Doggon Wheelchairs for Tripawds

Can anyone guess what the most common fear among Tripawd pawrents is?

Most pawrents fear that their Tripawd will lose the use of another limb.

What if a rear-leg amputee grows old, and hip displaysia takes it’s toll? Or a front-leg Tripawd takes a bad fall and severely injures the remaining leg?

What would you do if your Tripawd lost the use of another leg?

As much as it hurts to think about it, it never hurts to be prepared, just in case.

That’s why we talked to the good people at Doggon Wheels in Bozeman, Montana.

Since 1994, Doggon Wheels has been one of the world’s top creators of mobility aids like wheelchairs, for physically challenged animals.

We asked Doggon co-founder Lori, a few questions about how Tripawds can benefit from wheelchairs, and here’s what she had to say:

Can wheelchairs work with Tripawd dogs?

“Yes- we do make wheelchairs for amputees. They are most commonly used by older amputee’s who are starting to have difficulties compensating for the missing limb (front or rear), or for pets with birth defects. We also make wheelchairs for pets with double amputations.

Generally they do really well with using wheels and appreciate being able to go for longer walks or on more varied/difficult terrain.”

The biggest fear some Tripawd pawrents have is for their dog to lose function of their remaining rear or front leg. We know of one Tripawd who needs a hip replacement, yet he is also a rear-leg amputee. Would a wheelchair help?

“This is legitimate concern and why we recommend that you take into consideration putting the remaining rear leg up in the stirrup during periods of intense exercise. Generally the dogs using amputee wheelchairs are doing so because the other limb is overly stressed or arthritic. Putting the remaining limb into a suspended position allows it to rest during the most stressful periods of exercise.

Owners who do this find that their dogs are able to get around easier on their own the rest of the time, when not in wheels. A wheelchair for the pet above would be useful for both long term use to avoid stressing the remaining limb post surgery, or if the humans opt not have his hip replaced.”

How do you measure a Tripawd for a wheelchair?

The measurements are the same for all of our chairs, except for a Tripawd we need to know:

  • Is s/he a left or right amputee?
  • Does the dog have any part of her leg remaining? Is the amputation site partial or flush? Most amputations are flush, however if there is enough leg remaining that you can measure the circumference around it, a different support might be needed, other than our amputee support.

To see how mobile a dog really is when using a wheelchair, check out this beautiful movie of Popeye, a dog currently available for adoption through Walkin’ the Bark Rescue in Northern California:

Learn more about wheelchairs for your three legged Tripawd dog at the Doggon Wheels website.

The B Brothers Help You, Help Tripawds

Beezer and BoomerMy pawrents were devastated when the vet said I had lung mets. It was like reliving my cancer diagnosis all over again.

That’s when our friends Joel and Ross, Moose’s Dads, pointed us to “Overcoming Fear and Guilt When Canine Kids Get Sick.”

This powerful essay, written by Denver lawyer Doug Koktavy, helped Mom and Dad by finally convincing them that blame, fear, anger and guilt are a waste of precious time when living with cancer.

An Excerpt from “On Fear

© Doug Koktavy

“. . . I realized my fear of the disease was the fuel that was being used against me. Devilishly clever, my biggest enemy was not the disease, but me. I was the power source being used to generate the very negative energy destroying my own being and wasting a special day with my beloved dog.

This paradoxical contradiction was glaring. I had thought the growing presence of disease was causing my mounting fear. In fact, just the opposite was occurring. My daily increasing fear was causing the disease to grow and become more powerful. I decided it was high time to start working for me and the Beez, not against us.”

Doug’s story brought tears to my pawrents eyes, and his straightforward coping pointers gave them the motivation they needed to get on with life.

His essay is one of the most powerful tools around for coping with serious illness in our animal friends.

Now, Doug has turned his essay into a full-length book called “The Legacy of Beezer and Boomer: Lessons on Living and Dying from My Canine Brothers.” The book details how his two special boys helped him make the most of their time together.

The Legacy of Beezer and Boomer” includes lessons about:

  • Listening to our pets
  • Gaining a new perspective on our pets’ end of life care
  • Dealing with anticipatory grief
  • Conquering guilt and fear: living in the present
  • Developing a Presence Plan
  • Finding humor in the worst situations
  • Understanding our place in the circle of life

help grieving support for loss of loved pet

We love this book. Our favorite holistic vet, Dr. Marty, agrees:

“Not only is it so well written that you become a bystander observing the story from within, but the compassion for the vital connection we share with this wonderful kingdom oozes out of and between the lines.”

