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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Mattie, a new TriPawd, shares her story so far...
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Member Since:
12 October 2014
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12 October 2014 - 2:25 pm
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Hi everyone!! My name is Mattie. My person, Bob, decided to help me out by having my canine appendicular proximal ulnar osteosarcoma (front right limb) addressed with amputation for pain relief and has decided to opt for followup chemo to extend my disease free interval (DFI) and median survival time. Bob's a pretty good guy. I'm glad that he's my person.

My name is Mattie, but I can probably count on one paw the number of times that Bob has called me Mattie. He always calls me "Baby Doll". He loves me very much. Sometimes, when he greets me, he says "Hey!! Baby Doll!! Hey, Beautiful!!". I really like that.

We've had a good time together since we met in 2009. I was born in 2002. Bob and I have enjoyed steak cooked on the grill and baked potatoes with worcestershire sauce. Bob eats a couple of bites and then I know the next bite is mine. He cuts me a good piece of steak and baked potato and I eat it right off of the fork. We enjoy tuna fish, too. At first I had a hard time understanding how to eat off of the fork we shared. I would try to lick the tuna and it would go everywhere. Bob was patient though, and I got the hang of it. He says I now have good "fork technique".

My other person is Bob's Mom, Nana. I think her name is Lynn. She had a hemorrhagic stroke in 2009 and she now lives in Bob's house so he can take care of her. I really like Nana. She's always good to me. When Bob goes to work in the morning I like to go lay in Nana's bedroom so I can be close to her. She always tells me "Good Morning!" and she really loves me, just like Bob does. I'm a pretty lucky pup, if you ask me.

I developed a limp favoring my front right leg earlier this year. Bob noticed it and knew that sometimes hardwood floors can be tough with nail length, so he trimmed my nails and I was better for a week or two. The limp came back and Bob trimmed my nails again. I was good for a little while, then the limp came back. Bob checked my nails and noticed that the nails weren't touching the floor when I was standing up. He scheduled an appointment for me at Gray's Creek Animal Hospital for Saturday morning.

I've seen Doctor Hill before. He's a nice doctor. He watched me walk and told Bob that he would keep me and take x-rays so he could check out the injury to see if it might be a fracture of soft tissue. Bob called Dr. Hill later that morning and Dr. Hill told Bob that it looked like I had bone cancer in my leg.

I don't know what might have gone through Bob's head, but I'll bet he was most worried about my comfort. He has always been so caring for me and I'm glad he's my person. I think he might have thought that he'd put me down so that I wouldn't hurt any more. I was in a lot of pain from the bone cancer, but I'm pretty stoic and don't show it. I think Bob researched and found out how much pain I was in though. He's so good to me. I didn't want him to worry about me.

I stayed with Dr. Hill Saturday and Sunday night. They gave me some good pain medication and I was feeling better. I was glad I got to stay with Dr. Hill so that they could give me the pain meds and monitor me to make sure I wasn't hurting like I was. I think Bob did the right thing leaving me there for the weekend. I knew that he wanted me to feel better and that Dr. Hill's office was the best place for the pain med administration at that point.

Bob did a lot of reading that weekend. He figured out that amputation would eliminate all of the horrible pain I was in, even though I never told him I was hurting. I didn't want him to worry. He found several websites and discussions regarding amputation and followup chemo. Bob cold called vets in the area and a couple said that they always refer chemo to the NC State University veterinary oncology department. I knew Bob was worried about me. He's a great person to have. Bob said that he cold called one other place in Fayetteville, Northgate Animal Hospital on Ramsey Street. He asked if they did chemo and the girl on the phone said "Yes, we do chemo. In fact, I think the doctor that does it is still here today. Let me see if I can reach him." And the best thing that has ever happened happened just then. A very nice doctor that I really like, Dale Brown, talked to Bob. Bob told him about me being at Gray's Creek Animal Hospital and asked about chemo. Bob read a lot. I'm glad he found all of the information he did. A lot of his searches ended up with posts on this website. This is a really great place and I'm glad I'm posting on this very site now. This is a great place.

