The Three Legged Dog

This is a story about a (25 pound) three-legged dog, named Jake, and his master (James), who loves him dearly. James says, Jake, is his great animal companion. Jake is not one of those fancy purebred dogs, he’s just a mut, but... a loving and gentle breed, who make very good pets, by the way! Jake have been with his master (James) for ten years and they are very happy together. Where ever Jake’s master went, Jake was always there with him. James has a young sister that will be turning twenty-three, her name is Jan. She is very special, and...James also, loves her dearly. James is a hard working man and no matter what, he always had time for his sister and his dog. They both take Jake for walks in the park everyday. To prove it, Jake has a basket near his doggy bed, full of balls of all shapes and sizes. Everyday, when James took Jake to the park, he would let Jake take one ball home, so he could put it in his basket. One day, a man was playing golf in the park, and Jake took one of the golf balls. The Golfer was mad, but... Jake was happy! Well to make a story short, something real drastic happened. That once, loving, little family... was no longer!

This part of the story is done by, none other, than Jake, a 25 pound, three-legged dog! Read on...

One night, Jan (my masters, sister) was going to have a party at her house, with a few friends. So James (my master) put me in the front seat as usual (because I always go with him everywhere, well... just about everywhere) and we were on our merry way. When we got to Jan’s, James put me in the back of the pickup truck, because it would be cooler for me. After a few hours at Jan’s house, everyone was leaving, Jan got behind the wheel to drive James home, (because... he was drunk), and drove off ( Jan, not knowing I was in the back of the pickup truck). It was just a few miles from home, so... I guess it was alright. It was nice and cool, so that made me happy. We were just about home, when all of a sudden... a car hit us head on, (we never did make it home) the only thing I remembered... was being thrown from the back of the pickup truck, I heard noises and saw some lights, then... nothing!

I was rushed to a doggy hospital. On the second day at the hospital, I finally woke up (from all the medication I was taking), I looked around and I didn’t see my master, James, or Jan. I was wondering... "where could they be?" About a week later, I finally saw James, he came to pick me up at the hospital, and I was sent home, with a bandaged on my right hind leg.

I had a bad infection, and the vet told James (my master) to make sure he changes my bandages three times a day, and also...for me to get lots of rest. But... after a week, (still feeling weak, and alone most of the time), I kept licking the wound, it hurt so bad. I couldn’t walk, I just crawled around, most of the time I had no water or food. James just left me there all alone.

My master was not in a very good mood lately, he yelled a lot, one day he kicked me hard, I hid, because I was scared. Later James must of felt bad, because he said he was sorry! I don’t know what happened to that (once) nice master, who use to love me! He seemed to be real sad all the time, maybe he couldn’t cope with the idea of me getting hurt. I, again, looked around to see if Jan was here, but... no Jan. When James did come home, he would forget to change my bandages. After a week, and... sober, James came home to change my bandage, but... it was too late. By leg smelled terrible and looked real bad, it scared James, so he took me to the doctors, gangrene had set in. While in the hospital, the doctor had to cut my leg off to the hip. I spent two more weeks or so in the Veterinarian Hospital. When I finally was sent home, (again...with strict instructions from the doctor) I had not four legs, but... three!

After a year, I was back to my old self, and the vet said I was as good as new. But... I was still alone, with no one to care for me. James got real bad, he was drunk most of the time, and sad.

I tried to run away, but... every time I’d come back, because I loved him, he was all I had. I tried to get on his lap, to give him slurpy kisses... he just brushed me away, away and away, every time. Finally... I made up my mind, after the third time, I decided to leave, I didn’t even look back.

It was getting dark, and I was getting hungry. I was going through the garbage along the road way, looking for food, when all of a sudden... a man in a blue truck, was trying to put a net over me. Thankfully... the net just brushed against my back, that’s when I ran, flailing, furiously, away from the man and the net. And... here I am, hiding in the bushes, trying to catch my breath, hungry, tired, and very thirsty!

