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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is your home 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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I think Max's time is drawing near
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Member Since:
15 December 2012
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16
22 October 2015 - 9:45 pm
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Susanna,

I am so sorry. I was ready to post about my experiences on when to let go and read your latest post. I also had a dog with lung mets who coughed up blood and she was only 4 months post amp. She also never lost her appetite and in fact celebrated her 6th birthday with a hamburger cake 2 days before. But she was tired and winded and her eyes told me the joy in her life was seeping away. You are doing the absolute right thing for Max even though it will hurt for a long time but know the love you have for him is why you release him. God Bless his departure.

Penny, Hank, Blink and Angel Maggie

Member Since:
24 September 2015
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23 October 2015 - 5:44 am
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Susanna,

May your beloved Max's final journey today be a peaceful one.  He will carry with him into eternity the love you gave him while he was here on earth.  And may you, in time, find your own peace in the wonderful memories your boy has left behind for you to cherish.

I am so very sorry.

Sketch's Mom

Maryland
Member Since:
28 March 2015
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23 October 2015 - 5:52 am
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Susanna,

I can't say it any better than Sally and Sketch's Mom. Max will know you love him until the very last second on this earth. The ache and the empty house and the hole in your life will be real. The only thing that makes it hurt less is time so give yourself that time to grieve. It is the price we have to pay for having such a special bond w/ our pups.

Denise, Bill and Angel Ellie.

Active 10+ Pyr mix suddenly came up lame with ACL tear in left rear leg. Scheduled for a TPLO but final pre-op x-rays indicated a small suspicious area, possibly OSA, which could have caused the ACL tear. Surgeon opened the knee for TPLO but found soft bone. Biopsy came back positive for OSA. Became a Tripawd 9/18/14. Carbo6 with Cerenia and Fluids. Pain free and living in the moment. Crossed the Bridge on 7/12/15 after probable spread of cancer to her cervical spine. A whole lifetime of memories squeezed into 10 months. Here's her story: Eloise

Norene, TN
Member Since:
21 October 2014
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23 October 2015 - 7:16 am
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Bless you Susanna. Know that St. Francis and all the other fur-babies will welcome Max with open arms. And since time doesn't exist at the Bridge, you will join him in the blink of the eye. I'll be holding you and your pack close to my heart today.

xoxo

Harmony became a Tripawd on 10/21/14 (MCT). She left us way too soon on 11/1/14.

"We miss you so much; our love, our heart, our Harmony."

- Pam, Ron and Melody, Meesha, Doublestuff and Mariah Carey

Los Angeles, CA
Member Since:
13 June 2013
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23 October 2015 - 10:12 am
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Sending you love, strength and prayers .... all our furbabies over the bridge will meet Max with open paws!

Lots of love,

alison with spirit shelby in her heart 

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

Green Bay, WI


Member Since:
18 May 2014
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23 October 2015 - 10:27 am
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Thinking of you today, crying with you.

Letting your friend go is surely one of the hardest things you've ever done, and one of the most loving things you'll ever do.

paula and nitro

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

http://nitro.tripawds.com

"Be good, mama loves you".....run free my beautiful Warrior

Schofield, WI
Member Since:
13 August 2015
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23 October 2015 - 11:06 am
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This whole community grieves with you.  Loving them enough to let them go is the last greatest gift we can give them. May your wonderful memories of Max help you at this time. He knew how loved he was in his earthly home.  Run free and healthy Max. 

Linda

Virginia
Member Since:
26 January 2014
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23 October 2015 - 2:07 pm
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Letting them go is the hardest part of this journey, their time with us is never long enough. Sending lots of prayers and hugs your way, we are all grieving with you.

Mom to Tripawd Angels Jake (2001-2014) and Rosco (2012-2015) and Tripawd Tanner. “Whatever happens tomorrow, we had today; and I'll always remember it”  

      

Member Since:
8 September 2015
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23 October 2015 - 8:01 pm
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Sending hugs, love and light.  I'm sorry any of us have to know this experience but I thank God our dogs found us.  My dogs taught me what real, pure love is and they have changed my life for the better.  Letting go hurts like hell but for Max and all of our pups, they will be happy and free while they wait for us to meet them so we can be with and love them again.  I know there is a "there", they DO go there and they WILL wait for us.  You are both in my prayers.  I'm so sorry and we are here if you need us.

xoxo

Debbie and Patches

Westminster, MD
Member Since:
31 August 2013
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23 October 2015 - 9:45 pm
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Susanna,
I am so sorry the time has come for sweet, beautiful Max, many of us know the anguish and heartbreak you are feeling...... Sending comforting thoughts and {{{hugs}}} to help your immense grief and pain.....

