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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is the place to learn how to care for a three legged dog or cat, with answers about dog leg amputation, and cat amputation recovery from many years of member experiences.

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Be More DogWhat does it mean to Be More Dog?

Find out in Be More Dog: Learning to Live in the Now by Tripawds founders Rene and Jim. Learn life lessons learned from their Chief Fun Officer Jerry G. Dawg! Get the book and find fun gifts in the Be More Dog Bookstore.

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Hey Jerry - wait for me!!!
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Member Since:
28 May 2008
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5 September 2009 - 4:22 pm
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My brave, strong and stoic boy. My hero until the very end. My best friend and my soulmate – Zeus beat cancer, but his strong beautiful body broke down from kidney failure and, we're assuming, finally from a blood clot. I set his spirit free in the back of his Tahoe that he loved riding around in so much, the license plates read, “Sav Zeus” which is what I did when we amputated and started on this journey…and what I did for him at about 2:45 this morning, September 5th.

I don't want to spend too much time on the medical details…at least not now…but from a very basic perspective, he was doing so well until Friday about noon and we were going to bring him home on Saturday. I saw him at physical therapy at noon yesterday and he looked great. I went to visit him at 6 and the doctor told me he had been throwing up most of the afternoon…she knew I was coming in and opted to talk to me at that time. I took him home to see how he would do at home…maybe he was just sick of the hospital? He went down hill so fast throwing up blood and not able to control himself and not able to get up to move around. He was literally lifeless. It was 2am. I wanted so badly for him to pass at home, but I couldn't bring myself to call Kecia at that hour and I didn't want him to wait the hour it would take her to get to me. His breathing was labored and I knew he was suffering. All I heard in my head was, “It is time”. South Paws wonderful – I didn't want him to die in the hospital and they agreed. They set him free for me while I held him where he loved going “bye bye's”

For anyone that has gone through this, I don't have to tell you the excruciating pain and the sense of numbness. The loss is unbearable and I am just taking the day minute by minute actually. I have peace that I did right by him, I have a hole in my heart the size of China.

For anyone that has not gone through this, you DO FIND THE STRENGTH. When I read about others, I could never understand how they managed and how they stayed strong. I always thought I would be a noodle and a hysterical mess. I have no idea where my strength came from…it just comes. The hysteria came after….

I didn't shed one tear in front of him…I knew he would cross the bridge worried about me if I did and I wanted him to let go peacefully and without hesitation. It was his time to go hang out with Jerry and crew, I know they all welcomed him with open paws.

This is about all I can muster right now. Everything is so raw. I want everyone who has amputated and everyone who is thinking about it that I have NO REGRETS. NONE. These last 17 months with him have literally changed my life in countless ways. There has never been anything in my life that has had such a profound impact on my life than my relationship with Zeus and I can't imagine that there ever will be. We all have that one dog….

Run free sweet boy, run free,

Heather and Spirit Zeus

Heather and Spirit Zeus - Our life changing journey…from the earth to the heavens…one day at a time…always together

Member Since:
13 July 2009
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5 September 2009 - 4:38 pm
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I am devastated by your news. You are so strong. Zeusy - you cannot imagine what you will always mean to your mum.

Susan & Tazzie

Cordoba, Argentina
Member Since:
20 August 2009
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5 September 2009 - 5:04 pm
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Oh Heather, I am so so sorry, but I know Zeus is now running free with his friends and not suffering one bit. He will thank you eternally from the other side for your strength and support these last 17 months and for your ultimate act of love and friendship.

I know the wonderful memories of your time toghether will more than outbalance your sorrow... but it will take time. And I hate that you have to go through this.


Spirit Horacia, Castaño, Olympia + human family Cecilia, Georg and Julia - - - Hori first diagnosed 8/6/09, ampu 8/12/09, run over the bridge 9/10/09 – We miss you every day dear girl!

