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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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My Soul Dog - Honorary Tripawd
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Member Since:
16 July 2020
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18 July 2020 - 11:41 am
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I, um, didn't get a chance to join this group. I signed up after I found out that my soul dog, Cassidy, had osteosarcoma of the ilium. That was this Monday (7/13/20).

By luck, there was a cancellation at Colorado State University (about 3 hours away), and we got in that Wednesday (7/15/20). The diagnosis was confirmed. The doctors wanted to move quickly, and so did I. She was in pain. Rimadyl and Gabapentin, a CT scan scheduled for next Monday (7/20/20), surgery slot booked for that Thursday (7/23/20). They would take the limb, and she would start chemo. Six sessions.

Today, July 18th, 2020 just after 9:00 AM, me and my soul dog said goodbye.

I was prepared to do everything I could. Amputation for immediate pain relief, that was fine. My doctor thought she would be a great candidate. But Cassidy's cancer was aggressive. By Thursday, she was having trouble walking. By Friday, she couldn't stand up on her own, let alone walk. She was crying, she was stressed. Part of that was probably the extra dose of gabapentin her oncologist recommended, but it became clear late last night that it wasn't fair to make her wait for Thursday, let alone Monday.

In order for her to make it to Monday or Thursday, she would have had to have been on a ton of drugs. I couldn't imagine putting her through that on top of another stressful exam, and then major surgery. And that was all if they didn't find any mets in her lungs.

Not only could I not imagine that, I know her. I know that's not the life for her. She had a hard life before me, I refuse for her life to be hard again because of me.

We did it here, at home, on her bed and blanket outside. We spent the morning outside on her stoop, surveying her domain, getting lots of treats, and tear-riddled cuddles.

Cassidy is and will always be my soul dog. She's my adventure partner and right-hand lady. She's my goober, and the love of my life.

As her eyes were closing this morning, with her head in my lap and on her stoop, all I could whisper through my tears on her forehead was, "This is just the next adventure." But also, "I'm so sorry."

I know Cassidy wasn't a tripawd, but she would have been a damn good one. And we were so close. So close to getting more time.

I'm so broken, she was beyond everything to me. I don't know how to do this without her.

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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18 July 2020 - 12:27 pm
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Welcome to you and Cassidy.

I'm so sorry this is your first post here but you are a part of this group, it doesn't matter that Cassidy didn't have an amp.

And I'm very sorry to hear that your girl earned her wings this morning.  Your love and devotion to her shine through the tears in your post.  I hope you find some comfort in knowing you did your best for her.  Sometimes cancer does what it wants, when it wants no matter how much we try to beat it back.

And those special dogs, our heart dogs or soul mates never really leave us. Cassidy will always be by your side and will live forever in your heart.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010


              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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4 April 2019
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18 July 2020 - 12:50 pm
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I am so sorry to hear about Cassidy.  I lost my heart dog in March, so I do understand your heartache.  But as Karen said, our soul mates never leave us.  I do believe one day we will all have our question of "Why" answered.  I have always found this poem comforting when I have had to make this gut wrenching decision. I hope it finds you comfort as well.

May I Go Now?

May I go now?
Do you think the time is right?
May I say goodbye to pain filled days
and endless lonely nights?
I’ve lived my life and done my best,
an example tried to be.
So can I take that step beyond
and set my spirit free?

I didn’t want to go at first,
I fought with all my might.
But something seems to draw me now
to a warm and loving light.
I want to go
I really do.
It’s difficult to stay.                                                                                                                                                                              But I will try as best I can
to live just one more day.

To give you time to care for me
and share your love and fears.
I know you’re sad and afraid,
because I see your tears.

I’ll not be far,
I promise that, and hope you’ll always know
that my spirit will be close to you
wherever you may go.

Thank you so for loving me.
You know I love you too,
that’s why it’s hard to say goodbye
and end this life with you.

