TRIPAWDS: Home to 13960 Members and 1567 Blogs.
HOME » NEWS » BLOGS » FORUMS » CHAT » YOUR PRIVACY » RANDOM BLOG

Blog

Jerry’s Story, How Tripawds Came To Be

New Tripawds members often ask, “Who’s Jerry?” Well… back in 1998, I was an abandoned six month old pound puppy, until my pawrents, Jim and René, took me home with them.

They had a  business in Eureka, California, and when I joined their pack, one thing was clear; they worked way too hard. So I nominated myself CFO (“Canine Fun Officer”) and made sure to take them hiking in the beautiful beaches and mountains where we lived, as much as pawsible.

I was an active, healthy dog who ate good foods and stayed fit. But in 2006, when I turned eight, my leg started hurting real bad after a backpacking trip.

Weeks went by while I tried to hide my pain until doctors found out why I was hurting; I had bone cancer, and my left front leg had to be amputated.

Dogs Get Cancer?

My pawrents were devastated. They didn’t know anything about amputation surgery, cancer, or tripod dogs. When doctors told Dad I was going to be a “Tripod,” he thought that was kinda mean. So Dad coined the spelling “Tripawd” because that’s what we are right? Three-pawed dogs!

Mom and Dad felt so scared and alone. They started blogging about our life and making movies of our adventures as a way to cope. That’s when Tripawds.com was born.

As for me, I just wanted to be out of pain. And on Thanksgiving Day, 2006, I got my wish. I became a Tripawd after the good docs at the University of California at Davis Vet Teaching Hospital took my leg off. That horrible pain was gone, and my lungs were free of metastasis, but doctors still only gave me about four months to live (osteosarcoma is a very fast-spreading disease).

Prognosis schmognosis, I just didn’t care about that. Remember, time means nothing to us dogs. We don’t even know how to tell time! Living for the moment is all that matters, so when I saw how upset my people were, I decided to show them how to really live!

Once I healed up, I made them take me to play on the beach and out into the world again. I didn’t have chemotherapy, so instead I went on a super healthy diet and took lots of supplements.

Every day became a reason to celebrate one more day together. My parents were great students as they learned how to quit worrying about the future and instead focused on the here and now.

Living Life on Our Terms

While nobody ever really knows how long we have on this earth, we all knew the facts: this type of nasty cancer would shorten my life. We didn’t want to waste any time, so Mom and Dad sold their business and almost everything they owned, bought a RV, and together we hit the road to see North America, together as a pack.

We started in June, 2007 and for two years we drove more than 30,000 miles around the country. We went coast to coast, and everywhere we went, I did my best to show people how awesome three legged dogs can be. I met so many other cool Tripawds and humans, and saw such neat places!

Together, we spread the word that “It’s better to hop on three legs than limp on four!” The more months that went by, the more we were amazed and grateful for how much extra time we had together. We were even featured on Public Television, in a PBS documentary called Nature: Why We Love Cats and Dogs.

While we traveled, Dad kept adding features to Tripawds, and before we knew it, we had over 1,000 members who found themselves in the same place, wondering if amputation was the right thing to do, and how they would cope. Some were facing cancer, some weren’t. But we all shared the fear of not knowing what living on three legs is really like.

Once Dad added Discussion Forums to Tripawds, our pawesome community grew larger, and that’s when we realized that this community is indeed a special place, full of love and support from pawrents who understand the depth of caring that special humans have for their animal friends.

My pawrents and I had an incredible journey together for two great years, far longer than any statistics said I would live. But on October 3, 2008, two days after my tenth birthday, I earned my angel wings under beautiful Montana skies.

Despite our broken hearts, gradually we healed, and found beauty in the truth that the timeless bond we share goes far beyond our physical selves. We will always be together in our hearts.

Watch Jerry and his pack in Nature: Why We Love Cats And Dogs on PBS.

Tripawds: A Labor of Love

Although I no longer hop on this earth, my spirit lives on forever through this incredible community and the inspawrational tales, resources, movies and discussions of our two and three legged friends from around the globe.

