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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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Griffin's Journey
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New York, NY
Member Since:
24 March 2020
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26 December 2020 - 9:30 am
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Hello friends!  It has been a while since I provided an update, so this is a long one!  Griffin and I were lucky enough to have an extended stay with my godchildren this month where we experienced the first snow of the season!  Griffin has always loved the snow and I was so happy to see him romping with the kids.  During our visit, Griffin also learned a bit about playing rugby, supervised virtual learning, went for walks in the foggy park, toured the neighborhood to check out the Christmas decorations, took some well-deserved naps, and guarded the children while they were sleeping.

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After returning to NYC, Griffin had an oncology appointment on December 23, 2020, where chest x-rays showed that unfortunately, his lung metastasis has continued to progress.  Griffin had been taking cyclophosphamide (metronomic chemotherapy ) for 7 weeks, so the growth of existing tumors and new ones signaled that the chemo was not working.  I made the decision to change Griffin’s metronomic drug to chlorambucil, which will be his 5th type of chemo.  Griffin tolerated very well 3 of the 4 previous chemo drugs (carboplatin, doxorubicin, and cyclophosphamide), so I feel comfortable giving a new one a try.  If there are any signs that he is not doing well (as occurred with palladia when he stopped eating), I will immediately stop.  It is possible that the chemo is having no effect, but it is also possible that the chemo is slowing the growth of the lung tumors and in the meantime, doing something feels better than doing nothing.  Aside from the x-rays, Griffin exhibits no side effects from the lung tumors.  The oncology team said that his breathing sounded good (no wheezing or crackles) and he is still active, playing fetch and walking a mile each day.  I was recently reminded (thanks, Rene!) that very little about Griffin’s tripawd journey has been normal, and I’m holding onto that true statement with hope that he will continue to defy the odds.

One new medical concern is a cough that Griffin developed about a month ago that his oncologist believes is related to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).  The cough is a hacking, non-productive cough that ends with Griffin gagging and swallowing.  It never occurs when he is active and almost always occurs when he has been lying flat for a period of time.  The episodes are short (5-10 seconds) and occur 6-7 times a day at their worst.  His oncologist first recommended famotidine (Pepcid, 20mg/day), which worked well for about a week (reducing his coughing episodes to 1-2 times per day) before the cough resumed at the previous levels.  We added omeprazole (Prilosec, 20mg/day) a few days ago and it seems that the combination of the 2 drugs is having a positive impact.  I also try to elevate his head when he is sleeping on the floor (my mom sent Griffin a 2-foot long Lamb Chop stuffie, which works great as a pillow!) and I feed him 3 smaller meals each day.

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In the meantime, Griffin and I continue to enjoy every day we have together.  He was able to enjoy the snow in NYC for a day, making a few snow angels and leaving 3-legged paw prints along our walk.  He loves spending time with his bestie, Murphy (a mini-goldendoodle), racing to see who is first in getting to the ball that Murphy’s mom endlessly throws for them.  Our Christmas was a quiet one with just the two of us at home, but with the results of my most recent covid test back quickly, we are heading to Buffalo, NY tomorrow to see my mom, sisters, and nieces whom we haven’t seen in a year.

Griffin and I hope that your holidays have been filled with peace and love, and that 2021 brings good health and great joy to you and your loved ones!

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Griffin lived an amazing life for 11 years! Diagnosed with osteosarcoma on March 17, 2020, Griffin's right forelimb was amputated on April 2, 2020. Ten days later he was running and playing fetch! Lung metastasis discovered in July 2020 did not slow down Griffin and he lived joyfully for the next 7 months, passing peacefully at home on February 11, 2021. https://griffin.tripawds.com

On The Road


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26 December 2020 - 12:58 pm
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Awww! To see Griffin looking so joyful and festive is the best Christmas present there is! I'm so in awe of your handsome warrior! smiley_clap

The cancer news isn't what anyone wants, but you are really managing the changing symptoms so well and it shows in Griffin. Look at that boy: he is not showing any sign of slowing down or feeling sorry for himself. He's still embracing life full-force and making the most of every new day. That is what we all need to live by, Griffin is our ultimate teacher of living in the NOW!

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the new metronomic protocol is the magic combo. Like I said, Griffin is NOT like any other case and it's entirely possible that nothing but good can happen with the new meds.

We are cheering you on! Keep on loving each new day together, you inspire us all! Merry Pawlidays to you and your adorable family!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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26 December 2020 - 9:56 pm
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Gonna start off by dittoing Jerry that nothing  is "normal" about Griffin's journey  and that is in a good way!  Griffin will ALWAYS be known as one who defies the odds and continuesto do so!!   The gusto Griffin has for life is beautiful  to watch.