So hold me now just one more time
and let me hear you say,
because you care so much for me,
you’ll let me go today.

– Written for a beloved pet & friend, by Susan A. Jackson

Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time

Nancy and Angel Browniesp_hearticon2

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

Member Since:
16 October 2012
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18 July 2020 - 1:42 pm
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I am so sorry for your loss.  I really hate cancer.  My heart is breaking for you.  Run free Cassidy until you meet your family again.


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."

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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18 July 2020 - 8:37 pm
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We are deeply sorry, this situation is something nobody ever expects and when it does, it hits hard. Especially now. You did so much for your girl, you did everything right! Never doubt that OK? For some reason the angels needed her now, but someday you two will meet again and she will be that young, healthy and happy dog you knew once before. 

It sounds to me like Cassidy was a very very lucky girl to have you for a parent. Some day, when your heart isn't so fragile, you will look back and remember all of the joyful times instead of the sad ones. Until then, watch for signs from her, she isn't far away because true love can never fade, that is one thing that cancer will never steal. You and Cassidy have a bond that cannot be broken.

Our deepest condolences. Thank you for being so brave to share her story, I know it wasn't easy. If you'd like to share more about her please do so OK? Here are instructions for adding images to the Forums. I'm happy to help if you want, just message me, I know you have a lot on your mind other than figuring out photos. 


Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
16 July 2020
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19 July 2020 - 3:14 pm
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Thank you for letting us join this community and your kind words. I can't tell you how much I appreciate how supportive this community is. Thank you for listening/reading our story. I apologize, this may be a little long.

Today was the first morning in nearly 9 years I didn't have to get out of bed to let Cassidy out or feed her. Well, aside from being out of town but frequently she was with me then anyway. She came with me everywhere she possibly could. I won't lie, I haven't gotten out of bed yet. It's about 3 PM where I am. A couple of hours ago, I realized she still had appointments at CSU tomorrow and Thursday. When they asked why I was canceling, all I could muster was, "she didn't make it."

If I may, I wanted to share a bit more of Cassidy's story. She was truly exceptional and so special. Although, one of my favorite quotes that I believe with every fiber of my being is, "Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong."

Cassidy was a 9-10ish old Heinz 57. A true mix of a mix of a mix. But, mostly St. Bernard and German Shepherd. I proudly called her my mountain mutt - I believe most people who have mixed breeds have taken 'mutt' back as an endearing term, it's certainly how I felt.

We found each other in September 2011. I was a senior in college in Colorado Springs, and Cassidy was a street dog who they couldn't catch for months. Despite that she was probably no more than 6-8 months old when they finally caught her.

I was volunteering at the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region at the time, when I came around the corner and there she was. We locked eyes and she immediately dove into a play bow, tail going crazy. She was underweight and malnourished, but her smile was infectious. The HS had named her "Gyzmo," it never fit. I asked if I could see her in a room, and when they brought her in she tore her leash out of the other volunteer's hands and dove into my lap. She flipped on her back in my arms and licked my face and neck uncontrollably and couldn't get close enough. I also couldn't get her close enough and it took no time for me to realize I could never let go.

So I didn't. I took her home maybe ten minutes later.

I was still moving back into a house for senior year, so my car was still full of my crap. She slept in my lap for the drive. When we got home, she enthusiastically greeted my 5 roommates. I went upstairs for two seconds to grab something, and she dropped them like a bad habit to follow after me. Since the second she dove into my lap in that room at the HS, she has been my shadow. An hour later, I had renamed her - Cassidy.

The first time she went to the bathroom, she started peeing in the kitchen. I was kind of startled and laughing, but I went, "Nonononononono" and ran her to the back door. I can say this with complete honesty, she never went to the bathroom inside again. That was her potty training. That was my street puppy's potty training.