–Martin Goldstein, DVM, author, The Nature of Animal Healing, and host, Ask Martha’s Vet, Martha Stewart Living Radio

Author Doug Koktavy

Proceeds Benefit the Tripawds Community

With this book, big-hearted Doug has set out to accomplish two impawtant things:

  1. Help you cope with your best friend’s terminal illness, and
  2. Help companion animal groups by donating forty percent of the proceeds for each book sold.

For every copy of “The Legacy of Beezer and Boomer,”  purchased here, Doug will donate $10 to Tripawds! We are so excited about his generous offer to help us maintain this community.

We recently had the opportunity to talk with Doug about his book and this is what he had to say about The Legacy of Beezer and Boomer. Check out our video interview above, then be sure to head on over to BeezerAndBoomer.com, and get your copy today!

Does Good News Make You Feel Guilty?

At Tripawds, many of us are three legged dogs because we are battling cancer. Sometimes it seems like we go through periods of time in the Tripawds Discussion Forums, when all we hear is sad news about our friends’ cancer battles.

We all know that life has its ups and downs. We would not exist without both good and bad. Life and death are the yin and yang of the Universe. We dogs try not to focus too much on this though, and strive for that perfect balance of living in the moment.

But humans, on the other hand, don’t often see life like we do. Many struggle with the conflict at Nature’s core. Occasionally we hear from Tripawd pawrents who feel guilty about sharing the good news they have, when there’s a glut of “bad news” in the Forums. When the current mood of discussions is somewhat somber, these kind pawrents feel as if they shouldn’t shine a light on their own tripawds who are doing well.

Silly humans, don’t you know we need your pawsitive energy and happy thoughts here all the time? And when tears are being shed and it seems like life can’t get any darker, that’s when we need your pawsitivity most!

Tripawds Blogs members and guests alike want to read about your tripawd’s triumphs and stories about overcoming obstacles, getting strong, and finding joy in life. These are the happy things that keep us all going when life gets ruff, and help newcomers see the pawsibilities of life on three legs.

Try to be more Dog and remember, life is too short to walk around with angst and feelings of guilt. Share all your experiences and thoughts, whether you view them as good and bad, happy or sad. Please spread the love as much as pawsible, there will always be someone looking for uplifting inspiration.

Swim Your Tripawd to Better Health

One of our Tripawd members, Chuy, does swim therapy sessions to help him recover from a major surgery on one of his good legs.

Many dogs are feeling better thanks to swim therapy. We thought we would ask one expert in New York about how post-surgery Tripawds can benefit from swim therapy.

Introducing, K9 C.A.R.E.,Inc.

Based in Spencerport, New York, K9 C.A.R.E.’s owner Jill says “Swimming is awesome at any time in a dogs life but, it is especially helpful in the all important time just after surgery. Not only for the body, but for the mind. A dog’s mental health is also important to assist in their speedy recovery.”

“Swimming makes them whole. They can move in the water like they cannot on land. With swimming being non weight bearing, it helps condition muscles without any impact. Some paralyzed dogs can actually move their limbs when they get in the water!

We asked Jill if she had suggestions for Tripawds who have never done swim therapy before.

“My advice is find a pool and get in!”

But, she adds, that the pool should be a proper doggie pool. “Water temperature is so important, and this applies to any injury or recuperative situation. For effective therapy, optimum water temp. is between 92 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. There is almost no risk of further muscle injury with warm water, unlike cold water.

Jill says that pawrents can actually do more damage swimming a recuperating dog in a lake or backyard pool, unless it’s at the right temperature. Once a Tripawd is fully recovered from surgery and rehabilitated, then cold water swimming should be fine.

A World Class Facility

“Everything we have done we did with the dogs in mind. We have a salt water generator that purifies the water using salt. There are no added chemicals, no bromine, no chlorine.

We have non-slip, heated porcelain floors because the warmth is wonderful for joints. Unlike a concrete floor, if dogs lay down on it to rest, their bodies are not drained of heat. Also, porcelain is non porous and will not transfer any disease (unlike ceramic floors). These are just a couple of the lengths we went to, to ensure all was as it should be.”

K9 C.A.R.E.’s 60 minute sessions are just $25.00 each (many other swim therapy facilities run upwards of $85 an hour). A first visit is $35.00, and includes a 90 minute orientation, to ensure the dog is relaxed and comfortable with the facility and instructors.