Now, loved, loved, loved hearing all about the wonderful Christmas vacation Griffin had with you and her extended hooman family.  The photo of her sleeping on the floor with the kids was priceless.  The one with Griffin and his boy with the fog as the backdrop...quite lovely actually.  And his bestie friend Murphy is so cute!

All of Griffin's photos are priceless...and adorable...and uplifitng..... and happy!!!   The one of him in front  of the Christmas tree with his festive Christmas wreath collar looks like a Christmas card!   He's always fully engaged in the moment, whether playing  fetch, posing for a photo  or "being one" with his lamb😎

The way he runs so effortlessly just for the joy of running  puts a huge smile on my heart.  And he cert loves back scratches in the snow!

Thanks for the update and, as always, for sharing  any protocols he's'following, so informative. As I always say, regardless of what's going on "clinically", outwardly Griffin is enjoying bei g Griffin and continues  to live life to the fullest......and he has a great Mom beside him advocating  for him every step of the way.

Have a wonderful Holiday with your Mom❤

Hugs

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!

New York, NY
Member Since:
24 March 2020
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18 January 2021 - 3:57 pm
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Griffin turned 11 years old today!  We celebrated with an extended morning romp in the park with Griffin’s best friend, Murphy, and a brief family Zoom party this evening.  Griffin chowed down on a chicken and lamb meatloaf cake with Velveeta frosting.  Earlier today we delivered some goodie bags to Griffin’s friends in our apartment building that contained delicious pupcakes and squeaky birthday tennis balls.  What a fun day!

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Griffin celebrated his 9 month ampuversary in Buffalo, NY.  We were so happy to visit my mom, 2 sisters, and 2 nieces whom we had not seen in a year due to the pandemic.  My niece, Abby, accompanied us on daily walks in her neighborhood and she always made sure to give Griffin lots of treats in the afternoons.  Abby had a dream about Griffin while we were visiting and was kind enough to type it up for me!

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Griffin started his 5th chemo protocol (Chlorambucil) 11 days ago and has not exhibited any negative side effects.  His cough, likely due to a combination of acid reflux and the lung tumors, is limited to a handful of times each day, most often occurring during the night hours after Griffin has been laying down for an extended period of time.  Aside from the cough, Griffin is healthy and in good spirits.  His weight is stable, his appetite is strong, he loves eating treats and playing with toys (especially squeaky balls that belong to Murphy), and eagerly runs out the door for our daily morning walks no matter the weather.

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♥ We hope that 2021 brings good health, great adventures, and much happiness to all of you! ♥

Griffin lived an amazing life for 11 years! Diagnosed with osteosarcoma on March 17, 2020, Griffin's right forelimb was amputated on April 2, 2020. Ten days later he was running and playing fetch! Lung metastasis discovered in July 2020 did not slow down Griffin and he lived joyfully for the next 7 months, passing peacefully at home on February 11, 2021. https://griffin.tripawds.com



Member Since:
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19 January 2021 - 4:17 am
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Happy birthday Griffin!! It sounds like a great day sp_hearticon2 I love seeing photos of him, just makes my heart smile smiley10

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Love and hugs,

Jackie and Huck sp_hearticon2

Hugs,

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

Huckleberry's Blog

On The Road


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19 January 2021 - 11:07 am
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HOPPY BIRTHDAY GRIFFIN!

You bring so much love and joy into the world, and into dreams too, I love what Abby wrote (she is talented!). Thank you for being part of our world and making us smile with all your pawsitivity, each time we see you the world gets sunnier and more beautiful. We love you! May there be many, many more birthdays!!!

Stacy what a treat, you guys all look terrific and joyful. Griffin is the best pandemic medicine there is! Thanks for the great update and wonderful photos.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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20 January 2021 - 1:26 pm
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY  HANDSOME....AND YAY FOR A NINE MONTH AMPUVERSARY!

So thrilled to hear how well you are doing!  And the pictures and video are proof you are feeling great!!!!

Love, love, love the dream Abby had!  I do believe  it was guided to her thru Griffin's thoughts😎😎😎   Bery sweet that she wrote that down for you.❤

Had to chuckle at cute Murphy.  I think playing  fetch with Griffin leaves him quite tired!  That's  a lot of territory  for thos little short legs to cover.  And Griffin just sails on like he's floating  effortlessly on three😉

That was quite a VIRTHDAY feast he had!  The chicken meatloaf cake with velveeta frosting...brilliant!!

Keep on keeping on Griffin!!  You sure know how to love life to the fullest!!!!👍

Griffin makes us all soooooo::

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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!

