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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Gidget’s Story
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Member Since:
23 August 2020
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23 August 2020 - 6:32 pm
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Hi! I’ve actually never done this so I’m so sorry if my forum etiquete is poor haha. My name is Mona and my pup’s name is Gidget. She is 13 or 14 years old (she’s a rescue so we are not positive about her exact age) and she has squamous cell carcinoma. We removed her tumor and within a month it had grown back. On Friday (8/21/2020) we amputated her entire front leg. She just came home today and I’ve been in search for a place to just kind of have a community of people who understand! I am still in college (my senior year) and she has been a member of my family since I was only 8! 

She seems to be doing well but she jusf honestly seems so down. I also am the biggest hypochondriac ever and am terrified that I will wake up one morning to find her stitches popped or something else terrible has happened. I was just wondering if anyone else went through these (slightly irrational) fears. 
Addutuonally if anyone has tips on how to cope with the anxiety and most importantly, make her happier and healthier, please respond!! 

I’ve read so many amazing stories and seen such amazing support from this site! I apologize for the long message but honestly any kind of feedback would be so appreciated because I just need to hear from people who have experienced the same thing! Thank you all so so much in advance 

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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23 August 2020 - 7:11 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I'm sorry you are dealing with cancer and amputation but you have found the very best place to be as you start this journey.

What kind of dog is Gidgit? How big is she?

She may seem to be down for a bit because of the surgery meds and the pain meds.  Remember how big a surgery this is!  If we went through something so big we would still be in the hospital!  Right now all she should be doing is short, leashed potty breaks so if all she wants to do is rest that is great. 

I know it's hard to see her like this but it won't last long, although sometimes we see here that the more 'mature' dogs take a little longer to get their sparkle back.

She should have a cone on so she can't get to the stitches, and keeping her quiet will help keep her incision safe. Complications with the incision site can happen but are rare based on what I've seen here over the years. Other than a dog being able to chew on stitches I don't think I've heard of sutures popping open. 

As far as your anxiety- it's understandable in my mind, not many of us had been through such a big surgery with our pups.  Our dogs are remarkably resilient and what I have seen here is that the surgery recovery is much harder on us than them!

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


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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23 August 2020 - 8:10 pm
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Oh yeah!  We understand  all too well all the uncertainty and FEAR AND exhaustion you are feeling right  now. And we also understand how Happy you will feel when Gidget's sparkle starts to come back...and it will!!

As Karen said this is a big surgery. If a human had ths type of major surgery they would still be in the hospital on a  morphine drip!  And, as a senior, Gidgett is adjusting to life on three!

So no, she's not "down", she just doesn't  feel like throw a pawty yet because of everything I just mentioned Hopefully she's on some good pain meds too. Being a little druggy and lethargic is better than be in pain. 

What pain meds is she on?  Eating? Drinking? Pooping? peeing?  It may take a few days poop as she's on pain meds.  Feed her any thing yummy she'll eat.  Is she mobile yet with help?  No worries if she has gotten her sea legs yet.  Still very early.

We know it's hard to be patient.  It's really important though that you project an upbeat, positive  and confident energy.  She'll reflect  your energy.  Lots of praise.

Stay connected let us know how she's doing and any questions you may have. 



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!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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23 August 2020 - 10:23 pm
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Hi Mona and Gidget, welcome. You definitely found your tribe, we get it completely. I'm so sorry you found yourself here but glad that you decided to post (your forum etiquette is perfect!), and your post is not too long, nor could it ever be.

You got some great insight from Karen and Sally. To that, I'll add this: when it comes to coping with the emotional part, both for you and for her, the secret is to Be More Dog . Do your best to put your fears about tomorrow away, and focus on today. Yes, this is a scary time but Gidget is going to surprise you with her resilience. As an older gal, she will need more time to recover but she'll get there! Don't compare her recovery to others, remember that she is 100% original and on her own recovery timeline. Right now she needs rest in order to heal her body, so don't be surprised if she sleeps a lot. Stay strong, and put out good, pawsitive energy. Gidget will reflect that right back to you, and get her sparkle back before you know it!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
1 October 2017
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24 August 2020 - 4:15 am
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Hi and welcome!

