The best gift of all

2009 Christmas Tripawd DogMy people want to wish three legged dogs everywhere – and their people – a very Merry Christmas!

They especially want to thank all Tripawds members for the best gift of all – the ongoing gift of compassion and community they give every day here in their Tripawds Blogs and the Tripawd Discussion Forums.

Tripawds Team ejoys first Christmas with Wyatt

They have their hands full this year, enjoying Wyatt’s first Christmas. But they look forward to hearing about all your three legged adventures. We feel for all of those who have lost their cancer heroes this year and offer everyone best wishes for great health and prosperity in 2010! Dog bless us, everyone.

If only we had Wikipawdia.

I’m wondering if anyone out there finds the term “Tripawd” notable. And if so, would they mind letting Wikipedia know?

no⋅ta⋅ble [noh-tuh-buhl] -adjective
1. worthy of note or notice; noteworthy: a notable success; a notable theory.

Nearly two years ago now, my people attempted to submit an entry for “Tripawd” to the popular online encyclopedia. They were abruptly denied, so they are not about to try that again.

Deleted Wikipedia Tripawds Article

According to this archived discussion about deletion of the proposed article, the entry was apparently considered no more than a self-serving definition that had no place being included on Wikipedia.

Here is what the editors had to say:

  • “The article seems to be mainly promoting the linked website…I don’t think notability is really demonstrated.”
  • “Evidence points toward the deliberate promotion of a non-notable neologism”
  • “Doesn’t look notable to me and even if the term /did/ exist notably, there seems to be undue weight given to the website”

Yet, aren’t these Wikipedia articles “mainly promoting the linked website”?

And if you don’t mind … if Wikipedia editors allow the slang term “camel toe” as a notable entry, certainly they should accept Tripawd as noteworthy. I wonder if those at Wikipedia believe an adolescent and grotesque slang word is really more significant that what many animal lovers call their three legged companions. Besides, is that article not a definition itself?

But I digress, suffice it to say that no Tripawd article exists on Wikipedia. And with rules against starting articles about yourself, we do not intend to try again. But we’re not about to stop anyone else out there who may be familiar with submitting articles for Wikipedia from giving it a try. Just keep in mind, the entry must be notable, and include adequate references.

ne⋅ol⋅o⋅gism [nee-ol-uh-jiz-uhm] -noun
1. a new word, meaning, usage, or phrase.

Since the original Tripawds article we submitted to Wikipedia has been deleted, we can’t share what it said exactly. But, at least part of the content seems to have found it’s way to this entry in the recycle bin of Wikipedia.  Edited for current relevance …

The word Tripawd is a colloquialism that is rapidly becoming widely used to refer to animal amputees. Tripawd is defined as: “(Noun) an animal who has had one leg removed”.

The term may have been first coined by Jim Nelson of Eureka, CA in November 2006, when he registered the domain for a website dedicated to his dog Jerry, who underwent amputation surgery of the front leg after being diagnosed with canine osteosarcoma. Since then, the Tripawds website has grown to become the leading social networking community for caretakers of three-legged dogs. And Jerry’s Tripawd adventures have been featured on the popular PBS show Nature, as well as in various other radio and print media outlets.

After searching for online resources about caring for a three-legged dog, Nelson discovered common reference to canine amputees as “tripod” dogs. The distinct spelling of Tripawd is meant to be less derogatory and simply refers to the fact that a dog or cat with only three legs (or paws) is literally tri-pawed, or a Tripawd.

If the slang term Tripawd is still considered a “non-notable neologism” – even though Camel Toe is acceptable – perhaps the more appropriate entry might be one for Tripod Dogs that mentions the colloquial term “Tripawd”, with appropriate edits to the the disambiguation page for Tripod of course. Or perhaps, an article is warranted for Jerry the Three Legged Dog. After all, PBS considered his story notable enough to feature in the award-winning series, Nature.

