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Tripawds Three Legged Dog Heroes

Archives for Tripawd Pals

A Letter to Lalla

Three Legged Dog Lalla on the BeachWhen we lose a loved one, we enter into a series of long dark days, trapped in loneliness we think we will never escape from. Slowly and eventually though, we learn to honor our beloved’s memory by continuing to appreciate all the beauty life has to offer. It’s not that time has healed our wounds, but we just learn to more easily accept things as they are.

One year ago on June 2nd, my girlfriend Lalla, who battled bone cancer just as I did, was released from her broken body. We roam free together now, forever and always, an image that always brings true joy to our pawrents hearts.

As hard as it was for her Mom Sasha to say goodbye, Lalla’s spirit continues to play a big part in the life of her entire  earth-bound family. Sasha wrote this letter to Lalla, on the anniversary of her passing.

Dear Lalla

I am obliged to celebrate your life rather than mourn for you one year after you left.

There are countless reasons, after all, as a dog you taught me all about living in the now. There are so many lessons learned from you, the main one being I think is never to relate to someone with a disability as disabled. I got that from you when three weeks after your surgery when you chased a heron across another one of your seized waves.

So many of your achievements have manifested into goodness which your family and friends at tripawds.com all share. Even Daddy, Cesar Millan‘s own lovely companion, was inspired by you to choose you as his 2008 Valentine’s Day Sweetheart and gave a wonderful donation to the Rolling Dogs Ranch on your behalf.

And so your family and friends carry on; Eli and Sylvia still sing to world peace and understanding. Orit has a little girl now called Ella who will hear your name and smile when her mummy tells her stories about how much you loved ice cream. And Troy is here as you know keeping us in track – and very wet and sandy!

Lalla, I am so lucky you are a part of my life. I would like to end with a short song a little boy wearing a superman cape once sang to you at the beach when you were only a puppy:

Lalla you are so beautiful
You don’t know
How beautiful you are

Sasha

Chat with Tripawds, Saturday 5/16 at 8 pm EST

04. Jerry and the Rotties at the Tripawd partyDid you know that most nights, we are usually in the Chat Room? Sometimes though, we miss visitors who stop by, which is a bummer. So, we thought we would see if any of you are interested in a regular date to get together and talk.

So, let’s call it our first date! This Saturday, May 16, at 8pm Eastern, 5pm Pacific, we will be in the Tripawds Chat room.

See you there!

Meet the Great Yellow Texas Tripawd, Barney B.

We love traveling to new places and meeting our Tripawd family members, especially after we’ve been chatting with them for a long time, in our Forums. Recently, we met up with Barney Baldwin, from Houston Texas, and his Mom Linda, and Dad Bob.

Barney is an 80 pound Lab who lost his leg due to bone cancer, back in February, 2008, over one year ago. What a survivor! His Mom Linda says:

From the moment I met Barney, when he jumped up and “hugged” me with his front paws around my neck and gave me a big, wet sloppy kiss, he has been a bright spot in my life, a constant source of love and happy memories.

He’s slower than he used to be, tires out more easily when he walks, and he’s definitely more affected by the heat and humidity since the chemo, but overall he’s doing great and we’re so grateful for each and every day with this beautiful boy.  I will tell you though, that he’s still quite spry when it comes to running toward the kitchen when he hear a bag rattling, or a cooking pot coming out of the cabinet.  His ability to steal food off of the counter has not been diminished either!

For a rescue dog who has not only battled histiocytic sarcoma cancer but other recurrent medical issues, Barney really amazed us with his energetic romps around the park. He wanted to play with every dog who crossed his path, and barked hellos to anyone nearby. He is the classic lovable, adorable Lab with a heart of gold. We sure love Barney, and feel especially fortunate to call his Mom and Dad our friends.

Here’s a special movie we made about our pal, Barney B:

2 Tripawds Pals Meet 2 Dogs Heroes

We sure love Twitter! Last week our pal Luke, of 2Dogs2000 Miles.org, Tweeted that he would be attending the “Everything Pets Expo” in Cincinnati, Ohio.Tripawds Friends Meet 2 Dogs Pals

We immediately thought of our Cinci friends Karen and Scott Weiland, and dropped them a line to let them know about Luke’s appearance.

