Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat
Tripawds is your home 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.
14 June 2009
Late last night, after we had our night-time walk – and Yoda was hopping at his usual brisk pace, making me jog to keep up – and not long after I had gone to bed, Yoda started hacking, like he was trying to cough something up. I got up to check on him. He didn't cough anything up.
Some of you may remember that a few weeks ago he had coughed up blood and gone in for an emergency visit. He made a remarkable rebound from that (the assumption is a lung met had ruptured). The oncologist had thought he might not make it through that weekend, but he recovered well except for a set-back with nausea and some loss of appetite, but just last Thursday he caught a rabbit! So his quality of life really shot back up there for much of his last few weeks.
He coughed 6 or 7 times throughout the night, and I was starting to get that, even though there was no blood, this must be serious because he couldn't cough laying down, he had to get up every time and it really sounded like he was struggling to try to cough up something, but never did. So I got up early finally and got all ready for work, called the emergency line for the UW Vet school where Yoda had been treated, and got him in, in the hope that they could check him out and take care of him until I could get back from work. (Fortunately, my new boss turned out to be very understanding and using a floating holiday last-minute for this emergency was not a problem with her, even though I'm still in my two-week training period. So I only had to leave him for a couple of hours).
The vet on that night came back after a while to tell me know how he was doing. He was "kind of shocky" (so not fully in shock, I guess, or she was trying to cushion the blow) from blood loss. So he was being given fluids, oxygen, and pain killers. So the situation was clearly very serious, but she told me that hopefully the the fluids and painkillers would soon make him more comfortable and I - and my Mom who came by for support - could see him. She felt it was reasonable for me to go to work and give the fluids, etc. a chance to help in the meantime and then talk about options with Yoda's oncologist, who would be in in an hour or so. Though it was possible, that Yoda could need a tranfusion before I got back, in which case they would call me immediately to make that decision.
He did seem to be doing okay, when I saw him. Clearly he was weak and breathing still wasn't easy, but the painkillers seemed to be working just fine, though he was a bit groany. He was pretty alert considering.
So, let's see, I went to work. Got an update from the oncologist while I was there. Not much had changed. I don't remember the details she read me, but the interpretation was that it seemed he was still losing blood fast, but did not yet require a transfusion. He did go out to pee, but couldn't make it back inside and had to be carried. I was able to let her know at that point that I would be able to come back in an hour or so, so there really wasn't that much to that update, except that Yoda was probably going to be okay until I got back.
My dad was able to be there for support when I returned. The oncologist explained that if he made it through this rupture, he could have another at anytime, though that was true before. If he had a transfusion, which would have been very tough financially, that could buy him some time, but it could also be a waste and he could just continue to bleed out the new blood. They could have done everything necessary to make him comfortable and I could have taken him home to take our chances, which some people opt to do, to let their dogs be home where they're psychologically more comfortable, but that would risk him becoming very serious very quickly and he could end up passing in a very stressful/painful manner before or while trying to get him back to the hospital. She explained all this to me a lot longer than I really needed her to, but I couldn't get the words out. In fact, I finally said something like, "making the decision isn't hard, but saying it is," and she understood that I meant I was convinced that it was time to help Yoda go.
She then brought Yoda in to spend some time alone with me and my dad and she made it clear that it was perfectly alright if after spending time with him that I felt I needed to change my mind. They had to bring him in on a sort of wagon because he was too weak to walk. We were in a special room for breaking bad news and spending time with terminal pets. I had been in there the last time Yoda had a ruptured lung met. It has couches and stuff. So she put Yoda on the couch next to me and I talked to him a little, but mostly just petted and massaged him for the 15 minutes or so. It was clear he was very weak and his breathing was still labored, so I was reassured that I had made the right call as I had never seen him this low before. He has had several setbacks, especially recently, so that is saying something.
I had the option of taking as much time as I needed with him, but since the choice was clear and he was clearly not okay, I didn't prolong it. The oncologist performed it herself there on the couch. He didn't convulse, which was a bit of a relief. My last dog did when she was euthanized and that was difficult. However, when he was moved back from the couch to the cart, quite a lot of blood leaked out of his nose and splattered onto the couch and floor. I thought at first maybe it was just some blood from the catheter. I guess I was in a daze and my dad and the oncologist told me that it had been from his nose. Strangely, the sight of it didn't bother me much. I guess I got it that he was gone and could see it as further reassurance that I made the right choice. The oncologist said something to that effect, that it confirmed that he had quite a lot of blood in his lungs.