Livermore CA
Member Since:
24 January 2009
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5 September 2009 - 5:07 pm
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Heather...I'm still praying--the comfort prayer for you now that Zeus is at peace.  I've been there, know the numbness, and I can tell you that it diminishes eventually, but for now savor the good memories.  You did right by Zeus.

He is our hero and we support you.

So sad...

Mary and Cemil

Cemil and mom Mary, Mujde and Radzi….appreciating and enjoying Today

Cemil's blog

Kirkland, WA
Member Since:
2 June 2009
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5 September 2009 - 5:48 pm
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I am so soooo sorry to hear that Zeus went downhill so fast.  As your little tag line says, it was a life-changing journey.  Thank you for your kind words to us any to everyone else on this site, and for showing us that there is still so much to live for after a cancer diagnosis.  My thoughts are with you 🙁

<3 Laura and Jackers

Oakland, CA
Member Since:
20 December 2008
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5 September 2009 - 6:56 pm
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Oh Heather,

I am so sorry you had to let Zeus go. I too have been there and yes, the pain will diminish, but I have to say, every time I read of another Tripawd Hero crossing the Bridge, the pain wells up like it was just yesterday that I lost my girl. I wish I had this community at that time. You already know that you are surrounded by our love and best wishes. Thank you so much for sharing your incredible journey with us. Another candle goes up on my altar tonight, lighting the way for Spirit Zeus, although I suspect he has already caught up with Jerry, and Wrigley, and Lalla, and Rosa, and all the other wonderful pups that have gone before him, and that they are having a rockin' good time.

our thoughts are with you,


Woohoo! Tripawds Rule!

Regulator of the Oaktown Pack, Sheriff of the Oaktown Pawsse, Founding member and President of the Tripawd Girldogs With 2 Names ROCK Club, and ... Tripawd Girldog Extraordinaire!

Visit Codie Rae's Blog!

Member Since:
7 August 2009
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5 September 2009 - 7:27 pm
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Dear Heather: We just wanted to send our love and prayers to you. We love that little picture of Zeus running! Now he is

truly free to run with Jerry and friends. We know he carries your love with him. Your courage and devotion gives us all

hope. Take care, Eve, Sylvia, and Romeo 

Member Since:
20 December 2008
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5 September 2009 - 7:33 pm
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Heather - I type this through tears -- there are no words.  You were such a HUGE support for me when I went through my final days with Jack and remained there for me as I dealt with his loss.  Your post shows your strength.  Strength you will continue to need as you deal with the loss of your hero Zeus.  Sometimes you have to take it a minute at a time as you said.... We were so lucky to have "that one dog" in our lives.  No regrets.  None at all.  Hold onto those lessons Zeus taught. 

Kristen and Angel Jack

Member Since:
16 February 2008
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5 September 2009 - 8:03 pm
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Dear Heather, I am speechless, very sorry to hear that Zeus had gone downhill so quickly, unexpectedly.

My heart aches for you, and please allow me to share your pain, just as you shared mine during my difficult time.

Thoughts and prayers are with you.

Hugs and many hugs.

Northern Indiana
Member Since:
15 January 2009
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5 September 2009 - 9:24 pm
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So many of us feel your deep pain and sorrow. I can hear the heartbreak in your words. Please except the love and support of the Tripawd community. You have been there for all of us during our tough times and celebrations...I noticed tonight you have 608 posts.... most of those were you reaching out to one of us in fear or pain.

I am sending you my love and prayers and thanks for all you have done for others. Zeus is very proud of his Mom!

His spirit is with you and love never dies.....

Gineej & Paris

Grateful for every moment we had with Paris… regrets!

Honoring her life by opening our hearts & home to Addy!

Member Since:
22 August 2008
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5 September 2009 - 10:45 pm
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Heather I am so very sorry for your loss of Zeus.  His story is truly an inspiration for others who are considering amputation for their older dog. It must be so hard to lose him with little notice. You have been an amazing caregiver to him, and have always been ready with an encouraging word for everyone on this site.

He will be missed.

