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A Pet Rescue Story: Brownie, the Three Legged Dog

About my father, who is the only person I know that ever related similar stories to this one. He was an electrical engineer.

We Love Our Dogs

This is sport--brownie is in doggie heaven.

This is sport--brownie is in doggie heaven.

Dog in Pain

This hub is in response to a request for "Hubs on your animal rescue experiences" by Ethel Smith. What a wonderful idea!

My father grew up on a farm in the Great Depression. Farms were being foreclosed, people were losing their livelihood and there was barely enough money to scrape by. The family tried to be as self-sufficient as possible and in those days, people also looked after their neighbors. Doctors still made house calls and Dad was born right there on the farm.

Now to the pet rescue story: One of the family dogs, Brownie, got his leg stuck in a fence on the farm. Poor little Brownie actually pulled his paw off in an effort to free himself from the fence. Daddy was about six years old when this happened.

What a sad situation! There was no money for veterinarian care. The family only called the doctor when it was absolutely necessary, I hope you understand.

Grandma allowed the dog inside, as it was winter. She put down some rags for the dog to sleep on but did not expect him to survive the night. But, please read on...

Home Veterinary Care

Well, surprise!, Brownie was up and limping painfully in the morning. Dad's Dad, Grandpa, was impressed by the dog's fortitude and felt Brownie should have a chance at life--but this was going to be very painful for the little dog.

Grandpa told Dad to go get a burlap sack and some rope. He told Dad's older brother to get a hack saw from the tool shed. Dear reader, I hope you understand that this was to be an amputation not unlike those done in the Civil War. No anesthesia, nothing! I doubt they even tried to get the dog to drink whiskey as was the normal procedure in Civil War amputations.

They put the sack over the dog's head and secured it with rope around his mid-section. A dog in pain is going to snap and try to bite. Dad and his brother were ordered to hold Brownie down. Then Grandpa pushed up the flesh and cut the bone off as clean as possible with the hack saw. (I can just imagine poor Brownie yelping in pain during this procedure!) Grandpa then pulled the dog's remaining flesh over what was left of the bone as cleanly as he could and fashioned a bandage of clean rags around the stump.

Little Brownie came through this ghastly procedure and recovered on a pile of rags in the house. Normally, dogs were not permitted in the house at all, but this was a special circumstance. Nobody knew if Brownie would make it, so now it was time to wait...

Brownie's Recovery

Daddy said Brownie rested for a while, but perhaps a day later was up and learning to walk on three legs. In fact, Brownie got so used to running around on three legs that he was no slower than the other dogs! The neighbors all remarked on Brownie's ability to overcome his handicap.

Brownie, the tough little three-legged dog, survived to a ripe old age.


As you can see, this dog has no trouble getting around on three legs. Such was the case with Brownie! A little feisty animal that Brownie!

Many disabled dogs get along just fine, so there is no need to put them down at the veterinarian's office.

Please also see The Story of a Rural One-Room Schoolhouse and Rabies Scare: A True Story From an American Farm, the other of my farm stories..

And that is my pet rescue story. -- Laura in Denver


Laura Deibel (author) from Aurora, CO on October 10, 2011:

Animals are very special "people". (That doesn't sound right!)

I have taken many lost pets home. If they are tagged, I can call the owner, but otherwise I have to take them to the local shelter.

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smilngirl4u from Palmdale, CA on January 25, 2010:

This was truly a great story. Thanks for sharing.

Laura Deibel (author) from Aurora, CO on January 21, 2010:

Little Brownie was a cherished dog. He wanted his chance!

Chris Craig on January 21, 2010:

Love the story. I'm a dog lover and am continuously reminded of their remarkable resilience and simple needs for a happy life!

Johanna Smith from Fort Collins, CO on January 15, 2010:

How sweet! I love dogs, too! I never had a three legged one.

Laura Deibel (author) from Aurora, CO on January 11, 2010:

I wrote my first version of this story in about 3rd grade and got an A+.

But talking to Dad was worth much more...Grandpa died when I was less than two and I never knew him or Brownie.

Nell Rose from England on January 11, 2010:

I am so glad he survived, and went on to live a long time. I love dogs, but don't think I would have had the nerve to do the amputation. Cheers nell

Holle Abee from Georgia on January 09, 2010:

Poor little dog! I'm so glad he survived! He was a real trooper.

Laura Deibel (author) from Aurora, CO on January 09, 2010:

Farmers in those days also had to help birth calves when the mother cow was in distress. You see they HAD to be their own veterinarians. A can-do attitude was REQUIRED.

Grandpa made the choice to try to save Brownie from sure death from infection.

Lyns on January 09, 2010:

Such resourcefulness - I wonder if we could manage that now? I suspect that most of us would be too squeamish to deal with this situation in the same way these days. Humans manage on one leg, or with no legs so why shouldn´t a dog manage with one leg missing?

Laura Deibel (author) from Aurora, CO on January 08, 2010:

Yes, Brownie, Grandpa and Grandma are all there now.

Sugar's Mom on January 08, 2010:

I am sure your Dad and Grandpa did what they had to do. What great men! I am sure it was hard on them. I know that Brownie has made many friends once he crossed over the rainbow bridge.

Bella DonnaDonna from New Orleans, LA on January 08, 2010:

That poor doggie! It was plain luck he survived 'Civil War Amputation!'

Laura Deibel (author) from Aurora, CO on January 08, 2010:

Thanks, jochanaan. It was of great concern to my family that the animals, even the livestock, were treated with compassion.

At one time there were horses pulling plows, too. I will ask my Dad if he has any stories about the horses. ;-)

jochanaan on January 08, 2010:

That is a great story. I grew up on a ranch and know exactly the sort of people your father and grandfather seem to have been, quiet and apparently stoic but deeply compassionate. I'm so glad Brownie made it! :D

John Lakewood from Lakewood, CO on January 08, 2010:

Poor puppie! I recently saw an article about a dog surviving with two legs, but I think the owner made a little cart with wheels for her to pull around with her two front legs.

Laura Deibel (author) from Aurora, CO on January 07, 2010:

Brownie was my Dad's favorite dog. This is one of his happiest memories that his Dad was able to get Brownie through this. ;-)

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on January 07, 2010:

Laura this is a great story. I know the dog would have been in extreme but your Grandpa did what was right and within his means back then. THanks for the hub

daytripeer on January 07, 2010:

Great story Laura. I know it would have been hard for the boys to hold the dog and for the grandpa to do the cutting. You have to admire everyone in this story and especially the dog. Once again, great story.

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