Amputee dogs had their day again in Duboce Park Sunday, and the 10th annual Three-Legged Dog picnic returned after a COVID hiatus to welcome dogs with three legs, cones, casts, one eye, one ear, wheelchairs, blindness, deafness, or toothlessness.
The annual Three-Legged Dog Picnic in Duboce Park did not happen in 2020, as COVID-19 ravaged the pups’ human owner community. But the event for “handicapable” dogs who’ve had ruff encounters did return for its 10th annual iteration Sunday, and SFist got pup-arazzi photos and videos for the yearly meetup of not just three-legged dogs, but also, in the words or organizers, “dogs with cones, casts, one eye, wheelchairs, blind, deaf, toothless, vintage, lumpy; they’re all welcome.”
And if you learn anything at the Three-Legged Dog Picnic, it’s that a missing leg does not prevent the dog from pursuing the treat.
The event attracted roughly 50 people and several dozen dogs, the same attendance as most years, but it was spread out over a larger area for better social distancing. “We’re outside, people are being safe and considerate of their pods,” organizer Franny “Panny” Corsick tells SFist.
Yet there was still plenty of running room, and some of the larger dogs showed pretty outstanding running form and had clearly mastered their center-of-gravity issues.
Not all of the pups were three-legged. And the white pug puppy Frida Kahlo stole the show with her unique gait, despite badly misformed legs and spine from scoliosis.
“I’ve had her about a week,” Frida’s companion Pam del Rio told us. “Obviously she’s fearless and not in great pain, She’s probably going to grow. She’s still growing at five months and she’s got a curved spine, for sure.”
Some of the adaptive devices are getting pretty impressive, like the leg brace on the little fellow above. “They are custom orthotics from OrthoPets. He’s got an autoimmune polyarthritis, it's an autoimmune issue that breaks down his joints,” says owner Jeni Anadon. “We just got them six weeks ago, and he’s adjusted pretty well.”
Same goes for this lady Maple’s harness. “She’s wearing a Ruffwear harness with a handle. It’s versatile for both three-legged and four-legged dogs,” Maple’s pal Kyle tells us. “It supports the chest area. So whether you have three legs or four legs, you can utilize the pressure in the middle of the chest.”
Do not be fooled by the puppy-like appearance of the three-legged Pomeranian. “Gracie’s nine years old, she loves people, and she loves short walks in the neighborhood,” says her owner. “She loves sniffing garbage, she goes crazy for salmon skin and french fries, and she’s a survivor.”
Layla here is 14-and-a-half years old and going blind, so she fades into her carrier pretty quickly. But she has an online following, as her Dog Mom is a doggie blogger.
“I do reviews on dog products,” says Ruth Epstein. “LaylasWoof was started to share the life about a rescued dog, her adventures and our life together. Our aim is to get people to adopt and not buy full-bred dogs, speak out for the shelter pets, how to keep them safe during fireworks, preparedness for disasters, how to find your dog if it gets lost, healthy eating and much more. We go to as many dog events in the city as possible and we always share on our blog that event, as it is part of being a Dog Mom keeping her dog busy and healthy.”
The striking thing about these dogs and their human companions is that the humans chose to adopt tri-pawed dogs after they were already tri-pawed. The pups’ injuries or traumas occurred before the adoption, not after. And if you’re so inclined to be that kind of courageous dog person, there is no shortage of such pups at Muttville and Family Dog Rescue.
Images: Joe Kukura, SFist