Pam and Tazzie

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
Member Since:
28 November 2008
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6 September 2009 - 5:30 am
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I am so deeply saddened.  Each loss brings me to tears, but you were here before me and Zeus was kind of a torch for me, the symbol of hope, this one is really hard. 

Heather, no one needs to tell you what a wonderful pawrent you were to him, you know that and he knows that.  You were dedicated to him to the very end and let him leave on his terms.  You couldn't have shown more love than that.  You are in my heart as you adjust to your new life.  It will be hard, and lonely for a while, but those beautiful memories will soon take over to warm your heart and keep you going.

RIP Zeus, run free at Rainbow Bridge .

Forever in our Hearts.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

Member Since:
31 August 2009
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6 September 2009 - 5:50 am
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Zeus said:

I didn't shed one tear in front of him…I knew he would cross the bridge worried about me if I did and I wanted him to let go peacefully and without hesitation. It was his time to go hang out with Jerry and crew, I know they all welcomed him with open paws.

Run free sweet boy, run free,

Heather and Spirit Zeus

Heather, I am pretty new here and don't know a lot about Zeus' journey, but your post touched my heart so much. The strength and bravery you showed are amazing to me. You did the right thing for Zeus.

I am very sorry for the loss of your sweet boy.


Member Since:
26 November 2008
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6 September 2009 - 11:10 am
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To Heather and Our Brave Hero Zeus (Spirit),

We want to extend our deepest sympathy at this tragic moment.  Your story has touched so many, provided so much inspiration, and given us a true Hero.  Tears of sadness and loss now block my computer screen, and I know how much of a canyon of a hole there is now in your live.  I lost both of my first two Standard Poodles (litter-mates) just three months apart after battling torsion in both of them just three years earlier.  I have a web page dedicated to all of us who have shared such a close relationship.  A "Sunday" strip that I have included on that page helps to remind me "that I will never really be without them, for the gifts that they have given me will live with me forever".  Such is also true for Zeus.  We now pray for your strength and for the day that you too will be able to remember those precious times and a smile will appear on your lips.

Bless your for all you gave to Zeus and all he returned.

Bob & Cherry

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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6 September 2009 - 4:27 pm
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We have been away from our computers all weekend, and to come back and read this news is just tearing our hearts out. I don't know if you can hear us crying from here . . . 

Words can't even begin to tell you how devastated and heartbroken we feel for you. We are sending our love out to you across the miles. A loss so sudden is just incomprehensible. Zeus was such a role model, an inspawration to all of us. His shining spirit and courage will forever be in our hearts and continue to inspire Tripawds around the world for many years to come.

You were incredibly strong for making that call, and your boy is very, very proud of you for being so brave. Take comfort in knowing that he has no more pain, he is playing again like a puppy with all our Tripawd warriors whose souls have gone on to a beautiful place in the universe. What a lucky boy to have such a compassionate, stoic pawrent like you, to help him reach that place.

We are so, so sorry, and hope this poem we found helps comfort you just a little.

Love and hugs to you,

Rene, Jim, Wyatt Ray and Spirit Jerry

Beyond The Rainbow

As much as I loved the life we had and all the times we played,
I was so very tired and knew my time on earth would fade.
I saw a wondrous image then of a place that's trouble-free
Where all of us can meet again to spend eternity.

I saw the most beautiful Rainbow, and on the other side
Were meadows rich and beautiful — lush and green and wide!
And running through the meadows as far as the eye could see
Were animals of every sort as healthy as could be!
My own tired, failing body was fresh and healed and new
And I wanted to go run with them, but I had something left to do.

I needed to reach out to you, to tell you I'm alright
That this place is truly wonderful, then a bright Glow pierced the night.
'Twas the Glow of many Candles shining bright and strong and bold
And I knew then that it held your love in its brilliant shades of gold.

For although we may not be together in the way we used to be,
We are still connected by a cord no eye can see.
So whenever you need to find me, we're never far apart
If you look beyond the Rainbow and listen with your heart.

cg – 1995

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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