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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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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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Sampson at the four-week mark
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Twin Cities, Minnesota
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6 March 2013
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3 April 2013 - 11:00 am
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It's been four weeks since we received our diagnosis; amputation was done the next day. (So technically, we're a day early and a dollar richer, I guess... ;-) )

Our two week stint in Florida apparently didn't phase Sam in the slightest, and Jacqie (our housesitter...and also our vet tech) said he was a peach. He was his normal stubborn self, figuring out how to move the barricades blocking him from the upstairs and downstairs and helping himself to the couch, bopping around outside, etc etc. She kept us updated the whole time, and tried really hard to make it sound like he missed us :p

When we got home Sunday night, he was right at the door with everyone else, shoving and fighting to get in front of the crowd and see what we brought them. He ran around the house bringing out toys, handled all the stairs with no issues, and, in general, was about as perky and upbeat as I've seen him in months.

I thought he was doing great the first two weeks--we had no potty issues (went just fine from the moment we woke up, no face plants or anything), appetite was normal (sporadic, but that's normal), etc etc. But the difference between Day 13 and Day 24 was even better. In the last couple months before his diagnosis, he had been mellower/slower than normal (yeah, it's like going from sloth to...ah...paint drying? in terms of speed), which we just chalked up to age and his other health stuff. Now, of course, I realize how well dogs mask pain. I KNEW it, in theory, but in practice...it's something else.

Yesterday, we went to our first PT visit. Our challenge is to get him to really start using his back legs independently, and to help build his core strength. Because of his dysplasia and arthritis, he bunny hops most of the time...the regimine is designed to get him to build up some muscle and flexibility and ease some of that. I've been in and out of PT most of my life for orthopedic issues , but this is the first time I get to be the harsh taskmaster! :p (J/K... it's pretty gentle, and def. for his own good :-) ) FWIW, if you've never seen an skinny, elderly, mostly bald, three-legged, chupacabra in a swimming pool...well, that pretty much sums up our visit, so no pictures needed. :D

Today is suture removal (we left them in over vacation, as we had one little section that just wouldn't close  up).

If I can get stuff to behave, I will post some updated videos/photos in a bit (and update the blog). In the meantime, here's picture from last night... Sampson and our oldest cat (Maxxie, who is just about 12) having some quality nappage. The two of them are oft referred to as the OGs (original gangstas), since I had the both of them since before I had Patrick (aka DH).

2q20okj.jpgImage Enlarger

 

 

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all."
-Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

"May I recommend serenity to you? A life that is burdened with expectations is a heavy life. Its fruit is sorrow and disappointment. Learn to be one with the joy of the moment."
-Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

Twin Cities, Minnesota
Member Since:
6 March 2013
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3 April 2013 - 11:15 am
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Here is a video from Day 26... not too exciting, but you see some running, peeing, playing, poo-sniffing...you know, all the major bases. :p

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all."
-Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

"May I recommend serenity to you? A life that is burdened with expectations is a heavy life. Its fruit is sorrow and disappointment. Learn to be one with the joy of the moment."
-Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

krun15
3
3 April 2013 - 2:03 pm
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Happy one month (give or take) ampuversary Sampson!  You look great.

Tell you mom that we want a post about each ampuversary because we all get to celebrate with extra treats!

 

Karen

Atlanta, GA
Member Since:
12 February 2013
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3 April 2013 - 3:24 pm
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Yay Sampson!  Congratulations on the one month ampuversary!

Adelaide is a young tripawd Husky, from an injury.  Her amp was on 10/1/12.  She has 4 sisters, Aissa (a senior border collie/chow), Maggie May (a puppy Great Pyrenees), Mathilde and Morrigan and 1 baby brother, Bagheera.  We are all watched over by our angel Brendol, who was dx with OSA 1/30/13, amp on 2/6/13, and left us on 8/20/13.

PitaPata - Personal picturePitaPata Dog tickers

 You can read their stories at http://adelaide.tripawds.com and http://brendol.tripawds.com
New Haven, CT
Member Since:
27 December 2012
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3 April 2013 - 6:27 pm
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Before I knew it, I was smiling in your video of Sampson!  He LOOKS great!  I love his distinguished look and a bald tail waving happiness brings warmth to my heart.  What a dear!  Keep up the work, Sampson.  Good luck in PT, pal.

~ Katy

ACL tear in right hind leg 12/5/12 and scheduled ACL repair surgery 12/21/12. Pre-op xrays revealed osteosarcoma. Amputation 12/28/12.  Chemo (carboplatin) started Jan 10, 2013 and ended on April 5, for a total of 5 doses. He handled carbo like a champ!  No side effects.  We started metronomic therapy at his third chemo and have been also doing some holistic treatments.  He's a lively, playful 10 year old huskie-boarder collie and a very proud member of the Winter Warriors!  Our love. Our funny little guy!

