Stella the Three-Legged Dog



Four years ago we rescued a three-legged Great Dane named Stella. Or she rescued my husband and me.

Stella was hit by a car when she was five months old. Bad injury. The femur was broken and rammed through her hip bone. It’s a miracle she survived the accident and a second miracle she survived her previous owner who reportedly said, “If it doesn’t heal on it’s own, I’ll shoot her.”  She dragged her injured leg for weeks until the Rocky Mountain Great Dane Rescue Group finally intervened. They drove her, overnight, to a specialist in Colorado Springs who removed the leg and part of the hip. She nearly died on the operating table–miracle number three. See

 Here’s the good part. Stella, a happy, tail-wagger 24/7, has become a certified therapy dog. She visits hospitals, libraries and homes for the elderly. A favorite place is the local mental hospital (juvenile section). Stella’s big. Even with three legs, she can look formidable. At first the kids hang back.

“Does she bite?”

Great Dane

Great Dane



“What happened to her?”

That last is the real question. People will stop us on the street to ask that one. It’s obvious Stella is a dog with a story.

The kids at the mental hospital do more. They own her story. Those who remember her from a previous visit rush to tell the newbies all about her. They like the parts about how she was hurt, abused, abandoned, placed in foster care, then rescued. They also ask questions. Hard questions.

“Why did you want a dog with three legs?”

 Ask that question and, all of a sudden, the story is no longer about a rescue dog. It’s about you.

I shrugged. “When she runs, it’s like she’s forgotten dogs have four legs. Sometimes we forget, too. She’s just a great dog.”


Stella Runs

Stella Runs








Filed under Animal Stories, stories

9 responses to “Stella the Three-Legged Dog

  1. Oh, Stella is a great lady, not just a great dane. She is sweet and gentle and thinks she’s a lap dog. She’s a symbol of how we can rise above what others force upon us. Rosemary Carstens –

  2. Stella is a beauty! You are awesome humans for loving her and giving her a great home.

    If you get a chance, would you mind introducing her on our website for three legged dogs, Lots of pawrents of giant breed dogs are always asking my Mom and Dad how a big dog can survive on three legs, and they are always looking for examples of superstars like Stella. We’d love it if you wrote about her in our aForums. Thanks for considering it. Hoppy Howlidays!

  3. All good tripods should hang together. I’ll gladly add Stella to your website. Thanks.

  4. Vicki T

    Hi, Stella & Jerrie! We saw your link over on and Stella is certainly a very beautiful dog. I love the picture of her running; she is most amazing! It’s great to hear that you were pivotal in rescuing her and now she has her “forever” home. Thank you for sharing your story. Vicki T, Blazer & Kitty Kimber

  5. Loved your story on! The action shot of Stella running is spectacular. She is truly gorgeous, and so hard to fathom that anyone would NOT want her. Thank God you rescued her. I have a tripod Great Dane too, although my girl had bone cancer so her story is a little different. My Nova is not quite a graceful as Stella, more of a goofy Great Dane! But she too has done great on 3 legs. I have been thinking about having her become a therapy dog, how did you get certified for that with Stella?

    Come check out our blog sometime

    Sue and Nova

  6. Thanks. Your Nova is also an inspiration. There are several ways to get a dog certified as a therapy dog. Delta Society does it. So do most local Humane Societies. Go for it.

  7. Carly

    I loved hearing about your dane. I had a litter of dane puppies and the mother bit off one of its back legs. I am bottle feeding now of course and she is spayed now. Anyway, the vet recommended putting her down,because she said that such a big dog would not do well on 3 legs and she would develope arthritis in the other leg very early. This little puppy is such a fighter we wanted to give her a chance. She had the incision closed and she is on antibiotics and is now 12 days old and doing well. She was 5 days old when this happened. What are your thoughts are her chances for a quality life? We are responsible breeders and take full responsibility for her, but I would like to find her a very good special home. I am afraid my other danes would be to rough on her. Any thoughts? Will she learn to walk on only 3 legs?

  8. Depends on the dog. Stella lost her leg at young age but not as young as yours. I would let the dog decide. If she wants to make it work, she will. If arthritis sets in, deal with it then. Good luck. What a terrible way to start life. Maybe she’ll be a therapy dog, like Stella and do some good for others.

  9. Pingback: The Ancestor Effect! | Jerrie Hurd Takes Family History Seriously . . .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s