I'm a lucky pup. Apparently Dr. Hill knows the Browns (Dale is the younger Brown, he graduated with a DVM and joined his dad's practice at Northgate). Dr. Hill called Dr. Dale Brown and then Dr. Hill called Bob. Dr. Hill said that it might be best if Dr. Dale Brown handle the amputation and the followup chemo. Dr. Hill told Bob that they'd transport me to Northgate. Bob hung up the phone, Google-mapped Northgate and hauled across town to Northgate to set up his account with them.

I rode in a truck with a nice guy that transported me from Dr. Hill's office. I was on some good pain meds, so the guy let me sit in the front seat with him. He's a nice guy. We got to Northgate and we were waiting our turn for me to get admitted. The front door opened and I saw Bob walk in. He walked toward the desk to give them our information and there was already someone at the desk, so he waited patiently. I was looking right at him. He glanced over and saw me. He ran over, dropped his wallet and vaccine history somewhere in the middle of the lobby floor and I was glad to see him. He said "Hey!! Baby Doll!! Hey Beautiful!!!" I choked myself a little bit on the leash trying to greet him.

We saw Dr. Dale Brown. He's a really nice doctor. We like him a lot. Dr. Brown showed Bob the films from Dr. Hill's office and they talked about the proximal ulnar osteosarcoma that I had. I stayed with Dr. Brown and they did a complete blood chemistry and other tests on me. On Wednesday afternoon Dr. Dale Brown took me to surgery and did the amputation. He's a very professional doctor. I didn't feel any pain and I know that  Bob respects him a lot.

Bob left work early on Friday to pick me up. Bob was in the lobby when I hopped in. Bob greeted me with "Hey!! Baby Doll!!! Hey Beautiful!!!!" I love it when he greets me like that. Bob told me later that when he came to pick me up, he told the desk tech girl that he was here to pick me up, and the desk girl said "Aaaaaawwwwwww.......we love Mattie." Bob told them that I have that effect on people.

I hopped out the door but couldn't walk any more, so Bob picked me up and carried me to the car. He had the top down and one of my blankets in the rear seat so he could put me in there. Then he got in the car, put the top up and we drove home. He told me how much he loved me and reached back to pet me. He didn't have to tell me how much he loved me. I already knew.

It took me a while to get used to the tripawd thing, but I'm getting the hang of it. I'm so glad that I have this extra chance for time. I love Bob very much and he loves me, too. I know that because I've heard him tell me, "I love you more than anything else in the world." He's a pretty good guy. I'm glad he's my person.

This is my intro for now. I'm kind of long winded so I'll stop here. Tomorrow Bob is going to talk to Dr. Dale Brown about my chemo options. I think Bob will make the right choice for me. I just hope he knows that I love him at least as much as he loves me. I know he loves me very much.

We'll update later. Bob and Dr. Dale Brown will make good choices. Bob has already looked at NIH veterinary studies on single agent carboplatin versus dual agent carboplatin and doxorubicin and other things, too, like my presurgical serum alkaline phosphatase. I think they'll come up with a good single or dual agent therapy. I know that they are both rooting for me and I love them very much.

I'm a tripawd!!!!!! And I'm still here!!!!!!!! Cancer is a word, not a sentence. Never say never. Never give up. Every day is a lifetime. Believe in me. I'm a doggie!!!! Doggies RULE!!!!!! Tripawds RULE!!!!!!!!!!!



On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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12 October 2014 - 2:30 pm
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Welcome! Thank you for sharing your story and best wishes for Mattie. We look forward to following her progress.

FYI: Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

Please keep us posted!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Westminster, MD
Member Since:
31 August 2013
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12 October 2014 - 6:40 pm
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Hello Mattie,

Yes, you are very beautiful, and a baby doll, and so fortunate to have Bob as your human......welcome to this very difficult and stressful journey, however, I truly believe you and Bob are definitely up for the challenge. He does love you to the ends of the earth and back, and he has done a lot of great research to help you as much as possible. And he most DEFINITELY found the best place possible, Tripawds, to support him along the way.....

Please continue to keep us updated on "Bob", and his and your new journey, we will all be here to help you in any way possible!! And I completely agree,  DOGS RULE!! And TRIPAWDS RULE!! And NEVER SAY NEVER!! Oh, and I do have to mention as well, CATS RULE, TOO, lol !!!