Cassidy found me at a particularly hard time in my life. Cassidy was there to get me outside and keep me active. But, most importantly, she kept me smiling and laughing. She's such a goofball, a huge goober. I couldn’t love her more. All our adventures were better because of her and I always impatiently waited in great anticipation of the next one. She’s my right-hand lady, my adventure pal, and just everything to me. I owe her a lot.

Through our all too short years together, we traveled the country, we hiked 14ers, we slept under the stars, and we swam in alpine lakes. We biked, we skied, whatever I wanted to do she was 3,201% up for as long as we were together. Cassidy loved hugs, she didn't care how tightly you held her, she just beamed. She didn't care if kids or puppies climbed on her or pulled at her ears and tail. The only thing she cared about was not being left behind.

Cassidy hated it when I took off her collar. It stressed her out when I had to wash it. When I would hang dry it on the line, she would lay next to it. Every time I put it back on her, I would look her square in the eyes, she would look right back and smile as her tail wagged, I would scritch her neck and ears enthusiastically and tell her, "You're an owned dog. You're my dog."

Before the vet came yesterday, we got a couple of hours to just sit in the grass in one of her favorite spots. She got so many treats and so much love. She held her head high, sniffing the air as I cried into her neck. I kept repeating that over and over, "You're an owned dog. You're a loved dog. You're my dog." I thanked her, but I couldn't stop.

When Cassidy was gone, and her head still in my lap, the vet asked me if I wanted to take her collar. It was something I had thought about it previously; but, in that moment I couldn't do it. I had to keep it. I couldn't let this part of her go yet. Now I can't help but feel that was selfish, a mistake.

A part of my soul, a part of my heart, is gone. She's gone. I won't hear her collar jingling. I won't hear her nails on the floor as she trots after me. I won't hear how talkative she got when I was gone for anything more than 5 minutes where she couldn't follow.

One of my favorite compliments was when complete strangers, or anyone really, commented on our bond. I loved the idea that people that didn't even know us could tell, could feel it. Could feel how much I loved her.

I can only hope that she felt and knew it too.

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Member Since:
4 April 2019
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19 July 2020 - 3:58 pm
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Thank you for sharing your story of you and Cassidy. What a beautiful story of a human and animal who rescued each other. She definitely picked you! She knew you needed her, and she needed you, and it was just meant to be! Even though her life was cut short, what an amazing life she had with you! But most of all she was happy! I can clearly see that in the photos. She was definitely your one in a million. 

I do agree with you about putting our animals thru too much. There comes a time when we need to let go. But we do it because we love them. My Brownie, who rescued me, also had a very aggressive cancer. I went along with the amputation, but said no to chemo. Browie absolutely hated the vet! I didn't want his last days to be filled with chemo, xrays, blood work, and test after test. He would of hated it, and I do feel like I made the best decision on his behalf out of love. Just like you made your decision for Cassidy out of love.

Would love to see more photos,  and hear more stories about Cassidy. Just remember just because Cassidy is no longer in her earth suit, doesn't mean she is not with you. With the bond the two of you had she will always be by your side!

Nancy and Angel Brownie

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

New York, NY
Member Since:
24 March 2020
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19 July 2020 - 5:26 pm
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What a beautiful story of your heart dog, Cassidy! It is so clear that you were meant for each other and how well you took care of each other.  I'd also love to hear more about your adventure together.  I admire your strength in making the decision to do what was best for Cassidy in the end, despite how much your heart is breaking from missing her.  Watch for signs from Cassidy - she will be watching over you from the other side of the bridge! sp_hearticon2  Stacy

Griffin lived an amazing life for 11 years! Diagnosed with osteosarcoma on March 17, 2020, Griffin's right forelimb was amputated on April 2, 2020. Ten days later he was running and playing fetch! Lung metastasis discovered in July 2020 did not slow down Griffin and he lived joyfully for the next 7 months, passing peacefully at home on February 11, 2021.

