Three Legged Dog

While pursuing my bachelor’s degree, I thought I wanted to go to veterinary school. I worked on the weekends at a local shelter in order to test out the idea. After two years, I had shed one too many tears and rescued a dog. The experiment convinced me that it would be prudent for me to reconsider my plans. However, I did gain several valuable lessons such as the lesson of the three legged dog.

On rare occasions, a three legged dog would end up a resident at the shelter. Each day, people in search of a pet would browse the rows of kennels. Some of them would pause by the dog’s enclosure and lament, “Oh, poor doggy! He only has three legs.”

The interesting thing is, the dog did not care that he had three legs. The three legged dog would still run and play with the other dogs. It was as if he shrugged off his missing leg and went on with life.

The lesson stayed with me and I try to apply it to my life. Due to my spine issues, I can no longer do many of the things I enjoy. Instead, I find what I can do and fill the void with those.

When it comes to Charlie, I try to instill the same mindset. We (her dad, Charlie, and I) enjoy the things she can do. Most of the time, this thinking works for us. We rarely think about the things Charlie struggles with as we engage in our daily routine. Her therapy is fun like play and, for the most part, we forget its purpose.

On the other hand, there are the rare days that this level of optimism and positive thinking is rather difficult. Today is one of those days. Charlie’s NICU friend learned to walk today. While I’m incredibly thrilled for her, I am envious. I feel envy tinged with sadness to be precise.

I have to figure out how to shrug this one off and go on. I am thinking of the three legged dog in my search for inspiration. Hopefully, I will wake up tomorrow and not even think about it. I have a feeling Charlie will have a hand in that.


About Rebecca Wood

In May 2012, my pregnancy ended three and a half months early due to severe early onset preeclampsia. This is my collection of thoughts and media. It is an attempt to document and discuss our experience of navigating the post NICU world. View all posts by Rebecca Wood

3 responses to “Three Legged Dog

  • Sally JPA

    Those moments (or days, sometimes, for me) when you’re so thrilled for someone else and so envious, angry, sad, etc. about your own situation are some of the hardest ones to handle emotionally.


  • jgroeber

    Totally cheezy comfort food here, but I remember reading years ago in Chicken Soup for the Soul, I think (embarrassed!) someone talks about having a child with special needs (however we define that) as traveling to Italy, packing for Italy, mapping Italy, but getting off the plane in Belgium. I mean, who doesn’t want Italy? Who wouldn’t mourn the loss of Italy? But it sounds like you’ve got Belgium: beer, chocolate, waffles, Flemish art, great people… Maybe you’ll go to Italy later. Belgium is awesome. Enjoy your lovely truffle. It sounds like you do!


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