Read on, this part of the story is done by: Ella Mae (a human)

It was a Sunday, I (Ella Mae) went in the back yard to pull some weeds and to water my flowers. It was so humid and muggy, and, there was just a little breeze blowing at my face. I bent down to pull some weeds, by the little bush, near my white picket fence, all of a sudden, I thought I heard a rustle in the bushes, I walked slowly towards it, carefully, not knowing what was in there, I got down on one knee to look a little closer. What could be hiding in this bush, in my back yard? I stood still for a minute or two, then all of a sudden, I saw a shadow that looked like an animal. Then... a pair of brown, sad eyes, was looking straight at me.

I gasped, then stepped back, because I didn’t want to scare him, with a very soft, calm voice, and... a minute later, I talked a little dog out from under the bush!

I slowly... reached out to this dirty, pitiful, looking dog with big, brown, sad eyes. As he, stood next to me, I noticed... he had one leg missing. "Ohh", I gasped, my heart then went out to him! Scared and shaken, he came to me and planted a wet, stinky, slurpy tongue on my face, he smelled terrible. I laughed, then said.... "You my friend, need a bath!"

As I stared into his (now) happy eye’s, I said... "You need a name, I’m going to call you Shadow, do you want to come home with me?" With his tail wagging, he followed me to his (now) new home. I was amazed, how well he could get around with three legs.

The next day, (after a full tummy, bath, and a soft bed, mine) I took Shadow to a Vet and he got his vaccinations, and a thorough examination. The vet told me Shadow was a very lucky dog to have someone like me, to love him. And the vet was right. I put Shadow’s leash on, and... out we went, into the beautiful sunshine, with Shadow’s (now) big brown eyes looking happy, and...with his (now) new owner! ;-)

On the way home, I stopped at the Pet Shop (with Shadow next to me) to buy him a new bed. Of course... Shadow found himself a new red ball (as he rolls it down the isle) and I got him some chew toys to chew on. As I put the dog in the car, I said, "Shadow, it looks like you and I have our own beds!"

Well... it took about a week, until Shadow realized his bed was his, and my bed was mine!

Before Shadow came into my life, it was quiet, too quiet, I should say. I went to the gym, went out to dinner or lunch with friends, did some shopping, the usual things. I lost my husband four years ago, and always wanted to get a puppy at the shelter, but, know... as I look at my little animal companion, setting next to me, I don’t need to look any further... I found him in my back yard!

I was told from the Vet, Shadow was getting up in age, he’s around ten years old, not to worry, because... this dog will live a long life, with lots of love and affection, he will live to be a healthy old dog. That made me real happy, and looking at Shadow, I think he’s a happy dog as well!

It took a few months... before Shadow would let anyone near him (because, of what happened to him, whatever that was, and, I might never know). Once he got use to my friends, he was fine, but... when someone yelled or laughed real loud, or got up fast, Shadow would run and hide! I’d have to go find him and put him in my arms and cuddle him. After a few minutes, he would stop shaken and then I would get one of his slurpy kisses on the mouth. After I would put him down, he would be fine. Everyday we would go to the park, and every day, it was like clock work, he knew when it was time to go to the park.

It was, as if... he had done this park thing before! I taught him to get his leash, and bring it to me, shaking his little body with excitement. So... I would drop everything, and off we would go to the park, me and my three-legged Shadow.

It was one of those hot days in July, Shadow and I decided to go to the pool and have a swim. The water felt great, and Shadow of course... had to have his favourite red, squeaky, ball in the water. I must of thrown that ball across the pool about ten times, and... finally, I had to give it up. Plus, I thought it would be too much on Shadow. He just looked at me with his big (now happy) eyes, as if to say... "Ok, I’ve had enough!" I put his doggy towel on the floor next to me, and he rolled on it to dry himself off ( another trick I taught him). I took the towel and finished drying him off, to make sure he was good and dry, Shadow, then went in his soft bed next to me, to relax from all that swimming, I sat in my lounge chair, by the pool and read a book, both of us feeling contented and happy!

I looked at him, and wondered to my self... "what really happened to you Shadow, how did you lose your leg, who could of hurt my precious little Shadow?"