New York, NY
Member Since:
24 March 2020
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3 February 2021 - 12:11 pm
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Griffin had an oncology appointment today, one month after he started chlorambucil.  Chest x-rays show that his metastatic disease has spread, and so we are closing the door on continuing any chemotherapy after cycling through 5 different types.  I was prepared for the news that his lung mets have continued to grow; after all, that has been the case since they were first discovered in July 2020.  But I also prepared Griffin’s oncology team for the type of conversation that I wanted to have today.  Here’s the email I sent them yesterday:

I’m figuring that you’ll want Griffin to have x-rays done tomorrow to see if his metastatic disease has continued to progress, and I’m fine with that.  Based on previous results, I’m not expecting good news from his radiographs and if that is the case, I’m assuming we will discontinue chlorambucil.  However, I would greatly appreciate it if our conversation tomorrow focused only partially on the x-ray results and more on the quality of life that Griffin has.  I have felt really defeated after his recent appointments when it seemed that the conversation was focused almost exclusively on the negative aspects of his radiographs.  For weeks afterwards I find myself focused on Griffin dying and looking for signs that I must be missing that show he is in decline.  I’m not naïve and I know that metastatic disease carries a poor prognosis.  But it has been 7 months since he was first diagnosed with lung mets and aside from the x-rays, I see no evidence that his quality of life has been negatively impacted.  His bloodwork and physical exams are routinely good, he is eating/sleeping/exercising well, and with the exception of his GERD related cough, I have not observed any signs that he is living any differently than before the lung mets were discovered.  Overall, I think he is doing phenomenally well for an 11-year old tripawd.

And guess what?  The majority of our conversation today focused on the positive.  The team shared that the x-rays showed progression and we agreed that there was no point in continuing with chemo.  But then we talked about how well Griffin is doing.  Dr. Camps called Griffin a “statistical anomaly” because he has lived far beyond the typical 2-3 month window after lung mets are diagnosed.  They talked about how his physical exam was unremarkable, including that his lungs sound good with no issues noted with breathing.  His bloodwork was mostly normal, but with a slight indication that he might be anemic, so we agreed that an iron injection was appropriate.  I shared that I have scheduled a chiropractic appointment for Griffin next week that will also include a holistic consult, and the team was enthusiastic in their support of that next step.

The reason why I am sharing this is because the statistics surrounding cancer suck, osteosarcoma especially so.  Griffin celebrated his 10 month apuversary yesterday and statistics indicate that he should not have been around to do so.   But none of our dogs are a statistic.  I know this Tripawds Nation talks about our pups not having an expiration date stamped on their butts, but it can be so difficult to push the statistics out of our minds and enjoy the present, especially when oncology appointments focus exclusively on diagnostics and not quality of life.  By clearly asking for the type of conversation I wanted to have today, I was advocating for both Griffin and me to ensure that a full picture of his life was discussed to come to the best decisions to continue his high quality of life.

I am at peace with the decision to stop chlorambucil.  Except for a few weeks, Griffin has been on some form of chemo for 9.5 months.  We have left no stone unturned medically.  And while I hope that my boy continues to defy the odds, I know that both of us have fought this awful disease with everything we have in us, and that will be enough.

Griffin lived an amazing life for 11 years! Diagnosed with osteosarcoma on March 17, 2020, Griffin's right forelimb was amputated on April 2, 2020. Ten days later he was running and playing fetch! Lung metastasis discovered in July 2020 did not slow down Griffin and he lived joyfully for the next 7 months, passing peacefully at home on February 11, 2021. https://griffin.tripawds.com



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3 February 2021 - 12:52 pm
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((((Hugs)))) Stacy

It really is amazing to watch you advocate for your boy,  for the quality of both of your lives,  and you tell it just like it is without mincing words. 

Griffin is so lucky to have you,  and i know the feeling is mutual.  

You have left no stone unturned,  and you have made sure that you are both living your best lives and just managing what you can control.  

It sounds like a really good visit,  and that's the important thing. You have taken the saying "Be More Dog " and made it your mantra.  

Please give your boy some good belly scratches and a smooch for me.  Sending you a huge hug❤🐾

Hugs,

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

Huckleberry's Blog

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31 August 2020
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3 February 2021 - 1:29 pm
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That is so true - statistics, that are thrown our way with each vet visit, truly suck and as you say are so defeating. Human doctors are no different. I know it is not related in a true sense of the topic here but one of my aunts was diagnosed with inoperable brain tumor, sent home with 3 months to live and lived for 20 full years after that and died from natural causes.

Statistics mean absolutely nothing and I wish they would stop repeating them and just concentrate on the positives - and there are lots of positives here to be celebrated!!

Griffin is one strong, happy and healthy puppy. Keep enjoying every moment and follow his lead!! Zeus and I are sending you both love and positive vibes sp_hearticon2sp_hearticon2

Virginia




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3 February 2021 - 2:05 pm
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Chills head to toe and a great big YAY FOR YOUI!!!!