The Tripawds community has since turned into a volunteer labor of love for my Mom and Dad. This accidental project they started is now their life’s calling, and they hope that here you will find the strength to overcome any obstacles you are currently facing, and learn how to live a joyous, fun-filled life as a three legged Tripawd hero.

Jerry’s Legacy

The Tripawds community has since grown to host more than 1,000 blogs and with 11,000+ members sharing their story. The blogs, forums live chat, toll-free Helpline and many more helpful resources remain free, thanks to your support of the Tripawds Foundation!

tripawds foundationSupport Tripawds to Honor Your Angels & Heroes Here

71 Responses to “Jerry’s Story, How Tripawds Came To Be”

  1. Dear Jerrys’ spirit. I have just watched your video and man are your pawrents awesome! Thank you a million times over for being such a strong spirit, that they not only changed their lives for you, but between the three of you, you have helped so many more pawrents come to terms with and help them through a very difficult journey. I’m sure you are so very proud of what they have achieved!
    I am only at the beginning of my journey with my Stewie boy, but I feel like I am ready for him to come home tomorrow as a new Tripawd hero!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Petra and her very brave boy Stewie.

    • You took our breath away with your very touching comment Petra and Stewie. Thank you so much for taking time to read about Jerry, it really made our day. We are just so glad we can be there for you both. It’s an honor to be part of your journey and if there’s anything we can do just bark OK? {{{hugs}}}

  2. This is such an amazing and beautiful story. As a new Tripawd pawrent I am so thankful for this community. I can’t even begin to list all the things that I have learned in just two days. Because of this website and community I will be able to give my Zoe a shot at a loving , fun filled life.

    • Awww thank you so much for the kind words. Every story here helps another later on down the road. Zoe and you are helping to weave the fabric of support and love for folks going through a ruff time. We’re so glad you are here!

  3. Oh wow, what a beautiful story! You are truly a great family and did so much for your Jerry who seem to have the best life ever.

    • Aww thank you so much, you really touched us with your kindness. Jerry’s the real star here though, he’s why Tripawds exists and he’s the magic that keeps it going 🙂 xoxo

  4. What a great story 🙂 Thank you so much for all this.

  5. Jim, Rene’ and Angel Jerry,

    Thank you so much for creating this site. It has been a blessing, inspiration and place for gathering information and mostly HOPE in a time of great distress, fear of the unknown and confusion. This site has been my go to over the last month and I wanted to THANK YOU!! What great pawrents you were/still are to Jerry!

    Sarge & Mom

    • Sarge and Mom, thank you so much for reading and celebrating Jerry’s life, it means so much to know he continues to help this world. But really, it’s the collective whole of our three-legged family members who all make this such an incredible, loving and supportive corner of the universe. I’m sorry you had to join us but thank you so much for being here, for sharing your stories and in return helping future pawrents who find themselves in the same scary place. Tripawds wouldn’t be here without you. xoxo

  6. Hi Jerry,
    Max and I joined your community about twenty minutes ago. Max is going to be part of your Tripawd gang on Monday, all the way from the UK. We’re all super nervous for him (even though he’s currently snoring his head off) so reading your story above is the most amazing encouragement we have read so far. xXx

    • Hi Max & Family, we’re glad you found us! Please let us know how we can help, we’re here for you! And we also have a Tripawds UK Facebook group too so you’re definitely not alone. Good luck and keep us posted.

  7. Thank you for this blog. I lost my shepherd mix days before Christmas after I had a heart attack at 37 (yes 37) after 17 years of police work in a violent city. I sold everything after waking up in the hospital from the surgery and have been on the road full time for a month with other great dog. I’m learning but so far this may have been the best thing. I’m working on starting a business I can run on the road but for now I am happy to be exploring and learning what life is supposed to be

    • Hi Brian, thank you so much for commenting and sharing your story. I’m so sorry to hear about your Shepherd, and your health situation. When you can turn something so terrible into a positive, life-changing situation, that’s what we call “Being more dog.” Your Shepherd (and your current dog) have taught you well. We would love to hear more about your life on the road, be sure to visit us at LiveWorkDream, keep in touch.

  8. I only want to say thank you so much for making such a wonderful and incredible site 🙂 and my only wish is that I had found you sooner especially when my Fizzles first became ill.

