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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Mattie's gone...
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Member Since:
12 October 2014
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2 July 2015 - 6:43 pm
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Hey guys. I knew this day would come. Doesn't make it any easier.

Yesterday morning she was fine, hopping around as per usual. She wanted outside later in the day so Mom let her out, like usual, but she disappeared and wouldn't come when Mom called her. When I got home I found her in the back yard on the side of the house, behind the bushes and laying next to the house. She couldn't get up so I carried her inside. I had to carry her out to potty before bed and then carry her back inside to her bed. This morning was the same. I had to carry her outside to potty. It was about time for her 3 month visit to Doctor Dale, so I took her to Northgate at  about 7:45 this morning.

Doctor Dale did x-rays, blood work and other exam work today. Late this afternoon he called me and asked me if I could come by. I could deduce from his conversation that he likely was thinking euthanasia may be an appropriate option. I asked him if that's what he was thinking and he said yes. When I went there he told me that she had developed masses in her lungs and her liver enzymes were elevating. She still couldn't stand on her own. Their office is closed tomorrow (Friday 7/3) and all weekend. Some people may have elected to take the dog home rather than make a quick decision on euthanasia, but I knew exactly what the best decision for Mattie was and I made that decision quickly in her best interests above all others. I was expecting this at some point. It's just what canine osteosarcoma does. It's nasty stuff even with amputation and chemo.

Doctor Dale did the injection. One of Mattie's vet techs was in there holding Mattie with me. The vet tech was crying. She said there are certain few animals that come through their care that make a difference in them and that Mattie is one of them. I was kneeling on the floor with Mattie and them, petting her and talking to her. About 15 seconds after the injection her eyes got heavy and I felt her slumping, so I supported her head and gently put some pressure on her right side so she could lay on her side. Doctor Dale was listening through his stethoscope. About 10 seconds later he said she was gone.

I knew this day would come, but I'm glad that she had such a great quality of life right to the end, instead of withering and suffering for weeks or more.

I don't feel bad about any decisions I made for Mattie. I'm glad she got extra time to stay. I'm glad she enjoyed that time. I certainly enjoyed every second I got to spend with her and spoil her.

Sorry to communicate news like this, but I hope you share some of the joy that I feel. Joy that I got to spend her life with her. Joy that we did the best that we could for her because we know she deserves it, and joy for the fact that she is now in a place with no cancer, no pain, plenty of fresh water, steaks, tuna, cod, cheese and everything else she deserves.

There's a short item that I've seen somewhere a couple of times. You may have heard of it or read it. It's what I've thought about for the last 9 months and it has constantly brought me peace in thinking about Mattie's future:

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

Member Since:
12 March 2013
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2 July 2015 - 7:02 pm
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RIP, Mattie. You were well loved.

Kathi and the Turbotail April Angel...and the Labradork

Murphy is a five year old Lab/Chessie cross. He was hit by a car on 10/29/12 and became a Tripawd on 11/24/12. On 2/5/13, he had a total hip replacement on his remaining back leg. He has absolutely no idea that he has only three legs!

UPDATE: Murphy lived his life to the fullest, right up until an aggressive bone lesion took him across the Rainbow Bridge on April 9, 2015 and he gained his membership in the April Angels. Run free, my love. You deserve it!

Los Angeles, CA
Member Since:
13 June 2013
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2 July 2015 - 8:26 pm
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You handled this with so much grace and strength.... you did everything right by Mattie and I know it hurts like he!! but it gets better. Everything you did, you put Mattie first and there is nothing more selfless than that. What a loved dog Mattie was .... so lucky! Any extra time makes it worth it (in my mind)...

Sending you hugs and peace and more strength in the hours, days, weeks to come. Stay close to us and we'll hug and comfort the best that we can. Our heart aches for you but the bridge is having a HUGE party right now ... Mattie is welcomed among them all and is strong, healthy and free and waiting for you.

