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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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Three Paws, Two Years, No Problem!
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The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 25602
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4 November 2009 - 3:18 pm
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Making the decision to amputate a senior dog’s leg is difficult. Most people doubt that old dogs can get along on three legs.

But Calpurnia, a three legged sled dog in Colorado, is proof that even older working dogs can lead great lives as Tripawds.

Calpurnia just celebrated her two year ampuversary. She and her Mom TC wrote this guest post to celebreate this milestone, and hopefully assist others who are faced with the decision to amputate on their own senior dog.

“It hardly seems like it has been 2 years since my humans made the decision to amputate my right front leg following a diagnosis of a grade 2 soft tissue sarcoma growing in my elbow joint. That was back when I was 12 years old, and still running as the main lead dog on my sled dog team.

My people were very worried about my future at the time, but figured we should at least try amputation to see how I would do. Boy did I surprise them! Mom thought it might be a good idea to update everyone on what I have been up to now that I am 2 years post-op.

I am now 14 years old (although I tell everyone I am still 13). I sometimes have some sore places on cold days, and mom thinks my hearing isn’t what it used to be. But my mind is still sharp, and I keep myself busy. I have had a fantastic few years running with my team, visiting school kids and teaching them that I can still do all the things I did before, training puppies, and enjoying my status as senior girl in the house. I have a soft bed near the wood stove where I keep my aging joints toasty and dream of my great racing days.

Like many athletes, my role with the team has sort of shifted from “star lead dog” to “coach” over the past few years. My humans joke that Dog really is their Co-Pilot now when we go on training runs. I still go, but I have a soft dog bed on the back of the ATV (or in the sled when the snow gets deep enough) where I ride. I can watch my team from my perch, and I give them pointers and howl encouragement at them the whole run. On the steeper or bumpy sections, I lean on my person so that I don’t bounce off the back.

Sometimes, if I am feeling frisky, mom hooks me in the line so I can show the new puppies a thing or two. I am a good coach, and after a run I make sure to sniff each team member to tell them how well they did.

I have had my share of medical issues, but they are mostly related to my getting older. One of the hardest things was a year ago when my humans learned that I could not breathe right due to something called laryngeal paralysis – or paralyzed vocal chords. I couldn’t move my vocal chords out of the way when I was breathing hard, and it made it very hard for me to breathe when running. I had throat surgery to fix that, and now I have to be very careful that I don’t choke on food or water, since I can no longer protect my airway the way I am supposed to.

I also have had some pain related to pinched nerves, so mom has to make sure I stay active and keeps my weight down to a trim 33 lbs. She tried doing massage and chiropractic work on me, but I really prefer not to be handled like that and will stretch myself when I want to.

I hope that those of you senior dogs out there keep me in mind when considering amputation. I was a healthy older girl going into this, and am doing really well still. None of us will live forever, but these last few years have been good for me, and I hope to continue living life to the fullest and not let my people worry about the “what ifs” that may be down the road.

Right now, life is good. My team had a good run today, I even ran a little bit with them, our water buckets are clean and full, we will get meat tonight for dinner, and the sun is shining making nice sunny places on the snowy ground for me to lie in.

My heart is filled with love, and my mind is content. I really could not ask for more.

Lots of love,

Calpurnia

Here’s a favorite movie of ours, when Calpurnia and Jerry met back in May, 2008:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=2GZ3Pf-vDS8%3Ffeature%3Doembed%22+frameborder%3D%220%22+allow%3D%22accelerometer%3B+autoplay%3B+encrypted-media%3B+gyroscope%3B+picture-in-picture%22+allowfullscreen%3E%3C

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Forum Posts: 1216
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4 November 2009 - 5:15 pm
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What a wonderful inspirational story!  It is great to hear a success story like Calpurnia's.  Keep us informed on your many celebrations.

Debra & Emily

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.

Wesley Chapel, FL
Forum Posts: 1104
Member Since:
13 September 2009
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4 November 2009 - 5:22 pm
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Oh, I love the video of all of them!!! Was that Elvis Costello playing in the background??

So glad to hear that Calpurnia is still going strong after 2 years!!! But seriously, she doesn't look a day over 11… Laugh

Jake's Mom

Jake, 10yr old golden retriever (fractured his front right leg on 9/1, bone biopsy revealed osteosarcoma on 9/10, amputation on 9/17) and his family Marguerite, Jacques and Wolfie, 5yr old german shepherd and the newest addition to the family, Nala, a 7mth old Bengal mix kittie. Jake lost his battle on 11/9/2009, almost 8 weeks after his surgery. We will never forget our sweet golden angel… http://jakesjou.....ipawds.com ….. CANCER SUCKS!

