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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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Member Since:
22 January 2013
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20 November 2019 - 12:07 pm
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I said goodbye
She had arthritis. It seemed like her left side (the side with two legs, but the weaker side because of brain damage) was maybe getting weaker. She seemed to be having digestion issues
She was my baby
I've never referred to any other furry family members that way
I always felt that saying it like that wasn't quite right for me. that even though I am the caretaker, somehow making them the baby ... lessened
who they were ... or ... hmm.... like it was trying to make them fit into a human infant roll instead for my own needs.
But Cora was so little and helpless when I got her
She was a baby and much more than a normal pup. She struggled with basic stuff like eating and walking. It was years before she could wag her tail. I still remember how amazing it was when I said her name and she wagged that first time. And I never lost that joy, when she'd wag her tail.
And I saved her. I play that down because I feel like when people go on about that, they miss how amazing she is.
But still, I  nursed her through her surgeries
I slept on the floor with her the first few days after her stump got amputated. She'd only stop crying if was there with her. Until then she'd just been all need and angry and noise but then she needed us in a way no other being had.
From then on, she was my baby and she knew I would care for her.
I can't tell you how many times when I came home or if she was outside, I'd say "where's the baby".  I also had so many nicknames for her. Rumple butt was one of my favorites. There was also grumpy guts.
Every day, I would pick her up and  carry her inside or outside. Sometimes she'd lean into me. Other times, she'd kicker her legs gently against me.
Sometimes, when she really wanted out or in, she'd thrash against me making it hard to keep my balance.
So full of life and determination.
She was a daily reminder of ...miracle. That's the gift she gave me.
When everyone said she was hopeless I knew she wasn't. I am so grateful to have that knowledge in my life.
And this feels like giving up.
Except I didn't want her to suffer
It was a gut wrench decision to make. I wasn't ready, but the bad days were out numbering the good. And if I was honest, the good days were really just ok.
Once I made the decision I had to wait until I could get a day off.
A coworker agreed to work a double shift.
It was done at the clinic I work at. And the vet I love, who worked with her recently, came in on her day off to do it.
And after I decided she had two decent days. And she was super cuddly during those days. More so than normal.
But that last night and that morning she was miserable
Cora is Cora and had to go out fighting and cursing at the world.
Once I got there, she was only quiet if she was in my arms. 
So we did the whole thing with me holding her. And she made it hard but at least I was there, holding her.
She's just been so freaking inspiring  to me. And demanding and silly and warmth in my arms. 
I can't believe she's gone
The house is so empty and quiet.
She always had so much to say. A friend said that every day, was talk like a pirate day with Cora. It fit so well. She'd grunt and grumble and bark and make noises I can't even describe. She'd talk herself to sleep.
And now, now all I have is silence.
Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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20 November 2019 - 2:17 pm
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Oh Topher, I'm so sorry. 

Cora is such an inspiration- you gave that girl a chance when no one else would have.  She had a wonderful life because of your love and patience and perseverance. You have been rewarded with unconditional love and a soul who will never leave your side.

Those special ones, they are never really gone.  Just as you never gave up on her (yesterday was a gift, not giving up!) she will not leave you alone.  The lessons you learned from her will bring you strength and peace as you navigate the coming days and weeks.  And you know to watch out for her- she will be by your side forever.

It is never, ever easy to make this decision but you make it with love and because it was what Cora needed.  I know the silence in the house is deafening, even when there are other creatures about. 

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

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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20 November 2019 - 2:34 pm
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I don't even know where to begin T. This was not what I was ever expecting to see. I thought she would live forever.

I guess I could start with "I'm sorry," but I have a sense that your little spitfire wouldn't want that. Her tough girl attitude about life shined through from the beginning. She got a raw deal when she was born into this world but she wasn't going to let that drag her down. Nope, as if through magic or divine intervention she found the best human on the planet to look after her needs. And you did! What a MIRACLE she was!

[Image Can Not Be Found]

Everyone who is new here, please, read "Cora's Miracle" story and be inspired. This girl was a one-of-a-kind and although the heavens are a little brighter with her in them now, down here on earth our hearts are heavy from this great loss.

