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!

Thank You Dr. Lucroy!

Our recent Ask A Vet chat with Dr. Michael Lucroy was a big hit with Tripawds members! The discussion was informative and continues with this chat transcript topic in the forums.

Click to Enlarge Oncology Vet Chat with Dr. Michael LucroyMany thanks to Dr. Lucroy for providing some insightful answers and interesting ideas about the diagnosis and available treatments for canine cancer. Especially interesting to note was his discussion of NSAID use prior to amputation for cancer dogs…

‹oncovet› Starting on NSAIDs (Rimadyl, Deramaxx, Previcox, etc.) will make dogs with arthritis and early bone cancer more comfortable.  If bone cancer is there, using NSAIDs first simply delays diagnosis.

He also had some excellent advice for those dealing with possible spinal metastasis in their pups…

‹oncovet› Spinal metastasis do occur in osteosarcoma.  About 5% to 10% of dogs will have metastasis at diagnosis.  Almost all dogs develop them later.  The use of chemotherapy tends to increase the risk for bony metastasis.  In the spine, we generally have fewer surgical options, so we go for pain control.  That often means radiation therapy in combination with pamidronate or similar bisphosphonate drugs.

Other issues addressed included the use of Artemisinin and Metronomic therapy for fighting cancer and treatment options for subcutaneous metastasis, or subq mets. More information can be found in the transcript and Dr. Lucroy’s new book, The No Nonsense Guide to Cancer in Pets, or his veterinary oncology blog.

Stay tuned for the next live chat, or drop by to see if anyone is online now. You can usually find my pack hanging around the chat room most evenings but we can’t always be there, so schedule your own anytime!

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.

The Argus Institute at Colorado State

This is part three in a series about our tour of Colorado State University’s Animal Cancer Care Center. Don’t miss part one and part two.

Tripawd pawrents are all too familiar with the reactions they get when they tell family and friends that their pup has cancer, and they’re ready to do what they can to fight it. If the word “amputation” comes into the conversation, reactions can be downright hurtful.

  • “You’re being selfish! Why would you do that to a dog?”
  • “Dogs aren’t meant to live like that!”
  • “You should put him out of his misery right now.”

Most Tripawd pawrents have heard these kind of reactions from well-intentioned humans. Their opinions hurt, leaving us feeling abandoned in an overwhelming new world of canine cancer.

But we are definitely not alone. On the Internet, pawrents can turn to the Tripawds Discussion Forums, and the Bone Cancer Dogs list, among other places. And in the greater world, we can find help at Colorado State University’s Argus Institute. During our recent visit to CSU’s Animal Cancer Care Center, we learned about this incredible organization.

As part of the CSU James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, the Argus Institute is staffed with professional clinical counselors who can give information and emotional support to pawrents facing hard decisions surrounding their animal’s health care.

Each year, over 1000 people talk to counselors on the phone and visit in person, all of them seeking ways in which to cope with their animal companion’s illness, from understanding the diagnosis, to making end-of-life decisions.

Whether you are in the first days of learning about your Tripawd’s diagnosis, or are grieving over his loss, you don’t even have to be a client at CSU’s vet hospital to participate. Anyone can receive counseling services just by contacting the Argus Institute them or calling 970-297-1242.

Although the telephone consultation service is free, donations to this non-profit organization are greatly appreciated.

If you’re not quite ready to talk to a human on the phone, the Argus Institutes’s website has a wealth of information about Coping with Sick Animals, Pet Loss Resources, Children and Pets, and more.

The Pet Hospice Program

If you are lucky enough to live within 30 minutes of the Argus Institute, you can also get help through the Argus Institute  student-run “Pet Hospice Program.” As the first of its kind in the nation, the program supports families who are coping with their pet’s terminal illness.

CSU’s veterinary school student volunteers act as case managers for clients. They work with local veterinarians to provide clients and companion animals with in-home palliative care at no additional cost. Families can receive visits weekly, or sometimes even daily if necessary.

Case managers provide in-home nursing care, assess the animal’s comfort, and give support and educational resources to help the family in assessing quality of life, and ultimately, making end of life decisions as well. After each visit, the veterinarian is given a full report from case managers.

In addition to the hands-on assistant for pawrents, the Argus Institute helps in other ways too, by helping our vets to become better communicators. To learn more about this program please visit the Argus Institute website.

Teaching Vets How to Talk to their Clients

Research has proven that when vets and clients share in the decision-making process together, improved medical outcomes tend to follow. Yet, most vets enter the profession with little or no formal training in client communication skills.

