Spade, The Jogging Dog Spokesdog
Yesterday Spade and I ran five and a half miles. When we returned home, my neighbor was outside so we went over to say hello. After hearing how far we had just run, my neighbor asked “Really? And he kept up with you the whole time?”
This surprise is not new to me. Every where we go people are amazed when they see him running alongside me. While it’s not uncommon to see people running with dogs, often for many miles, there’s something about Spade that makes him special: he only has three legs. He’s what we like to affectionately call a tripawd.
People are always curious how Spade lost his leg, or if he was born that way. The truth is, he has only been a tripawd for 7 months! Back in the summer of 2010, Spade was staying with my parents when they left a gate open and he ran out of the yard to chase a motorcycle. The veterinarian repaired his leg and after recovering, Spade was back to normal running and playing, although he always had a slight limp when he walked. Last summer, while chasing a ball at the dog park, he suddenly went lame. After x-rays and ultrasounds, the vets determined that his patellar tendon had completely disintegrated. A patellar tendon graft was an option, but it meant keeping Spade almost completely still for 3-6 months. If you’ve ever met a border collie, you know that’s a nearly impossible task. It was a heartbreaking decision to have his leg amputated, but when I saw him hopping out of the vet’s office the day after his surgery, I knew I had made the right decision.
I spent a lot of time on the floor cuddled with Spade the next few days while he recovered. However it wasn’t long after his incision healed that he was up running around just like normal. Just a month after the amputation he was back at the dog park chasing balls again. Dogs have an amazing ability to adapt, and it wasn’t long before Spade got strong enough to swim without a life vest.
Having three legs certainly hasn’t slowed him down at all. Since the inception of The Jogging Dog, Spade has logged 33.66 miles, and will soon be the first member of the 50 mile club! A favorite phrase in the tripawd community is “All dogs are born with three legs and a spare.” How true!