So I've done some crying, but I don't think it has fully set in yet. I was able to do some cleaning, including getting his stuff together for storage for a future dog and/or to give away to friends'/family's dogs. I'm a little surprised that I wanted to do it and that it didn't upset me much, but I'm just going with it. It felt right. Both my parents hung out with me on and off today. It has been hard when I catch myself anticipating Yoda's presence. For example, I was emptying garbage cans and was getting ready to take the garbage out the garage and, out of habit, my body automatically prepared for Yoda to try to zip through that narrow doorway with me and/or try to sniff the bags. I also kept noticing that I was still being careful not to leave things in Yoda's reach that he might try to chew on later. I feel anxious not giving him his pills at the scheduled times and weird about not going for our walks.
At some point, I'll probably come up with something to say in tribute to Yoda's life. Not ready for that just now.
Thanks for being here everybody, especially Jim and Rene for getting this site started. Jerry's story was a critical help in my decision to go with amputation after Yoda was first diagnosed. When he was diagnosed, in late May, his regular vets told me he probably had 2-4 months just trying to get by with managing his pain, if I didn't prefer to go with euthanasia yet. Instead, Yoda got 4 months of pain-free walking, running, jumping, playing ball, playing chase, tail chasing, stuffed toy shredding, rodent hunting, and lots and lots of food and treat taste-testing. THANK YOU! Being able to give him all that back in these last few months made helping him go when he needed to today so much easier to accept.
Yoda&Mom united: 9/5/06 …….… Yoda&Leg separated: 6/5/09……… Yoda&Leg reunited: 10/14/09 ……… ……………….………….………….……. Yoda&Mom NEVER separated! …………………….….……....….…… Though Spirit Yoda currently free-lances as a rabbit hunting instructor for tripawds nationwide
4 December 2008
I am so, so, so sorry. I am stunned and can't stop crying. (You might not be ready to yet, I'm doing it for you right now, okay?)
Yoda was strength to the end, unfortunately that stupid cancer got to him too quickly.
I'll be thinking of you, and I hope you can get some rest tonight. Think of all the rabbits Yoda's catching now!
Big, big hugs to you.
--Kim and Tika
Kim and Spirit Tika http://www.tika.....ogspot.com
No, thank you for sharing Yoda's story. We are simply speechless here. I leave my words to those of the old Jedi master himself...
“Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealously. The shadow of greed, that is.”
20 December 2008
Dear Yoda's Mom,
I just realized I don't know your name, other than yodasmom! We are all so sorry here to hear that Yoda has gone over the rainbow. Codie Rae is devastated, she was so looking forward to the rodent killing training. I burst into tears as I read your post, as Tika's mom says, we are all crying with you and for you. It sounds like you are coping OK for now and feeling that your decision was the right one. That is good. No second guessing now. Be sure to be good to yourself in the coming days and when the tears come, and yes they will, let them roll. Yoda fought the good fight and you were there every step of the way with him. All heart, all love. I bet Yoda and Jerry are busy cornering a skwirl right this minute, playing tag team to get that pesky rodent.
Our thoughts are with you and our candles are lit to guide Yoda on his way,
big love and kisses from Oaktown,
Martha, Codie Rae, Ralph, and Smokey B.
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!
28 September 2009
I am so sorry for your loss, this is the day that we all fear. I almost just lost my dog to cancer so i can sympathise with what you are going through, my suggestion is to just focus on the good and happy times as they will help you through this rough time and may they always over shadow the bad times.
Tasha 8 years old, First cancer diagnosis 6/26/09, Last cancer diagnosis 9/26/09, Amputation 10/01/09, Loving our girl moment by moment.
Tasha lost her battle and became my Angel on May 4 2011. Forever in my heart….
Bri, it's so hard to see straight through my tears right now. I am so, so sorry. It's really hard to believe he's gone.