The Argus Institute seeks to bridge this gap, by teaching veterinary professionals how to make the emotional support of their human clients as much a priority as the medical care of their animal patients. At CSU, communication training has been a part of the core curriculum of all veterinary students since 2006.

Through seminars, studies and hands-on workshops, the Argus Institute teaches vets and vet students to how to be better listeners and communicators, be more empathetic, ask open-ended questions of their clients, and have a better understanding of their client’s perspectives.

As companion animals play an even bigger role in our lives, the non-profit Argus Institute will be there to help us and our vets become better communicators with each another. No matter where you live, we hope you will keep this exceptional organization in mind when you are seeking information and support for your Tripawd’s medical situation.

Thee Legged Dane Dog Gets the Royal Reiki Treatment

Three Legged Great Dane Cancer Dog AthenaEvery day new Tripawd pawrents join us to gather information and consolation from other three legged dog families.

Earlier this year, one new member, Athena, came to us to share her story. Coincidentally, she also happened to live in the same area that we do, Fort Collins Colorado.

Fort Collins is home to Colorado State University’s Animal Cancer Center, one of the best canine cancer care clinics and research facilities in the world.

Earlier this year, Athena was given the devastating diagnosis of osteosarcoma. Luckily though, she lives just a few blocks from the Animal Cancer Center.

We recently caught up with Athena and her Mom, Esther, and learned about the allopathic and holistic treatments she is receiving, including Reiki therapy.

Athena’s primary care vet is one of the leading animal pain management specialists, Dr. Robin Downing, in Windsor, Colorado. This lucky Dane is also fortunate enough to participate in CSU’s Gene Therapy Clinical Trial (gene therapy uses specific genes that are carried into cells to fight cancer).

As you will see in the video, neither amputation nor cancer will stop this giant breed three legged girldog from enjoying life. Athena is larger than life, and absolute proof that even big dogs can make great Tripawds!

Paws and Pawents March on Washington DC

Our friends at 2 Dogs 2000 Miles made history on Friday September 18, when over 100 pawrents and 40 dogs came from 13 different states to march on Washington, for the first annual Canine Cancer Caucus.

They came to support Luke, Hudson and Murphy, and to raise  awareness of the canine cancer epidemic.

During his week in Washington, Luke presented to congressional representatives to urge them to fund canine oncology studies that will benefit both dogs and humans alike.

Neither rain nor a last minute route change by the National Park Service could stop them.

Luke Robinson, founder of 2Dogs 2000 Miles said

“We had a very nice turnout for our first canine cancer caucus. It was very picturesque walk – over the Potomac, around the Lincoln Memorial, next to the reflecting pool to remember the ones we’ve lost to cancer, then past the Washington Monument.

It was very lovely symbolic walk.”

Vote for Favorite Cancer Calendar Dogs!

Voting for the 2010 Cancer  Can’t Keep a Good Dog Down Calendar is now live at 2Dogs2000miles.org! The site now lists all contestants and instructions about how to vote for your favorite canine cancer hero to be featured in next year’s calendar.

Vote now and vote often! The 2Dogs blog will be regularly updated with current totals of votes for all dogs. The process is simple, one vote, costs one dollar. You can vote for as many dogs as you like. And you can vote as often as you wish.

A portion of proceeds will help support institutions and individuals who work tirelessly for the advancement of companion pet cancer research. Complete details are available from 2 Dogs 2000 Miles.

Learn How to Fight Cancer with Dr. Dressler’s Dog Cancer Survial Guide E-Book

Dr Dressler Dog Cancer GuideIf you don’t already subscribe to Dr. Dressler’s Dog Cancer Blog, we highly recommend you do. As a veterinarian who believes in a “Full Spectrum Cancer Care” approach, he covers all of the latest advances in not just holistic medicine, but traditional canine cancer treatments too. We really like this about him.

Earlier this year, Dr. Dressler came out with his first e-book, the Dog Cancer Survival Guide. While not specific to bone cancers that affect many of us, this is a 300 page PDF filled with information that presents the latest findings in suspected causes of cancer, treatment options, nutrition and supplements, and kindhearted advice to help you stay strong throughout it all.

We recommend this book because it’s as much a resource guide as it is a mental health guide for coping with canine cancer cancer. Using the old adage “You must put on your own oxygen mask first,” Dr. Dressler explains why your mental health is mission critical.

“”You must get into a state of mind where you can be most effective as your dog’s primary caregiver. You have some big decisions to make, and they require a clear mind. Your ability to focus and be totally available to your dog — who really needs you — is your number one job.”

