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Theuerkauf's Tails

Nothing is impawsible!

Theuerkauf's Tails

Priceless Penny Children’s Book Released

March 25th, 2016 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

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I will never forget the day that my husband and I saw Penny, our tripawd Chiweenie, scale our three foot pet gate.  Bravely, she hooked her “stump” onto the top of the gate and used her back legs to propel herself into the center of the living room.  We were amazed!

My husband told me later that day that I should write a children’s book about Penny.  I have to admit, I did not take him seriously.  But the more I thought about it, the more I felt like it was something I needed to do.  Beyond sharing Penny’s amazing adoption journey with others, I want to inspire differently-abled people (especially children).

What I thought would be a quick side project turned into a two year journey of my own.  I never realized how much work goes into actually creating and publishing a single book!

We held the official book launch party for “Priceless Penny” at Stray Rescue St. Louis last Saturday.  As my husband and I are huge animal lovers, we donated 40% of the funds raised from the sale of Penny’s book that day to Stray Rescue so that they can continue to do their amazing, life saving work.

I was extremely touched by the outpouring of love and support from those that attended the party.  Compete strangers were thanking me for writing Penny’s story.  Those meeting Penny for the first time were stunned when Penny decided to jump into a nearby chair.

We are so blessed to have Penny in our lives!  Together, we hope to show that world that different is beautiful!  And as always, tripawds rock!



Priceless Penny Book Cover

                             The cover of Penny’s book!


Penny being held by her “Nawnee” and me in my custom “Keep Calm and Love a Tripod” t-shirt at her official book launch party at Stray Rescue St. Louis!


This is Cynthia, the woman who rescued Penny.  We are so thankful she did!


                                                         Penny enjoying snuggles with her new friends.


My friend, Dawn, stopped by to show Penny some love.


                           Different is Beautiful!  #tripawdsrock

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Tripawd Penny Featured on

November 3rd, 2015 · 10 Comments · Uncategorized

I am so thrilled to announce that Penny (my tripawd Chiweenie) is being featured on today as part of the Monday Miracle Series!  Check out the article here: 


Woofstock 2015

July 17th, 2015 · 5 Comments · Uncategorized

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Matt and I took our tripod dog, Penny, to Animal Planet’s Woofstock on Saturday, June 27th.  The event was held in Chicago and we had a blast!  Penny loved getting to stay in a super swanky hotel.  As usual, Penny was the belle of the ball and we were thrilled to get to meet so many fellow rescue dog owners.

Check out photos from the event below!

 The cast of Pit Bulls and Parolees takes the stage.

 The Cat Daddy himself, Jackson Galaxy!

 Taking in the sights of Chicago with Penny.

 Lake Michigan was beautiful.

 We met this adorably fuzzy pooch.  What a cutie!

 This gentle giant was all smiles.

 Petting my favorite feline friend, Lil’ Bub!

 I was so excited to meet Manny the Frenchie!

 Posing with Penny on the Puppy Bowl stage.

 Talking with Jackson Galaxy about Penny and her children’s book!

 Mariah from Pit Bulls and Parolees checks out Penny’s overbite.

 Penny does her famous Baby Pose with Matt on the Puppy Bowl stage.

 Hamming it up with Mike and Lil’ Bub!

 Penny strikes a pose next to a giant cut out of Lil’ Bub!

 Here is Penny’s official Woofstock photo!

 Penny was honored with the Class Clown Award for her overbite!

 Penny takes a time out for belly rubs on the Puppy Bowl stage.

 We met this darling little diva.  Can you say future dog model?

 Twin #1 gives Penny some love!

We fell in love with this underbite cutie!


Priceless Penny’s Journey

June 14th, 2014 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

I created a video montage of our beautiful tripod dog, Penny.  This brief video tells of her amazing adoption journey.  View the video by clicking this link:  Priceless Penny’s Journey.

Please share the link with your friends and help me spread the message that different is beautiful and nothing is “impawsible.”


Tricky Tripods

June 12th, 2014 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

One evening my husband began to tell me about a contest that he had heard about on the radio.  InstaCredit Automart was having a photo contest and the winner would get to be in the next InstaCredit Automart commercial!  We looked at each other and said, “Penny!”


She is our adorable tripod baby that was born with a deformed front paw and a severe overbite.  Aside from being the gorgeous girl that she is, Penny is also super friendly.  She loves everything and everybody.  In fact, she practically raised the cat that we rescued off of the street as a two week old kitten.


Young and old alike cannot seem to get enough of her.  Everyone is always surprised at the softness of her fur.  She might just be the softest dog in the world.  We had no doubt that Penny could win.