Questions after questions, and no answers! I let out a big sigh, Shadow must of heard me, because... he jumped up on my lap and gave me one of his slurpy kisses. Then I said... "Shadow, I’m so glad you are my friend!" Then, he gave me another slurpy kisses ( as if to tell me), "I’m glad I have you for my friend!"

After all those slurpy kisses, I had to go wash my hands and face, to make dinner for the both of us. I gently put Shadow down and we both went into the house, we were both starving.

About 7:15 P.M., I was going to do my dishes, so I put Shadow out in the lanai (patio), to go outdoors do his business (I put a doggy door out there so he could come in and out by himself). Finally, about twenty minutes, I decided to go to the lanai to play with Shadow, (he always waits for me in his little bed, until I’m done with what ever I’m doing) but... Shadow was no where in sight. I began to panic, (because that was not like him) I went in the back yard and called his name, nothing! The neighbours wanted to know what was wrong, and I told them Shadow was missing. So everyone went looking for him, I kept calling his name, (and asked God, please don’t let him be hurt), and the tears were falling down my cheeks, "where are you Shadow!"

But... still no Shadow. I walked near the fence, (thinking he might be there) I looked down and on the ground, there seemed to be a net of some kind... "Oh, my God, this can’t be happening!" Some one tried to steal my Shadow. That means... Shadow got loose from the net and ran away...again!

I was running up and down the road, still calling his name, finally...I knelt on the ground (exhausted) and asked God to please help me find my little dog.

As I went to get up, a man (handsome one I should say) approached me, holding a little dog.

After a few seconds... I finally came to my senses and realized it was my Shadow!

"Shadow", I screamed... "where have you been?" Shadow was so happy to see me, he jumped into my arms and we both fell to the ground! The man tried to pick me up, but... Shadow was giving me his slurpy kisses and couldn’t get to me! That was one of the most happiest times, having my beloved Shadow back in my life!

I stood up (with the help of the nice man) and told him, my name was Ella Mae, and he said his name was Allen. We shook hands (and I think I blushed, because... he seemed to have held my hand a little longer than I thought he should of) I, then, thanked him for finding my Shadow! He said... (with a deep, masculine voice) "It was my pleasure!" I asked him, "Would you like to have some ice tea? "Smiling, he said, "Yes, I would love some! "So we sat in the lanai near the pool, and had a couple of glasses of ice tea. Then, he proceeded to tell me how he found Shadow.

"I was trying to get up enough nerve to ask you out, so I went to knock on your front door, but, instead... I walked to the back, towards your lanai, I thought I heard you playing with Shadow. That’s when I saw someone near your white picket fence, it was a man, and in his hands he had a white net. He was trying to throw the net on Shadow, but Shadow was smarter than the man. The man tripped, and dropped the net and took off, with me trailing after him. In the mean time, I saw Shadow go for the bushes, just down the road a piece, and... hoping he was going to stay there. The poor thing was shaking like a leaf, I felt bad I had to leave him, but... I wanted to find the man who tried to steal your dog! I knew he was your dog, because... (now I’m blushing) I saw you both at the park one day. And, everyday about a week, I was at the park trying to get the nerve to go over and talk with you. I was hoping you would see me watching the two of you, but... you were having so much fun with your little dog. You had only eyes for your little pooch!

So... anyway, I finally caught up with the man, and threw him to the ground, I told him I wanted some answers. He told me his name was James and the dog, he called Jake (your Shadow) was his at one time. One year ago today, he went to his sisters house and had a few too many drinks and Jan, his sister, was going to drive him home, and she would stay for the night. So they both got in the front and went on their merry way. Jan thought she heard a dog barking and as she looked in the back of the pickup, she saw James dog, Jake. James, in the mean time had passed out, so...he didn’t tell her about the dog being in the back. She knew James always brought the dog where ever he went, but, she didn’t think he would bring him to the party.