Keeping you and Bob in my thoughts,

Bonnie & Angel Polly

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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12 October 2014 - 8:10 pm
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Hi Marvelous Baby Doll Mattie! You sure made me smile BIG big-grin with your soooo sweet and adorable story, thank you very very much for being here to share your news and everything. We're so glad you're posting and I think you need your own Tripawds blog too!

Your Dad and Nana sound like two people who love you so very much, I can tell that the feeling is mutual. And, I can also tell that you aren't going to let anything stop you from showing the world that dogs are amazing when faced with things like cancer, what a pawesome teacher you will be!

We have some members in North Carolina, I hope a Tripawds Pawty is in your future.

Here's to you kiddo. Keep us posted and let us know if there's anything at all we can do for you OK?

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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12 October 2014 - 8:35 pm
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MAAAAAAGGIE, YOU SWEET BABY DOLL!!!! You are melting my heart over here!!!

I can pretty much guarantee anyone reading your story is all choked up about now! You and Bob share an incredible soul deep connectionn and it just warms my heart to read about you two!

WE BELIEVE IN YOU BABY DOLL! And yes, every joyful day filled with loving and spoiling and steak on a shared fork is indeed a lifetime in doggy years!clap

Once I finally came to terms with amputation for my Happy Hannah...rear leg...osteo....I decided to proceed with Carboplatin, knowing I could stop at anytime. She sailed through her four treatments and we had THE most glorious bonus time of ONE YEAR AND TWO MONTHS!!!

Chemo is a peronal choice...most have almost no side effects with Carboplatin. Happy Hannah and I consider ourselves so very lucky to have such glorious quality time. Some do not do chemo and get great extended time.....some do not. Some do chemo and do not get much time at all...some get a lot. This whole journey is like that. We make the very best decisions we can, knowingnthe risks, knowing the downside, but staying positive and hopeful and NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!

Stay in the not let anything rob you of your special time together! BEAUTIFUL doesn't give a rip about any ole' stupid diagnosis and don't look at calendars!!! All she knows is NOW and now shenis with her person and that makes her sooooooo happy!!!

It's still very, very early in recovery and there can be a lot of ups and downs for the first week or so. Just let her rest and go outside for short potty breaks. She'll get the hang of everything! And remember, yeah, she may have some surgery pain, but that's nothing compared to that painful leg that she no longer has to deal with!

Just wanted to mention, if you havent already done so, you may want to get non-slip scatter rugs for your hardwoods so she won't slip.

How is she doing over-all? Eating? Pooping? Drinking? Eating? Sometimes the pain meds can disrupt these things for a few days.
Take lots and lots of pictures and videos!!! We LOVE pictures around here!!!!

The entire Tripawd Universe is cheering for you!!!!! All paws crossed and sending a crazy amount of positive healing energy to you!!!

Steaks for everyone!!!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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:
3 December 2012
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13 October 2014 - 7:56 am
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Hello Mattie!

Welcome to our family!  I am so very sorry you had to find yourself here, but your Pops sure found the right place!! 

It sounds like your Dad has surely done his research and is a great advocate for you!  And we are all here to help!  Please tell him we are here to answer any questions he may have or just to provide support along the way!  I think most dogs went on the site went the route of just carboplatin, but my kitty Jill did the carbo/doxy treatments.  There seem to be many differing opinions/studies on the two and it seems to just really be a personal preference of the individual vet.  When I asked Jill's oncologist, she told me it was just her personal preference and what she personally had seen to work better - but that didn't mean it works better for ALL dogs/cats.

It seems you can't go wrong with your dad, Mattie!  He definitely sounds like just loves you to pieces and the two of you are in this together!!!  I know it's a scary journey you are about to embark on, but there is hope!  My kitty is now 22 months post amputation for osteosarcoma and doing great!

Let us know whatever you need!


Erica & Tripawd Kitty Jill

Jill is a 9-year-old tuxedo kitty. She was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in June 2012 on her toe in her right hind leg. Her leg was amputated on 12/12/12 and she completed four rounds of chemo (2 of Carbo, 2 of Doxy) in April 2013. "Like" Jill's facebook page: https://www.fac.....tty?ref=hl Proud member of the WINTER WARRIORS!!!! Her blog can be read at xoxo

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5 February 2014
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13 October 2014 - 10:51 am
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What a wonderful story and even though it brought tears, I am happy for every tripawd on here. I loved reading your story, please keep your story going and I pray that Mattie's recovery and journey is shared here every hop of the way.