Love,
Bonnie, Angel Polly, Pearl, and Zuzu

Member Since:
7 May 2015
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25 October 2015 - 8:52 am
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Susanna, thank you for loving Max so much and for giving him an amazing life. As others have said, we are all grieving with you. I am so sorry for your loss and am keeping you and Max in my thoughts. I know for sure that he is at peace now, and I hope you can find your peace, too. Please take care of yourself.

Love,
Karen

Six-year-old Ollie, a spunky, 55-lb. Australian cattle dog mix, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma May 1, 2015. Front right leg was amputated May 12. Did four rounds of carboplatin chemo treatment, ending Aug. 20. Lung x-rays still clear as of end of September. The rest of our story is still unfolding.

Orrtanna Pa.
Member Since:
25 January 2014
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25 October 2015 - 6:56 pm
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I am so sorry to hear about Max. This is the absolute hardest part of this journey. Please know that this is an excellent place to come for love and support. A lot of us have been where you are and understand. Hugs to you, Lori, Ty & Gang

TY GUY, Best Black Lab ever! Diagnosed  and had amp in January, 2014. Kicked MRSA's butt. Earned his angel wings on April 16, 2014. Run Free my boy and don't forget a shoe. Ty is a proud member of the " April Angels". Ty sent us Daryl, a Tripawd rescue in Sept. of 2016. Daryl is 5 +or -. We are also Pawrents to Chandler, a Border Collie mix who is 15 and 1/2, Lucy, a Corgi who is 7, 2 minis, 2 horses, and a feisty cat named Zoe. Zoe had a non skeletal Osteosarcoma removed in July 2015. No Chemo, she was at least 16. She is going strong although she is now completely blind. She is now close to 20 and her hobbies are eating and sleeping in front of her personal heater. 

Member Since:
2 May 2015
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26 October 2015 - 5:17 pm
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So much gratitude for all of you and your prayers, thoughts, and support! Many of you shared your stories of letting your dogs go, so I'll share Max's, too. I can't talk about it without breaking down, but maybe writing it out will help a little.

By Thursday afternoon it was clear that he was deteriorating fast. His appetite had been waning considerably, but now he was refusing food altogether, and not even bacon, steak, or ice cream could entice him. Every breath was short and labored and raspy, and he could only take a few steps at a time. We spent all of Thursday just sitting outside. He didn't sleep or lay his head down, but kept himself propped up and looking out at the world. But he seemed a little spacey and detached. I was afraid of going into the weekend and finding myself in a bad situation where I'd need to take him to the ER/after-hours clinic. So I scheduled an at-home euthanasia with a vet who isn't our ordinary vet. Max always got so agitated at clinics, and I didn't want him to recognize our vet and associate the visit with that anxiety. The DVM actually answered the phone, and she was so kind and caring that I felt confident with that choice and took the later Friday afternoon availability at 4:30.

In the evening I tried steak and ice cream again as a last dinner. He took one bite of steak and one lick of ice cream and wouldn't have anything else. He just laid on his bed on the living room floor, and I sat with him there for hours, petting him and telling him I loved him and that he'd made these last three-plus years the best of my life. His breathing was terrible, and at one time he convulsed violently and then his head dropped, and I thought he had died! He hadn't, and I have no idea what that was all about, but it was awful. Later I scooped him up to take him out front to potty before bedtime, and after three steps he stopped. His heart was pounding and he was breathing really hard. It took him a while to catch his breath and to steady his heartbeat, but once he was calm I had to carry him out to the grass. 

He fell asleep again but was restless at times throughout the night. I slept on the floor with him, and at one point he jumped up into a standing position. He had been doing that the previous two days at times, as if it were a more comfortable position somehow. He seemed absolutely miserable, and I was terrified that his heart would give out and that his suffering might be too much. So at 2 a.m. I got my boyfriend and made the call to take him to the overnight clinic and get it done. Waiting until 4:30 p.m. the next day seemed tortuous.