    As it would have helped me no~end and would have made the coping of Fizz’s illness a little bit easier.

    I hope that in some small way, I myself with the help of my Fizzle Angel, will be able to share her story and help other’s in the process 🙂

    Thank you once again
    zena and Fizzle’s in Spirit xxx

    • You’re so welcome Zena. I know that Fizz’s story will help others, thank you for taking the time to share your journey with all of us. Fizz is proud.

  9. Pretty cool two years is a long for a dog in dog years ….. that gives me hope that i will be around for a while yet. I can do a lot of adventure in tow years ………………Thanks for the site ..

  10. jerry, u r a lucky dog,i have another little “brother”,he was abandoned dog as well. i feel no longer lonely since i found this forum, it give me hope, i hope every bone cancer dog can getting well,

    Jerry, u have a nice story, i was crying long time for ur story,and also i hope my dog Adun can getting well

    • Bowei, that is so nice of you. We are glad you’re here and hope that Adun gets well too.

      • thanks,i can not help my tears when jerry said I earned my angel wings under beautiful Montana skies, i feel happy for jerry, because Jerry did a good job about enjoying his life… i hope Adun still have couple years to enjoy, i wanna him to see my son or daughter,that is my wise, but i have not married yet, may i ask u about what happened finally about Jerry if the question is applicable for u? i am sorry to mention this.
        BTW read a little bit with ur bussiness,i saw something about graphic design,i will read them through later,i am a 3th student from Computer Games and Visual Effects, in final project, i will design Adun to be a dog hero for one of my game character,i fouce on makeing game 3d character in my course, i hope i can use the Character to give more people confidence to beat any kind of cancer.
        i have got some 3d work pics in my facebook photo album i would like anyone go to see them.i will try my best to make this good 3d work about Adun’s character, i would like to give it to your forum to be a gift when i finish it, if it is applicable.

      • cos this forum give me lot confidence and hope

  11. A random internet search to learn more about dog amputation led us to this site. And here we have found support, love and understanding that we would have been lost without. Just knowing that we are not alone in this scary journey has been more comforting than we could ever express.

    Thank you Jerry and your pawrents for creating this labor of love so we can all share the joys and sorrows we experience with our tripawds.

    Brian, Annie & Ginger

  12. sometimes thank you doesn’t seem like enough… but Jerry, your folks give hope where others see none… a true blessing to us all!!!

    gayle & charon

  13. I will also state that what Jim & Rene have done for people like us with Tripawd dogs IS nothing short of amazing and so VERY much appreciated! I no longer feel alone in this journey of owning a tripawd dog and having cancer.

    You guys totally, totally ROCK!

    XOXOXO

    Tracy & Maggie

  14. Some of us lost our sanity before finding the site (me)!

    The last several months have made up for 10+ years of feeling alone in the world of tripawdness!

    Fate. Wonderful fate.

  15. Thank you. You have saved my sanity and touched so many lives, canine and human alike.

    What you are doing, and have done is nothing short of amazing.

    Again, thank you.

    Lincoln’s Mom

  16. Jerry, your parents do a pawsome job with their labor of love! This site has been our saving grace as we journey down this road with Holly. Thank dog for their big hearts and vision to gather such a pawsome community!
    Hugs,
    Holly and Susan

    • Thanks Susan and Holly. But it’s the wonderful people like YOU who make it so pawesome! Thanks for all you do here to help others while sharing your own story. {{{Hugs}}}}

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Walk and Explore the Full-time RVing Lifestyle with a Great Holiday Fundraiser - November 19, 2018

    […] but this is a holiday fundraiser and we’d love for you to join us. Founded when our beloved Jerry got cancer, Tripawds has grown from one simple little blog to a global network of support that helps thousands […]

  2. Tripawds Honor Roll Tribute to Echo - October 30, 2018

    […] you Rene, Jim, Wyatt and Spirit Jerry for all the support you gave us during Echo’s Tripawd time and since. You guys are truly […]

  3. Tripawds Downloads » Download Tripawds Dog Cat Amputation eBook Fast Answers Help - October 20, 2018

    […] — Rene, Jim, Wyatt Ray & Spirit Jerry […]