Keep the FAITH and always BELIEVE and we always do it for them and not to them.  God Bless.



Tracy and Bailey

Member Since:
12 October 2014
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13 October 2014 - 5:19 pm
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This is Bob. I want to thank all of you for the very nice welcome and for this most helpful website. I can tell that this is a strong community united by a tragic common bond. I've been pretty fortunate with Baby Doll in all of this so far. To say that I was surprised when I heard "bone cancer" is a substantial understatement. I had not even considered bone cancer regarding Baby Doll's limp.

Fortunately, thanks to sites such as this one, I was able to learn quite a bit of information fairly quickly. My emotion fairly rapidly transcended from bleak sadness to cautious hope. We are very fortunate to have Dr. Dale Brown ("Dr. Dale") helping us. Whenever I am at Northgate I am always reassured when I see Dr. Dale come through the door into the treatment room. Baby Doll had some drainage issues after the amputation surgery and I was pretty freaked out by it. I thought I had done a bad job of post-surgical care. I took Baby Doll to Northgate to check on the issue. Once I saw Dr. Dale walk through that treatment room door my anxiety melted away and I knew that everything would be okay.

I heard "bone cancer" for the first time on Saturday 9/20/2014. The amputation surgery occurred on Wednesday afternoon 9/24/2014. I left work early on Friday 9/26/2014 to pick Baby Doll up at Northgate. Dr. Dale said that she did really well in the surgery. The blood chemistry all came back looking good. Post-surgical x-rays did not evidence any visible metastases yet.

We should be starting chemo this Thursday 10/16/2014. I had read about various therapies and the prognostic indicators in various studies. I had read one website that indicated that carboplatin could cost upwards of $1,000 per dose. That made me nervous. I had seen that carboplatin seemed to have relatively limited side effects. I was nervous about the cost though. I saw Dr. Dale today and he recommended treatments of straight carboplatin in Baby Doll's case. Internally I was worried about the cost. I asked Dr. Dale if the per-treatment costs were upwards of $1,000 each. He looked at me for a second or two and said that the entire 4-6 does therapy would likely cost less than $2,000 total. WHEW!!!! That's much better than I had expected!

So Baby Doll is laying down right next to me now. We are watching Jeopardy. Her amputation surgery staples have been out for a week. I don't see any more drainage from any area of the surgical wound. She is getting around better and better. I have a single story house. There are two steps from the deck to the back yard and three steps from the front porch stoop down to the front yard. She is able to negotiate those without assistance now.

Dr. Dale said that we should keep taking the 100mg carprofen since it likely helps with inflammation in her joints. She's been drinking better and better. I don't know if she'll eat much dog food yet. It hasn't been necessary lately. We had Domino's pizza on Saturday and last night along with her usual "whatever Bob's eating" diet. I was a bit nervous about her peeing and pooping because of the three leg issues but she is doing well with the peeing and can now maintain a stable "proper pooping position" as I call it.

Overall she's doing well, I think. We'll see how things work out. Thanks to all of you again for the support, encouragement and information.

Member Since:
18 June 2014
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13 October 2014 - 6:26 pm
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Hooray for Pizza, peeing and proper pooping! Baby Doll is doing great. Keep us posted.


Los Angeles, CA
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13 June 2013
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13 October 2014 - 7:18 pm
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welcome!!!! I loved reading your story ... your bond and love is so apparent! 

And you are right - this community is like none-other. My girl didn't have bone cancer but she was a tripawd and we did the chemo journey. This community saved me many many times (and wine did too)!


Alison with the Spirit of Shelby fur-ever in her heart (and little Jasper too)

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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13 October 2014 - 8:33 pm
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What a fantastic update! I can tell that both of you are going to do really well on this journey, you both have a fantastic way of dealing with all of this. Lots of us here can understand how head-spinning that diagnosis is. We were in your shoes exactly, we didn't even know dogs got cancer back when our Jerry was diagnosed.

Your doc sounds fantastic too. Yes, chemo can cost that much for giant breed dogs, it all depends on the weight of the patient I believe.

What a great team you all make. Yay!!! Good luck this week, let us know if we can do anything to help OK?

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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