At the clinic, he was immediately agitated, and two techs came into the exam room with a clipboard of forms, a big syringe of pink liquid, a stethoscope, and a blanket. No DVM, no exam, no calming words or interaction. They laid down a blanket on the cold floor and waited for us to cooperate. Max paced. They said they'd give us a few minutes and left the room. When they came back in he was no calmer, and I was frankly a wreck. My instinct was Wait, no, stop! No. This was not right at all. I told the techs we were leaving. Max hightailed it out of there--the most he'd moved in 24 hours. My boyfriend was a little irked with me, but I didn't give a rip about that. I knew he'd come to see sense later. (He did.)

Back at home, Max cuddled up with me on the bed and slept serenely the rest of the night, barely moving and breathing quietly. In the morning, he jumped off the bed and looked at the door. I opened it but he didn't move. Again I carried him outside to pee and then back in. I called the vet and asked if an earlier time was available, and we were able to schedule for 11:30 rather than 4:30.

He was a bit perkier and more interactive than he'd been on Thursday, and I almost canceled altogether. I started questioning if my decision were right. But there was still no appetite and little ability to move, and the next step would be incontinence, which I'm told can make a dog feel ashamed. Plus, if things went south, I'd be at the mercy of that awful clinic again. It had to be done.

When the vet and her tech arrived, Max got up and brought them a shoe. He brought them a shoe! That tore a gash right through my heart, let me tell you. He sniffed their box of supplies, and we engaged in some small talk to calm the atmosphere and settle him down. (They were warm and kind and sympathetic--180 degrees from the sterile ER clinic people.) He finally draped himself across my lap, but when they put the trimmer on his leg to clear a spot for the IV catheter, he jumped up and hid behind me. The cat was out of the bag, and he didn't care for the direction this visit was taking. He stayed behind me, and as I calmed him down, the vet gave him a quick shot of a sedative. As it took effect, he laid down, and she put the IV in. When he was completely calm, she injected the anesthesia. I kept my hand on his chest and kissed his face, crying and crying and crying, until his chest stopped moving with breathing and he was completely still. They wrapped him in a blanket, lay him on a stretcher, and took him to their car. I gave him one more parting kiss, and that was that.

It wasn't the "good death" I'd hoped for, I guess. He didn't accept it! He resisted! It almost felt like an act of betrayal than of humaneness. That haunts me. But, honestly, that's who Max was. As gentle a soul as he was, he fought so hard for his life! He was feisty with life. Throughout the excruciating pain of the tumor in his tibia, the misery of a bone biopsy, the discomfort of amputation, the deterioration of his lungs and possibly other organs, he never--not once--wimpered in pain. He was so, so determined to live and to BE. If he'd gotten to the point where death was welcome, then truly I would have waited too long. That's the comfort I offer myself.

The hole in my life is just gaping wide open right now. Oh, how much I miss him! We went to a movie for distraction on Friday night--didn't work. I tried retail therapy on Saturday--didn't work. Chores and church on Sunday--church was some help. Anything but an empty house. 

This morning I took heart by promising to not just "Be More Dog " but "be more Max." I think the best way I can honor his life is to live more like he did--with an open heart and all-out joy for each and every day. I know that sounds really sappy, but it makes me feel better. 

Schofield, WI
Member Since:
13 August 2015
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26 October 2015 - 5:55 pm
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Susanna I sit here with tears rolling down my face and hope I can help you see Max a bit differently.  You say he didn't accept it.  He resisted.  I think he resisted more poking, more prodding.  I think he told you "Mom no more!  I'm done here".  You heard him and because you loved him so much you gave him one last gift.  The glory of going to the bridge to run free and whole and healthy. When you gave Max his release you already were "being more Max".  Please know our hearts are broken here in this community with yours.  I wish you peace and hope your joyous memories of Max will help you through your pain.

Linda

Member Since:
24 September 2015
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26 October 2015 - 6:38 pm
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Susanna,

Linda has said it so beautifully that I can only add that Max was incredibly blessed to have been so loved during his stay here on earth. Sending love and hugs...and the hope that each day gets a little easier.

Trini and my Sketchie Boy 

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