Pet Please #83: Animals with Three Legs

dogOkay, to be clear, the fact that any four-legged animal should end up with three legs is heartbreaking to me. The deformity or accident that caused the animal to lose its leg is absolutely tragic.

What I’m talking about is the hope and happiness I see in three-legged animals.

There is a dog–a German Shepherd mix–that lives in the building across from mine. I see the dog every few days from my couch when I’m eating dinner. The dog has one front leg and two back legs.

It would be perfectly reasonable for him (I use that in the genderless sense–I don’t know if it’s a male or female) to be a sad dog. After all, he’s missing a leg. He’s limited in ways that four-legged dogs are not. He walks differently than other dog. Every step is more like a forward bounce. Bounce, bounce, bounce.

And yet I’ll be darned if this isn’t one of the happiest dogs I’ve ever seen.

Granted, that’s a presumption. I don’t know this dog. But I see him several times a week, and he is so full of spirit and joy and life. You can see it in the way he moves and the way he interacts with his owners. This is one happy dog.

Whenever I see this dog (or any three-legged animal), I am reminded that there is so much happiness out there for the taking despite the things that hold us back. We all have shortcomings, weaknesses, disabilities of sorts. We are capable of wallowing in our suffering every day, or we can choose to use our third leg as a springboard into happiness.

I think sometimes we forget that happiness is a choice–THE choice–and we’re fortunate there are beautiful animals and people out there who help us remember.

Thank you, three-legged dog. I hope we meet someday. Until then, may we both choose to bounce, bounce, bounce into happiness every day.

What’s the last time you saw or experienced something that warmed your heart and reminded you that happiness is a choice?