I uploaded a photo of Penny in her Christmas dress to the InstaCredit Automart Facebook page.  Then, I began my ruthless social media campaign.  I posted the link on my Facebook page, Penny’s Facebook page, my twitter page, Penny’s twitter page, my Instagram, Penny’s Instagram…


The votes began to come rolling in.  Like any good pet parent, I was checking her totals every day…sometimes twice!  As the numbers climbed higher, I felt more confident that Penny would be crowned the winner.


Soon, I was fantasizing about what could happen to Penny if she won.  She would be asked to be a spokes dog for Purina, get her face on bags of dog food, be the guest of honor at dog events like Bark in the Park.  After that, she would be asked to appear on the Today Show to explain her incredible adoption story.  This news would spread to the beloved Ellen DeGeneres, who would soon book us for her show.  Penny and I would get to live the dream of traveling the country spreading her message that different is beautiful and nothing is “impawsible.”


On June 2nd, I received a phone call from InstaCredit Automart.  Penny was a finalist!  We were invited to the Ultimate Pet Play Date where she would compete with the other finalists for the coveted commercial spot.  The weather that day was anything but supportive.  We got caught in two torrential downpours on our drive there.


We arrived early (as usual) and decided to sit in our car until the event official kicked off.  Naturally, we went into full-on pageant parent mode.  We silently judged Penny’s competition that began to fill the parking lot.  Honestly speaking, I thought Penny was a shoe-in.


We headed into InstaCredit Automart and waited for the contest to begin.  Dogs of all shapes and sizes were everywhere.  Most of the owners were in competition mode and did not really mingle with the other pet parents.  That didn’t bother Penny one bit.  Her tail never stopped wagging.


She happily sniffed each pooch that passed by.  She even got sniffed by Buckley Jr. and Buckley himself.  In case you aren’t familiar with these dogs, they are the “famous” InstaCredit Automart dogs.  Buckley’s handler kept bringing him past Penny.  I took this as a very good sign.


Before I knew it, it was time to line up to be judged.  The announcer began to tell everyone the rules.  The dogs were going to be judged on a 15 point system:  friendliness, presence on camera…and agility.  My heart dropped.  They wanted the dogs to perform tricks!


I was livid.  Nowhere in the rules did it mention tricks.  I frantically began to ask my husband if I should make Penny stand up at the end of the “red carpet” and make her dance for a treat.  We agreed to just let Penny be Penny and see what would happen.


We have not trained Penny to perform any tricks since she is a tripod dog.  The issue isn’t that she cannot perform tricks.  She jumps over our 3 foot pet gate on her own!  The issue is that we love Penny and know that her three “good” legs have to work much harder than a “normal” dogs’ in order to compensate for her “stump.”  This puts extra pressure on her joints since the weight isn’t evenly distributed.


Also, she is part Dachshund and we are trying to be very careful with her back.  My friend had a doxie that slipped a disc.  The surgery cost $5,000!  While we would do anything for our fur babies, we would rather not take the chance of injuring them.


Penny did her very best as she strutted down the red carpet.  She even stopped to sniff the judges.  We stood by the front doors, watching and waiting.  Suddenly, a little fluff ball of a dog came running over to Penny.


“Oh, my gosh!  She’s a tripod, too!” squealed the dog’s owner.  The tiny long-haired Chihuahua’s name was Lena.  She had to have her front right leg amputated due to abuse from her former owner.  Lena was a smiling ball of energy.  I could see why she bonded with Penny.  And her owners were thrilled to meet another tripod pooch.  We took several pictures of Lena and Penny together.  You can check them out on Penny’s website at:


We turned our attention back to the contest just in time to see Boomer, a homely looking Boxer, come schlepping down the carpet.  That’s when the show began.  His owner dropped to her knees and proceeded to have Boomer give her a high-five, dance and do the exploding fist bump.  I knew at that moment we were toast.


As they began to announce the winners, I saw several of the judges look at me and Penny.  They started talking to each other and I thought that we might still have a chance.  Little Miss Lena won second place!  My husband instructed me not to scream as he figured that Penny won first place.


My heart was beating wildly in my chest.  I was ready to parade Penny up in front of the judges and pose for pictures.


“And our first place winner is…Boomer!”


WHAT?!  There had to be some sort of mistake.  While I understand that every pet parent knows that his/her baby is the cutest, I can honestly say that this dog was very plain.  And I am not speaking as a sore loser.  I even told my husband that I would have been completely happy if any other dog would have won.  There was an adorable miniature Greyhound, a dazzling Yorkie, the list goes on.  Why Boomer was picked as a finalist in a photo contest, I will never understand.


This brings me to my major complaint:  Boomer won because of the tricks that he performed.  I do not feel that this was fair.  A dog should not be judged on what types of tricks it can do unless the contest is specifically for tricks.  This was supposed to be a photo contest.  The dog’s personality was supposed to be judged to assure that he/she would get along with the InstaCredit Automart dogs that he/she would be filming with.  But, they chose to boil it all down to tricks.