But, because of James being drunk, he didn’t tell Jan, the dog was in the back. Then... there was an accident. A drunk driver hit them head on with their car. Of course... James dog (your Shadow was thrown from the truck, and on the ground, all bloody with a big gash on his leg. James had a few scrapes and cuts, but... his sister Jan, died a few days later.

Well... after a week in the hospital, the dog got an infection in the one leg, real bad, the vet had to amputate his dog’s right hind leg. I guess James felt real guilty and sad about his poor, little dog, and... losing his sister Jan, he started to drink real bad. He neglected the dog, to a point where he didn’t want to see him any more. James said Jake ran away a couple of times, but, always came back, maybe, hoping his master would change.

James then told me he had quit drinking, and went to the park (the same place where you take Shadow) to relax, so he could try to keep his mind of his dog and sister. One day, he saw you with his dog, in the park. When you and Shadow left, he followed you home. He had it all planned out, but... one thing was sure, he forgot how smart his little dog was!"

While Allen was telling me the story, I couldn’t stop crying, all the while hugging Shadow. I felt so bad for James, he loved his sister, and ... he did love his dog, (my Shadow). Allen put his arms around me, and... Shadow, jumped on my lap and gave me one of his slurpy kisses! ;-)

The next few days was kind of shaky for Shadow, I took him to the vet and the doctor put him on some medicine to calm his little body down. I never left his side, matter of fact, Shadow never left my side either. I looked at Shadow and said... "No one is ever taking you from me again!"

If that drunk driver had not of hit them, James would of had a great friend and animal companion for years to come, and, his sister would still be alive. He was lost without his sister. He lost not only a dog, but...a sister. I wished James just gave the dog to a nice family, or to a shelter? But no...instead... he just pushed him away until the dog finally couldn’t take it anymore!

Two weeks later, a couple of people from "AnimalVoicesGroup" called the police on James, because... someone saw him beating a dog and left him to die. James spend a few months in jail, and... he was never to own a pet ever, as long as he lives.

I looked at Shadow, and thought to myself..."Shadow, I’m so sorry for your master, James, he loved you and his sister so much, you didn’t deserve all of this, and, he didn’t either!" Shadow just wagged his tail, and went to his soft bed, feeling happy and safe once more.

A few hours later, the door bell rang, and Shadow went to the door growling, (still shaken up from everything that went wrong) as soon as he saw Allen, Shadow was barking with delight, circling around Allen, waiting to be picked up. Allen picked him up, and Shadow gave Allen... one of his slurpy kisses.

Shadow, at that very second, was a happy and lucky dog, for having such two great friends.

After a couple of months, Allen and I became more than great friends, on our dinner dates together, (without Shadow lingering near, which made me feel bad leaving him behind) we left Shadow home for a few hours. He was feeling more secure now, and the vet said it would be good for him to try to be alone. I put on some soft music, and that calmed him a lot!

Allen and I had a great dinner, afterwards, we took a walk in the park, and then sat on a bench, and just talked. It was a beautiful evening, the moon was shining so big, (just like in the movies, when you see two lovers holding each other) tonight... there was two lovers setting together, on a bench, and the moon was shining... on us!

I was setting in the lanai having a cup of tea, and Shadow was resting in his soft bed, dreaming about something (I hope he wasn’t running from someone). The telephone rang, I got up to answer it, and it was Allen, he said he was coming over, he had a surprise for me. Now what? He’s always giving me surprises, what could it be this time? A few minutes went by, then... Allen came to the lanai where Shadow and I was still setting. Allen came next to me and asked for my hand, I just looked at him, surprised... he handed me a box with a huge diamond in it. I just gasped, he then took the ring out, then... he put the ring on my finger and proposed to me! In the mean time Shadow was running around us in circles, wondering what all the excitement was. After Allen kissed me, I bent down to show Shadow the ring, I then... got a big slurpy kiss, from Shadow!

After my husband died, and before Shadow, I had a simple and quiet life, I thought, now... I have a bright eyed, 25 pound, three-legged, bushy tail dog (that gives me slurpy kisses) and a future husband to share my life with, hopefully, for many years to come!


Copyright ©Lavina Burgess

Lavina Burgess
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