By: Teresa Oliver
Meet Tuffy, my blind tripod dog. Despite having only three legs, this senior pup is full of life and happiness. His infectious joy and resilience are inspiring, especially considering the hardships he has endured.
Tuffy came into my life back in 2016 when I saw his photo on Facebook. As a volunteer coordinator for a dog rescue group at the time, I felt an instant connection to this special pup. Tuffy had been through so much already in his young life. He was rescued from a neglectful situation and taken to a sanctuary, which was later raided and shut down.
Once Tuffy was safely in the rescue's care, he was placed with a foster in Wyoming. But tragedy struck when he returned from the outdoors, missing his front leg up to the ankle. No one knew what horrible accident had occurred. The vets wanted to euthanize him, but I couldn't let that happen. I raced from Arizona to Wyoming to save Tuffy.
I brought Tuffy to my pack of five rescue dogs back home. Despite his disability, he bonded closely with my dog Booker, who became like a brother to him. We researched prosthetics and amputee dogs so we could provide Tuffy with the best care possible. For a while, he was able to use a prosthetic leg. But over time, it became too difficult for Tuffy to maneuver.
One by one, each of my dogs passed away due to old age and cancer, until only Tuffy was left. At 15, he is the sole surviving member of my original pack. We have given Tuffy the best life possible, showering him with love, comfort, and kindness. He is faster and more agile than ever, even with three legs. His zest for life is infectious and inspiring.
His missing paw prevents him from joining in certain activities like running alongside our bikes. Tuffy loves going on outdoor adventures, so we searched for safe ways to include him. The Burley Bark Ranger has allowed us to include Tuffy on endless adventures. Despite his age and disability, Tuffy's spirit is unstoppable. He is the perfect example of how special needs dogs still have so much life and love to give.