Penny is such an inspiration.  She doesn’t need any tricks or gimmicks to make her special or unique because she already is.  Abandoned as a stray in California, Penny has remained sweet to everyone that she meets, even though she had been tossed aside like garbage.  Being born with several deformities doesn’t stop her from doing anything that a “normal” dog can do.  She continues to amaze us daily with the power of her loving spirit.


We don’t need to win a contest to validate how wonderful Penny is.  We have the honor of getting to experience Penny every day.  Our lives were forever changed for the better the day that we made her a part of our furry family.


Delightfully Different

December 6th, 2013 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

From the moment that I laid eyes on Penny, I knew that she was different.  Her severe overbite is quite hard to ignore.  And her deformed front paw turns heads everywhere we go.

When my husband first met her, he told me (and I quote), “She’s ugly!”  But, I completely ignored him as I watched Penny hopping around our living room like a bunny.  It was too late.  She had me wrapped around her little “stump.”

My mom also scoffed at my newest addition.  “She just looks….different.”  That is when I realized my mom was right.

Penny is most certainly different from any other dog that I have ever met.  While she has what some would consider to be “defects,” Penny acts just like her four-legged, normal snouted fur brothers and sister.  She happily jumps on and off of the furniture when playing.  She races Cole (our 21 pound Min Pin) around the back yard and often beats him!

Her spirit is simply amazing.  She has survived being abandoned and left in a shelter to die.  She greets everyone she meets with a wag of her extra-long tail and what can only be described as a smile on her face.

Penny has taught me that being different is wonderful.  And in doing so, I have gotten to meet other fur parents who fell in love with those that are “different.”  Rosie, is the most touching example.  She was a Chihuahua that was the product of backyard breeding by an animal hoarder.  Unfortunately, she was born with almost no hair, an elongated snout and front legs whose bones had fused together, forcing her to crawl on her “elbows.”

But, Rosie was also born with the most beautiful blue eyes.  And these eyes saw nothing but goodness and hope.  Upon being rescued, she was soon adopted by a wonderful woman.  She saw saving Rosie as the perfect opportunity to show the world that looking different was a gift and nothing to be ashamed of.

Poor Rosie had her share of health problems due to her previous living conditions.  Sadly, Ms. Rosie passed away this October.  But, her memory lives on through her website:  Rosie’s mom continues to spread the word about the importance of adopting animals from shelters instead of heading to a breeder.  She also strives to teach people to report animal abuse so that others, like Ms. Rosie, can have a second chance at life.

From visiting Rosie’s site, I soon found out about Bunny, the miracle puppy.  She was born with a primary cleft palate, and without eyes!  Unfortunately, many people would have thought Bunny to be “useless” and a “mistake.”  But, Bunny’s rescuers saw a special dog that simply needed love.  Bunny now thrives at the special needs dog rescue, Pulling for Paws. Check out this fantastic pooch on her very own Facebook page:

Yet another unique pooch is Emma, the Chihuahua.  This little cutie was born with a cleft palate. To the naked eye, it appears that she is missing part of her nose.  And since her nose is deformed, her tongue can always be seen.  Still, Emma has grown up to be one sensational pup.  She is even in the running for the Guinness Book of World Records for “World’s Smallest Dog Model.”  Check out her Facebook page at: and her official web page at:

To me, Penny is just as inspirational as Rosie, Bunny and Tess.  Special needs dogs are just that:  special.  And owning one will change your life forever.


Hello Tripawds!

December 5th, 2013 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

My name is Lauren Kramer-Theuerkauf and I am the proud mom of six beautiful fur babies.  I have three Chihuahuas (Theo, Adriel and Domino), one Min Pin (Cole), a Chinese-Crested (Peppe) and…Penny.

We believe that Penny is a Chihuahua/Dachshund mix.  She had quite an incredible adoption story.  Penny was found as a stray in California.  She was taken to the local animal shelter where she was quickly put on the list to be euthanized.  This is probably due to the fact that Penny looks unlike any other dog.

Penny has extra large ears, a super long tail…and a deformed front paw.  We lovingly refer to it as “the stump.”  She does have two small “toes” on the stump. However, this leg is much shorter than her other legs, making her a tripod dog.

Second Chance Dog Rescue of Springfield, IL came to Penny’s rescue. With the help of Flying B Animal Transportation, Penny was driven from California to the rescue group.  My husband and I then discovered her on and fell in love!

Penny loves living life here in Freeburg, IL (about 35 minutes away from St. Louis, MO).  She doesn’t let anything stand in her way!  In fact, she even jumps over our 4 foot pet gate!  None of her other fur siblings can do that (and they all have four legs!).

Her spirit is truly inspiring.  And she is a total love bug.  We are so blessed to have her in our lives.