Jill says they believe in keeping their cost affordable because “we want to ensure that all dogs are able to benefit, especially those whose pawrents have just spent thousands on surgery. Financial difficulty should not inhibit the dogs ability to enjoy a speedy recovery.”

Pawrents can call K9 C.A.R.E. at (585) 352-SWIM, or visit their Flick’r site. K9 Care is located in Spencerport New York, just outside of Rochester.

Xena and Her Big Dog Stroller

Three legged Rottie XenaAs you know, Tripawds get around great in life. And although we can do anything a four-legger can, we tend to just do it with  shorter bursts of energy.

Sometimes after surgery our stamina can decrease, especially if we are coping with cancer. Our walks may become much shorter, and our people may get sad that we can no longer go as far as we once did.

But now our people don’t need to be sad about those shorter walks! We just heard from a tripawd named Xena, who gets around all of Manhattan with a Strollit dog stroller. Her dad Brian says:

“Xena has had surgery on both cruciates. In addition to that, she had a tumor that ruptured her spleen in 2007. She had to have her spleen removed. Shortly after that she had bloat which required emergency surgery. So to say she’s been “through the mill” is an understatement. The scariest thing by far was her being diagnosed with osteosarcoma and having to make the decision to amputate her leg.

Now a year later, after the surgery and the chemotherapy, she is still with us. She stays as active as she can given her ailments and her age. We still take her for walks in the city, and she even has her own “carriage” to get in when she gets too tired.

The Solvit HoundAbout Pet Stroller for Big Dogs

I highly recommend the product to anyone. We get tons of people asking about it when we walk through NYC. Three legged Rottie XenaIt is well built, folds down for transport or storage and the company’s customer service is very helpful.

Xena loves riding in it. As you can see, even at 94 pounds, she fits in it comfortably. It also allows us to go places with her that we normally could not. We took her right inside the mall with it.”

We think this dog stroller by SolvIt is fabulous. If you get one for your Tripawd, just remember to introduce him to it slowly. There are lots of ways to get a dog used to being carted on wheels, much like crate training, so that the stroller becomes a comfortable place of refuge for your Tripawd.

Solvit HoundAbout Pet Strollers are also available in various sizes at EntirelyPets.com.

Schedule your own live chats!

More big news for tripawds and their people who wish to connect with others! We just created a new tripawd discussion forum where members can schedule live chat sessions of their own.

My people always try to be available in the chat room most evenings. But often there is no one their to chat with others in their time of need. Now there is a way to schedule your own chats, or just let everyone know when you may be online. Here are some other ideas that would make the Tripawd Chat Room an even better resource for everyone:

  • Add a new topic for scheduling breed-specific chats
  • Create a topic for scheduled live chats about specific issues
  • Announce a schedule of regular times you will be in the chat room
  • Update topics with a summary of the chat

Simply add a topic for your scheduled chat(s). Be sure to provide ample notification time for your chat considering some members may check the forums weekly. Optionally, use the Private Messaging (Inbox) system to invite specific members. Then, just be available in the chat room at your specified time and hopefully others will arrive. We’ll certainly try to be there!Jerry meets a puppy at Watsons Pet Products

After the chat, post a reply to your forum topic with a summary or transcript. If you do not refresh the page during your chat, all comments can be copied from the shout box and pasted into a forum post. Keep in mind, however, that emptying the shout box by reloading the page can improve browser performance during busy chats.

Anyway, we hope this new scheduled chat forum will help members utilize the chat room better. We’ll certainly use it to schedule tripawd chats of our own, so stay tuned!

Summertime Sale on Ruff Wear Life Vests

K9 Float Coat Dog Life PreserverPeople are amazed when they see how well three legged dogs can swim. Getting in the water again is what we love to do, but sometimes we could use a little help when we get tired.

That’s where the Ruff Wear K9 Float Coat comes in handy. Tripawd dogs can swim farther and longer with this awesome life vest. And the strong handle can help you help your pup.

Please visit the Tripawds Gear Shop!

My pawrents wrote about this great life preserver for dogs last year. But Ruff Wear recently announced a close-out sale on remaining inventory for the Float Coat. So we are hoppy to re-publish this post in its entirety, complete with demonstration video and new Big Savings While Supplies Last!

Continue reading Summertime Sale on Ruff Wear Life Vests

PBS Viewers’ Stories: Senior Shepherds Live Long by Eating Raw

Senior Shepherd Prana with VahanaRecently, New York resident Yvonne Gonski wrote to us after watching the PBS show we were featured in, called Why We Love Cats and Dogs. She was moved by Jerry’s story, and wanted to share her own experience with Prana, her amazing nearly fifteen year old German Shepherd girl.