Member Since:
16 July 2020
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19 July 2020 - 5:52 pm
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I can't tell you all how much I appreciate your understanding and allowing us to be a part of your community. As hard as it is, I feel like some people don't understand when we do everything we possibly can for our pets, and sometimes also don't understand how deeply we grieve. 

I feel like I've taken advantage so I just want to say a few things about how inspiring and wonderful the members of this community are. And, obviously, the strength and wonderful-ness of your pets as well!

Before I had to say goodbye to Cassidy, right when I got her diagnosis, I felt so fortunate to find this site and forum. At that time, you guys really helped me accept that while it's a difficult decision, an amputation matters more to the human that it does to the dog and rockets up their quality of life after a difficult diagnosis. I was ready and prepared to make that choice because it meant a 100% immediate and pain-free life for Cassidy, even if just for a little while. The decision to pursue amputation and chemo wouldn't have been as straightforward, dare I say easy, if it wasn't for this community.

You all show such great strength and love for your pets. For your soul/heart pets. You made difficult and, I imagine and understand, frequently impossible-feeling decisions for your pet. Sometimes, you were fortunate to get extra time them, no matter how long or short it was. Although, regardless, it always feels too short.

I've read so, so many of your stories since Monday, and I hope you all know how wonderful and loving owners and people that you are. That your contributions here help so many. Not only are your pets so fortunate to have you, but so are all of us that need your stories and support.

Thank you for all you do. Thank you for everything. Thank you for creating and being a part of an understanding space. It makes all the difference.

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Member Since:
4 April 2019
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19 July 2020 - 6:50 pm
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I love that pic of you and Cassidy on the beach. You should have that enlarged and framed.

I've read several books on the After Life of Pets. One author really grabbed me, Karen Anderson. She rights that are pets understand us grieving in the beginning, but if we continue to grieve it makes are pet feel sad and guilty, because they feel like it's their fault. That really hit home for me. It's like when people  tell us our pets don't want us to be sad. I use to think people just said that, but now I get it! When Brownie passed it was like my whole world stopped. But Jerry and Sally help me to realize that Brownie's life was about so much more then the cancer. So when you can start celebrating her life.

I have also read that our pets know when they are getting ready to cross over, and they will leave us a memory moment. Something unusual or something they haven't done in awhile. You may not notice it at first because you are grieving. It took me awhile but I finally realized the memory moment Brownie left me. One day when your heart heals a little you will know the memory moment that Cassidy left you, and it will stay with you forever. Mine is sketched in my mind forever.

Years ago I would of never believed any of this. But Brownie and I had a very special bond, just like you and Cassidy. His passing was different then any other pet I have lost. I have received what I believe are signs, and I always feel his presence. Brownie was like Cassidy, how Cassidy didn't want to be away from you, Brownie didn't want to be away from me, ever.

So I am sure Brownie is sharing his cookies with Cassidy, and she is meeting all the other tripawds that are all whole again. Running free, and never to be in pain again. But I am positive with the connection the two of you had she will be sending signs. Remember to send her positive energy, which is love.

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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20 July 2020 - 12:50 pm
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Oh my dog, I have watery eyes after reading your love story. Thank you so so much for sharing.

Cassidy was that once-in-a-lifetime dog, what a blessing to have shared so much of your life with her! Of course she was meant to be yours! That's why she could not be caught by the shelter. She was put on this earth to find you, to be there during such an important part of your life, to show you what really matters as you found your way out of college and into the "real" world.

Those lessons she taught you about getting outside to play, to revel in the outdoors, to chase joy, those will never leave you. And while her earthly body isn't here anymore, that amazingly bright, sunny spirit of hers will always be by your side. We are all comprised of energy, and energy can never die, it just changes form. That is Cassidy now. Eternally by your side, making sure that her lessons stick and you go to live the kind of meaningful life you shared together. 

Thank you for your sweet words about this community, it means so much and we are just glad that we could be there for you during such a tough time before, and after. If you don't mind, I'd like to put Cassidy's photo in our Tripawds Angels Photo Gallery, would that be OK? 