Since almost two years have passed, maybe the Wikipedia editors will now realize the significance of Tripawds. There are certainly a lot more notable references now …


Tripod dogs:

If not, at least we have the Tripawd Dictionary!

Laughter is Indeed the Best Therapy

Ever since Spirit Tika posted about her camping adventure in the Tripawd Discussion Forums, I’ve been thinking about an old Native American character who told us this joke, back in Bemidji, Wisconsin:

This Ojibwe and a Choctaw meet in a bar. The Choctaw asks the Ojibwe about the three-legged dog by his side.

The Ojibwe says, “A dog this good, you can’t eat all at once.”

True story. Well, meeting the old guy was anyhow.

So, in honor of this funny old guy, my people finally put together this humorous Tripawds BBQ apron, because another important lesson I taught them in our travels is that laughter is indeed the best therapy.

From diagnosis through amputation and recovery, to hospice cancer care, people need to follow the lead of us dogs and make the most of each day, while laughing at any adversity life may throw your way.

Jerry is the talk of the nation

Well, dad has been up to his silly antics again – trying to spread the word about our amazing time on the road together. And apparently it worked!

If anyone was listening to Talk of the Nation on Thanksgiving, they might have heard this email that Jim sent in read alound on the air …

The question posed to NPR listeners was Who Is Missing At Your Thanksgiving Table? Well, around the Tripawds mobile headquarters, that would be me of course. So he decided to share some of the lessons I taught him and René with the NPR audience. One of which was particularly appropriate for Thanksgiving day – that there is always reason to give thanks, every day, no matter what life throws your way.

The whole program can be heard in NPR’s Talk of the Nation archives for November 26, 2009. Which you may need to do if the copyright police disable audio for the video above. But you might also want to check out the discussion with cognitive scientist Alexandra Horowitz about what goes on “Inside Of A Dog”.

With that said, I’d like to give a great big Thank You! to the entire Tripawds community for continuing to spread hope and share support and advice every day. Without you, this website would not be the helpful resource it has become. A prime example of the love we all share here is the popularity of this Happy Thanksgiving topic started by jakesmom.

Special thanks are also due to Codie Rae for creating the cool Hoppy Thanksgiving poster, and for Lalla’s lovely thankful poster from last year.

Video Interview with Mutts Creator Patrick McDonnell

Long time Tripawds followers and viewers of Nature’s Why We Love Cats and Dogs are well aware of a certain Mutts cartoon that summarized my outlook on life. What they may not know is that this strip was inspired by the teachings of Eckhart Tolle. Well, him and the creator’s Jack Russell Terrier, Earl.

Mutts Comic Strip Featured On PBS Nature

My pack was lucky enough to meet Mutts creator Patrick McDonnell at the Tattered Cover book store in Denver, CO recently. He was doing his first signing for the new book Guardians of Being, featuring Mutts artwork, the words of Eckhart Tolle, and that strip we love so much.

Patrick read passages from Guardians of Being and his new children’s book Wag! He also drew some favorite Mutts characters for the crowd and took some time to chat with Jim about the Mutts strip and the Nature program in which Jim mentioned it. René caught it all on video …

As you can see, that lucky dog Wyatt got some good belly rubs from Patrick. Jim and René got their books signed, and owe Patrick a special thanks for the signed drawing of Guard Dog running free. We’ll be publishing a detailed review for Guardians of Being soon in the Tripawds Amazon Selections blog, so stay tuned for that. We just need Jim to put the book down long enough to write a review. But he just keeps reading it from cover to cover, again and again, with a big serene grin on his face!

Update: Don’t miss our in-depth book review for Guardians of Being!

One Year Anniversary Tribute Video for Jerry

Jerry waits patiently while his people check out Signal MountainLooking back at our nearly two years on the road together, I recall my people often listening to their favorite KHSU program online. Once in a while they would call Mad Dr. Matt, the host of Alternative Therapy, with updates about our location or my condition.

