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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Meg is now a tripawd
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London, UK


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18 March 2016 - 1:58 pm
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Day 9 post Op and I've been doing some physio with Meg. The rehab vet gave us a wobble cushion to start using, just standing on it with her front leg, and taking treats from side to side. Meg has embraced it with the enthusiasm she brings to everything. She keeps trying to get me to do it with her by going over to it, hopping on and barking. In fact I've had to lean it against the wall, or she'd never leave it alone. Anyway, I had to laugh. I was sitting on one side of the cushion and Meg was standing on the other side. I got out a treat and said 'Ok, on you get' and she immediately stepped forward onto it. 'Both legs!' I said, and then I realised. She's only got one front leg now. Duh! For a moment I had totally forgotten.

Meg, Mutt, aged around 13, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


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18 March 2016 - 2:10 pm
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I love the day 8 photo!  So happy.

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

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18 March 2016 - 2:33 pm
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On the topic of bizarre comments, I just got off the phone with a friend who said that a neighbor wanted to come visit Otis, but couldn't because she didn't think she could handle seeing him.  My first reaction was "what does she think he looks like?   A zombie dog???"  Then I realized that it might be the incision she is afraid of seeing (his fur has grown back nicely, and it really isn't that obvious now unless you look for it).   I suggested that she be directed to our blog photos, so she can see that he looks like. . .a dog.   Yep, just a dog.   By the way, a neighbor child called his incision his "zipper."

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

The Rainbow Bridge



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18 March 2016 - 2:38 pm
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People are so weird sometimes. Cute zipper comment! We've found that kids only react weirdly if their parents do. Thanks for being such a great ambassador!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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London, UK


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18 March 2016 - 2:54 pm
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That's a great response, Christine. A really good idea. Giving people the information demystifies it, I think. People can be so weird about disability; it's as though they're embarrassed. Kids are often so much more straightforward. I love the zipper comment. I used to take my dog Billie, to visit patients in a psychiatric hospital. Some people were really not well at all, and I remember one woman who was very depressed and scarcely able to communicate at all and with the most terrible scars on her arms and neck. But Billie didn't see any of that; all she saw was a human being, someone to share some love with. She'd go over and nuzzle and the woman would stroke her. The woman never spoke at all, but Billie loved her and I always found their interaction moving.

Meg, Mutt, aged around 13, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


Michigan
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18 March 2016 - 8:56 pm
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Awe...Meg looks like she's really doing great!

It is funny, isn't it, how people react?  Kids seem to do just fine, but adults ugh!  I've never had any bad comments, luckily, just the "ohhh, poor thing!"  But it's been just about 3 years now, so I usually laugh and say, "no, he's happy! and healthy!"  The techs at our vet's office are always so amazed when I go in with any of our pets.  The one girl just always says that we saved his life!  Well, we just feel that we did what we had to do.

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy 

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old. He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  
Read about Murphy's Life on Three Legs

Donna.png

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19 March 2016 - 5:29 am
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What is sad is that the dogs have cancer, were abused, were in accidents or had physical injuries to begin with.  The amputation is the treatment.   So, I'm ok that people feel bad that Otis has cancer.  I feel bad about it too.  The amputation saved his life.  Which I feel very very good about!  The oncologist also told me that a lot of the cancer research on dogs has direct applicability to human cancers, especially bone cancer in children, which is another thing to help change people's perceptions.  

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

Livermore, CA




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19 March 2016 - 9:44 am
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The oncologist also told me that a lot of the cancer research on dogs has direct applicability to human cancers, especially bone cancer in children, which is another thing to help change people's perceptions.  

It's called comparative oncology.  I first learned about it in 2010 with one of the local Tripawds I met named Caira Sue- she is in the rotating banner above the forums jumping for a ball. Caria was in a inhalation chemo study at UC Davis, a protocol being developed and tested for treating children with cancer.

Another reason our cancer tripawds are hero's!

And now that we are wayyyyy off track with Meg's thread big-grin...

I might as well share one of the weirdest comments I got with Tri-pug Maggie.  Mag was a rear amp and fairly small so many people didn't notice she was missing a leg (sometimes people asked why she was limping!).  We were walking through our local park one day and passed a few people with little dogs.  We all nodded and smiled, I had my snotty girl pug Tani with us so we didn't try to socialize.  As we walked away one lady must have noticed that Mag was a Tripawd. I heard her say "how cute, she only has three legs" as if it was an accessory I had chosen!

Keep up the good healing Meg!

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

London, UK


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19 March 2016 - 12:52 pm
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I've had a bit of a crash to be honest. Meg is still doing really well and is now ten days post op. She seems comfortable and happy, though she has been licking at her wrist, which worries me, but then everything about her remaining leg worries me. I know I need to pull myself together, Be More Dog etc. etc. I owe it to Meg to be positive when she is such a positive spirit, but today I just feel like a great wave of grief has crashed in and knocked me over.

