Tribute to a Three Legged Beach Boy

We said goodnight to a hero yesterday, strong magnificent Max who lived for nearly fourteen months past his bone cancer diagnosis. His stunning blue eyes, his enthusiasm and his stoic pawsonality put smiles on the faces of everyone he met. Max will never, ever be forgotten.

In the spirit of our courageous hero, we want to share these fun clips of him with you.

This movie was taken at our Tripawds get together in Santa Barbara last December. You can see here that not even lung mets could stop this boy from having a good time with the other pups.

Here’s a flashback video starring Max, taken when we met him in February 2008, not long after his amputation and diagnosis.

And here’s a few photos of Max will always put smiles on our faces.

Run free Max, go get ’em!

Paws to Remember and Rejoice in 2010

Tripawds is a close knit family, sharing our stories of victory and sadness, triumph and grief, from all corners of the world. Throughout the year, we become close with our amputee dog heroes and their pawrents. The more we grow to know about their daily lives while they recuperate from amputation and battle cancer, the harder it is when we lose them.

When a Tripawd warrior leaves this earthly life, we are griefstricken. We all know that this is the price we must pay for loving another being, but it doesn’t make saying goodbye any easier. Our community has suffered heavy losses this year, and our deepest condolences go out to pawrents who are hurting.

Many pawrents say they have avoided coming to the Forums lately, because they are afraid of finding out if any more dogs have passed on. But in the spirit of all of the Tripawds who have bravely lived life to the fullest, let’s not forget that the Tripawds we grieve for, are also the dogs who amazed us as they took on the world with fearlessness and courage. And every day, new Tripawds members are bringing hoppiness into our community!

On this New Year’s Eve, let’s all keep the good times of our Spirit Tripawds in our hearts, by remembering some of the highlights from the year gone by:

Our apologies for not including all of our Spirit Tripawds in the links above, but that’s where you come in! Please feel free to post links to more happy memories of our Spirit Tripawd Warriors, in the Comments field below, or in this Discussion Forum topic.

Thank you for being a part of our family. We send you all many, many warm wishes for a joyous, peaceful and hoppy 2010!

Canine Chiropractic Options for Newbies

The following Guest Blog Post was generously written by Calpurnia’s Mom, TC Wait. To submit your own guest post to Tripawds, contact us today.

Odaroloc Sled Dog PikaI have always been somewhat uneasy with the thought of chiropractic practice. Somehow the thought of someone manipulating my spine just gives me the willies. I am the first to admit, however, that I don’t know much about it, so when my Aunt told me she was using a canine chiropractor for her rescued greyhounds, I decided to educate myself about it. The world of veterinary medicine is continually evolving and with that evolution, holistic practices are also becoming more frequently found. Maybe my dogs, including my tripawd Calpurnia, would get some benefit to adding chiropractic work into their health care.

I did some online research and found Dr. Debbie O’Reilly, who has been adjusting animals since 1996 and is certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association. Dr. O’Reilly is also a practicing human chiropractor and runs the Vibrant Energy Healing Center in Littleton, CO. She was happy to answer my questions, and even came to our house to evaluate a dog that was having some issues.

Pika is a new dog to our pack. She has been showing some weakness and poor gait on the right side (both front and rear legs) that my vet and I have thought may be related to an old neck injury (possibly from a rough birth or something). Poor Pika was coping as best as she could, but when it came to pulling in harness (something she LOVES to do), her gait definitely showed signs that she became painful from it.

In addition to Pika, I had targeted our front leg amputee, Calpurnia, as a potential for chiropractic work, since she is getting older (she is going on 14 now) and front leg amputees are sort of forced to rotate the good shoulder down to walk. That has to have some sort of spinal implication. I decided to have work done on Pika first, since some dogs are sore for about 24 hours after an adjustment. I figured being sore when you are 2 years old on 4 legs would be easier than being sore when you are 14 and on 3 legs.Tripod Sled Dog Calpurnia

Dr. O’Reilly arrived at our house and patiently answered more of my questions. She then introduced herself to Pika, who is pretty shy. I was surprised at how Pika seemed to understand that Dr. O’Reilly was there to help, and since I think that you can tell a lot about a person from how animals react to them, this was a good thing. After watching her gait and stance, Dr. O’Reilly was able to determine a couple of areas that she thought were not aligned correctly and went about doing an adjustment.

The adjustment itself was pretty quick. Dr. O’Reilly started at Pika’s pelvis and used her hands to move up the spine, vertebrae by vertebrae, testing the alignment and flexibility of each joint. In places that were out of alignment, she used a firm pressure to bring them back to alignment. She did this all the way up to the back of Pika’s neck. It was hard to really see what she was doing because it was so fast!

After the treatment, Pika needed to remain quiet for about 24 hours. No running, playing, or jumping. This is to help keep the corrected alignment in the spine, and also because she might have some muscle soreness following the treatment, sort of like after a deep-tissue massage. Some dogs will need a pain reliever or arnica post-treatment to help with the soreness (the chiropractor will tell you what to do). Pika would need to have a follow-up treatment, possibly including some acupuncture work, in 2 weeks, then probably monthly after that.