Now, one year after my passing, Jim has had a little fun with iMovie to create this tribute video featuring yours truly, the voice of Matty Dread and inspawrational music from Kelly’s Lot

NOTE: No crying allowed! Unless they are tears of joy for all the fond memories we shared together as a pack.

Special thanks to the Mad Doctor for his special Jerry tribute show (#379 – 10/11/08) and frequent shout-outs! And many more to Frankie and his Rockin’ people for use of this acoustic version of Today from their Kelly’s Lot album Trio.

I believe the song says it all, and Barney helps us show at the end of the video … that it is all about the present.

Wine and Dog Afficianados Enjoy Three Legged Red

Lisa and Sean Enjoy Three Legged RedMy pawrents have these fellow fulltime RVer friends, Lisa and Sean Purcell, who went to Yellowstone this summer. As many of you know, Yellowstone is where my spirit was set free last October 3rd.

Anyhow, while Lisa and Sean were there, they so very kindly stopped by the Old Faithfull Inn, to have a toast just for me, with Three Legged Red by Dunham Cellars.

Of course, Three Legged Red is one of our all time favorite wines. Last year we even did a video review of it.

If you’re a wine drinker and Tripawd lover, be sure to order some today!

Growing pains persist.

Jerry Destroys Rubbermaid TubAfter working hard for months to implement WordPress MU here at, my people were quite excited to announce the new free Tripawds Blogs. Apparently, however, we haven’t quite worked out all the kinks … yet.

Some users may recently have noticed a slow down in website performance or the site being offline at times. While we specified a robust new server to handle the WPMU migration, we were not prepared for the mysterious processor load spikes we are currently experiencing.

What does all this technobabble mean for Tripawds? Only that we ask for your patience while we work to resolve these issues. You may continue to notice changes around here while we hunt down the gremlins.

Our primary goal is to ensure the Tripawd Discussion Forums remain fully functional and that members can continue to share their stories in the new Tripawds Blogs. Aside from that, we’ll be doing our best to optimize performance, and that might mean abandoning certain features.

If you experience trouble, please report it with as much detail as possible in the Tripawds Tech Support forum. Please bear with us and stand by for important updates. Thank you ever so much for your patience and continued support.

Free Tripawds Blogs Now Available!

Jerry and Sami, a 14 year old tripawdFirst, there was, where my people shared the story of my own osteosarcoma survival for nearly two years.

Then came the Tripawd Discussion Forums, which offered even more support and resources for those coping with canine amputation and bone cancer from our growing number of members. Next we introduced the Live Tripawds Chat.

Today, we are hoppy to announce the new and improved Tripawds Blogs community – a special place where anyone can share tails about their own three legged dog adventures!

Whether your pup is three legged from birth, by accident, or because of bone cancer, we hope you will come join our community of Tripawds Blogs to share his or her story today. Simply sign up for your Tripawds Blog now and you’ll be dog-blogging in no time!

Three Legged Dogs Calpurnia and Jerry on Colorado TrailTripawds Blogs are an easy way to share your amazing dog’s story and photos with the world. And best of all, it’s free!

In just a few minutes you can start your own blog which will appear at Just sign up and select the blog name of your choice and give it a title. Or, just type your desired blog name into your browser and see what happens!

Existing Tripawds users are already a member of this blog. Just be sure to log in before signing up and you will be automatically recognized and asked to create another blog.

Jerry meets Eisen at his Colorado home in for a six legged dog party The upcoming series of posts here in the main Tripawds News blog will cover all the new Tripawds Blogs features and discuss avatars, plugins, widgets, upload space, Supporter blogs, and much, much more. For now, you may find our WordPress tutorial videos helpful in getting started and making the most of your new blog. Please post any questions in the Tripawds Technical Support forum.

My people have been working extremely hard behind the scenes here for the past few months to make this happen. But this exciting new community wouldn’t be pawsible without the generous support of our Tripawds pack. Earlier this year, they helped us acquire the hosting resources needed to maintain this new and improved website. Thanks to their kindness, your inspawrational stories can now help us show the world that … It’s better to hop on three legs than limp on four!