It's probably exhaustion more than anything. It's now very nearly exactly a year since Meg was diagnosed with end stage arthritis and that year has just been such a rollercoaster of hope and crushing disappointment. Meg has been through five major surgeries, and spent a total of more than two months in hospital as we tried and tried and tried and ultimately failed to save her leg. She's been incredibly resilient, much more so than me. I feel battered and broken by the whole experience.

The reason we were so desperate to save Meg's leg was because we were told (by one of the leading orthopaedic surgeons in the country, by reputation anyway) that amputation was categorically not an option for Meg. This was based on an assessment of her other elbow, which has dysplasia and arthritis.  In the end after putting everything we had, emotionally, financially and everything else, into trying to save it, the specialist changed his mind and decided amputation was an option after all. By this point I had lost confidence and took Meg elsewhere, where the view was that, though she does have problems with her other leg, amputation was worth doing.

So here we are, and all of that is in the past (except the bill, which I'll be paying off for the rest of my life) and that is where it should be. But I think this crash is maybe about recognising that phase is over. I'm no longer changing her bandage twice a day (I'm an expert elbow bandager should anyone need one), as I have been for the past four months, we're no longer going to laser four times a week and hoping against hope it will make the difference or holding out for the next lot of X-rays and praying the bone will have grown. It's gone. The leg's gone. And all of that's gone with it.

And I'm scared as well, I'm really scared about her other leg. Is her elbow suddenly going to explode, as the right one did, with no forewarning? Is it fair to put her through any of this when her other leg is compromised and the outcome is so uncertain?

And then more than anything I'm annoyed with myself for feeling like this at all, for sitting here in tears when Meg is so positive and upbeat and such a great dog and just deserves so so much better.

Meg, Mutt, aged around 13, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


Forum Posts: 2010
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19 March 2016 - 1:24 pm
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You are doing exactly what you should.  You are showing her love, and providing her the best medical care possible.  None of us know what will happen in the future, but right now, you are giving her a chance, and that is the best thing you can do.  And we all go through the panic and uncertainty every time our baby licks, wiggles, sleeps, etc.  You probably are exhausted, physically and emotionally.  Just spend some time cuddling her and know that you are making the best decision you can under the circumstances.

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

Virginia




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19 March 2016 - 1:26 pm
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And this is another reason we are all here....we understand "crashes"....oh yes we do! We understand worrying....oh yes we do!! We understand exhaustion, mentally and physically...oh yes we do!!

And we also understand the joy of learning how tomBE MORE DOG....BE MORE MEG! 🙂 We understand all we have is TODAY...the NOW! And we've learned not to waste one second of this gift of time by worry about things that probably will NEVER happen! And even IF "something" happens, we'll figure out a way to deal with it...just like Meg has shown you with her example everyday of her life!

I want to comment on some of the great posts above, but have to run to work so will come back.

For now though, just wanted to hop in to remind you everything thing yiu are feeling is "normal". Usually it passes by leaning on us during those times AND, most importantly....eating CHOCOLATE....deep breaths...then go grab that wobble board, grab a treat and grin ear to ear watching eg have a ball! Meg is living everyday to the fullest!! Such a great Coach for you...for all of us!

Lots of love! Youre doing great! PROMISE!!

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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19 March 2016 - 3:01 pm
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It's good to get it out and spell out what you're feeling and thinking, because once you do, you can own it and then move forward, just like Meg.

I agree it's probably exhaustion, you've both been through a LOT. Now, it's time to be good to yourself and relax, know that you are doing your very best and nobody can predict the future. Take every day as it comes, make the most of it like Meg, and you can't go wrong.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Forum Posts: 2010
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20 March 2016 - 5:34 am
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Hope you got some sleep and both you and Meg are doing well today.  Just wanted to check in.

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

London, UK


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20 March 2016 - 9:42 am
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Thanks so, so much everyone for your kindness, understanding and support. It's made all the difference in the world. I did as you suggested (including the chocolate!) and I do feel very much better today. You are absolutely right about learning from Meg. I have already learned so much from her but I have yet to master living in the present and not stressing about every possible thing. I loved your comment, Christine about panicking 'every time our baby licks, wiggles, and sleeps'. Yup, absolutely. Made me smile to know I am not alone.

Meg is on fine form, no doubt relieved that I've climbed out of my slump (with some helping hands from across the Atlantic...) I felt like she needed a change of scene so I took her up to the farm to watch the cows (we're in Norfolk, not London at the moment), sheep would have been a bit tooooooo exciting, but cows was just about right, I thought. Meg agreed. She watched them for a good long time...

FUBUCKET-3-of-5.jpgImage Enlarger

Meg, Mutt, aged around 13, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


Michigan
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20 March 2016 - 9:59 am
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big-blink

Donna, Glenn & Murphy 

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old. He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  
Read about Murphy's Life on Three Legs

Donna.png

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