Three-Legged Dog

2012-08-16 – For the last week or so, I’ve been seeing a three-legged dog during my morning walk to the train. It’s not immediately apparent that the dog only has three legs when you first see it. I don’t really know breeds, so I can’t say for sure what kind of dog it is. It’s a mid-sized breed with short brown fur.

When I first see the dog, it’s at a distance and nothing looks amiss, but as I get closer, I notice a kind of hopping gait in the hind quarters. Finally, I can see that the left rear leg is missing. Other than that, the dog looks cheerful – or whatever a dog is that has overcome adversity.

Today, I didn’t go to the train. I was off today and tomorrow so I could come to Iowa to take Cal to college. I am at the hotel right now. Tomorrow morning we move Cal into the dorm. Tomorrow afternoon, he meets with the soccer team and we take off.

On the trip out here, I kept thinking about that three-legged dog. I thought there might be some sort of edifying moral I could bring to this blog. Weirdly, I have a kind of physical empathy with the animal and was imagining what it would be like to be minus a limb. Of course a dog is built differently than I am. A normal dog walks on four limbs. I walk on two. If I am missing one, I have only one left. If a dog is missing one, it has three left.

Maybe my identification with this dog is more abstract. Here I am, in the middle of Iowa to drop my son at college. For almost 19 years there have been four of us. Now there will be three.

The three-legged dog seems to be okay. But I guess he can’t lift a leg to pee.

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