You are so brave and strong. But Yoda taught you the Jedi way, and you graduated. And he is very proud of your ability to share his story with us. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Just today I saw a rabbit out my window, and I thought of Yoda. Next time I see Wyatt running after one, I'll know that your boy will be right there too, having a ball and causing a ruckus.
He will live on here forever, and also in our hearts.
Much love and hugs coming your way. Please let us know if you feel like talking OK?
I am so sorry, I don't even know what to say. I was so shocked when I saw your post. I was just about to turn the computer off, but checked the forum one last time before I took Lulu for her evening walk. It sounds like Yoda enjoyed his last days, especially catching that rabbit. It's so hard to say goodbye, and there is the lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. My thoughts are with you and your angel Yoda and take care of yourself.
13 July 2009
Bri - I am SO SORRY to hear your news. Like LuLu's mum, I checked the site one more time before turning the darn e-box off. It is midnight here so I must have just missed you earlier in the evening.
I am so happy and impressed at how active Yoda was right up to the end. It makes his rabbit-hunting seem not so bad to the Tazzie police and in fact rather impressive.
You sound so strong the way you handled Yoda, your new job and the horrible decision we all have to face today (until Jackie designs an immortal or at least a Century dog for us all). I know it will be incredibly tough this week. I'll write more later, but for sure in Winnipeg we will be thinking of you and Yoda.
The pictures you posted are beautiful and I finally glimpsed his tail! He looks so sweet (well maybe not to a rabbit) in those pics!
Susan and Tazzie
2 June 2009
I am shocked, and I am so sorry that Yoda decided that today was the day. Jack and Yoda started this journey together, and Yoda always reminded me of a chocolate colored Jack. I'm so glad that Yoda showed you that he was happy up until the end, and I hope that makes the loss a little less sad. We will miss you, sweet Yoda...run free.
29 July 2009
God I'm so sorry. I know that he's been having ups and downs lately and we always hope that it will be up for a long time. It makes me happy though that he was active and happy for the most part, even up to the end. That in itself it great and shows how much of a love of life he had and what a great spirit. From reading what happened you definitely made the right decision at the right time. You chose to fight for all this time and you got several months of time with him.
Take your time in grieving and when you are ready you can do a tribute for Yoda. It takes time. Mac died a week and a half and I have no idea when I'll be able to share his story and photos, so anytime is good for us on here. I love your pics of Yoda...he was such a cutie and I always adored his ears lol.
Saying how you packed up his stuff and how you felt about it is exactly what I did and how I felt with Mac's things. I didn't feel bad picking them up right away to give away to other dogs. It's different for all of us...some people want to keep them and for some it's too hard to.
I wish I could give you a hug. Yoda will be missed--his energy and joie de vivre will freak Mac out up there in the clouds I'm sure lol. He will be running free and so fast he'll just be a glimpse of brown and white.
31 August 2009
Yoda knew you loved him and did what was best for him. That's all our sweet doggies ever ask of us.
Thankfully you have an understanding employer so there was one less thing you had to worry about. I am glad you had your parents with you for support. It doesn't make it any easier, but it's nice not to go through tough times alone.
Thinking of you,
P.S. Thanks for the pictures - he looks so happy!
15 January 2009
I am shedding a tear for you this morning as I read your heartfelt account of Yoda. You had great love for him and he knew that. It sounds corny at times but I believe with all my heart that Yoda is running free, free of pain and looking down on you as your angel! You are strong and brave and I want to thank you for sharing your story with us.
Tears will turn to smiles as you remember all of the silly and fun times with Yoda. Know that I and all of your Tripawd family share in your pain.
Take good care,
Gineej & Paris
Grateful for every moment we had with Paris…..no regrets!
Honoring her life by opening our hearts & home to Addy!
31 July 2009
20 May 2009
I am so so so so sorry. Even though we never meet I feel like Yoda was a friend. I have laughed at your stories and cried at your heataches, I am crying now for you.
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.
In case you can't tell, Yoda holds a special place in our hearts (the part reserved for goofy, rabbit-catching dogs!!!) and we all feel his loss. I was too upset last night to post, shocked really! I do hope you can find peace knowing he was happy til the very end. I am so sorry! ((HUGS))