In a step-by-step, straightforward manner targeted at the layperson who has just learned that their dog has cancer, he turns complex information into easy summaries the layperson can understand and utilize, such as: what are some suspected causes of cancer, questions to ask your vet, what a pathologist’s report is and why you need a copy, financing treatment and more. You’ll learn basic cancer terms, causes, and why your dog’s immune system is his own best defense.

Because the book is for anyone coping with canine cancer, it covers eight major types of cancers in detail. Later, you’ll learn how Dr. Dressler’s “Full Spectrum Cancer Care Plan” can be tailored specifically to your dog’s health status. You’ll learn what strategies (from chemotherapy to natural medicine) and techniques have scientific studies that support their effectiveness, and the pros and cons of each.

Dr Dressler Dog Cancer Guide BlogAnother thing we liked about the Dog Cancer Survival Guide is, unlike a lot of traditional veterinarians, Dr. Dressler doesn’t ignore  alternative nutrition therapies as a way to combat cancer. He understands that what you feed your dog during his battle with cancer is just as important as what kind of surgery you decide  to have performed. You’ll learn about foods and supplements that can enhance treatments and improve your dog’s quality of life, and how to feed them to your dog.

This book will also help you manage the side effects of most conventional and alternative medicine treatments for canine cancer (did you know you can give your dog fresh ginger to manage nausea?). You’ll learn how to evaluate your dog’s quality of life, and how to figure out when the time is right to set aside cancer weapons and begin hospice care for your beloved companion.

We wholeheartedly endorse Dr. Dressler’s e-book because it’s one of the few we’ve found that addresses all aspects of ways in which you can battle the evil monster called canine cancer. But a word of warning: Dr. Dressler is an eloquent writer. The book’s last chapter, “If Your Dog Could Speak, This is What She Would Say to You,” is a real tearjerker:

“And if their short lives are to be useful, it is to remind us of a few simple facts that we humans forget pretty easily.

‘We are alive. We are breathing. We are here. We are smelling and tasting and the breeze feels good. We are holding each other and we like each other. We play and walk and run. This is good. You are good.”

Be sure to subscribe to our new Tripawds Downloads blog for more e-book reviews and updates about other downloadable resources we find! Have you started your Tripawds Blog yet?

Join Team Tripawds for the Morris K9K Walk on 9/19/09

As we mentioned a few days ago, Morris Animal Foundation is raising  money for its Canine Cancer Campaign, and holding another K9K Walk, this time in Estes Park, Colorado.

Tripawds is hoppy to announce that another Team Tripawds has been formed to help raise money. And we need your help! You can walk with us, either in person or virtually, by joining Team Tripawds today.

We need a group of at least 10 pawrents from around the world who promise to register as virtual or physical walkers, and commit to raising at least $250 for the group. Can you help?

Learn more at the  Team Tripawds discussion in our Forums, or visit our K9K Walk team page here.

To add to the fun, on the same day as the K9K Walk in Colorado, our Northern California Tripawd pawrents will walk virtually with us here in Colorado, by hosting a Tripawd Pawty in the Bay Area. We would love it if Tripawd pawrents in other parts of the country did the same thing! To plan your own K9K Walk for the same day, visit our Tripawd Parties discussion topic. Then, come join Team Tripawds!

Many of us have found this community because we’ve been affected by canine cancer. It’s an awful disease, and we want it stopped! This is one easy way we can help make a difference.

Won’t you please join Team Tripawds today?

a group of 10 people who promise to register as walkers and/or commit to raising at least $250

Submit your dog for 2010 Canine Cancer Calendar

This just in from 2 Dogs 2000 Miles … The submission deadline for the 2010 Cancer Can’t Keep a Good Dog Down Calendar has been extended  to August 22nd at midnight (EDT)!

Be sure to submit a photo of your cancer hero pup – passed or living – along with a paragraph or two about their battle with cancer. The 2Dogs team will be accepting calendar submissions via email with one (1) photograph either in jpeg or gif format and a minimum file size of 300kB to calendar@2dogs2000miles.org.

Be sure to include your pup’s cancer story, but please try and limit it to 1000 characters or less. If you have any questions you can contact erich@2dogs2000miles.org.

A portion of the proceeds from the 2009 Canine Cancer Calendar went to the Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) in support of their Canine Cancer Campaign. This year, the Tufts Veterinary School Harrington Oncology Program and the Texas A&M Veterinary School’s Imaging and Cancer Treatment Center will be recognized for their advancement of companion pet cancer research.

Submit your story and photo today! Then stay tuned for news about the Calendar voting. And don’t miss that last post about the first Canine Cancer Caucus in Washington, DC on September 18.