I know we can say "statistics don't  mean much around her" and "every dog is different". , But  for you to be able to really embody that in your being....and in the being of the Onco....that is a VICTORY on so many levels!!!

Yet another profound way you and Griffin are impacting  lives!  You have enlightened your  Vets  amd given them a perspective that will DEFINITELY change the way they interact with their clients.

Clinical reports are jist part of the equation!  Griffin has been provi g that everyday.  And I have to say. you did an excellent  job of OUTWA4DLY staying pawsitive. yet "clinically internally " you were feeling defeated to some degree and in a less than pawsitive state (understandably so).

And I'll also add that, other than the xrays,  otherwise "clinically " Griff8n is healthy as a horse!  Yes, an anomaly indeed!  OR Every dog is different, as Griffin continues ies to prove!!!

The way you pre-framed the guidelines for  this visit....STELLAR JOB!!!   The peace you feel is from sich a deep place of enlightenment, a "knowing" that all is well with Griffin in away that it is meant to be.  No medical reports can. touch the Spirit and Soul of this  MIRACLE dog and his beautiful  hooman.

What....nooooo pictures????   We're  waiting......

.Love and hugs

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:
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3 February 2021 - 2:31 pm
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By clearly asking for the type of conversation I wanted to have today, I was advocating for both Griffin and me to ensure that a full picture of his life was discussed to come to the best decisions to continue his high quality of life.

YES YES YES! You are such a great advocate. I love this Stacy, thank you for pointing out that it's up to us to direct the conversation with our vets, to address our needs too, so that we have the tools to cope with the situation after we walk out the door. I love that the AMC vets responded to your request. Of course they would!

I'm sorry the mets are being mean. That breaks my heart! But I'm NOT going to cry right now because that is not what your boy wants. Griffin wants us to celebrate his victory: he already beat the mets odds, he is doing so incredibly well, and every day serving as a reminder that by reframing a cancer situation (or any sucky one) and celebrating what we DO have instead of what we DON'T, we are truly living life to the fullest together. 

What a gift Griffin is to this community. Thank you for sharing this news with us. Give him extra lovin' from us!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

New York, NY
Member Since:
24 March 2020
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3 February 2021 - 2:34 pm
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Sorry, Sally!  I'm planning to do a proper blog/forum update post next week after Griffin's chiropractic appointment (the vet is coming to our house - how cool for NYC in the time of covid!), but here are a few recent photos to tide you over!

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Griffin loves rubbing his face in the snow!

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Out for an evening stroll!

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Stubbornly refusing the leave the park!

Griffin lived an amazing life for 11 years! Diagnosed with osteosarcoma on March 17, 2020, Griffin's right forelimb was amputated on April 2, 2020. Ten days later he was running and playing fetch! Lung metastasis discovered in July 2020 did not slow down Griffin and he lived joyfully for the next 7 months, passing peacefully at home on February 11, 2021. https://griffin.tripawds.com

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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3 February 2021 - 2:56 pm
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Every picture of Griffin is my favorite, but the caption of him stubbornly  refusing to leave the Park .... KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON GRIFFIN!!!   It all boils down to Griffin being Griffin....and he is being Griffin  with gusto!!!

And he is stylin' his jacket and booties superbly👍  He wears snowflakes on his Happy face with such a joyous flair!!😁

♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

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!

New York, NY
Member Since:
24 March 2020
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510
3 February 2021 - 3:32 pm
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Griffin absolutely hates wearing boots!  He looks like a cross between a baby giraffe and a dressage horse when trying to walk in the house with them on, picking his legs up high and kicking them out in front of him, but quickly figured out that they are a big help in the snow, especially with preventing ice balls between his paw pads.  I cut the toes off some of his socks (I've used them when he had some paw pad cuts and when conditioning his paws so the Mushers Secret wax doesn't get all over the furniture) and used them as sleeves higher than the boots to provide an extra layer of warmth and prevent snow balls from forming on his hair.  He is modeling the Petrageous Kodiak coat, and also owns the Juneau version.  Because his neck is so long, I pinned a black fleece balaclava ski mask (I bought a pack of two so we could each have one) inside the neck opening of his jacket which provides great coverage (although he is not a fan of wearing the hood up over his ears!).  And with the coat pinned closed on his right side, Griffin is definitely rocking a tailored look!

Griffin lived an amazing life for 11 years! Diagnosed with osteosarcoma on March 17, 2020, Griffin's right forelimb was amputated on April 2, 2020. Ten days later he was running and playing fetch! Lung metastasis discovered in July 2020 did not slow down Griffin and he lived joyfully for the next 7 months, passing peacefully at home on February 11, 2021. https://griffin.tripawds.com

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