Topher you DID save her, and gave her a chance when nobody else would. The bond you and Cora created is a one-of-a-kind that will never be repeated, but the memories will be with this community furever.

We are here for you in this very, very sad time, and always. Lean on Floyd, lean on us, and know that Cora will never, ever be forgotten.

Come back when you feel strong enough, and share more about her amazing life OK? sp_hearticon2

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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20 November 2019 - 3:29 pm
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Our dear, dear Topher, I am so sad, so very very sad and heartbroken  to hear this.   Tears all over the place right now.  

I don't even know how to begin to respond  right now.  The lessons she taught us all, the lessons you taught us all through your unflappable  love and devotion are part of her miracle  It is a true privilege,  a true honor, to know this strong willed and determined Soul who found the most PERFECT loving Soul with a heart that knows know limits.  You understood Cora on a level of connection that no  one else could evvvver have been able to make her life full of happiness, security  and joy.  

Like several of us here, I've been on the sidelines for years cheering for you and Cora and marveling at the seemingly  impossible hurdles you two overcame.  You overcame them because  you understood  her and because  she knew she could trust you to always look after her.

So for anyone looking for inspiration and looking for courage and strength  on overcoming challenges,  please read the link Jerry posted. "Cora's Miracle" story.  You will cheer, you will cry and you will cheer some more.

As hard as it was to let Cora transition to the Bridge, it warms my heart knowing  she will be free of all the obstacles  that faced her in her earth clothes.  She will be pain frre, she will see the beauty  of open fields for her to run free, she will have no fear, no uncertainty.  She will understand  the depth of love...the limitless  depth of love and dedication  you gave her...more than 2as ecer possible  qhile kn jer earth clot.  And she took your "earth love" with her and now it's  magnified  in ways we can only imagine.

Topher, we often talk about the void, the break in routine, the silence we all feel when our beloved Souls transition back "home".  After your day to day devotion,  the way you made your home Cora friendly,  the non stop care and watch over her......yoir void will seem unbearable.   And we all wish we could help, but we know we can't.   We wish with all our hearts and Souls we could ease uour grief, but we can't. 

We can celebrate  this beloved  miracle Soul and celebrate  all the miracles you and Cora made happen together.  Cora's life mattered!!    She was not going to be denied  her chance to live on her own terms because you two were born to be together!!

Thank you, thank you both for gracing  us with your presence.   All our lives have been touched and our hearts have been expanded as a result❤

With all my heart, send you love and comfort

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too 

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:
1 October 2017
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22 November 2019 - 2:00 pm
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My eyes are filled with tears reading this here at the office. I know we don't know each other but I have read your stories and they warmed my heart. I know she was a one in a lifetime kind of special, and you were her angel here on earth. Now she will be your forever Angel in your heart and on the other side. You gave her something that only you could give. 

I am so very sorry for your loss. Sending you hugs, many hugs. Please find some peace in knowing your baby is free of all obstacles now. And she knew a love that she would never have known if it weren't for you. You did such amazing things for her.. I mean, above and beyond just doesn't even begin to describe the love you showered her with. 

Keeping you in my thoughts,



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

Huckleberry's Blog

Member Since:
14 July 2016
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26 November 2019 - 9:53 am
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Wow, Cora was an amazing little dog!  I'm late to her story, but thank you so much for sharing about her.  I love that she was able to eventually grow into wagging her tail to share with you her energy and joy at hearing her name.  That moment, on that day must of been one of the best any person on this planet has ever had.  I can relate to having had to make the decision to say its time feels like giving up, which is weird because giving up implies taking the easy path of least resistance and having the fortitude to make the decision to minimize suffering is anything but easy and requires extra work effort and strength (especially in the first weeks/months following) and most importantly love and selflessness.  The empty, quiet house and the sudden loss of all your daily routines together are awful.  I had to carry my Nyaya in and out the last few years of her life, it was the only time she would let me do anything close to 'hugging' her as she was too energetic to want to be held.  I miss that "job" the most.  You were so fortunate to have had her in your life.  I wish you the best in navigating through the pain of your loss and hope your tears are accompanied by a smile of appreciation and pleasure in your lives together.