Karen and Scott are pawrents of Maruk, a beloved Spirit Tripawd pal who lives on in our hearts here. Karen took her copy of the custom “Tripawd Heroes and Tributes” book we designed for her, which featured Maruk on the cover. Luke’s own Spirit Tripawd, Malcolm, is also in it.

2 Dogs 2000 Miles Luke Robinson

“I had tears creeping into my eyes as I pulled out the book to show him Malcom’s page. It really is a wonderful keepsake,” she said in her email to us.

Luke told Karen he has completed 1,100 miles. “He’s on the down hill side of the adventure!” she was happy to hear.

Karen was so happy to meet Murphy and Hudson in person, and said “Those two boys were so special.  Very mellow.  They had a huuuuge amount of greeters.”

This week, Luke and the boys continue their journey to Boston.

100 More Tripawd Pal Photos

While it’s sad to hear about so many dogs losing a leg around here, we’re happy to announce our second Tripawd Pals gallery now includes 100 of our three-legged friends. We’ve started our third Tripawd Pals Gallery so keep those photos coming.

This slideshow includes Pals 101 through 200. You can check out the first 100 here. These photos continue to provide inspawration for those questioning amputation for their own dogs. But they take up server space, and that costs money.

Please read about our efforts to keep this website up and running at peak performance and consider a small contribution to the Tripawds web server upgrade campaign! Many thanks to those who have already helped, and thank you all for your continued support and participation.

Fun in California with Our Original Tripawd Heroes

When docs told me I had bone cancer, my pawrents were devastated. They were unsure that amputation was right for me, a big, healthy active dog. But then they looked up “Tripod Dog” on the Internet, and saw this video:

Moose became our instant hero. If a big dog like him could love life and hunt gophers on three legs, so could I! We went through with my amputation, and never looked back.

Moose battled osteosarcoma like a hero, for just over two years. He fought valiantly, and in the end, it wasn’t even the cancer that took him. When he passed away, my pawrents shed many tears, for it was a reminder that my time was also limited.

Hazel and Her PackThroughout my own osteosarcoma ordeal, Moose’s pawrents, Joel and Ross, were always there for us, ready to help with information and moral support.

What a joy it was to finally meet these Tripawd heroes in person. They paved the way on the Internet and showed the world what tripod dogs are capable of. If it wasn’t for them, Tripawds would not exist.

At their home in central California, Joel and Ross are now busy raising Hazel, Hula and River, an 11-year old  fibrosarcoma cancer survivor. They also have a small band of horses and even a donkey!

Meeting them was like coming home to family. As people that have been through osteosarcoma and canine cancer, we had lots to talk about.

Brindle Staffordshire Terrier RiverJoel told us about River’s amazing recovery from fibrosarcoma. His cancer has been in remission for about 1 year after being diagnosed! Joel attributes this to the supplements River gets, by Genesis Pet Products; an immune support supplement, CAS Options, and Joint Support Plus. If River’s spunk is any indication of how well this stuff work, you may want to see if they’re right for your own Tripawd.

We had such a great time with this crew. Please join us in giving a great big “WOOF!” to Joel and Ross, for providing the inspiration that now gives every three legged dog a chance at proving to their humans and the world that “It’s better to hop on three legs than limp on four!

Why We Love Cats and Dogs: See the Photo Contest Winners!

Hey everyone, just following up on our January 27th post about the PBS photo contest that kicked off my debut in the Nature series episode, “Why We Love Cats and Dogs.”

Drumroll please! The winners have been announced! PBS had over 700 entries, and as you can see, there’s some real great looking fur kids there! Visit the PBS Nature website to see them all.

The three legged world is small.

With the growing number of dogs out there who require amputation and/or canine cancer care, it’s no wonder we run into one and another once in a while. But we’re always especially proud when this website is responsible for tripawds and their people meeting others all around the world.

Three Legged Dog Pola from IsraelAside from Star, I thought my darling girlfriend Lalla was the only tripawd in Israel. But now I doubt it. Though she’s gone now, her good person Sasha and Troy ran into three legged Pola and her people in Tel Aviv.

