Operation Kindness Blog

A three-legged dog learns how to navigate the world

Three-legged dog learns to navigate her world | Operation Kindness

Lexa may only have three legs, but her foster family helped her learn how to get around

Lexa was just a puppy when she was brought to Operation Kindness with an unusual limb deformity. Her rear leg was rotated, causing it to hang loosely and she was unable to bear weight on the leg.

The limb slowed Lexa down significantly and she struggled to easily move around. Our medical team examined her and determined amputation would give Lexa the best quality of life.

Lexa had surgery in our Rees-Jones Foundation Medical Wing and spent a large part of her recovery in a foster home. Her foster family gently worked with her as she learned how to get around on three legs.

[Related: How to Foster Puppies]

Dogs and puppies like Lexa can be very resilient. Three-legged animals usually adapt within a few short weeks and forget the missing limb altogether. Affectionately called “tripod” dogs, they can live long, happy and healthy lives with minimal adjustment to their lifestyle or yours.

Tips for three-legged dogs

If you have a three-legged dog or are considering adopting one, here are a few tips to keep them happy and healthy:

  • It’s natural to feel overprotective of a dog who has lost a limb, but they should romp, play and exercise normally.
  • Watch their diet. Carrying around extra weight can be difficult with three limbs. Be sure to maintain a healthy diet and follow your vet’s advice.
  • As with all dogs, always walk them on a leash and wear a collar with tags and identification.
  • Take care on the stairs. Give your dog plenty of time and assistance to navigate stairs.
  • Consider elevated food and water bowls. These allow your dog to eat and drink without bending down.
  • Check for slippery surfaces in your home. Three-legged dogs can lose balance and traction easily. Consider placing area rugs or runners on hard surfaces.
  • Assist your dog when jumping up or down from raised surfaces, like a couch or bed.

[Related: Dog Training Resources]

As for Lexa, once she was made available for adoption, a family saw her photo online and it was love at first sight. They didn’t waste a moment before adopting her. She has grown up beautifully and adapted well to her new home.

Lexa’s family describes her as the “goofiest, sweetest girl,” She’s living a full, happy life today.

Fostering a pet like Lexa can help them live their best life. Sign up to foster with Operation Kindness today.