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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3 April 2013 - 8:13 pm
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Hey OG Sampson you look fantastic! Yay for no more stitches! Heck that video's pretty exciting if you ask me, what fun. I can only imagine how hoppy you are to see that snow melting off.

I can see the bunny hop your Mom is talking about. That PT should definitely help you use your legs mo' better. We'd love to see some videos and pics to hear about your experience with that OK?

Glad you've got the pack all together again. Life is good. We are very, very hoppy for you my friend.

 

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

Montana
Member Since:
1 February 2013
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3 April 2013 - 10:21 pm
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Sampson - Bald is beautiful and you are gorgeous! Congrads on one month and going strong.superstar

Spirit Shooter was a Miniature Australian Shepherd who was diagnosed with a MCT and had a LF amp 1/28/13 at 13-1/2 years old. 

Shooter crossed the Bridge on 8/28/13, his 7 month ampuversary and two weeks from his 14th birthday.

http://shooter......ipawds.com

concord,ca
Member Since:
18 October 2012
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4 April 2013 - 6:48 am
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Sampson you look so happy running around and enjoying nature.  You are adjusting just fine.  Wishing you many more ampuversaries.  By the way, you are a hansome fellow.

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.” ― Milan Kundera

Twin Cities, Minnesota
Member Since:
6 March 2013
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4 April 2013 - 8:25 am
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Short update:

Got our sutures out last night, and aside from the "if he doesn't stop licking that, he'll get the t-shirt" admonishment, we got an all-clear at the vet. Sam is free to "do what he wants, go where he wants, eat what he wants...just have a good time."clap

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all."
-Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

"May I recommend serenity to you? A life that is burdened with expectations is a heavy life. Its fruit is sorrow and disappointment. Learn to be one with the joy of the moment."
-Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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4 April 2013 - 8:31 am
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Woohoooo! Have a good time buddy!

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

Twin Cities, Minnesota
Member Since:
6 March 2013
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5 April 2013 - 5:33 pm
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New blog post today, wherein I talk myself down off a ledge. :p

Lots of stuff going on in my life aside from Sam-dog--promotion/new job (that is not well defined and is the wild wild west, more or less, and I have no idea what I'm doing), my 90-year-old grandmother is doing very poorly, DH travelling a lot, etc. So, it's one of those days when some random stuff just sets you off... :D

I love all of my animals, but some days, trying to deal with all six of them, when they all have different needs (now two of them special needs and meds), wants, demands, and sometimes supreme annoyances... well, it makes me want to sit on the floor and weep. And, apparently, freak out about random stuff I know better than to freak out about.

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all."
-Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

"May I recommend serenity to you? A life that is burdened with expectations is a heavy life. Its fruit is sorrow and disappointment. Learn to be one with the joy of the moment."
-Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

NC
Member Since:
26 February 2013
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5 April 2013 - 7:15 pm
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OMG your blog post was exactly what I needed tonight! Kermit is doing great but sometimes he's tired & doesn't feel like doing all of his exercises, and every time I'm sure something's going horribly wrong... Then I worry that I haven't made the most of every second, so I smother him in snuggles, neglecting my other dog, driving Kermit crazy & reinforcing in him that a life of leisure punctuated by way too many cookies and a fair amount of whining is all he really needs. This, in turn, makes him less likely to want to do his PT and continues the cycle. :P

I'm usually Ms. pawsitivity, but much like reading through the DOZENS of thank you notes on Kermit's oncologist's wall...almost all of which are from owners of dead dogs, sometimes reading here & knowing that our days together are numbered feels like a burden I just can't carry. I'm not sure why the end-of-life stories stick in my head more than all the victories sometimes, but alas, once in a while they do.

So thank you for your blog entry, it made me feel better tonight. :)

And my apologies to everyone else for my not posting on all the other threads tonight, but I have to step back & find Ms. Pawsitivity again... And smack her around a bit for being such a slacker!! :)

Twin Cities, Minnesota
Member Since:
6 March 2013
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5 April 2013 - 9:35 pm
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@dharma:

If you were Ms Pawistivity all the time, I think something may have come unhinged in your head ;-) That much upbeatness just ain't right.