Sadly, Prana recently passed away after a courageous battle with pneumonia. She will be missed dearly. Her Mom wrote this great post for us, before Prana went to the Bridge. We publish this story in tribute to this amazing girl. May her spirit fly free.

Here is Prana’s inspawrational tale . . .

If you’re wondering what the secret is to ensuring a long healthy life for your dog, Yvonne Gonski has two words: “raw foods.” And although many of you Tripawds are battling cancer and might be avoiding raw foods right now, we thought your pawrents still might find these general concepts about home made dog diets to be useful.

“I have been raising German Shepherd dogs for the past 28 years. My journey of learning to provide my dogs with alternate methods of care began 15 years ago, following the passing of my three male German Shepherds.Although two of them died from age related conditions, I started to question the commercially prepared food I was giving them and the conventional vaccines and medications they received over the years.

One of the books that got me started was The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat, by Juliette de Bairacli Levy A strong advocate of a raw foods diet and the use of herbs to treat most canine diseases, she bred Afghan Hounds for over fifty years.

Her lines are virtually disease free and many of her dogs typically lived into their twenties. Her book has become my bible for feeding and treating my dogs with herbs when they are ill.

What Does Prana and Vahana’s Raw Diet Look Like?

Continue reading PBS Viewers’ Stories: Senior Shepherds Live Long by Eating Raw

My Diet While Fighting Osteosarcoma

What a Pretty PuppyPlease note: this information is just based on my own experience, and is not meant to replace advice given to you by your vet or other canine health professional. To read about what other pawrents are feeding their tripawds, please visit our “Eating Healthy” Forums.

Before I got sick, I used to eat a half “BARF” diet (Bones and Raw Foods), and half premium Innova EVO kibble diet. I  was lean and healthy, and my system was used to good food already. That’s because when I was about four years old, my Mom found out what’s really in commercial dog food. After that, she never fed conventional dog food to me again – that stuff’s bad.

When we learned I had cancer, we wanted to make sure my diet was as healthy as possible. To point us in the right direction, my Mom did more BARF research and attended a BARF class. She also got a great book called Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats that helped her find the right combination of a human grade, meat and veggie diet for dogs with cancer.She and Dad decided to focus on a few select type of foods and supplements, which we describe below. There are many other choices out there, please do your research and learn what’s best for your dog’s unique health picture.

After I got sick, I still ate a half-BARF, half kibble diet, but some BARFers don’t advise giving dogs kibble and BARF foods simultaneously, because they say kibble slows down digestion of raw meats. My Mom tried to give me a 100 percent BARF diet for a while, but found that I was getting too skinny.

Save on Supplements at Only Natural Pet StoreShe started feeding me small amounts of Innova EVO kibble with supplements mixed in. As an entree, I got various types of raw meat. I never had a problem with digestion, and once I started eating this way, I maintained a perfect weight of 75 pounds.

Please keep in mind that we are not experts, and your dog’s own nutritional needs may be different. We recommend  talking to a holistic nutritional expert and/or learn all you can about BARF before attempting a diet change for your Tripawd.

My Dog Cancer Diet

My daily regimen changed over the two years I fought cancer, just like the cancer within me evolved. In my case, the osteosarcoma progressed exactly as textbooks describe it. My diet changed at three distinct times while I fought this disease.

Continue reading My Diet While Fighting Osteosarcoma

Tripawds Reads and Recommends ‘Vet Confidential’

Vet Confidential by Louise Murry, DVM on AmazonVet Confidential: An Insider’s Guide to Protecting Your Pet’s Health
by Louise Murray, D.V.M.

Tripawd pawrents understand what it’s like to make difficult medical decisions under pressure. For many of us, the decision to amputate is our introduction to the world of vet specialists and high tech medicine. Oftentimes, the learning curve is steep, and stressful.

You can shorten the learning curve, by reading Vet Confidential: An Insider’s Guide to Protecting Your Pet’s Health,written by Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine at the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City.

Once you read it, you’ll wish you had a copy long before your furry friend came home with you. Dr. Murray’s book approaches subjects that humans don’t want to think about when they bring a new dog home, but this easy, excellent read points out why it’s so important to get informed, before medical care is necessary.

This book is hailed as “a practical road map to modern veterinary medicine,” and it lives up to the promise.

Continue reading Tripawds Reads and Recommends ‘Vet Confidential’