Three Legged Dog Club
Cassie's Club Members

Trinket is a purebred Coton de Tulear (a rare breed from Madagascar, distantly related to Bichons and Maltese). At this writing (Halloween 2005), Trinket is four months old. Unlike other three-legeed dogs I've heard about, Trinket was born without a front left leg, the result of a trauma when she was forming in her mother's womb; the trauma did not affect her internal organs, nor any of her three littermates. I heard about her shortly after she was born; her breeder also bred my ten year-old dog, Bunny. While the breeder would have kept and raised Trinket, she thought Trink would have a happier life with me.

In addition to her three legs, Trinket has a hunched spine and a crooked tail -- her tail not only has a bend halfway, but the last inch of her tail forms a hook, returning back on itself; however, it wags just fine and is in a constant blur. Neither of these other malformations is evident when you look at her; in fact, except for her curious gait which calls some attention, even her missing foreleg isn't really obvious. She does Zoomies around the house at top speed; sometimes she rolls, but she just jumps up and continues zooming. She's very outgoing and loves people, handing out kisses with wild enthusiasm.

Trinket is a very bright little puppy. The day she arrived, at 12 weeks of age, she figured out how to use the ramp up to my waterbed (I got the ramp years ago when Bunny had ACL surgery). The next day, Trinket learned to use the doggie door to come in; learning to use it to go out took another couple of days; using it consistently to Potty Outside is an ongoing process. She's also learned (on her own) to climb stairs, although she can't go down stairs. I don't know if this is something she will ever be able to do -- perhaps when she's bigger (currently 5.5 lbs., she'll probably max out at 10-15 lbs.), she will feel more able to step down -- but right now, she gets off curbs by leaping, and a stair has too narrow a landing field for her to leap onto. I have hung some bells at the top of the stairs and am trying to teach Trinket to ring the bells when she wants to come downstairs.

Sherry Gottlieb
Sunday October 30, 2005


Our "child" is a 10-year-old Shepherd/Husky mix.
We adopted her as a 3-month-old (with all 4 legs) from our Humane Society.
She has always been a character, able to leap a 4-foot (no pun intended) fence
into my garden from a standstill.

Kona was also able to climb a horizontal ladder-rung fence (with the help of a snowdrift) & leap over. I understand Huskies only know one direction - forward!
In her middle age years she toned it down & resorted to fetching anything
that would get her a treat - even underwear off the floor to give to visitors!
She impressed one visitor by being able to fetch one shoe, then its mate from a pile!

We moved from Canada to the Florida Keys in 1997,
then to Ft. Lauderdale in 2003 to a two-story home.
October of this year (2005) wasn't a good month.
Kona had been limping earlier since staving her right leg/paw on the wall trying to jump up on the windowsill to bark at other dogs.

The vet said it was a strain/sprain and to rest her.

However, in early October my husband found a lump on Kona's right front "wrist" (not there before). How long she'd been limping from the lump and not the original leg injury we didn't know, and we felt guilty.

Back to the vet, where she had a biopsy and the results weren't good -
it was a Grade III fibrosarcoma, a very aggressive cancerous tumor.

We had an appointment with the surgeon and an oncologist, who recommended amputation.

We proceeded to have a pet photographer come take her portrait before she was to have surgery, which was scheduled for Monday, October 24, 2005.

Unfortunately, Hurricane Wilma cancelled the surgery and devastated our entire county.
We checked in with the vet each day for 2 days after
(no phones, so it meant a treacherous trip over there) and still no power.
I asked if we shouldn't take her elsewhere for the surgery
and they agreed it would be best, due to the aggressive nature of the tumor.
We were blessed that our former vet in the Keys agreed to take Kona in for surgery that day (October 26) - they had just gotten power back themselves.

The surgery was done that afternoon almost as soon as I got there.
They were very reassuring that amputation would definitely eradicate the cancer
and Kona would adjust well.
The vet also felt Kona still had another 5 years!
I picked her up the next day and we recovered at my sister's in Key West.
There was no sign of pain after the first 24-36 hours, though we had medication for her.
We returned home when the power came back on,
and Kona has successfully negotiated 1.5 flights of stairs without a problem.

She's still recovering, but her stump is less sensitive
(you couldn't go near it the first couple of days,
and yelped when my sister's dog wagged her tail and whacked Kona's shoulder!
Kona was kind of anxious at first.)
It is also shrinking in size before our eyes.
We are gradually increasing her walk time, but don't want to overexert her.
She kind of hops like a kangaroo, but she's figuring out what to do with her back legs!
Our vet in the Keys had recommended a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement,
which I'd started after her original injury.
When a dog walks by the fence, you wouldn't know Kona has 3 legs,
as she chases back and forth, telling them off!
I asked the vet what might cause fibrosarcoma.
He said sometimes it's an injury, sometimes just genetics.
I was touched by your website and the stories there - thank you!
The picture we are sending is Kona at 1.5 weeks post-op.

Tracey & David Campbell (& Kona!)
Margate, Florida
Sunday November 6, 2005


Hi Cynthia,
I just wanted to send you an update on our tripod girl, Kona.
She's hopping along quite well & impresses everyone with how well she's adapted.
She has been joined by her "cousin", Mako, whom we took in
when my sister passed away a year ago.
(Mako has all 4 legs, but knows Kona is the boss!)

The only thing Kona does now that she didn't before
is that she will lay in the middle of the floor downstairs
with no one around & just yip.
As she is part Husky, she is vocal,
but the yip appears to have no meaning sometimes.
Being dutiful parents, we refill the food dish
(which ticks Mako off, but she knows better than to eat it!),
the water dish, give her a treat (which means Mako, too),
but sometimes those things aren't the answer.

I read on one other member's section that their dog cried
& wondered whether it was phantom pain.
I had asked the vet tech right after the surgery if dogs have phantom pain & he said they really didn't know.
I wonder if this is it -
she doesn't try to chew the area;
in fact, she doesn't even pay any attention to it.
I pet her & rub her stump & she seems to be fine after.
Her remaining front paw is getting very strong & appears bigger.
She can still chew "bonies" by holding them with her one paw!

Although she's slowing down, she's still in like Flynn when I ask,
"Who wants to go for a walkie?"

Dave & Tracey Campbell with regards from Kona & Mako
Saturday March 24, 2007

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