A three-legged dog is not the most obvious choice for pet owners wanting to adopt but they can surprise you, as Greyton dog owner Alan Spencer found out.
Alan, who has owned pure bred Bull Terriers, a German Shepherd, a French poodle, and a Tibetan Terrier, never imagined he’d adopt a cross-bred Pitbull with three legs into his home. “My two daughters had been urging me to get another dog and while the one daughter and I were shopping in Hermanus she phoned Hermanus Animal Welfare to see if they had dogs for adoption. The reply was ‘plenty’,” says Alan.
“We went to animal welfare and there was indeed an abundance of puppies and dogs available for adoption. While looking at the puppies I noticed Scud and another dog in a separated cage and I asked about them; I was told that one of the dogs had only three legs. I asked if I could go into the cage to play with him and the rest is history,” Alan says. “They let you foster for three months to make up your mind. I was more than happy to adopt him; he had wormed his way into my heart. The first thing I did was to name him Scud after the Scud missile (he had been named Lucky) and after a late friend of mine who had named his Staffie, Scud.”
Scud lost his leg as a puppy after being run over by a car. He ended up at animal welfare when his owner moved into a flat in Johannesburg.
Though Scud was comfortably and completely mobile when Alan adopted him, Alan nevertheless brought him to Cottage Vet for a checkup. “I’d been told of this fabulous vet who was an orthopaedic specialist so I decided to take Scud to Dr Morné de Wet for a consultation/checkup and his advice. Dr Morné x-rayed the leg and found that the leg (knee joint) had not developed as it should, and suggested an operation to rectify the deformation.
“But he also said that I had the option to leave the leg as it was, and to see how well he did on it. I chose this option. Scud was a happy chappy on his three legs and was coping very well. He obviously cannot jump onto the bed or jump into the car. Apart from that he’s happy to run with and chase after other dogs.”
Scud is a cross breed but is mainly Pitbull. “I have never in my life had a dog who is more friendly than Scud,” says Alan. “He has never ever growled at any person or any dog. He is just a happy, friendly dog around everyone and other dogs. Even when other dog growl or snap at him he just wags his tail – there is absolutely NO aggression. He has such a calm disposition. He’s had his fair share of dogs growling at him and he remains friendly. I try and stay very calm myself and he senses the calmness.”
About two weeks ago Scud appeared to have injured his leg. He’d been playing with another dog who was rather rough with him and that evening Alan noticed that Scud wasn’t walking on his lone hind leg; in fact, he was walking only on his two front legs. “I let him sleep on the bed with me that night and as often as I could I rubbed anti-inflammatory cream into both sides of his knee. He slowly started walking on his hind leg again. “However, I was concerned that damage may have been done and took him to see Dr Morné. After a thorough examination, Dr Morné told me that Scud’s knee was fine and that the knee tendons were, in fact, stronger than they were before. However, he said Scud’s spine was very tender in places. So he has given him medication for a month and Scud will go back for a second checkup in a month’s time. So far Im pleased to say he’s coming along nicely,” says Alan.
And how does he feel now about the decision to adopt a three-legged dog? “Both my daughters now live overseas and Scud is my love and means everything to me. I’m sure he can tell the time and that he can read my mind! I only have to think “let’s go in the car” and he starts hopping around me. I give him the car keys and he carries them to the car for me, much to the neighbour’s delight.
I don’t think he’s much of a watchdog but he is very alert and lets me know when someone walks past the back of my home or into the front gate.”