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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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My HAPPY HANNAH--big lung tumor..falling to pieces over here...crushed
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Twin Cities, Minnesota
Forum Posts: 390
Member Since:
6 March 2013
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4 March 2014 - 11:32 am
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Hey! Do NOT be upset for feeling upset. That is NORMAL. You wouldn't be human otherwise. It's our job as people to be the ones getting upset, remember? Now. Put it away, and put all that "going away" talk away.

Focus on what is--she is happy right now. Sure, she may be a little slower, but she is still enjoying her life, and being Hannah.

Dogs can, and do, do just fine on vastly diminshed lung capacity. And the presence of mets, even larger ones, is not a guarantee or a timetable set in stone. Like Rene said, every dog is different. I'll give a non-dog example about prognoses...Momo was supposed to have left us 18 months ago. And then again at Christmas. He has MAYBE 3% of his kidney function remaining. NO ONE expected five days out of him then--that we have gotten almost three months has astounded everyone. So we keep on, keeping on.

And I KNOW that our time is limited, but I have gotten through it with the lesson that Sam taught me about being more dog. I cannot change what will be. But I can certainly take control of the moments that ARE. Do I catch myself, sometimes, grieving for what hasn't happened yet? Absolutely. We all have those moments. Again with the not being human if we didn't.

So take the lifeline and vent to all of us :-) It's normal. And know that you can hug Happy Hannah and just enjoy her presence and be strong for her. <3 <3

As far as tips...I have none--unlike a lot of folks, since our care was palliative, we didn't have regular exams. Our only xrays were initially and then at the end. BUT considering the state of Sam's lungs when we said goodbye, it's very possible he was like that for a long time. I really do think that the prednisone helped him tremendously with the mets--even if we didn't realize they were there (since he was on it for his appetite and autoimmune issues). So it may be an avenue to consider, in lieu of the piroxicam (but I'm not a vet ;-)).

I refer you to a voice far wiser than mine--the late, great, infinitely wise Douglas Adams. I picked the two lines in my signature b/c I think they sum up this journey perfectly.

"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."

"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."

Tell cancer to eff it all. You and Hannah have living to do. And no matter what, do that living in the joy of the moment...not in the wasted time of expecting what ifs.

Hugs to you, and to Happy Hannah <3

"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

Westminster, MD
Forum Posts: 1399
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31 August 2013
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4 March 2014 - 12:07 pm
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First of all, I just want to say, for all you have done for so many of us when we needed it most, I will do my earth-shattering best to be the best support I can be for you. I truly thought I had completely exhausted all my emotional heartbreak and endless sobbing and crying, but I found that not to be true, at all. The human part of me says, "I hate cancer, cancer sucks, why does everything suck, how will I ever get through this awful crappy thing, what will I ever do without my sweet precious pup, will I ever get to a point when I will stop crying and at least try to be happy again, why can't I have more time with my fur baby, it blows and is not fair" dog part of me says, "when do we eat, how about that walk, time for a nap, when do we eat, can I go for a car ride with you, gotta go potty!, when do we eat, time for treats, want ta' chase the squirrels out there! when do we eat.........but the best part of dog, " oh, how I love, love, love my human mom/dad !!!......" You, more than anyone, have taught me to think more dog, and that is a great way to think when confronted with this extremely difficult situation with our much loved and faithful 3-legged companions.

The one thing I have had to do many times through the years, and so many others here as well, is just hug and kiss and love on your Happy Hannah as long as you can. She is with you and feeling good today......enjoy today and however many todays you will have together. That is all that matters to them, is that we will always be there for them, and just being together.

This is all I am emotionally capable of writing for now, before I absolutely disentegrate into a yucky, very sad puddle of past human existence. We are all here for you, and that won't ever change.

Sending my love, endless {{{hugs}}}, and as much positive energy that I can.....

Bonnie & Angel Polly

Sydney, Australia
Forum Posts: 628
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13 September 2011
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4 March 2014 - 12:14 pm
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So so sorry Sally. I can't say anymore than what has already been said. It is normal to fall apart. Allow yourself to stay on the floor for as long as you need to. When you are ready there is a whole community to help you back up again. You can then decide what the best treatment options are for you and Hannah at this stage of the journey,

Treasure every day together and let the memories you make with Hannah soak into your heart and soul.

Many many hugs to you

Karen and Spirit Magnum

Magnum: 30th May 2002 to 5th May 2012. Lost her back left leg to osteosarcoma on 5th Sep 2011. Lung mets found on 20th Mar 2012 but it was bone mets in the hip that ended her brave battle. Magnum's motto - "Dream as if you'll live for ever, live as if you'll die today" (James Dean). Loyal, loving, courageous and spirited to the end. My beloved heart dog, see her memoirs from Rainbow Bridge ......