Much love,

alison with spirit shelby in her heart 

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

Orrtanna Pa.
Member Since:
25 January 2014
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2 July 2015 - 8:31 pm
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I M sorry to hear about Mattie going to the bridge. She was greeted by a wild bunch of Tripawd Angels, that's for sure. You made a very unselfish decision for her. I know it is really hard right now, but know you made her life very happy. Run free Mattie! Lori, Ty & the gang

TY GUY, Best Black Lab ever! Diagnosed  and had amp in January, 2014. Kicked MRSA's butt. Earned his angel wings on April 16, 2014. Run Free my boy and don't forget a shoe. Ty is a proud member of the " April Angels". Ty sent us Daryl, a Tripawd rescue in Sept. of 2016. Daryl is 5 +or -. We are also Pawrents to Chandler, a Border Collie mix who is 15 and 1/2, Lucy, a Corgi who is 7, 2 minis, 2 horses, and a feisty cat named Zoe. Zoe had a non skeletal Osteosarcoma removed in July 2015. No Chemo, she was at least 16. She is going strong although she is now completely blind. She is now close to 20 and her hobbies are eating and sleeping in front of her personal heater. 

Westminster, MD
Member Since:
31 August 2013
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2 July 2015 - 9:53 pm
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Mattie's dad Bob, 

I was just thinking about sweet Mattie a few days ago and wondering how she is......I am heartbroken for you reading this. We all know we are on borrowed time, once that awful diagnosis comes, but if we can look back and say, "we treasured every moment of every day with our beloved pups and enjoyed it to the fullest possible", we accomplished our mission in this unwanted journey. 

I know you gave Mattie the best life possible from start to finish, and she adored you.....Your ultimate gift to her, was the most unselfish thing to do for her, and she went to the Rainbow Bridge with you forever etched in her heart.

The coming days will be so very hard as her happy memories will be flooding your every thought, but I hope that is what you will always remember, is the joy of having her in your life.

Keeping you and your mom in my thoughts, 


Bonnie, Angel Polly, Pearl, and Zuzu

Member Since:
1 August 2014
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2 July 2015 - 10:03 pm
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I'm sorry for your loss. I admire how strong you were for Mattie. I know he knew he was loved and I'm sure he appreciated you being there and making that difficult choice. It's never easy to lose a furry friend, but I'm glad you can see it was best for him and find comfort in the memories you two had together.


(((hugs to you and the family)))

Tina and Smore

(with the spirit of Pebbles watching from the Rainbow Bridge)


Smore is my tripawd kitty who adopted me one summer evening. She had an injury to her front left leg and had to have her leg removed July 17th. She was only 3 or 4 months old at the time. Now she moves faster than some four legged cats!


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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2 July 2015 - 10:30 pm
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My Dear Bob and "Nana"

I am just heartbroken to hear that your precious "Baby Girl" has decided to go to the Bridge. The incredibly brave and courageous tribute you have made today, while you are so devastated, touches us all so deeply. And yes, to honor Mattie and the love you shared with her we shall indeed focus on the joy you had with her and she with you. It will be through tears, but we will do it!

We'll celebrate with joy the fact that Mattie kicked the heck out of "statistics" and timeframes! Mattie made her own rules and she decided she wasn't going anywhere anytime soon!

We'll celebrate the joy your "Baby Girl" felt when you came home from work and she was there to greet you. You both were so happy!

We'll celebrate the joy...the unbridled joy Mattie had when she got to share pizza with you!

And we shall celebrate the love, the selfless love you gave to Mattie everyday of her life, but especially today. She k ew she could trust you to release her from her earthly body that no longer serves her. No, she didn't need to go back to the house again. She was ready...ready to go home...home to Rainbow Bridge.

I'm pretty sure her welcome home dinner consisted of tuna and cheese pizza, polished off by a scoop of ice cream!

"When we love hard, we grieve hard". And the intense love and daily devotion to our tripawds is like no other. And the void...the loss of our daily routine...hurst more than words can describe. And it hurts for a very long time. The waves of grief knock you to your knees time and time again. Please stay connected to us. We understand like no others can!

Slowly the grief will be pushed a little further back. The happier times, the tbousands and thousands of happy fun filled days will start coming shining through. And you and BABY GIRL have aoooo many wonderful memories! She was such a well loved girl!, She was happy everyday of her life because you and Nana were her humans!

All of us here look forward to joining our beloved dogs and cats at the Rainbow Bridge someday. One of our delightful members, Christine, Franklin's human, always writes so beautifully about the Bridge. It's as though she's already visited there because she paints such vivid pictures of what a fun place it is. A place where all of our dogs and cats are vibrant, young and healthy. What an incredible reunion it will be when .Mattie looks up from her pizza ine day and hears, "Hey Baby Girl! Daddy and Nana are home!"

Thank you for allowing us the privilege to get to know Mattie. We look forward to hearing more aout her and seeing more photos when you can.