This is such a crazy time right now, I'm sure you must feel so ungrounded. I'd like to recommend the CSU Argus Institute's Pet Loss Support Group if you feel up to it at some point. They are meeting on Zoom these days but their help is just as powerful and supportive as always. And we are always here for you too. 

May Cassidy's spirit shine brightly in those beautiful Rocky Mountains and beyond. What a special girl.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
1 October 2017
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20 July 2020 - 7:26 pm
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Wow. I just found your story and I am so very sorry for your loss. 

You did what you knew in your heart was the right thing for Cassidy.  And i know what it feels like to have your heart shattered.  

Cassidy will always be in your heart,  and she will watch over you.  I can't take away your pain,  I can just say I understand. 

I agree with Nancy,  you should take your favorite photo(s) and have them made into pictures.  Fracture does a beautiful job.  I found them shortly after Mitchell passed and they did a beautiful photo in glass.  It doesn't even need a frame. 

You are mourning the  loss of your heart dog.  Give yourself time to grieve.  Eventually,  you will smile at the memories you created,  and probably still cry too. 

Would love to see more of your gorgeous photos. 

Peace,  love,  and light ❤

Jackie and Huckleberry❤❤❤


Jackie, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Phoebe, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

Huckleberry's Blog

Minneapolis, MN
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23 April 2016
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22 July 2020 - 7:54 am
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I am so glad you have joined us to share your beautiful Cassidy, the honorary Tripawd, with us.  Every one of us has a different experience in these circumstances  - a different arrangement of challenges and differing outcomes - but as you have discovered, there is a common thread and theme that forms the backbone of this community and that is the bond with our pets and the willingness to do what is right for them.  And in the end, that is not the same thing for all of them.

You and Cassidy clearly enjoyed an extraordinary bond and you deepened that natural occurrence with your years of adventure - especially both being members of the CO 14ers club. You were made for one another.

I feel your incredible anguish at having made the decision to pursue amp only to find it really was not to be. I know your grief right now is visceral and physical. Exacerbated by this unlucky turn. For that reason, I am so glad you had the courage to speak out to us and share not just your disappointment and loss, but your beautiful story of a transcendent friendship and bond with an amazing and really beautiful dog. Her zest, her gusto and zeal - they really do remind me of my Pofi.  Please do share more.  We are here for you as you walk through your grief just as we have been for each other.

Lisa, Minneapolis

On October 27, 2016, nearly 6 months after amputation, and 18 months since his cancer likely started, we lost Pofi to a recurrence of Soft Tissue Sarcoma in his spine quite suddenly.  His canine sister also succumbed to cancer on March 1, 2019 - we lavished her with our love in the interim, but life was never quite the same without her only real canine friend. Cliff kitty had to leave us, too, suddenly, in August 2019. Lucia kitty grieved all these losses, but helped us welcome two new Lurchers into our home and our lives, Shae and Barley.

Blog: Pofi, Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Amputation

Member Since:
26 January 2017
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22 July 2020 - 2:29 pm
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I'm so sorry for your loss. Cassidy was, and still is, beautiful. And yes, she knows and feels your love. No doubt. 

And those photos are amazing. I LOVE the one of her on the path with the sun peaking out behind her. Definitely get that framed. 

Wishing you peace and comfort during this time. This part obviously sucks, but it can't erase all the joyful moments you and Cassidy had together. With time, those memories will replace the anguish. 

David and Rocky (and Baxter now too!)

Rocky had his right front leg amputated on Valentine's Day 2017 after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma.

He joined the September Saints on September 3, 2017.

He is the toughest, bravest, sweetest and best friend I'll ever know. 


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22 February 2013
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22 July 2020 - 7:04 pm
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Always loved....always remembered......💖💖💖

Thank you for sharing  your Soul Dog Cassidy with us.  We are hono to be part of his family💖

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

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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!

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