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Our Tripawd Family

December 1, 2016

Fall day at the park

Filed under: Uncategorized — biffngab @ 3:25 pm


Hilda, Penny, and Biff enjoy a lovely fall day at the park.¬† ūüôā

Biff’s recent surgery has renewed his stamina and enthusiasm for walks and park visits.¬† Yay Biff!

June 28, 2015

Hilda and Penny and Respite from the Rain

Filed under: Uncategorized — biffngab @ 6:13 pm

Here are Hilda and Penny, tripawd best friends enjoying a sunny day walk at Prophetstown State Park ūüôā





May 19, 2015

Adventures of Penny and Hilda

Filed under: Uncategorized — biffngab @ 11:39 am

Hilda came to live with us last Saturday. She loves her new home and is very cuddly! Penny and Hilda are both missing their left hind leg, and they are about the same size. Nobody knows how Hilda lost her leg, because she was a stray before coming to the shelter. Hilda is having a great time playing with her new sister, Penny, and she is learning to go on family walks. Penny and Hilda play and play, which is great because then Biff gets to sit back and watch them rather than put up with relentless pestering from Penny. Everybody is so happy that Hilda is with us ūüôā


Penny is at the top with the grey harness, and Hilda is below with the black saddle markings. Happy sisters!


A fun (but brief) game of tug!

May 18, 2015

Biff and Spring Blooms

Filed under: Uncategorized — biffngab @ 9:21 am



May 17, 2015

Hilda and Penny

Filed under: Uncategorized — biffngab @ 3:52 pm


May 4, 2015

Penny cuddling her favorite toy

Filed under: Uncategorized — biffngab @ 1:48 pm




August 16, 2014

Penny and Biff speak at Chautauqua

Filed under: Uncategorized — biffngab @ 9:56 am




July 3, 2014

The Story of Penny

Filed under: Uncategorized — biffngab @ 4:14 pm

Last year after Sunshine passed away, we heard about a young dog who needed an amputation, but first she needed a foster home. She had been found as a stray and had a very badly broken left rear leg. We brought Penny into our home, where she adjusted quickly. Not long after I had dropped her off for the¬†amputation, the vet called to say that, perhaps, she could keep her leg.¬†He had taken another x-ray and found that Penny’s young body had fused the broken bones back together. The left rear leg¬†was shorter than her right rear leg, but it might be OK. So we took her back home and adopted her.


Over the past year she injured her short leg frequently, but it would recover and she was always happy and friendly. After a recent more persistent injury, we brought her to the vet who took more x-rays. The leg had many problems. Not only was it short, but she had formed a false joint in the wrong location and she had a jagged bone jutting out into her muscle. It was probably bothering her more than we knew. Our vet hated to bring up the idea of amputation, but perhaps it was the best choice. The short leg would be a source of pain for the rest of her life, and much of the time she didn’t use it anyway. Maybe it would be better to hop on 3 legs?


This past Tuesday, her left rear leg was amputated. She is recovering amazingly fast! Tuesday evening, she was out in the yard peeing. !!! Gabby and Biff both held out for around 24 hours before they would go outside. We are supposed to restrict her activity for 3 days, and today is the 2nd day. She is sleeping a lot, but her energy level is definitely increasing. She has adapted to 3 legs very quickly. Welcome to life as a tripawd, Penny! We are sure you will enjoy it.

Water Therapy

Filed under: Uncategorized — biffngab @ 12:56 pm

Biff has had increasing pain and stiffness in his hips over the past few years. His stamina on walks was dwindling, and he was having increasing difficulty moving between standing and sitting. Our vet had prescribed Carprofen (Rimadyl), and it was helping, but not completely. Biff needed to improve his muscle tone and we didn’t know how to help him.


