-date. He now lives in Michigan with his new forever Mom (me), 5 hukids, and 4 Sheltie sisters. It was a long ride home and he was tired and a little frightened, but he adjusted quickly to the activity. He has a huge backyard, and he frequently patrols the perimeters of our fence, sniffing vigorously, as we are in the country with woods behind us. He has discovered woobies, and eagerly stuffs them in his mouth and heads for a comfortable spot near me and spends time squeaking them vigorously. Last week he found my box of beanie babies, and thinking he had discovered the Mother Lode of woobies, sailed by me with 3 or 4 of them stuffed in his huge mouth! I had to gently pry them away and replace them with one of his!! He never ceases to impress us. He has decided he likes car rides, and MiLady (Sheltie) almost always goes with me unless I am going to work. 2 weeks ago I was getting MiLady in the car before putting the garage door up and found Bear had managed to sail thru the door right behind me and was lined up to get into the van! We plopped 2 pillows in the back, helped Bear in and off we went! Today he went with Milady to PetsMart for the first time, and we transferred the pillows into a cart and he went inside, picked out some new woobies for himself. got attention from other shoppers, some treats at the cash register, and sailed out to the van, apparently quite pleased with himself!

From my heart, I want to tell everybody what a joy Bear is. He is loving, grateful, patient, and gentle. He does not feel that he is handicapped because he has lost a leg, and asks for nothing extra. Because he is older he has cataracts, but he sees with his heart, and I believe he has for a long time. In spite of what he has been through, he has continued to hope, and love, and give with all his heart. It took him a long time to get here, and a strange route, but we are sure he has ended up where God intended him to from the first and we love him.

To anyone considering adopting an older dog or one with a handicap, if it is truly in your heart, DO IT. Every dog needs a home and love and they give as much as they get or more. None look forward to getting old or becoming handicapped. Can you imagine losing your home because your family has died or you are considered a burden? It happens too often to too many aging or injured Shelties every day.

We can never thank Pam, Cathy and Erin enough for entrusting us with our precious Bear!! If anyone would like to discuss adopting a Sheltie like bear with me I would be happy to share and PSSR is welcomed to give them my e-mail address.

May the Lord bless you,

P. J.
Mom and Nana
Milady, Jenny, Miz Pookie, Heather Happy Tail, and Bear-Bear

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