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The Rocco Files: An Inspawrational Life on Three Legs

Three legged shephered dog RoccoWhen my parents first saw Rocco’s photo, they did a double take. Who is that handsome boy? Could he be related to our Jerry?

We share a lot of the same loves. Swimming, chewing up sticks, and living life with gusto on three legs. Here’s Rocco’s inspawrational story . . .

Rocco was born in July, 1999. His Mom Cathy says, “We live in Leavenworth, Washington, where we get lots of snow, he enjoys that as well.  He likes carrying huge chunks of snow around, and burying things in the snow.”

Rocco enjoys swimming, running, jumping, playing “chuck-it,” and he likes to tease. He especially enjoys it when Mom and Dad are together in the same room just kicking back.

“He still has the mind of a teenager and is full of life,” says Cathy.

Three legged cancer survivor Rocco“Rocco is actually too intelligent,” his Mom says. “Sometimes we feel inferior to his thinking.  He tries so much to communicate his wants and feelings and we really have to stop, listen, think and review the situation.”

He was diagnosed in April of this year with bone cancer.

Cathy says “At first, we thought he had just wrenched his shoulder. Upon taking him to our local vet, we received the punch in the stomach news that he has hemangiosarcoma. We immediately went to Washington State University, and commuted the 8-hour round trip for each treatment. They have been wonderful.”

Right from the start he had to have a splenectomy, had a biopsy for his shoulder, then began radiation, chemo, then his leg with the tumor broke, simply due to the bone being weakened. Following the break he had an amputation in early summer, and has been doing great.

Three legged shephered dog Rocco“Since his diagnosis, we have not let him sleep alone one single night,” Cathy said. “He is our child and we give him all of the love he can possibly ask for.  Rocco has been a real trooper through this entire ordeal.  I find it to be hardest on Mom and Dad.”

She added: “Rocco is getting to the point where once he is up, things are OK. His stamina is a 16th of what it used to be, but he still does goofy stuff and makes us laugh, loves to show his competitive side (looking for praise and applause upon catching the ball).  Once he is laying down, we can tell it is quite an effort to think about getting up, i.e. for a drink, potty,etc. We try to accommodate his requests by bringing the water to him (which he appreciates). He does not like to get up to go potty if he doesn’t have to, but once we assist and get him up and going, he is content once he is back in his bed.”

Sleepy three legged Rocco dogRocco has had a spot in his lung since his condition was discovered, way back in April.

“I am almost at the point of just relying on how he feels, and not finding out if it has grown.

He has had some breathing issues, which may be related to lung metastasis. But Cathy says “He (still) had the sparkle and still enjoyed himself, so we went with the Prednisone and he improved greatly,” Cathy said.

Upon the recommendation of a local holistic veterinarian, Rocco’s pawrents are also contemplating the use of Arteminisin for him. If you, dear reader, have any experiences you’d like to share about this herbal cancer supplement, please do so in the comments below or in the Forums.

This month, Rocco and his family are heading to the Oregon coast for a little R&R. They can’t wait to watch him play in the ocean once again, and romp around living life to the fullest, as always, in true Tripawd spirit.

14 Responses to “The Rocco Files: An Inspawrational Life on Three Legs”

  1. We are so sad to report that Rocco passed away on Friday, 3/20/09. He will be greatly missed by all of us.

  2. I had the wonderful good fortune to meet Rocco today here in Yachats, Oregon. Yachats has a reputation for being both a place of healing, and a place for encounters with certain ‘special’ animals. Rocco’s presence today was an example of both.

    Thanks Rocco.


  3. Rock on, Rocco! I’m not yet educated on Arteminisin, but have started looking at that as well. Please keep us posted on Rocco’s progress. We wish you happy, happy R&R in Oregon!

    Linda and Barney B

  4. We’re praying for you pal…keep the faith and in the meantime, enjoy the heck out of every minute. You’re a beautiful and we hope you enjoy your R&R in Oregon.

    “Tripawds Forever!”

  5. I, too, wish you the best of luck in treating Rocco for his lung mets. He obviously has a very loving family who includes him in everything they do. Like Cathy said, these dogs are our “children”. I feel sorry for the people who have never known what it is like to bond with a dog and love one another unconditionally. Thanks for sharing this story.

    Love, Blazer, Kimber & Vicki T

  6. Rocco sure does look like Jerry!
    I wish you all the best with your treatment of Rocco…sounds like he is doing really well!


  7. I have had my Rhodesian Cross Lolah on Arteminisin since her osteo diagnosis 3 weeks ago. She is also receiving Venus FlyTrap injections.I give her one injection a day and she tolerates it beautifully.If you google both of these there are some good articles out there. She is also on a plethora of other Chinese Medicine Supplements and I have her on a totally raw diet (carbs feed cancer!) I have found a source for fresh venison (because of certain supplements she cannot have seafood, poultry or lamb) and I have found that venison in dog food is almsot always mixed with one of those. Prairie and Nature’s Variety have an excellent raw food if you don’t want to mix your own. I am fortunate to have a holistic veterinarian, a consulting holistic vet and a western vet all within three hours of me, and I utilize them!

    We have an appointment with a surgeon on Monday to consult about amputation. I’m not 100% sure this is how I’m going to proceed but right now, nothing seems out of the question for my girl. Good luck! Your boy is a beauty!

  8. Karen-Maruk's Mom October 15, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    Oh, what wonderful photos! They brought back some great memories. Thank you for sharing! I remember how thrilled Maruk was (and we were) when he finally figured out how to roll over onto his back to sleep. And the water! Nuthin’ keeps them out of that. Please do update us on the herbal treatment info. I think Rene and Jim had an excellent diet going for Mr. Jerry too.
    Warm wishes all around!

  9. Rocco is so handsome! He doesn’t like water too much, does he??!! Good luck!

  10. Keep on rockin, Rocco!
    Would like to know more about the Arteminisin..

  11. What a sweet boy! Thank you for sharing his story.

  12. I don’t know much about the use of Arteminisin, but you may also want to consider Goldenseal (ask your vet, of course). We used that with both our sarcoma dogs for a boost in immunity and overall health.

    Woof, Rocco – show ’em what you are made of!

  13. lalla, moderator October 15, 2008 at 1:13 am

    What a handsome guy. I really appreciate his pawrent’s outlook. Keep on shining.


  1. Three Legged Shepherd Post-Amputation Interview - November 10, 2008

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