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My Tripawd Family

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!


December 10, 2013

Hoppy Tripawd Tuesday!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — biffngab @ 6:34 pm


March 30, 2013

Still going strong

Filed under: Uncategorized — biffngab @ 4:18 pm

Please forgive me for this post and for the loooong time since its posting.  If you can see the video you can have a good laugh because it is upside-down.  If you can’t see it, beware that I have no idea how to embed it here so try clicking on “x image” if you see that right here —>image<— and you can view the upside-down version.

In any case, Gabby is STILL going strong now in July and nearly August.  The new puppy (whaaaaaat?!?!) has energized both Gabby and Biff while tiring us humans out, but in a good way.

New post with puppy pics of the “four-and-a-half-legged” dog coming soon.  Until then, fill your time thinking of ways to send a few pence to the kindly hosts who apparently have been living in the Neuromancer for a few weeks.  Godspeed Jerry’s kind People!  All good things in all good time.

March 27, 2013

Hoppy Wordless Wednesday from Biff

Filed under: Uncategorized — biffngab @ 10:46 am


March 25, 2013

No Time to Get Ready

Filed under: Uncategorized — biffngab @ 10:56 pm

“Death don’t give you no time to get ready in this land.”

Sunshine passed away abruptly today, having seemed quite fine just 24 hours earlier. She developed symptoms throughout the night, starting with lethargy and loss of appetite. By the wee small hours (in the heart of a heavy snow), she was in very bad shape, had peed her bed and cried out in pain at least once, despite Tramadol. Having initially and wrongly assumed it was her chronic back injury acting up, we now realized it was something worse. We got her to the vet in the morning, and by then she was already becoming cold and unresponsive. Testing indicated pancreatitis, but the prognosis was for recovery after an overnight stay with IV and ultrasound the next day. Six hours later, she had a sudden cardiac event and was gone. Necropsy to follow. Very puzzling and shocking.

Gabby, by the way is going strong in remission, knock wood. Biff is strong as ever and ready to challenge Wyatt to a tug war.

We’ve been richly blessed to have Sunshine in our house for the past couple years and she’s been a great tripawd ambassador all around Indiana. Godspeed Sunny Bunny!

sunny all together 2013-03-01

November 18, 2012

Thank You Tripawds!

Filed under: Uncategorized — biffngab @ 10:18 am


Sunshine, Biff, and Gabby (left to right) model their new bandanas on the way out for today’s morning hop. Sunshine is about to have her ear stitches removed tomorrow, and Gabby is doing great in week 4 of 6 of her chemo therapy for lymphoma. Biff is in great health, knock wood.

And… here’s a video of all three happily hopping together back in September.

Thanks Tripawds!

November 11, 2012

Sunshine Van Gogh

Filed under: Uncategorized — biffngab @ 7:57 am

One day last week we found ourselves wondering aloud how could Sunshine’s ear be so big and puffy and how could it have gotten that way?  Hematoma!  Our vet described various possible head-shaking-floppy-ear causes. This was a new experience for us and for her, as far as we know.  Surgery was prescribed and ‘ears’ a picture of our brave little Sunny and her newly repaired ear.


November 6, 2012

Storing Up Sunshine

Filed under: Uncategorized — biffngab @ 7:32 pm

Thanks to chemo, Gabby was able to enjoy an active trip to one of her favorite places, Mammoth Cave National Park.
Click to view video.


For the first two nights, she got to play with kids and sniff all around the camp and look for deer.  Then after our friends left on Sunday, we had a nice hike on the First Creek Trail and a relaxing nap in the sun.  She made it very clear that she wanted to stay for another night of camping with just the two of us, which we did.


It was a perfect evening of sitting by the fire and listening to the forest.

  Then before driving home we spent a few more hours of belly rubbing in the sunshine.


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