I asked Dr. O’Reilly about adjusting Calpurnia, who is a natural busy-body and felt she needed to be involved “assisting” with Pika’s treatment. Dr. O’Reilly felt Cali’s spine for a bit, then laughed and said “Calpurnia is FINE. There is nothing wrong with her spine.” Apparently, whatever spinal twisting is going on with Cali’s missing leg is not causing any incorrect vertebrae alignments. Dr. O’Reilly was impressed at how well Cali was doing and attributed her good health and agility to her overall physical condition and light body weight. All those years of running on a sled have had a good long-term effect on the old girl.

So, here are some tips and thoughts for other “Chiro-Newbies” that may be considering a canine chiropractor that I learned through this experience.

  • A canine chiropractor can be considered anytime a dog is not performing at 100% (seems out of sorts or just not “their normal self”, reacts to petting, starts holding up a paw, standing not quite right or holding their head off to one side, or anytime the dog has been involved in a accident either due to play or work). Typical issues that Dr. O’Reilly is asked to help with include “everything under the sun” ranging from injuries, post surgical care, and limping/lameness, to lick granulomas, sloppy sitting, and internal medicine disorders. Canine chiropractic works hand-in-hand with veterinary medicine. Sometimes Xrays or drugs are necessary as well as physical therapy.
  • When looking for a canine chiropractor, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. An animal chiropractor can only be a chiropractor or veterinarian certified in animal chiropractic. The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association certifies all veterinary chiropractors. The website lists their certified doctors by state. There are many people out there calling themselves animal chiropractors, but they are not vets or chiropractors and have not gone through the AVCA approved programs. I have heard some horror stories about crippling injuries stemming from chiropractic treatments gone wrong, so I would recommend doing your research before letting a doctor adjust your dog (or yourself). In Colorado, canine chiropractors also need to be licensed by the state.
  • Some animal chiropractors offer other holistic treatments that you can ask about. Dr. O’Reilly also has a Diplomate in acupuncture, does massage and swim therapy, and can use “muscle testing” to check for allergies and recommend supplements.

At Pika’s follow-up exam, Dr. O’Reilly was happy that progress had been made in her spine. I had been noticing that Pika was using her back leg more effectively around the yard. Dr. O’Reilly did some acupuncture in Pika’s lower back, followed by another chiropractic adjustment. We will do follow-up treatments monthly through the start of our fall training to see how she is progressing.

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!

Four Paws Forever: Long Live Heidi

Meeting new online friends in pawson has been one of the joys of our lives since we started Tripawds.

But not all of the pups we meet because of Tripawds are three-legged; some actually have four! Hedi, a quadruped who became my YouTube friend in early 2007, was one of them.

When we met up with her in August of that year, we went on a play date. Romping through the pretty green fields where she explored behind her house was one of the highlights of our journey.

Our hearts were broken when we learned that Heidi passed away recently. She was one of the most gentle, sweet souls we have ever known. Her Shepherd spirit will always live on in our hearts.

And now, we’d like to pay tribute to Heidi, by sharing these fun YouTube videos we made together.

Here’s Heidi playing it cool the day we met:

And here’s a  video mashup that Heidi’s brother, Creekracer, and mine put together:

Run free Heidi, we love you.

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?

Help Cure Canine Cancer at the Morris K9K Walk in Colorado, 9/19/09

We just got word from the Morris Animal Foundation about an important Canine Cancer fundraising event on September 19th in Estes Park, Colorado:

“More than six million dogs are diagnosed with cancer each year. Join us on September 19th at 8 am on the beautiful Lake Estes Trail beginning at Stanley Park in Estes Park, Colorado and walk for a cure! 100% of all walk registration fees, vendor fees and donations go directly to support Morris Animal Foundation’s Canine Cancer Campaign to fund research for canine cancer, early detection methods, effective treatments and ultimately a cure!

Walk registration and check in begins at 8 am. The Lake Estes Trail is approximately 4 miles, walk all or part of the trail with or without a dog. After the walk, speakers will discuss canine cancer, prevention, wellness and other topics. Visit the vendor booths and exhibits. Early walk registration fee: $25 Adults (postmarked by 9/12/2009); Walk day registration: $30 adult, $10 Child (10 years or older). Download a form here.

All walkers will receive a Canine Cancer Campaign bandanna for their dog, a canine cancer awareness bracelet.

After the walk join our health seminars where our panel of experts will discuss cancer prevention, wellness, cancer research and treatment.

Planning to walk with your club, office or group of friends? Start a team and we will create a team webpage and special team registration and donation forms. For more information about starting a team, click here.

Can’t attend the walk but want to help? Register for the “Virtual Walk”! You can support a great cause and receive a Canine Cancer Campaign bandanna for your dog and a canine cancer awareness bracelet in the mail. Join our growing list of nationwide virtual teams by signing up here.