Surrounding you with Mattie's eternal love and grace

Sally and My Eternal Light Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

Member Since:
2 April 2013
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2 July 2015 - 10:57 pm
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I'm so sorry about your sweet Mattie.  It sounds like you gave her a wonderful life, full of love.


Donna, Glenn & Murphy 

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old. He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  
Read about Murphy's Life on Three Legs


Southwestern Ontario, Canada
Member Since:
22 November 2012
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3 July 2015 - 10:11 am
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Extra time.. is so very precious to us ... and we take every extra minute, hour, day, week, month and if we are very blessed, years..... 

But.. even if it is not years... even if its a few months, it is the most gratifying, heart fulfilling moments that we cherish and are so very grateful for.  My Franklin was amputated in December but ending up tearing up the grass at the Bridge in May the following year.  What I wouldn't give to be able to post about a 6 month ampuversary, a year ampuversary.. but you know what?  I got 5 1/2 more months of snuggles, snores  and farts.. and that was fan freaking tastic!!!  I don't regret it.. and neither will you.

Mattie is no longer here with us physically, but you know what?  She is ALWAYS in your heart... always!  You can close your eyes, and feel her there... she has a door with her name and pawprint on it.  Nothing can take that away.. not even that effing disease.

But.. Mattie is having a blast.. trust me.  Do you know what happens at the Bridge?  It's clean, it's fresh and it is has the most luxurious, sweet, fresh, greenest green grass to play in, roll in and sprawl out on your belly in!!  The water quenches their thirst with just one lick, tasting of the sweetest liquid,  almost as sweet and fresh as honey but without the calories!!  They are never alone!  They share stores of their pawrents and laugh at the silly things that we used to do.  And... not only do they become young, strong, and vibrant again.. their senses are incredibly vivid and they can smell a milkbone miles away!  That's because there is a never ending supply of their favourite things there!  Milkbones, pig ears, ice creams, pizzas and even deer poop and chocolate!    It's a never ending supply, the box never goes down!!  Of course, in the beginning, it takes them a few days to realize that they don't have to try and eat it ALL and they go to bed every night with a full belly, engorged on pizza and steak...  snoring in a beautiful symphony while they dream of the day that they jump in our arms again and slobber all over our faces.  

When they wake up in the morning and lift their head and sniff the most purest, cleanest air, they realize that the box isn't empty and they pace themselves a little better.  After all.. I know how I would be if I had an unlimited, never ending, supply of cheesecake!!!!  

And don't worry, she'll visit you... she will sit beside you when you least expect it.. rest her head on your knee when you need it the most.  And you will breathe deep and feel content.  That's when you know she's been there.... 

Meanwhile, it will hurt like &*$!!  I won't lie.  But eventually, you will smile through the tears, you may even open up your heart to another furkid...  if you are like me, you'll never be without another.  Mattie may even have a paw in steering you towards a furkid that she knows will enjoy life to the fullest with you, just like she did!   I'm building my pack because, as I have said before, I am destined to be trampled at the Bridge by muddy paws, get soaking wet with slobbery kisses and knocked on my arse by wagging wiggle butts!  

But please know that we are here, we know how you feel, and we share your pain because we understand.....   we love to hear stories, look at pictures, and share Matties life with you.

Christine... with Franklin in her heart♥

Franklin, he was the Happiest Dog on Three Legs! Diagnosed 09/26/2012 with Osteosarcoma, amputated 12/4/2012.  Had a wonderful 5 1/2 months painfree until he ran for the Bridge on 5/15/2013.  Always in my heart, and always a guardian angel of my pack...   You can follow his Tripawd Adventures, before and after, in my blog, Frank'n'Farter!

Member Since:
12 October 2014
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3 July 2015 - 10:42 am
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Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful and heart warming replies. It means a lot. Mattie is my Baby Doll. I love her more than anything else in the whole world. After the sedative injection had done its thing I petted her a few last times, and I said that one more time to her this afternoon after she was gone. That treatment room door was the hardest door I've ever had to close behind me.


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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3 July 2015 - 11:01 am
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BABY DOLL!!! BABY DOLL!! After all this time of calling you Baby DOLL, I slip and call you Baby GIRL! And I've always loved how your Daddy said you liked kt when you called her BABY DOLL! Excuse m h slip s weet's still a term of endearment though!

