Tripawds Three Legged Dog Heroes

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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 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.

The three legged dogs of Slab City

When my people were boondocking in Slab City, they ran into two three legged dogs and just had to share their stories with this video …

We here some amazing stories about how certain dogs become tripawds, but Mazal Tov wins the prize – she survived being hit by a train! Ruby is the first four legged tripawd we’ve met. She was injured at a puppy farm and is slowly regaining some strength in her leg. Send us links to your tripawd movies and we’ll share them here too!

The rockin’ sound track is “Happy Girl” by Kelly’s Lot. Stay tuned for more great tunes from them when we share Frankie’s story!

Dogs of the OC Part 2: Maximutt Goes Back to the Beach

What a coincidence! When we were in Orange County, California, we met not one, but two really cool Tripawds named Max. Both boys both live down the road from eachother. We hope their pawrents will use the Tripawd Forums topic “Tripawd Parties” to set up a play date!

Here’s Max, back at his favorite dog beach for the first time since his surgery late last year. Go Max!

Dogs of the OC Part 1: Max C

When you hear the words “Southern California,” what do you picture? Palm Trees? Beaches? Three legged dogs having a rollicking  good time in the sunshine?

Well, as you can see, that stereotype is true! Recently we met up with two dogs when my pawrents were in the area. Here’s the first one, Max C, an inspawarational senior dog who lives in Costa Mesa. Max is approaching his eight month ampuversary in March!

We met up with this wise dog while he took a long walk at one of his favorite parks.

Tripawd Lucy; Loving Life Without Limits

Never doubt a dog’s ability to bounce back from the hardest of circumstances. Here’s an incredible rescue story from Humboldt County, California.

My pawrents recently met Lucy, a sweet rescue dog who had a very ruff start in life. But thanks to some incredible people who saved her life, Lucy found a great home, and is now showing the world how awesome life can be on three legs.

Meet Teddy, One Awesome Aussie Tripawd from Eureka, CA

kathy and diane of happy dog eureka, caA while back, my pawrents returned to Humboldt County, where I grew up. They got to see Kathy and Diane, my godmothers who ran Happy Dog, my old daycare and boarding kennel. They knew me since I was a puppy. It was my most favorite place in the world when I lived in Eureka. We sure miss seeing them all the time.

Anyhow, while they were there, Mom and Dad got to meet two awesome Tripawds, Teddy and Lucy. Here’s a movie about Teddy and her life after becoming a tripawd. Teddy actually used to live down the street from me, but we never had the chance to meet. Small world, eh?

Stay tuned for Lucy’s incredible rescue story . . .

Thank you for the Merry Christmas!

This being their first Christmas without me around to spread some serious Joy, my people had a bit of a hard time. At first.

Celebrate Jerry with Ornaments, Calendars, Posters, T-ShirtsThen, they got the best gift of all … the gift of giving. They spent most of the day in the tripawds chat room.

There they were able to spread some cheer of their own to those in need. Jack’s mom, for one. She was having a hard time because Jack was having difficulty breathing.

By the end of the day, she expressed how much better she felt after having talked with us. And that made everyone feel better. After all, that’s what this site is all about.

Unfortunately, Jack was not feeling better. This morning his mom helped him cross over to that proverbial Rainbow Bridge. Again we were there in the chat to help. But we can’t always be there. Please drop by sometime and leave it open for a while in case others are looking for advice, or maybe just some love.

Please join us for our next scheduled Live Tripawds Chat!
6 p.m. PST Monday, December 29
Special Guest: Luke Robinson (AKA Yer Big Dog of

Helping others through this web site, has turned out to be the greatest gift of all. We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you all for your continued support.

Dog Bless Us Everyone!

At the risk of being politically incorrect, we’d just like to wish every one here a very Merry Christmas! Oh, and Happy Hanukkah!

Many thanks to Gunner and his good people for sending us this special greeting to share with all our tripawd friends …

dog bless us

Gunner (Tiny Tim) is 9 1/2 yrs. old and  had his right front leg amputated in July. His people wanted us to know …

Your website helped me so much through the recovery process. Gunner is doing great on his three legs – recovered so much quicker than I ever thought he could. The picture is what we are using this year for our company holiday cards. Each year I have the dogs on the front on the card and this year Tiny Tim seemed to be the perfect role for Gunner to play. Our other dog (4 legs) is Dakota and she is 13 1/3 yrs. old!

Whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year, may it be happy and full of cheer.

And with the end of the year upon us, perhaps it’s time to consider a new 2009 Tripawds Tribute Wall Calendar, some thank you cards, or other gifts and apparel that support the ongoing maintenance of this website.

Our Sami Gurl, the 14 year old Senior Tripawd

The following post was generously written by Tripawd pawrent Stephen Zurek. For a cool Bone Cancer Hero t-shirt like the one Sami is wearing, check out her Mom Michelle’s Bone Cancer Hero store.

Senior bone cancer hero dog SamiWe would like to start off by saying thank you to Tripawds, for being such a great source of support and information for us. We are so grateful. All of you guys have really helped us through this! Your posting about The Top Five Questions About Amputation And Coping with Bone Cancer is going to help a lot of folks with this tough decision.

We are so grateful our Sami gurl is still here At the ripe old age of 14, she is going on 11 months as a tripawd and still hanging in there. When we first took her to the vet because of a limp last year, the last thing we were expecting to hear was bone cancer. It hit us like a brick and we thought it was time to say goodbye to our baby. After we got over the initial shock, the vet recommended that we amputate.

Read the rest of this entry »

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