Member Since:
16 October 2012
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30 November 2019 - 1:55 pm
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I am so so sorry.  Cora was a true little Miracle and you help with that Miracle.  I missed this and saw your announcement on FB.  I just can't believe it.  I figured she would go forever because she was such a little fighter.  She showed all of us what could be accomplished.    All the stories of her and Floyd and all the times you spend hugging her when she first let you. 

You never gave up on her when those vets said to.  Nope no way she was your Cora.  Your sweet little girl.  Watch for signs and you know she will let you know she is Ok.   I am sorry that this happened.  The quiet is always the hardest part and then feeling like you have nothing to do because that part of the caring is gone.  🙁  

I have tears running down my face.  Sending lots of hugs and love


Michelle & Angels Sassy & Bosch


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."

Member Since:
22 January 2013
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15 January 2020 - 10:34 am
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I'm sorry I disappeared. I....I guess I haven't done well with this. I've had plenty of loss and experience with grieving but losing her has torn something out of me. I'm surprised at how honest I'm being at the moment because normally I just put on a positive attitude and muscle through. I cant believe how much I miss her. I feel like I've lost a part of myself. I have come and tried to read your replies and then I cry and can't finish. This with the other stress I have in my life has broken me some. (I have a therapist and am now on meds). I do feel like I failed her. I know, I know everyone says what a gift I gave her... but I couldn't give her more time and her euthanasia was miserable. And I work at a vet clinic. It wasn't anyone's fault. It was just Cora being Cora and fighting like mad. 

I want her back. As difficult as she was I want her back. I want her stubbornness. I want to be constantly challenged with ridiculous things like how to keep her from knocking over her water bowl. I want her silliness. I want her noise. I want to be amazed by her. I want to make her last moments better than they were. I want to see her joy. My arms ache for her. I want her to fall into me in that way she would and I could wrap my arms around her and just hold her. I want her warmth and love.

Sorry this is so morose. I haven't been saying all this and I probably should. Eight years ago today I brought her home. She was just so tiny. She still had staples in from her horrible amp. She could only walk in circles. Her previous foster would carry her outside to potty. I remember coaxing her to the door and learning to stand on her left side so she could bump against me and then walk straight. I remember how proud I was of her. That she could get there. I remember how miserable she was but how incredibly determined she was to do everything. I remember how, as disabled as she was she could still be a puppy and she was amazingly good at finding my pants leg and grabbing it with her puppy teeth.

I didn't like her all that much at first. She was so challenging. So noisy and fractious. But I was impressed by her from the very first and wanted to make things better. When I said I'd keep her instead of having her as a foster, I committed myself to making her life better. And my goodness did she fight me at first. But then... there were those brief moments of sweetness. And the more frequent periods of play. And all the experts and my friends and everyone said "hopeless" or some version of that. But that wasn't in her vocabulary, so we took up the fight together. And she fought for the very last moment. She still wanted to live but she was in so much pain and I couldn't fix her. And the good moments were getting less and less. I hope I did the right thing. I hope I didn't quit on her too soon. I can't imagine the kind of trouble she's getting into on the other side of the rainbow bridge . I bet she's wreaking havoc, no longer hampered by her disabilities, but still full of all that stubborn, independent, adventurous spirit. I hope she's running around attacking bushes and exploring and dumping water dishes right and left. I hope she waits for me. 

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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15 January 2020 - 11:18 am
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I'm glad you decided to share your feelings with us, because you are not alone. I remember feeling the same way after Jerry got his wings, and how much I wanted to have him back. It's not morose at all, it's called being human.

Yes, you did give her an amazing life! You were a SUPERHERO to her, and gave her the chance at living her destiny that nobody else could have. You saw that sparkle in her eye when nobody else could, you didn't give up despite your own challenges in life, and you were there for her in the most compassionate way when her body gave up but her spirit did not. And now, that amazing, beautiful, strong spirit of hers is eternal, and released out into the Universe to watch over you, to help spread the love you shared to others, right when they need it most. It's a beautiful pay-it-forward-circle that goes around and you did that!