  4. Tripawds » 10 Year Anniversary of Tripawd Angel Dog Of the Decade - October 3, 2018

    […] a time when it was difficult to find pawsitive examples of life after amputation for dogs. We share Jerry’s entire story here, but in short, he inspired us to create a little blog all about his recovery and life on three […]

  5. Tripawds Community Three Legged German Shepherd | Way To Go Wyatt » Meet My Canadian Cancer Hero Terry Fox - September 15, 2018

    […] many, right friends? Amputation is ruff enough but cancer? Well, it bites. I know, because my predecessor Jerry G. Dawg had it. Osteosarcoma, to be exact. He’s been gone almost 10 years now, but my parents still […]

  6. Tripawds Nutrition » The Risk of Raw Food for Dogs and Cats with Cancer - May 7, 2018

    […] many people still opt for fresh raw meat for their cat or dog, and we did too. Tripawds Founder Jerry ate raw meat throughout his life (not as a main menu but more of a […]

  7. Tripawds » Tripawds Required Reading Links for Pet Cancer, Cat and Dog Amputation Help - April 23, 2018

    […] Jerry’s Story: How Tripawds Came To Be […]

  8. Tripawds » Tripawd Tuesday: Hoppy Angelversary Jerry G Dawg - October 3, 2017

    […] you’re new to the Tripawd life, you may not know Jerry’s story. He was the magical canine who inspired us to create this global community. When that boy lost his […]

  9. How We Got Where We Are Today - September 13, 2017

    […] were getting burnt out, and it was time to expand the operation, or let someone else do that. Then Jerry got cancer. So we sold everything and hit the road. But we were by no means […]

  10. Own Your Own Live Work Dream Mountain Property - July 19, 2017

    […] years later, we sold everything and hit the road in our new fifth wheel to travel the country with Jerry. Shake, shake, […]

  11. Tripawds » Tripawds founders featured on PBS with Canine Cancer Suvivor Jerry. - January 28, 2017

    […] *EDIT: We have replaced the preview clip originally posted above with the first segment from Why We Love Cats and Dogs. View the entire episode online at PBS.org for the rest of Jerry’s story. […]

  12. Paying It Forward - January 6, 2017

    […] ensure it always remains functional and free for anyone facing amputation for their dogs and cats. Jerry wouldn’t have it any other way!” […]

  13. For Tripawds Founder Jerry G. Dawg - December 31, 2016

    […] family member was kind enough to donate in honor of Tripawds Founder and CFO (Chief Fun Officer) Jerry G. Dawg. Thank you! […]

  14. Amazon Tripawd Selections » Remember Tripawds When Shopping Online! - November 25, 2016

    […] Who is this? […]

  15. Tripawds Gear » How to Get a Harnessarness on Front-leg Tripawds. - October 27, 2016

    […] Spirit Jerry taught us that method number three is the fastest, most gentle way to put a Webmaster harness on a front-leg Tripawd. Check it out: […]

  16. Tripawds Apparel and Gifts » Tripawd Bandanna Supports Amputee Dogs, Cats and their Humans! - October 20, 2016

    […] first Tripawds logo was created with our hero Spirit Jerry in mind. And as much as we always loved that sweet front-legged doggy Tripawd design, the times […]

  17. Tripawds Apparel and Gifts » Name Your Price for Tripawds Rule Dog Bandana - October 19, 2016

    […] Got a special Tripawds pal? Give us her address and we’ll send a bandana on your behalf along with a special note card from Jerry! […]

  18. America the Anxious Book Review for Full-time RVers - October 19, 2016

    […] say got Jim and I to ditch our old sticks-and-bricks lifestyle. As we pursued happiness with our Jerry while he fought cancer, the only thing on our minds was following Eckhart Tolle’s advice to live in the moment. But […]

  19. Amazon Tripawd Selections » Travel With Dogs Guidebook Share Pet-Friendly Trip Planning Tips - October 13, 2016

    […] cute little book caught our eye because we were inspired to hit the road with Jerry when he got bone cancer. There were many things about traveling with him that we had to learn along […]