Next thing you know, we processed a Ruff Wear harness order for Pola’s people and received this great photo. Lookin’ good there Pola!

When faced with amputation for your dog you may feel alone in a really big world. Through this blog, the discussion forums, and our live chat, tripawds.com hopes to provide a small place where no one ever feels lonely. No matter where you live.

Health Tips from Rockstar Frankie

Three Legged Dog Frankie with Kellys LotThis is my friend Frankie, a perfect example of how a senior dog can do great on three legs. Frankie is the leader of the awesome L.A. blues rock band, Kelly’s Lot, which also happens to have his Mom Kelly as lead singer, and his Dad Perry playing guitar.

Frankie became a Tripawd after his vet, the renowned Dr. Alan Schulman, found a non-cancerous bone tumor and recommended amputation. But as you can see, that hasn’t stopped him one bit. Frankie even has hip displaysia, but you’d never know it! See how fast he runs?

Frankie’s Mom shares his inspawrational story in the first movie of the playlist below, along with some great health tips for Tripawds and their humans in the second. The fantastic music is by Kelly’s Lot, which you can buy on their website.

Rock on Frankie! Thanks for letting us use Happy Girl in our Slab City dogs movie.

Maximum’s Courage: One Pawrent’s Tripawd Journey

Many congratulations to our friend Paula, Max’s Mom, whose essay she submitted to the dog magazine “Just Labs,” won first place in the magazine’s contest. Paula graciously allowed us to reprint her award-winning essay in its entirety here.

three legged labrador Max after amputation“We argued, as most married couples do, about goofy things like whose turn it was to pick up kids or what was for dinner. Lately, the arguments had been a little closer to the heart over something missing from my life for much too long.

I longed for my own and only one would do, a Black Labrador Retriever. One that I could wrap my arms around and bear hug and play with! My husband on the other hand, being abused by the neighborhood German Shepherd as a paper boy, wasn’t fond of any dog. I had been working on him since the day I met him. I would ask “How can you not love a dog”? I guess when they are chasing you down the street and you are pedaling for dear life, scared to death, it affects you.

Honestly, we really weren’t in a place in our lives where a dog fit in. A dog in my home would be a member of the family and not just a pet, and we were so busy running our 3 boys around and working full time jobs that it would have been unfair. So for now, I conceded and got my dog fixes through everyone else’s dog! Fortunately for me there were 4 other Labs of all colors in our extended family. I got lots of fixes!

The years flew and the boys grew. Out of three, only one remained at home. Alex, just like his father, was constantly on the go. Baseball, basketball, you know the drill. I had always worked outside the home and was used to being on the go as well, but now found myself coming home to an empty house. I chose my time wisely and brought the subject up again. We got into a discussion that only 2 people who love each other could have. Who would pick up the dog poop? I assured my husband that I would be responsible for that and he laughed like I had said I wouldn’t spend money for a month! I’m more than willing to pick up my share of dog poop and to this day do the majority if poop duty at our house!! The discussions varied in fervor and length until I finally thought that maybe I had worn him down. It’s a skill born only to a woman!

That summer we attended a fundraiser for a 12 year old boy in our community with brain cancer. The community rallied to hold an auction to raise money for his medical bills. We walked in the building and sitting in front of me was a tiny puppy. I asked the woman where it came from and she said it was being auctioned off. I took the puppy out of the crate and knew at that moment that the little Black Lab had found his forever Mom. Trust me; there was no discussion besides some inaudible mumbling on my husband’s part and teenage text messaging had cell phones beeping everywhere. Dude! Your mom got a dog!!!

We named him Max and for the next 19 months, he was the center of our world. We took him everywhere…. Even to North Carolina on vacation. His favorite place was our lake home in Northern Wisconsin where he learned to swim and retrieve. He loved to chase geese….and occasionally they would chase him!

In the fall of 2008 Max was diagnosed with a torn posterior cruciate ligament and had TPLO surgery at the University of Wisconsin Veterinary Teaching Hospital. What an amazing place. The recovery went well until week 7. In less than 2 days Max took a serious turn for the worse. We went back to the hospital and they diagnosed Osteosarcoma in that same leg.