Don't feel bad about taking your time to grieve. Not ever. Promise us that OK? Remember that our brains and hearts just need time to call a truce, and understand that no matter how hard we try to save our beautiful animals from death, it's a natural cycle that we cannot avoid. It's the sad cost of loving these amazing creatures, and it sucks, but there's no getting around it. The timeline is different for everyone. Be good to yourself and know that you are in a place with people who understand exactly how you feel.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |


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22 February 2013
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15 January 2020 - 5:15 pm
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Our  dear Topher.  We know it was hard to come back here, and we are so glad you did.  We know there are now words.  We can only hope in some small, small, way, you find comfort in being surrounded  by those of us who had the honor to share your journey with Warrior Cora.  You've also given others who weren't  aware of the magic you and Cora worked rogether fo get ro know her indomitable spirit...and yours as well.

Jerry said everything so well. As Jerry said, you gave her a chance to live her destiny.   And with that destiny  came unchartered territory  with hurdles that had no road map on how to navigate.  Yet you and Cora figured  it out together.

You saw in Cora what no others could.   They couldn't  because YOU saw with your HEART, and not your eyes.  Her Soul connected  with your Soul.  

Your gut wrenching  grief has so many layers that almost no one here would ever experience.  Oh, we experience  grief alright and our hearts are shattered into a million pieces.   The void is seemingly  unbearable.  We second  guess ourselves.  We  relive the transition  and find fault with it rather than celebrate  the amazing  love we had together and, tather than accepting  that, when the Soul's earth time is up, things will align so it can exit. 

  Your bond with Cora and the experience  of overcoming  the day to day hurdles and being  able to always see things from Cora's perspective...the emotional and physical stamina that was required of you....yeah, you have some layers of grief that many of us have not experienced.   We can all understand having a wounded heart thpugh.  And, as hard as it is to believe  right now we can also tell you those wounds will eventually  heal and be filled with happy memories  of your one -of- a- kind Cora.

I can only say that you had the courage  and the love to help Cora be the strong determined and stubborn gal, who could be a playful puppy who probably actually enjoyed  spilling her water bowl!  And that courage and love for Cora will help you move through your sadness,  ever so slowly  with one step forward some days, and two steps back the next.  Just like some of your days with Cora.  But love always pulled you through.  You have absorbed  some of her strength and courage, as she had yours.  Hold onto that.  And hold onto us.

Thank you again for sharing your heart with us.  Thank you for letting us in and for sharing some of those special  moments with Cora that made us smile😊   

With love and admiration 💖

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie 

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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16 October 2012
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15 January 2020 - 6:17 pm
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DO NOT EVER APOLOGIZE for your feeling and grief.  Those of us who have been on this journey understand.  We get it.  You can tell us whatever you need to.  Those of us who watched the journey with Cora grieve with you. 

My heart breaks knowing it is a long road and there will be times even 6 years later I miss my girl so much it hurts or I cry once in awhile thinking of how old she would be and what she would be doing.  I get wanting her back.  It's all so new and fresh.  I can picture her at the Bridge.  Healthy happy and showing everyone that stubbornness.

Don't feel ashamed of sharing.  We all need that time of time


Michelle & Angels Sassy & Bosch


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."

Oakland, CA
Member Since:
20 December 2008
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19 January 2020 - 12:24 pm
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Oh Topher,

I have not been around much--here or on FB, so totally missed your heartbreaking news. I am so sorry Cora had to go on. And that it was a rough transition. But please please please, never ever forget what you did for her. You took on a dog few people would have had the fortitude to take on. And you were there for her every step of your journey together. You made her feel safe so she could blossom. It was such a joy to celebrate every triumph with you two. And so inspiring. Yeah, sometimes it was one step forwards, two steps back. But the trajectory of Cora's life was always a positive one. You took that 'hopeless dog' and gave her a life worth living, full of love and patience.

Please don't second guess. If she was in pain and it could not be controlled then it was time. Of course you are a wreck, the bond you had with her ran much deeper than most. You fought so many battles--with her and for her--and now she is gone. I am glad you are taking care of yourself and getting help when you need it. Your compassion for Cora was boundless. Its time to turn around and give some of that compassion to yourself.

Thank you so much for sharing your life with Cora with us, we will never forget her fierce determination to meet life on her own terms.

Sending you lots of peace and love,

Martha and the Oaktown Pack minus two

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!

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