NEW ORLEANS -- Every rescue dog has a story, but Tres' was too much for a local animal rescue to bear.

Tres, a three-legged lab mix picked up by NOLA Lab Rescue, has big brown eyes and a tail that never stops wagging. You might not even notice his missing hind leg, but the story behind how he lost it makes his recovery even more inspiring.

“When Tres was about four months old he was found in the woods in a bear trap,” Danielle Cecchine, Tres’ foster said. “His back leg was stuck in a bear trap and the man that found him couldn’t get the trap open. It was broken, so he did what he thought he needed to do to rescue tres. He used a pocket knife to cut tres’s leg off the get him out of the trap.”

It didn’t get easier for the dog from there.

The shelter manager said Tres’ case was the worst she’d ever seen. He had an infection from the pocket knife and veterinarians had to re-amputate his leg. After that, he needed surgery to cure the hip dysplasia in his remaining rear leg.

“This poor dog couldn’t catch a break,” Cecchine said.

Lucky for Tres, Cecchine and her fellow volunteers with NOLA Lab Rescue were able to raise enough money to get him the surgery he needed and two months of physical therapy at South Paws Animal Hospital in Mandeville.

“He’s getting stronger and stronger,” Cecchine said. “He’s going to live a normal healthy life now.”

When you compare the video of him before his hip surgery to the dog he is today, the difference is clear.

“He is a happy, trusting, loving puppy. Tres has never met a stranger, he loves everybody,” Cecchine said. “He’s so incredibly extroverted … he’s very resilient … and he’s always happy, his tail is always wagging.”

The changes in Tres’ demeanor aren’t just from his recovery. Getting out of a shelter and into a foster home with other dogs may have turned him into the social butterfly he is today.

“The shelter environment can be incredibly stressful for a dog,” she said. “They’re in a loud environment in a small enclosed space … it’s just not a healing place, it’s a scary place for dogs.”

That’s why NOLA Lab Rescue made it their mission to help clear Louisiana’s animal shelters.

“We cherish the seniors who have been abandoned when they needed their families the most. We help the special needs dogs and believe they deserve a chance. And we work to save labs and lab mixes who have been abandoned and left to die in a shelter,” their mission statement reads.

Tres is just one of the many dogs they’ve pulled from shelters and given another chance.

To adopt Tres, or see the many other local dogs looking for a home, visit their website at or emal them at

You can also donate to help them continue their mission at the same website.

Follow NOLA Lab Rescue on Facebook to learn about their latest rescues and fundraising events.