Mentally, I was extremely unprepared for this diagnosis. A broken bone, a dislodged screw, yes, but not cancer!! I was crying hysterically as they talked about amputation and chemotherapy. Amputation would take Max’s pain away and chemo would help prolong his life. AMPUTATION? I couldn’t say the word. My handsome, proud boy, only 19 months old and so full of life…. you want me to cut off his leg? I was horrified. What I felt equaled my emotion when we discovered that my Dad had cancer. Four years previously we lost him to lung cancer that metastasized to the bone. I was all too familiar with this disease. Disbelief, anger, and helplessness were swimming around in my head. I had to leave Max, so a biopsy and some x-rays could be done. The lungs are where this very aggressive cancer typically spreads and unfortunately, the younger the dog the more aggressive the cancer. Our Max was only 19 months old. Crying uncontrollably, I gave Max hugs and kisses, told him how much I loved him and left him with Dr. J.

I strongly believe in canine euthanasia. The doctors were telling me that by amputating, the pain would be gone, but would Max have a good quality of life? Should we put him through another surgery? Were we keeping with our philosophy of doing what’s right for Max, or would that be selfish?

The next morning brought news of the x-rays. They saw no evidence of metastasis in the lungs and biopsy results would not be back for 2 days. We were thankful for the news and Dr. J made sure we understood that just because we couldn’t see anything on the x-ray didn’t mean it wasn’t there. She suggested we talk to an oncologist about the chemo. I agreed wanting to be sure we had explored all of the available options.

We spoke with the oncologist and he too was positive about the combination of amputation and chemotherapy. Chemo affects dogs differently than humans. They don’t lose their fur, they don’t get as sick as humans, and very often, have no reaction to the chemo. Each dog is different, but after treatment many dogs can have a good quality of life, living a year or sometimes more. Timing was important though, because at Max’s age this type of cancer is voracious.

At home, Max and I had finally settled down. I was lying next to him trying my best not to cry. He could sense something was wrong and I hated to upset him. The phone rang and I ignored it. I was not in the mood to talk. Since my son was at a game with friends, I had a change of heart and picked up. The person on the other end introduced herself as our orthopedic surgeons (Dr. J) supervisor and the person who would perform the surgery with her. She spoke to me about the benefits of amputation surgery. She listened to my concerns and assured me that whatever our decision, they supported us. She said because of Max’s age she felt compelled to tell me about all of the success stories she had seen. I asked the obvious question “What would you do”? Without hesitation; she said “I would absolutely do the surgery”. Her call gave me the strength to make a decision that only a few hours before had me in tears. It was like someone had taken 1000 lbs off of my shoulders. I slept with Max on the floor that night. I curled up on his bed next to him and listened to him breathe. He licked my face as if to say “good job Mom, let’s do this”. I called the next morning and scheduled the surgery. That afternoon, I loaded Max up once again and drove to Madison. I left him in Dr. Js capable hands and drove home in tears and praying for the best.

It has been 7 weeks since Max’s amputation and he is doing great. He has a wonderful oncologist and has had 2 chemo treatments with very little side effect. He is back to chasing his tennis ball and going on walks. The walks are shorter but we enjoy them all the same. Max goes everywhere with us, and is very patient with all of the people who ask questions. I think Max understands that he is doing his job as a Tripawd, helping people understand that canine cancer is a serious matter.

We owe so much to the wonderful doctors at the University of Wisconsin Veterinary Teaching Hospital for their guidance and support. For anyone going through this emotional journey www.tripawds.com is highly recommended as a resource. An oncologist at the hospital suggested it to me and it has been invaluable. I and others on the site are dedicated to giving back what helped us through the dark times.

Max will soon have his 3 month chest x-ray to look for lung metastasis. We pray for the best and cherish every minute we have with him. The Good Lord willing, Max will be 2 years old in May.”

Update: Since this essay was written, Max and Paula received the news no pawrent wants to hear; the cancer has metastasized in Max’s lungs. But, in true Tripawd spirit, Max continues to live each day one pawstep a a time. Never give up Max, you are a real hero.

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