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Rehab Helps Tiny Tripawd Robin Love Life on Three Legs

Tiny Tripawd Chihuahua Robin benefits from canine rehab therapy thanks to Tripawds Foundation Rehab Grant #166. The free consultation and at-home rehab exercises help him regain strength and stay strong to love life on three legs. Read his story, and learn how you can get a free veterinary rehab evaluation for your dog or cat.

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Meet Tiny Tripawd Robin

Hello Tripawds Friends! Raina and Robin here. Last week Robin had his first Physical Therapy consultation at Holistic Veterinary Care and Rehabilitation Center, with vet therapist Megan Buchanan (DVM, CCRP, CCFT, CVA).

Robin is a 10.5 year old Apple Head Red Chihuahua. He was found on the streets of Sonoma, California, with all the bones in his right rear foot and lower leg broken. He was likely run over by a car in the summer of 2020. I adopted Robin from Muttville, a rescue organization in San Francisco that only adopts senior dogs. I really scored with Robin, who was 8 at the time, and acclimating great to his new Tripawd body. I took him home the day his cone came off from his amputation surgery on December 5th, 2020.

tiny tripawd rehab

At the Rehab consultation, Dr. Megan was very impressed with Robin’s fitness level. Robin and I are very active and we work to keep his weight down with lots of active outside time and home made food. She also said, “What a good Chihuahua”, when Robin let her roll him on his side and massage his back and scapula (not all Chihuahua’s are as accommodating!).

Robin’s Tiny Tripawd Exercise Program

Because tiny Tripawd Robin is so fit and healthy, Dr. Megan said our goals are stretching, massage, and fitness maintenance.

The exercises we practiced were:

  1. Scapula Massage:
    With Robin on his side, I gently push his scapula up towards his spine, then down towards his belly. The scapula is held on by muscles, and front shoulders on rear- leggers work extra hard, so this exercise stretches and releases them. (see photo)
  2. Back roll fascia release:
    With Robin on my lap, I gently pinch his back skin between his shoulder blades and roll it down towards his tail. This massages and rehydrates the fascia in his back that can get tense.
  3. TheraBone stabilization:
    A Tripawd classic! Robin stands on the TheraBone with his front legs and I give him a treat while pushing on the TheraBone with my foot to create some motion. This is a strengthening exercise. (see photo).
  4. Front leg stretch under the bar:
    This is a stretch for the front shoulders, which work hard on rear-legger Tripawds. I hold a treat on the opposite side of the pole so Robin has to stretch his front legs to reach his head under it.
  5. Sit!:
    One of my biggest take-aways was that Robin should practice “sit”. Robin is a rear legger, and I have never made him sit thinking I was relieving him of unnecessary stress on his back hip. But, Dr. Megan said he should practice “sit” because it is a squat exercise for his back leg, and will help build strength.

Dr. Megan sent us YouTube links and instructions for these exercises and more so we can do them at home. I’m looking forward to teaching an old dog a new trick- sit! And getting our own TheraBone.

On our way out we talked to a staff member at the front desk who had her mini 9 month old Chihuahua at work with her. Her little Chi will soon have her left rear leg amputated due to a birth defect. I told her about and she was so excited and grateful for the resource.

Thank you to the Tripawds Foundation, and Jim and Rene! We are so glad we have you, and we are happy to spread the word about the fabulous community and many resources at

~ Raina and Robin
Tripawds Members since 2010 with Spirit Indi

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