Forum Posts: 930
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4 November 2009 - 5:45 pm
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Calpurnia,

You go girl.  Your posting was very good for my Dad who has been trying to protect me since I am an older girl having turned eleven the day before my amputation.  We used to do very long walks together and now maybe he will get me back out there and start to train.  The first few times we went, I got tired and stumbled.  Silly humans, he thought it was too much so we did not continue.  However, he does take me for rides in his truck nearly daily and while we were in the Yellowstone area in June, he did take me into the Upper Geyser area.  I was able to sit with him, in a swing, on the front porch of the Lower Hamiliton General Store in the Old Faithful area, while Dad and his Geyser Observation Study Association members radio in the geyser eruptions to the visitor's center.  Boy was that a kick.

As I said, maybe this will get Dad to let me do more things and not be so protective.  We old girls can still rock!!

Cherry

Calpurnia
5
4 November 2009 - 6:23 pm
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Cherry-girl, you show him!  You got many miles left, and the more you get out and keep going, the better you will get at balancing and doing all the things you love to do.   My mom's a geologist too, so she knows how important your job as a “field assistant” is.  It's not the number of years, its what you do with them that matters.

Cali

Oakland, CA
Forum Posts: 677
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20 December 2008
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4 November 2009 - 10:54 pm
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Calpurnia you just totally rock!!! What more can I say! Except I wanna be just like you when I grow up. What an inspawration you are to all of us and you are soooooo beautiful!

xoxoxo

Codie Rae

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!

Visit Codie Rae's Blog!

Arizona
Forum Posts: 696
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28 September 2009
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5 November 2009 - 7:47 am
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It was so nice to hear of all your adventures, and how wonderful you have done since your surgery, you have a great life! You keep on going and showing everyone who is the boss sf-smile

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….

Mesa, AZ
Forum Posts: 355
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27 April 2009
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5 November 2009 - 8:14 am
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Calpurnia, you are my inspiration!  Just the fact that you still pull the sled once in a while is awesome, but that you teach the other kids is wonderful!  Someday, when I get big, I'm gonna be like you!  Love the video of you and Jerry going on your walk too. 

Love,

Chuy

P.S. I think you look more like 7 than 14! Winker

Chuy, showing everyone that Tripawds do everything 3 times better than regular dogs!

Chuy's Short Stories

Kirkland, WA
Forum Posts: 739
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2 June 2009
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5 November 2009 - 9:19 am
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WOOO HOOOO!!!  That's awesome (or should I say “pawesome”???)!!!!!  I remember looking through pictures on here when I first joined the group, and found a lovely one of Calpurnia being toted in a handbag looking contraption…that has always stood out in my mind for some reason!  Glad she's doing so well, and Jack sends a virtual chicken/carob treat for this special day!

<3 Laura and Jackers

Northern Indiana
Forum Posts: 356
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15 January 2009
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5 November 2009 - 11:01 am
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Calpurnia,

You are my hero….How exciting to celebrate 2 years, you are a legend!! I would love to run in the snow with your sled and pups, looks like tons of fun! I am glad you are having a good life, you get a lot of love…..I can tell, it is the best medicine!

Keep doing good,  Love & Licks from Paris

Grateful for every moment we had with Paris…..no regrets!

Honoring her life by opening our hearts & home to Addy!

zoes4life
11
5 November 2009 - 2:32 pm
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What a great story! You are Zoe's idol too.

Forum Posts: 729
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7 November 2009 - 6:47 pm
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I love your story. I love the inspawration and the gift you have given others just by sharing your story. Superstar

I clicked on it…I saw my boy at the top of the page and I know that's his way of giving his paws up to you Calpurnia.

Rest well, be spoiled and enjoy each moment.

Much love,

Heather

Heather and Spirit Zeus - Our life changing journey…from the earth to the heavens…one day at a time…always together

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
Forum Posts: 3754
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8 November 2009 - 8:22 am
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I cannot tell you how much I love the stories of those who are out there two years later being the inspiration for those coming behind them.  Thank you so much for sharing.  We all need it so very much.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

Loving the Red Dog
Forum Posts: 13
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12 May 2009
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17 November 2009 - 10:49 am
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You are a huge inspiration to the Red Dog…big WOOFS to you!!Aw Shucks

Oh Happy Day!

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