Adopted Three-legged Puppy Brings Joy Back to His Family

After grief, Tripp’s joy and happiness were a winning combination.

Peter + Tripp

The loss of a beloved pet was devastating for Peter and his pup, Oscar. Then a three-legged puppy came along and helped his family find happiness again.

"Because I am an avid baseball fan and a triple-play is one of the most challenging in baseball, my students renamed our new pup Tripp. They figured my life was going to become both challenging, exciting and rewarding. It was so true!"

My Port Angeles, Washington high school class named him Baxter. Yes, he was a four-legged creature, but we were best friends for seven years. Life was great until he fainted one day and was diagnosed with a fatal heart condition. I got Baxter a little Boxer friend to enrich his final months and pass on his fabulous characteristics. Baxter took over care of this pup who we came to call Oscar. Then came the dreadful day when reality struck and Oscar watched from the living room window as I drove Baxter away for the final time.

Then came the intense grieving. My energy plummeted and my students suffered. Essays went unread, tests ungraded; nothing was going right. I was often late to work, and couldn’t wait to get home. My students and friends noticed, but didn’t know what to say. Oscar’s depression was even worse. His appetite and energy level fell, but most disturbing were his lonely, ear-shattering night howls. They were frightening and heart-breaking.

Adopted Dog Tripp

Sitting at my desk at school, I received a call from a former student about a Boxer puppy with a severely broken leg. His owner surrendered the injured animal, resulting in a request to the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society (OPHS) to take over his care. Immediately, I phoned OPHS and claimed the puppy sight unseen! Oscar and “Vander” (the puppy’s name) took to each other instantly. They played, ran (Vander dragging behind his casted leg), completely ignoring me.

Leaving school to pick up Vander, I received a call: the broken leg had not grown properly and would need to be amputated. Did I want, could I handle, a three-legged puppy, along with its potential difficulties and medical expenses?

Adopted Dog Tripp

Of course, this is now our pup. Because I am an avid baseball fan and a triple-play is one of the most challenging in baseball, my students renamed our new pup Tripp. They figured my life was going to become both challenging, exciting and rewarding. It was so true! Oscar stuck by Tripp like glue, constantly watching over him like a proud Papa, nuzzling him to where he needed to be. Gone was Oscar’s lack of appetite, sadness and those horribly sad night howls.

And Oscar wasn’t the only one who improved. The impact on me was dramatic. My energy level returned (despite the challenges and chaos of a new puppy). Joy for my classroom returned, however, my students still complained about seeing too many pictures of my new family member. Essays were read, tests corrected, assignments returned (some students didn’t appreciate that). The three of us became fixtures at the school’s tennis matches, fast pitch games and track meets. Everyone wanted to meet this three-legged wonder-dog that made my family a threesome.

Tripp’s difficult days are behind him now: Win.

Oscar is now the happy, caring Boxer he’d always been: Win.

And, in all its irony, this funny, three-legged puppy caused my life to regain its balance: Win.

This was my triple play to a WIN-WIN-WIN!

Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Peter won Olympic Peninsula Humane Society in Port Angeles, Washington a 2019 Holiday Wishes award.