So we turned to water therapy! A nearby veterinarian’s office has a therapy room with pools and treadmills and helpful, loving therapists. Biff was prescribed water exercise in a small pool with a treadmill. The pool fills with water, then they start the treadmill. He could only hop for about 3 or 4 minutes at first, and now he is up to 9 minutes! He loves it, and it is definitely improving his stamina and quality of life.

We were also given exercises for Biff to do at home. They are easy to work into our daily routines. This therapy has really helped Biff enjoy walks more. He takes fewer breaks and is able to hop farther, even on hot summer days! Water therapy may not be right for every dog, but it has certainly helped Biff!


March 9, 2014

She Was a Friend of Mine

Filed under: Uncategorized — biffngab @ 8:59 pm

Gabby passed away today, peacefully, after a precipitous decline the past few weeks. For the benefit of readers not already familiar, here is Gabby’s story, in mostly full, given to inspire those who come after. She was a friend of mine!

Gabby was four-ish when we adopted her from a county shelter. She was to be my wife’s first dog, she having for years kept two cats and a secret desire for dogs. Gabby proved to be a Daddy’s Girl. She treated my wife with love and due appreciation for who provides the food, but she always had special “hearts popping over her head” when she looked at me. I was similarly afflicted for her. The greetings she gave me upon returning home were brimming over with affection and exuberance. My wife knows and understands, it was absolutely the best part of any trip to come home to Gabby.

She was with us just two years when we noticed the tumor on her front left leg. It was a nerve sheath tumor (neurofibrosarcoma) and had very little tissue around it to cut out for margins. We had it excised. It turned out to be stage 3, and it promptly grew back. We chose amputation over radiation, and we remain happy with that choice. She was amputated almost six years ago, endured a round of chemo, and was cancer free for four solid years when she was diagnosed with lymphoma. We opted for a second chemo regime which gave her another 15 months with a clear majority of good days and well-worth-it outings. She outlived all the other lymphoma patients at our local vet and enjoyed doing it.

We believe that her 5 good years were made possible mostly by the amputation, that having the highest probability to get the whole cancer. We remain unsure whether the lymphoma was a foregone conclusion on its own or could have been induced by the first chemo. We chose the first chemo because the tumor had been stage 3 and we were¬†concerned about it having spread prior to amputation, even though there was no evidence of it. Very small pockets of cells can evade detection. Looking through hindsight, I might have more carefully researched the risks of the first chemo, but that is a big “might”. It was likely a bigger risk that small pockets of cells can evade detection. Anyway that die was cast, and I write it here for people to use in their research.

Eventually Gabby had had enough of chemo, enough of prednisone, enough of my hectoring her to hop around the block, enough of everything. She had been on metacam for her arthritis, and very successful with it, during her remission.  She had to switch to pred for compatibility with the second chemo. Pred was certainly rougher on her, but with the chemo it gave her a year of good walks and three months of little old lady walks. Eventually, though, she wanted no more of any of it, and her lymph nodes swelled up and she lost interest in food and all those sad things.

We thank Tripawds for many things, not least the confidence to go ahead with amputation, which was a big hurdle. Also through this site, we found a great book “Help Your Dog FIGHT Cancer”. We¬†supplemented her¬†food based upon that book and we think it¬†extended her life. We also found here the Ruffwear harnesses that are invaluable for the tripawd on the go. This place is a real valuable resource for people who really need one and we can’t say enough good things about it. Using the knowledge here along with some commitment and foolhardiness, we were able to enjoy 5 strong years together with Cancer Survivor Gabby, and even more importantly, to see her off peacefully before she really suffered. There just aren’t enough thanks for those things, but we try.

Today, Gabby got to have a good solid snooze in the sun while I invented some yard work to do. She hopped a little bit to get some fishies, and that was clearly the best we could hope for, and we took her for the last ride, the last damn i.v., the last treats, and all that. She went peacefully, so peacefully that I fancy she knew what was happening and was glad. She’s herding Angels now.¬† She and I hope that her story helps other dogs to have good lives. RIP Gabby and Godspeed!


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