We took tonight off of PT and off of our walks today (it’s freaking snowing again, anyway. Screw you, Minnesota winter. :eyeroll:). And after a minor victory over food (a can of FancyFeast, half can of tuna, 8 Teddy Grahams (regular honey flavored), and about three bites of his Avoderm canned food (which he hates, apparently)) and a drink or two (He elected to go with a nice pinot grigio, instead of an IPA (or so he thinks…don’t tell him it’s Corbet Canyon out of a box), we are comfortably sitting under a heating pad. He’s like a regular Joe Mauer. A day or two of activity, and then we need to rest for a week with “bilateral leg weakness” (<—this is-only funny if you are a MN Twins baseball fan. Hell, it's only even INTELLIGIBLE if you're a twins fan. It's not funny at all, really, considering what we paid....)

SEGUE:

And I think that end-of-life stories CAN be victories. Every single one of us, from the great leaders of the first world to the crabbiest quadrapeds in pet history...we're all going to die. It's the only guarantee for any of us, and the one thing we all have in common.

I don't think it matters if it's hospice for people or for pets...what we want for our loved ones, and for ourselves, is an ending that is filled with happiness--as much as we can muster, and with "icing on the cake," so to speak. No sense grieving for things that haven't happened. Youth is already wasted on the young, yeah? Let's not waste life on the living ;-) That, to me, is a victory.

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all."
-Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

"May I recommend serenity to you? A life that is burdened with expectations is a heavy life. Its fruit is sorrow and disappointment. Learn to be one with the joy of the moment."
-Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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6 April 2013 - 8:22 pm
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mmrocker13 said
And I think that end-of-life stories CAN be victories. Every single one of us, from the great leaders of the first world to the crabbiest quadrapeds in pet history...we're all going to die. It's the only guarantee for any of us, and the one thing we all have in common.

VERY well said! Here is one post of mine that's kinda along those lines: Buying Time on an Emotional Budget

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

Twin Cities, Minnesota
Member Since:
6 March 2013
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7 April 2013 - 12:07 pm
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jerry said

mmrocker13 said
And I think that end-of-life stories CAN be victories. Every single one of us, from the great leaders of the first world to the crabbiest quadrapeds in pet history...we're all going to die. It's the only guarantee for any of us, and the one thing we all have in common.

VERY well said! Here is one post of mine that's kinda along those lines: Buying Time on an Emotional Budget

Very good post, Jerry...and very well said.

I think one of the things we all struggle with (for people and for pets; for others and for ourselves), is the idea that somehow being accepting of death is tantamount to wanting it, giving it access, or asking for it. But accepting the idea of death as a part of life doesn't mean we are giving up. It doesn't mean that saying "he is dying," means I WANT it to happen, or will somehow make it happen when it normally would not have.

We don't want to die. We don't want our loved ones to die. Of course not--but ignoring the fact that it will happen to us all, locking the notion away...that won't change the inevitability of it. All it will do is make the lives we are living a bit less genuine, less present.

Animals aren't people, they have a different way of viewing the world, and a different type of intelligence. But I do believe they have a sense of mortality, and that they know what death is, and understand it means a leaving of sorts. It's part and parcel of a survival instinct, for one; and it explains the grieving reaction people observe in pets when another pet dies, as well. But the blessed thing about our animals, about "being more dog," is that while they acknowledge on some level the possibility of dying exists, and they simply don't worry about what will be...they only worry about what is right now.

What I want for Sam is for his "what is" to be as normal and as happy and as wonderfilled as possible. It doesn't have to be big or impressive or heroic. We don't need to go to Disneyland to "romance" The Lady (or The Tramp, for that matter), or take an African safari to chase wildebeasts instead of garden variety squirrels. It can be as simple as an endless supply of cardboard paper towel tubes to gnaw on and a parade of cheap toys to de-stuff and then thrust their slimy carcasses at us to play tug with. It can be fighting with his canine sister, and sharing his bed with a couple, three, four of the feline siblings. And yeah, okay, it can be hamburger for dinner instead of kibble if that's what he wants.

I don't want Sampson the Wonderdog, Sammy Psoriasis, Sammer, Sam-Dog, Big Dog-Pig Dog, Piggers, WoodgeBoodge, Budders, DamnitSammyKnockThatShitOff, Sam-Bernadino...Sammy, to die. I don't want him dying. I want him to live.

But while I can't change his dying...I CAN help him live. I can put that icing on the cake for him, and then get my own fat, pinky fingers out of it. I can let him dive in, and eat his cake with abandon, and not smear the frosting with my worries of what will be some day...and instead just enjoy what is right now.

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all."
-Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

"May I recommend serenity to you? A life that is burdened with expectations is a heavy life. Its fruit is sorrow and disappointment. Learn to be one with the joy of the moment."
-Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

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