How My Pawrents Started Living Again, Part 2

Jerry with his pack workamping at Vickers ranch Ten months have passed since I left this earth. Every human has different ideas about what they consider “enough” time to grieve before bringing a new companion into their lives. For my own pawrents, they didn’t have any ideas about how long that would be for them.

As time went on, I tried to tell my pawrents that it was OK for them to want to share their life with another dog. And that dog didn’t even have to be a Tripawd, I just wanted them to be happy, to once again feel the joy at sharing life’s great wonders as a pack.

Throughout our travels together, we sought far and wide for land where I could live out my final days. Though I didn’t make it there with them, they did finally find my perfect resting place. Having made a vow to wait until they found our new mountain home, they now wondered if they were perhaps ready to open their hearts and welcome a new member to the pack.

Martha Ralph Codie Rae Smokey and Wyatt RayIn July, my friend Codie Rae’s pawrents, Martha and Ralph, posted this announcement about a young pup named Wyatt, who had just been rescued by some very kind people. Being just a little partial towards Shepherds, Wyatt’s big ears, deep eyes and handsome mugshot caught the attention of my pawrents.

“Did you see that Rescue Forums post that Codie Rae put up on the site?” my Dad said to Mom.

“He’s gorgeous!” Mom said.

Mom and Martha were soon on the phone talking about Wyatt. Mom wanted to learn more. Why was he a Tripawd? What was he like? Did he have any issues?

Seems that Wyatt is a well-bred Shepherd puppy who spent the first few months of his life tethered to a rope, in a backyard in Oakland, California. He was underfed and neglected by stupid humans that likely paid a lot of money for him, probably because they just wanted a guard dog. One day his cruel owners went outside and saw that Wyatt’s leg was tangled up in the rope for who knows how long. They took him to the vet to fix his leg, but it was beyond help. When the vet recommended amputation, the owners said forget it; euthanize him. They didn’t want a three legged Shepherd.

A kind vet tech at the clinic named Lucie said “No way!” She knew that Wyatt was destined for greater things, so she took him home, and called the good people at German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California for help. The group paid for Wyatt’s leg amputation, his post-op care, and all of the things necessary to help him get ready to find a loving home.

This group is the same one which helped save my friend Codie Rae from the exact same situation last year. In fact, Codie Rae was 8 months old at the time they found her, and she’s even from the same neighborhood! Her pawrents Martha and Ralph are active volunteers for the group, and that’s how they found out about Wyatt.

Jim meets Wyatt Ray DawgFinding out about Wyatt was such perfect timing; it seemed like the universe was conspiring to put him and my pawrents together.

See, last November when Mom and Dad met Codie Rae for the first time, it was only about a month after my passing. Mom and Dad were so heavy in mourning, that they just couldn’t imagine being able to bring another dog into their lives. Today, ten months later, it seemed only fitting that Codie Rae and her pawrents introduce them to the next great love of their lives; my legacy, Wyatt Ray Dawg.

Leg-a-cy. Get it?! 🙂

Last week, Mom and Dad went out to Northern California to get their stuff out of storage. Along the way, they made a stop in Oakland, to meet this very special Tripawd! Yes, it was puppy love at first sight. Wyatt made the three day journey back to Jerry’s Acres, and appears to be loving his new life.

Wyatt Ray Dawg at home in the Rocky MountainsAnd as my pawrents begin their new chapter in Colorado, Wyatt will be there alongside them to share all the joys that life has to offer. And, he’ll continue showing the world that “It’s better to hop on three legs than limp on four!” I’ll be watching over the pack as their travels continue.

Stay tuned for more details about our new Tripawds spokesdog, and read more about Wyatt on his Tripawds blog, Way to Go, Wyatt!

Did you know you can now sign up for your own free Tripawds blog? More big announcements about that coming up soon!