A Neepawa woman who lost her leg has adopted a three-legged dog, and the pair have spent the last few months learning to walk again together.

When Tracey Bergen was 11, a vascular issue forced doctors to amputate her leg below the knee. Then, last December, Bergen had to have another surgery to remove her knee.

“I was in rehab learning to walk again with a new prosthesis,” she said. “Someone had put Manitoba Mutts dog rescue on Facebook … and almost right away I saw Café and read her story, and I had to have that little pup.”

Tripod dogs

Manitoba Mutts said it’s actually not difficult to find home for “tripod” dogs. It’s more difficult, the group says, to find homes for dogs with emotional challenges, scars or separation anxiety.

Café, a four-year-old Shepherd-cross, had already been the centre of a massive fundraising campaign.

“She was hit by a car and her leg didn’t heal properly so she was surrendered to Manitoba Mutts because her previous owners couldn’t keep up with her vet bills,” she said.

The organization raised $1,000 for Café to have the surgery she needed before Bergen adopted her.

“I actually picked her up on my last day of rehab,” said Bergen. “I loved her. She was just the cutest little thing.”

Cafe the three-legged dog

Café is actually about half the size of Shepard-breed dogs. “I can actually keep up with her when she walks, so that’s good," Tracey Bergen says. (Sara Calnek/CBC)

After a few days adjusting, Bergen said Café was just fine.

“She’s had an easier time of it than I have,” she said. “It took her a couple of days to really get used to our stairs. We had 15 stairs to come up to our front door and within a couple of days she was doing just fine.”

Bergen and her husband Tim have a history of opening their home to others.

The pair have three biological daughters and have adopted a young girl and her brother .They had originally planned to foster children, but when her daughter became a permanent ward of the province, The Bergens adopted her as well as her brother.

“This is the only way we could really think of to be able to give back,” she said. “It was just our way of opening up our hearts and our home.”