You have gotten fantastic advice from wonderful people, ditto all of the above! Gidget really needs her mama to be strong right now, so try hard to do this for her. Have you tried meditating? 

I think we have all had melt downs, this is a scary ride but it really is normal to worry. You have been given great advice, please hang in there!

Let us know how she progresses ok? Please keep in touch.

Jackie and Huck sp_hearticon2


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

Huckleberry's Blog

Member Since:
23 August 2020
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24 August 2020 - 1:05 pm
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Hi! Gidget is not too big, but a very odd mix of breeds! She is part Akita, daschund, border collie, and australian terrier!! Essentially she has a barrel chest and tiny little legs! She is also 14 so I just don’t want this to cause her to lose the light in her eyes! As I said, she’s been my baby ever since I was 8 years old! (I am only 21 now haha). When my twin sister was in the hospital when I was younger, Gidget used to come up to me and put a paw on either one of my shoulders and essentially give me hugs. I only wish I could do the same for her now. You are all such wonderful people! I have been reminding my family that dogs take a lot of cues from our behaviors and that it is essential to maintain a positive vibe around her. She has given us a few tail wags, she has urinated s couple of times and she has eaten some steak! (Which is a treat in my family, as we do not eat red meat and my mother is a vegetarian) She is getting a lot of attention, but my other dog is kind of trying to take attention away from Gidget. Unfortunately, my other dog (Junie) is a bit of an attention seeker and does not really respect Gidget in the way she should. Does anyone have any tips on how to get through to my parents about prioritizing Gidget (in general and now!) They have nit been bad about it but I do think they allow Junie a bit too much leeway! 

Otherwise, all is well with Gidget! Luckily I have not seen any complications with her incision site, any fluid buildup or increase in swelling! 

Hopefully it stays this way and she begins to feel better! 

I know I may be selfish by wanting her to recover faster, but I just wish I could snap my fingers and have a fully recovered little angel! 

I will 100 percent keep everyone updated! The kindness and surge of support was so overwhelmingly meaningful and brought me to tears! Please keep the replies coming! It feels so lovely to have such a beautiful community of people and their stories about their own little angels 🙂 

Member Since:
23 August 2020
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24 August 2020 - 1:08 pm
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Also she is on gabapentin! It certainly helps her!! She has taken a few steps but they were quite wobbly! Every victory is celebrated by the whole family, no matter how small is seems! And she gave us a little tail wag when we praised her for eating!! 

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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24 August 2020 - 8:56 pm
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Aww it sounds to me like your whole family is seeing just how remarkable Gidget is, and always has been. Sometimes it takes an event like this for people to really appreciate how much a furry family member really does for the happiness of everyone. I'll bet your parents are already putting Gidget in higher regard than they did previously. 

I also think that in time, she and Junie will come to an agreement about sharing the duty of overseeing the pack. Watch them carefully and my guess is things will go smoother than you expect. At least I hope!

We've all felt the anxiousness you are feeling, about wanting to have our dog back to normal. It's a tricky thing to be patient, and when you're talking about a senior dog's recovery you need even more of it, but you're practicing patience now and the final reward of seeing her personality come back is going to be PAWESOME!  

Glad to hear she's on good pain medication too. Things sound like progress to me, so stay strong and know that you're in good company. 

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
27 July 2014
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24 August 2020 - 10:18 pm
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Hi Mona,

Great name. I'm tripawd kitty Mona and learned some new techniques to keep my brother Eli in his place. He's very sweet to me but I have to bonk him on his head when he swipes a kibble from my bowl. Since I lost my front leg it was hard to bonk him so I learned the meerkat pose and now sit up on my hind legs so my front leg is free. It's also a useful pose to see over Eli (since he is taller than me), to see over a plant, or to remind someone that I'd like some food.

I'm sure Gidget can learn a trick that Junie can't do. It's good to have a trick for extra love and attention.

Heal well sweet Gidget. sp_hearticon2

Tripawd Kitty Mona and her human Kerren

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