Bob, as you closed that door, just know that Mattie pranced through another open door with her tail wagging and her heart full of your lpve! A door that led her to that Bridge that our Christine described for you.

Wish I coukd tell you everyday it gets better...but... not yet...not for a long time. Right now the void makes it seem unbearable and there is nothing that can make the hurt go away.

Take comfort knowing Mattie loved her life to the fullest every single day...and you were with her @oving and spoiling her every single day...and she carried your love with her through that open door. She left her love nestled in your heart. You'll feel it. You'll know she's will.

Sending love

Sally and My Eternal Light Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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3 July 2015 - 12:55 pm
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Oh Bob wow I can't believe it and am so truly sorry. It happened so fast but you did the absolute most compassionate thing by making sure she didn't suffer or hurt one second longer. You don't have to apologize for sharing this news, this is why we are here, through the celebrations and the sad times too, we are always by your side.

Mattie had such a loved life that every dog hopes for. Your faithfulness to her through her life and this cancer journey was a loving act of kindness that will spread ripples of happiness through the world for all time. And Mattie's spirit will shine on, she is always going to be around in spirit, making you smile in your heart and guiding you through life.

I'm really sorry, how I wish she could have lived forever. Please feel free to share some memories of your life together. You always know how to make us smile when you share stories about her.

Many, many hugs coming your way.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
12 October 2014
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3 July 2015 - 1:37 pm
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jerry said
Oh Bob wow I can't believe it and am so truly sorry. It happened so fast but you did the absolute most compassionate thing by making sure she didn't suffer or hurt one second longer. You don't have to apologize for sharing this news, this is why we are here, through the celebrations and the sad times too, we are always by your side.

Mattie had such a loved life that every dog hopes for. Your faithfulness to her through her life and this cancer journey was a loving act of kindness that will spread ripples of happiness through the world for all time. And Mattie's spirit will shine on, she is always going to be around in spirit, making you smile in your heart and guiding you through life.

I'm really sorry, how I wish she could have lived forever. Please feel free to share some memories of your life together. You always know how to make us smile when you share stories about her.

Many, many hugs coming your way.

Thanks very much for that, and thank you again for this web site which facilitates so much communication, good spirit, conversation and information. To be honest, the euthanasia decision was one of the easiest I have ever made. I was very fortunate in that respect. Mattie's energy and enthusiasm were great, great, great and then BOOM, she deteriorated in 12 hours. If she was telling me it was time then she did a great job of making that decision an easy one for me. I knew it was best for her.

The vet tech was crying (they love Mattie, too) but I had a very good feeling once I had made the decision. I knew there would be no more cancer, pain or suffering for her and that nothing but the best lay ahead. When Doctor Dale came in with the syringe, I said "One more needle, Baby. Next stop, Rainbow Bridge."

I have two 20"x30" pictures of her on the wall in my den. One of her laying on the couch sleeping, and one close up of her face, looking straight at me (she was waiting for her next piece of bacon). I really like that one. In the reflection of her eyes you can actually see me holding the camera and taking the picture. I hung it high on the wall so anyone in the room can look up and see Mattie's beautiful face staring down at them, just like I know she is now.

Thanks again for everything. Thanks to you and all of the members as well.

Martinsburg, WV
Member Since:
3 June 2014
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3 July 2015 - 3:05 pm
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I'm so sorry for your loss of your sweet Mattie...crying

Nobody here will second guess your decision to let Mattie go and rest.  You knew what was best for your sweet girl and she communicated with you that she was ready to go be at the Bridge.

She is now young and healthy again romping with all the other pups and kitties up there.


Sahana and her Angel Leland and Lucian too


November 17, 2009 - June 30, 2014

May you finally be healthy and running free at the Rainbow Bridge. Until we meet again my sweet boy!

Member Since:
16 October 2012
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3 July 2015 - 4:08 pm
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Rip Mattie.  Run free.  

I am so sorry to hear about her crossing you gave Mattie the greatest gift that we can give.  Chris said it all with her comment about it is going to hurt like Sh$t and it does.  No one can tell you when it won't hurt as much this is such a personal part of our journey. 

If you need to chat we have people monitoring the help line and can help with that.


Michelle & Angel Sassy


Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
07/26/2006 - Sassy earned her wings 08/20/2013

05/04/2006 -  Bosch, Sassy's pal, earned his wings 03/29/19  fought cancer for 4 months.

"You aren't doing it TO her, you are doing it FOR her. Give her a chance at life."

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