Forum Posts: 21434
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22 February 2013
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4 March 2014 - 12:25 pm
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EACH of you...each and evsryone of you....YOU have NO idea how deeply you have touched my heart!! I mean core deep beynd exp,anatio !!

I do want to respond to each of you individually.....each response has me in such tears right now...tears of gratitude...that I can't even hit the stupid "so-called keyboard" on this tablet thing!!

I just had to get something ot quickly to you to let you know EACH of you have said EXACTLY what I needed to hear...EACH OF YOU!!

I tell ya' what, to be on the receiving end of all this love is unlike anything I've ever experienced before!! You are empowering me in my "humanness" with your "not-of-this-earth" compassion. And yeah, it's good to be reminded I'm a human and humans sometimes, even with the best efforts, handle things like humans sometimes!!

I know we all want to help each other whenever there is a "challenege" and we all want to say something thatt helps...and we can only hope it does. TRUST me on this.....heartfelt words DO make a difference. The tme EACH of you took to post has helped me continue to alter my state back where I need to be...back how I know how to be. And it doesn't have to happen all at once or in the next ten seconds.

I have to stop right'll like the reason.....I am crying with each response I read and as I type this....(they are tears of gratitude..sincere, genuine gratitude for each of you) .I've deliberately stayed off here while Happy Hannah's awake to make sure I AM fully present for her. She was sou d asleep as I was typing this......guess my crying wasn't as muffled as I thought. I hear THUMP...THUMP...THUMP.. of the wagging tail on ner bed...look up and she's getting up to bring me her stuffy...just a wiggling and a waggng the whole way! I immediately greeted her with my own version of thump...thump..and praised and kissed and made sure she knew I was happy!! Of course "we" celebrated with a treat!!

Ohhhhhh, and don't worry, Happy Hannah and I aren't going anywhere...we have a zillion more typls and a zillion more out of focus, shakey videos to bombard you with.

And for the does heal on so many different levels. And I'm holding on tight to this "love connection"!

Thank you...each of you...for loving us.... and, as we say around here...right barkatcha'


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!

Livermore, CA

Forum Posts: 4042
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18 October 2009
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4 March 2014 - 12:54 pm
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The strongest among us need help sometimes.  One of the things that makes this community so great is that there is always help when we need it.  No matter how much we think we can handle, no matter how prepared we think we are, there are things that bring us to our knees.  You have to let your emotions out, you have to lean on us, then you will find the strength you need to carry on.

I went though so much with Maggie, I knew I could handle anything.  But when the vet called me to tell me that they had found a tumor in Mag's mouth I broke down on the phone in the parking lot at work.

I'm not sure devastated covers the emotion when we get hit with news like this.  Allow yourself to work through it and know we are here to help you with this part of the journey.

It's not over now, not today.  As long as there are good days there is hope for more. 

This part isn't easy, but you have the strength to deal with everything that comes your way.  How do I know?  Because you have already made it this far.


Karen and Spirit Maggie

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

Los Angeles, CA
Forum Posts: 3554
Member Since:
13 June 2013
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4 March 2014 - 1:12 pm
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I am so touched by the outpouring of support from this community. I agree, Sally, this is a love like no other. I think because we all are going through this journey together and we can celebrate victories and shed tears for sadness but together, as a community, we stand as one. 

I definitely know that 'punched in the gut' feeling ... when Shelby broke her leg (I can still hear the screams she made at that moment and I felt that I failed as a parent by making her jump into the car). When Shelby's spleen was removed and I got the diagnosis - even though in my gut, I knew (mom's always know, right). And even the rollercoaster day of Shelby's amputation, finding out about her mets, her heart murmur, all of it.... sometimes it is too much to handle and that is when I come here. For inspiration. For hope. For support. 

You have and remain our biggest cheerleader!!! Let us be here for you! I wish I had better words but we are in this together - no matter what. Hugs and love!

Alison and Shelby 

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

Fort Wayne, IN
Forum Posts: 858
Member Since:
25 January 2013
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4 March 2014 - 2:03 pm
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BREATHE....Sally, you have started a few posts to me with that word and it stuck.  My heart sank when I got here.  I fully expected to read a happy headline from you as I have so often.  Damn this cancer.

You know how much I love that Happy Hannah face that melts my heart.  You are a terrific mommy to her and you are her world.  I am glad to hear you are "in the moment" with that sweet girl now.  

You have done so much for so many here, myself included.  I'm glad you opened up so we can try to give back, even a little, of what you have given us when we needed it.