  20. Amazon Tripawd Selections » Wifi Pet Cam Basics for Tripawd Parents - August 15, 2016

    […] pet cameras didn’t exist when Tripawds Founder and Chief Fun Officer Jerry was recovering from amputation surgery. If we had one, it might have made us a little less anxious […]

  21. Tripawds » Pet Cancer is Turning Negatives Into Positives with TruDog Nutrition - July 27, 2016

    […] Want proof? Let’s start with the Tripawds community: it wouldn’t exist without Jerry’s osteosarcoma diagnosis. Next, let’s look at TruDog®, a raw dehydrated dog food that’s helping pups like […]

  22. Tripawds Fan Remembers Angel Kitties Calli and Bell - May 24, 2016

    […] Dear Rene, Jim, Wyatt, and Spirit Jerry, […]

  23. Tripawds Gear » Web Master is a Front Leg Tripawd Harness Too - April 25, 2016

    […] Tripawds Founder Spirit Jerry wore the first Web Master harness by Ruffwear, we knew this device was something special. The […]

  24. Tripawds Downloads » Pet Health Insurance Guide Revised for 2016 - April 18, 2016

    […] going through cancer with our fearless leader Jerry and not carrying pet health insurance, we said never again. Tripawds Spokesdog Wyatt Ray is covered […]

  25. Tripawds » #AAHA2016 Canine Osteosarcoma Breakthroughs for Tripawd Dogs - April 13, 2016

    […] biased: osteosarcoma hits home hard with us because it’s the reason why Tripawds began. Paws down, this was our favorite session. It was presented by Dr. Nicole Ehrhart, DVM, DACVS, […]

  26. Tripawds » Foundation Reaches Vets At AAHA 2016 Conference - April 6, 2016

    […] more incredible, we had unexpected reunions with three key people who treated Tripawds Founder Jerry during the early stages of his osteosarcoma diagnosis. We haven’t seen these folks since 2007 […]

  27. #BestDogEver Merrick Recipe Ideal For Grain-Free Dog Diets | Tripawds Nutrition | Tripawd Cat And Dog Cancer Amputation Diet Supplements Health Help - March 15, 2016

    […] became advocates for a grain-free dog diet when Tripawds Founder Jerry was fighting cancer. That’s when we learned that since cancer cells feeds on carbs and sugary […]

  28. Download Tripawds Dog Cat Amputation eBook Fast Answers Help » Tripawds Downloads » Tripawd Dog and Cat Cancer Amputation Help Info Resources - February 24, 2016

    […] — Rene, Jim, Wyatt Ray & Spirit Jerry […]

  29. Learn Canine Fitness and Exercise Tips for Three-Legged Tripawd Dogs » Tripawds Downloads » Tripawd Dog and Cat Cancer Amputation Help Info Resources - February 24, 2016

    […] Tripawds founder Spirit Jerry G. Dawg lost his leg to osteosarcoma in 2006, we didn’t know anything about keeping him injury-free […]

  30. Tripawds with Dr Michael Tokiwa on Your Pet Matters » Tripawds Downloads » Tripawd Dog and Cat Cancer Amputation Help Info Resources - February 11, 2016

    […] to the podcast below for details about the history of Tripawds, why we’ll be exhibiting at the 2016 AAHA conference (American Animal Hospital Association), […]

  31. Best Chew Bone for Dogs Missing a Front Leg | Amazon Tripawd Selections | Recommended Three Legged Cancer Dog Help Info Books Products - January 7, 2016

    […] Tripawds Founder Jerry lost his front left leg, we thought he’d never chew on bones again. Without two paws, how […]

  32. Pet Food Transition Tips from Only Natural Pet's Canine PowerFood | Tripawds Nutrition | Best Canine Cancer Dog Amputation Diet Supplements Health Help - October 1, 2014

    […] been big fans of Only Natural Pet for a long time, starting back when Spirit Jerry was battling cancer. As a leading advocate and retailer of holistic pet products, we know that ONP’s founder […]

  33. Tripawds Blogs | Birthday Wishs to Tripawd Jerry at the Rainbow Bridge | Three Legged Dog Cat Amputation Pet Cancer Support Information Help Advice - October 1, 2014

