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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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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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Thoughts on Grief
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Portland, Oregon
Member Since:
1 September 2010
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24 January 2011 - 7:31 pm
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In the last two months we have lost five Tripawds friends: James, Comet, Mackenzie, Fortis, and Indi.

This space is for all of us to share what we are going through in these dark, January days after losing our dogs.


Thoughts on grieving.

Brad and I spent the weekend house sitting for a friend the day after Indi died. It was great to get out of the house, take a jacuzzi bath, watch movies in bed… When we came home Sunday night we pulled our bikes up to our apartment door. I waited as Brad got his keys out and tears welled up in my eyes, rocks in my throat: Indi was not behind that door. Brad paused, too, thinking what I was thinking. He looked me in the eyes and I started to cry. After Indi died, the hardest part was coming home at the end of the day to an empty house. 

One month later, coming home is not sad anymore. I don't cry everyday, but I cry weekly. I feel I have left the first phase of my grief, which was mourning the loss of my first love, and entered the second phase: I have lost my job.

We know that caring for a tripawd with cancer is a big job. And when our dogs leave we don't have our jobs anymore. I feel like I've been laid off! I have more time on my hands than I know what to do with. I work part time, and when Indi was a tripawd and needed more care that was perfect, but now I'm bored. I'm lost.

Two times last week I woke up in the morning and lay in bed thinking, there is NO reason for me to get out of bed today. When Indi was here I had to get out of bed to let her out to pee, feed her breakfast, and take her for a walk. After work I had to come home and let her out, feed her dinner, keep her company… I lost that. I don't have anyone to take care of anymore. I am solely responsible for myself now and I don't like it. There is a big space in my life that my dog used to fill. Now it is empty.

Here is the positive side to all of this: I'm free. We are free now, all of us. Indi, Fortis, Mackenzie, Maggie, JD, Commet…. and us pawrents. We can stay out late. Spend the night at a friend's house! Leave town for the weekend. Watch movies all night. We have so much space to spread out in. It is both freeing and sad. The work is to find the balance and be at peace with the empty space. Don't try to fill it up, hard as it might be. Because it is what it is. It is what it is, says love. 

Indi the Saint Bernard mix had her front left leg amputated on August 31, 2010. She crossed over the rainbow bridge on December 17, 2010, because of a spinal injury, not related to cancer.

On The Road

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24 September 2009
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24 January 2011 - 10:10 pm
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It is what it is indeed. And being at peace with whatever it is, is the Dog way.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

On The Road

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24 September 2009
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25 January 2011 - 11:55 am
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speaking as Jerry's Mom....

You nailed it Raina, thank you. I felt exactly the same way when Jerry earned his wings. I was so lost.

Once he was free of his earthly body, there was no more strolling the meat aisle for the grossest organs and parts I could find for my boy to try to get him to eat (and I'm a vegetarian, but I would slaughter an animal if I had to for that boy, just to perk up his appetite). There was no more 20 minute ritual to prepare his breakfast or dinner, no more dog hair ending up in our food, no more smiles and licks to greet us when we came home. After 10 years, we were on our own, and we didn't like it. What were we supposed to talk about? Think about? Focus our attention on?

We spent time looking for a new job, doing things we loved that we couldn't do with Jer, like go hiking or biking for hours on end, and not having to watch the clock. We did this for many months, until magically, things just fell into place, and the time seemed so right when a crazy, wild-eyed Shepherd desperately needed a home. ....

Now, we are with Wyatt Ray for 24/7. He's not Jerry in the least, and we don't have the easygoing, loving dog/human relationship that we grew accustomed to. This angry adolescent tests our limits and some days are better than others. But he needs us. And in so many ways, we need that crazy dawg too.

Now, we have a job again. And it feels good.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Houston Texas
Member Since:
27 September 2010
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25 January 2011 - 3:59 pm
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i totally feel like this. i havent gotten over losing her. Everything i did was centered around her. Its been 5 months now, and my emotional state is still very delicate. I miss her every day, and at least 1 or 2 times a week i cry. i constantly talk about her still, to the point that i have to force myself to not keep going there (as my family is growing weary. Its not because they dont understand, its because they want me to be strong. But i cant. She was my first dog). I dont have any kids either, maybe that is why i put so much into her.