You keep doing what you do best....loving and spoiling that girl every minute.  We are here, right on the other side of this screen, to help pick you up, cheer you and listen.  Hang in there Sally.


Amy & Libby



Liberty (Libby) was diagnosed with OSA on 1-22-13.  Right front amputation on 1-31-13. No IV Chemo. Metronomic Therapy started 2-19-13 along with supplements and some home cooking. Lungs clear until 1-06-14.  She's still her happy, hoppy, bossy self.  Living the dog life to the fullest and a proud Winter Warrior. :) RIP my Libby 4-21-03 to 3-19-14

Forum Posts: 338
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5 February 2014
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4 March 2014 - 2:17 pm
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The love Sally and Happy Happy Hannah have shown all of us is shown here on this forum and everywhere else they go.  I'm new to this and THEY ARE MY INSPIRATION.  God is on our side, Happy Happy Hannah isn't giving up and neither are you, we are YOUR backbone now.... USE US, SCREAM AT US, but most of all enjoy every minute you can with your beloved HAPPY HAPPY HANNAH...


Love you Sally and Happy Happy Hannah Baby.  NEVER GIVE UP HOPE. EVERYDAY IS A GIFT. 



Tracy and Bailey Girl

Forum Posts: 198
Member Since:
2 April 2013
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4 March 2014 - 2:29 pm
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Sally, my heart goes out to you so much. You and Happy Hannah have been huge supporters of Roxy and me, and the rest of the Tripawds clan. You can say and feel whatever you want here, we are all here for you.

*BIG HUGS* from me ... We all love you both very much.

I'm at a loss and wish I had more to say ... You are already doing what you always have by enjoying every precious moment with her. Keep fighting, Happy Hannah!! We love you. xoxox

Forum Posts: 1601
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12 March 2013
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4 March 2014 - 2:38 pm
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.....and please....saturate us with happy pictures and videos!!!

Kathi and Murphy

Murphy is a five year old Lab/Chessie cross. He was hit by a car on 10/29/12 and became a Tripawd on 11/24/12. On 2/5/13, he had a total hip replacement on his remaining back leg. He has absolutely no idea that he has only three legs!

UPDATE: Murphy lived his life to the fullest, right up until an aggressive bone lesion took him across the Rainbow Bridge on April 9, 2015 and he gained his membership in the April Angels. Run free, my love. You deserve it!

New York, NY
Forum Posts: 1412
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3 December 2012
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4 March 2014 - 3:21 pm
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JILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG.  I'm so sorry everyone.  I apologize for my foul mouthed three legged monster.  You can't leave these kids alone with the computer for a second! Geesh.


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

Forum Posts: 978
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26 January 2014
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4 March 2014 - 3:59 pm
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Sally you have NO idea how much you helped me from the first time I posted about helping Jake eat to days later posting we lost him. I lurked around here for months before I actually posted, and oh how I wish I had done so sooner and not tried to "do this by myself privately". I even asked if it was ok that I stayed around here after Jake passed because going through this is horrible enough, trying to do it alone is even worse. Its ok to cry!!! Its ok to yell and be pissed off!! ITS NOT FAIR!!! We are all here for you and Happy Hannah. She is in the BEST place in the world, with her momma, and she's SO lucky to have you!! Just don't forget, Happy Hannah is still here!! She is right by you, looking for her bones and her hugs and her kisses! She's eating and she's happy!!! NEVER GIVE UP HOPE, no one can tell you what the future holds! You just keeping fighting!!! I echo what Jill said!!!!




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”  


Forum Posts: 825
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18 September 2013
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4 March 2014 - 4:00 pm
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Sally and the lovely Miss Happy Hannah

I read the title to this forum at work today but couldn't open it until now.....

Sally....we are all crying with and Hannah have always been the rock.....but now it is your turn and we are all here for you!

I have no words with respect to treatment options but I would try them all.....tumour schmoumor.....lets see if we can keep this terrible disease at bay.........if prayers from this community would help then you got it beat for sure.

For now...breathe.....make a plan.....whatever that looks like for the two of you....and try to enjoy each and every moment you have with your beautiful girl!

No have been a wonderful pawrent to Hannah and a brilliant ambassador for the whole community.

Please let me know if there is anything at all that I can do.

And give the lovely Miss Happy Hannah a drooly kiss from Tucker.


Love and hugs


Linda and Tucker




The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 31089
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25 April 2007
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4 March 2014 - 4:26 pm
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Jilly you potty mouth! But it sure is spot-on! xoxo

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Los Angeles, CA
Forum Posts: 3554
Member Since:
13 June 2013
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4 March 2014 - 5:06 pm
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Jill! LOL 🙂 

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

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