    […] On this day in 1998 (we think), a little dog was born, then abandoned in a shelter for unknown reasons. For us it was love at first woof, and so we named this happy boy Jerry G Dawg. Little did we know he would grow up into a sweet, loving ramblin’ pup who touched the hearts and lives of thousands of pawrents around the world after he lost his leg to osteosarcoma. […]

  34. How FitPAWS® Equipment Benefits Tripawds® - FitPAWS® Canine Conditioning EquipmentFitPAWS® Canine Conditioning Equipment - August 26, 2014

    […] sure to visit Tripawds.com for more information from the “Pawrents” who first coined the name “Tripawds®.” Their hard work and dedication will warm your […]

  35. New Mexico's Pie-O-Neer Cafe Offers World's Best Pies, Free Camping for RVers | live. work. dream. | RVing Snowbird Lifestyle Design Blog - July 6, 2014

    […] magical spot perched atop on the Continental Divide won us over way back in 2008 as we traveled with Jerry, and just like our sweet boy, it’s been in our hearts ever […]

  36. Tripawds Blogs | How to Prevent Disease in Dogs, Cats with Annual Vet Exams | Three Legged Dog Amputation Canine Bone Cancer Support Information Help Advice - June 18, 2014

    […] go first: when it came to our time with Tripawds founder Jerry G. Dawg, he rarely saw the vet until the dreaded osteosarcoma limp developed. His successor Wyatt Ray Dawg […]

  37. Tripawds Blogs | How To Shop For Best Premium Affordable New Dog Food | Three Legged Dog Amputation Canine Bone Cancer Support Information Help Advice - June 9, 2014

    […] begins. As we stroll past the cheap dog food aisle I think back to a time when I innocently fed Spirit Jerry foods that were all flash and no substance. In my heart, I believe that the junk food I forced on […]

  38. Vegas Rock Dog Radio with Tripawds Community Founder Jim Nelson » Tripawds Downloads » Download Three Legged Dog Cancer Amputation Help Info Resources - June 2, 2014

    […] the hour-long show, he and Sam discussed the history of Tripawds, our Travels with Jerry and new adventures with Wyatt and much […]

  39. Tripawds Blogs | BlogPaws Wordless Wednesday Three Legged Dog Jumping for Snow | Three Legged Dog Amputation Canine Bone Cancer Support Information Help Advice - May 14, 2014

    […] more inspawrational three legged dog picturess from Jerry’s travels in the Tripawds Photo Galleries or share your own in the Discussion […]

  40. How to Plan Budget and Prepare for Full-Time RV Lifestyle | live. work. dream. | RVing Snowbird Lifestyle Design Blog - March 14, 2014

    […] of kids, we had to consider how our dog would handle traveling. Our first dog Jerry lived for adventures. In fact, he was the primary reason we decided to hit the road. Others like […]

  41. Learn How To Earn Income with Best Home Based Business Tips | team agreda - March 11, 2014

    […] nearly everything we owned, we hit the road to travel in a new truck and fifth wheel trailer with our dog Jerry. What we thought would be a one-year sabbatical turned into the dream lifestyle we enjoy […]

  42. Tripawds Blogs | Tri Day Celebration Tripawds Contest for Three Legged Dogs, Cats and People | Three Legged Dog Amputation Canine Bone Cancer Support Information Help Advice - March 5, 2014

    […] Not only is the 3rd of each month an occasion for us to honor the life of Tripawds Community Founder, Spirit Jerry G. Dawg… […]

  43. Tripawds Blogs | Honor Three Legged Cats, Dogs by Volunteering on Giving Tuesday | Three Legged Dog Amputation Canine Bone Cancer Support Information Help Advice - December 3, 2013

    […] celebration is one way that we can give something back to cause that means a lot to us. In honor of Tripawds Founder Spirit Jerry on the date that he earned his wings, the third of the month, we hope you’ll participate by […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tripawds is brought to you by Tripawds.
HOME » NEWS » BLOGS » FORUMS » CHAT » YOUR PRIVACY » RANDOM BLOG