I get upset with myself when i cant remember details: like her smelly paws, the way she would spy on me, the big snout preventing me from seeing my blind spot etc...and i know this summer when its time for the beach its going to KILL me to be there, my favorite place in the world, without my sweet Shelli Belle.

I had to put her toy basket up and that was really tough.

The quest for world domination continues on three legs. Comply minions!


Read about my big sister Shelli who just passed away to the lymphnode sarcoma

Member Since:
20 May 2009
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25 January 2011 - 5:24 pm
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admin said:

It is what it is indeed. And being at peace with whatever it is, is the Dog way.

Couldn't say it better.

Debra & Emily, a five year old doberman mix, who was diagnosed with an osteosaecoma. She had a right rear leg amputation on May 19, 2009. On November 10, 2009 she earned her wings and regained her fourth leg.

Portland, Oregon
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1 September 2010
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26 January 2011 - 7:01 pm
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I'm glad the whole "losing your job" part resonates with you, too. And I appreciate that you say one day it all fell into place. And that you have a job again, because the timing was right. I know one day I'll have a job again, and I'm trying to enjoy the empty spaces. Right now it is 6:00 and I'm still at the office, checking email, listening to music, and just enjoying the time.

It's like Oprah once said, fake it 'till you make it!


Indi the Saint Bernard mix had her front left leg amputated on August 31, 2010. She crossed over the rainbow bridge on December 17, 2010, because of a spinal injury, not related to cancer.

Member Since:
22 September 2010
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27 January 2011 - 12:22 am
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When I lost Opie, I lost my voice.  I couldn't write anything anymore because I wrote through Opie's voice on tripawds.  Opie could say things that I could never say.  He was introspective, curious, sentimental, funny.  When he was gone, I would just try to write on the forums as myself, but it didn't feel right.  I found myself coming back less and less. I couldn't communicate without Opie.

Now I have Mattie, but like Jerry's mom said that Wyatt is not Jerry... Mattie is no Opie.  I was used to THE most laid back sweatheart boy and now I have this bouncing, crazy-ass, naughty girl.  Don't get me wrong, I love Mattie and would do anything for her, but I have to admit she is not my voice.  I lost my voice over eight months ago.

Spirit Opie's Mom

27 January 2011 - 11:08 am
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Thanks to all of you for so beautifully & honestly putting into words my ever present, fear & anxiety. As I write this, Isabelle is here, bickering with a cat over who knows what. I am unspeakably grateful for that, yet there is always the nagging truth, that it won't always be so...It's like the huge elephant in the room, that those around me try to gingerly approach, I'm sure quietly thinking I need to be better prepared.

Just losing my oldest cat recently, brought to my attention just how many accommodations I made because of her feeding schedule & preferences alone. Isabelle, has been the focus of every aspect of my life for five and a half years. I've changed jobs twice for her. Between rehab, acupuncture, massage, chiro, laser, at home therapy, play dates, therapy visits....every moment is accounted for. As we live in a dog friendly area, other than work, the only place she doesn't go is the grocery store...then she waits in the car, as I make the mad dash in & out. Just going to bed is a project, deciding which of her 8 beds she's going to sleep on, so I can set up her humidifier, put her robe on, so her back isn't cold, plug in all the night lights.....What will I do when that job is done??? I have no plan & I can't formulate one.

Before Isabelle ever had any health problem, I used to say, my next dog was going to be the lunging, barking, pulling, growling bundle of challenges I would no longer be up for, because no one could be so blessed twice. There isn't an easier dog, anywhere. Who is going to take another dog out in the middle of the night, when I am gone for 14 hours, 2 days a week? Isabelle can wait. If I sleep all day after work, Isabelle does too...the list & anxiety go on & on...

I know how crazy I sound occupying my mind with this, when she is at my side & there's nothing I can do about it anyway, but it's reassuring to know others have the same feelings.


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