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The Adventures of a Tripawd Boxer


I am spoiled and steal pillows

January 5th, 2013 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized




January 5th, 2013 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

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Life has been busy…husband in law school, me in graduate school, one in 3rd grade, one in first grade and one in pre-Kindergarten….there has been little time for blogging about my sweet Bubba.

I looked to Tripawds last May when my boxer, Bubba, faced an amputation of the left front leg.  He had some post-surgery complications but made it through!

I am happy to say that Bubba is doing fantastic.  He is now 7 months post amputation and is enjoying life better than he has in years!  His thyroid problem is controlled by 1/2 pill per day.  Other than that, he is on NO medications!  He still has the remains of a post-surgical infection in a small area of the incision.  It’s non-threatening to his health and just oozes some nasty stuff from time to time.  The only antibiotic to work on this trouble area proved to be toxic to his kidneys and we’ve decided to just observe this for now.  It is a good thing that this area drains as needed….it will keep the infection from moving deeper into the tissue.

I feel truly blessed that this animal is still in my life. Last year at this time (as he was casted from shoulder to paw), I thought for sure it was our last Christmas together.  I really thought the amputation was the beginning to the end for him.  I was so wrong.  It was the beginning to a whole new adventure for us!

He has lost 20 pounds, down to a slim and healthy 84 pounds.  He moves better on 3 legs than he did on 4…still gets up on the kitchen table to finish dinner…he hops up on the couch and steals my heated blanket…etc!  This year, he opened all his own presents and even tried to steal some from the kids!  He is non-stop joy and shows no intent for leaving this world.

I have been so moved and touched by this experience with Bubba.  The connection I have with him has been strengthened by this experience…strange, but it’s like he knows how much I want him to be well and stay with us.  Every now and then, he’ll just come over to me and go nuts, demanding petting, giving kisses, and jumping around in excitement.  It’s like he’s telling me “thanks for keeping me around and not giving up on me!”  He is going on 11 years old, which is more time than I ever expected to have with him.  Everyday, I thank him for sticking around and promise him good treats and lots of attention!

Happy New Year to all and best wishes for a safe, happy and healthy new year!  IMG_0230

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Behavioral Drinking

July 22nd, 2012 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

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I was a little nervous when I saw a message from the vet on my cell over vacation.

The update: Bubba’s stay at the vet during vacation was a success!  The water deprivation study – to test the ability of his kidneys – went very well.  His excessive drinking has been diagnosed as “behavioral!”  When I heard this on the voice mail, I burst out laughing.  I can identify with his “behavioral drinking!”  I guess this applies to dogs and people in times of stress?

Also, his thyroid meds were cut down to 1/2 pill per day and the antibiotic is working wonders on the infected area.  The open part of the incision is clean and healing, puss free.

Best of all, he is back to the crazy Bubba that we haven’t seen in years.  His new slim, trim physique is making it easier for him to get around and I can tell he is enjoying it.  Three legs or four, 20 extra pounds is a lot to carry.  I have not seen Bubba run in years.  Now, he is effortlessly running all the time!  Sometimes things happen for a reason….despite the obstacles he’s endured with the amputation, this major surgery has brought him back to a state of health that has been absent for years.  The pre-surgery evaluation discovered the thyroid problem, and getting that under control has helped him tremendously.

My husband and I were laughing about our expectations post-amputation because we thought he would just continue to lounge around.  Totally opposite!  He has gone back to “puppy-hood” – attacking our feet, barking in our face for a treat, running away from us in the yard….don’t get me wrong, I love having him crazy!

Labor Day weekend is his 10th birthday.  We are going to celebrate and he can drink all the water he wants that day!



Bubba’s Vacation

July 8th, 2012 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

I wish I could say that Bubba is going away on a great escape…but, it’s back to the hospital for him.

Our family is going out of town soon and unable to bring Bubba along with us.  He still has a nasty open wound, which I am cleaning several times a day.  We are also trying to figure out why he’s having accidents and drinking so much water.  I think the best place for him to stay during our absence is at the vet hospital.  The plan is to aggressively flush the open area with antibiotics several times per day and do a water deprivation study to see if his kidneys are having trouble.

Poor thing.  I hate thinking of him caged up, without his couch or family to cuddle up to.  Unfortunately, I think this is the best place for him while we are away.  I hope we will come home to a healthy boy or at least with a solid game plan to get rid of these issues!



I want to help

July 4th, 2012 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

This site helped me to prepare myself and my home for Bubba’s homecoming after his surgery.  I am dedicating a few pages of this blog to the things I did that helped me and Bubba transition to Tripawdism.  I hope that the information will be helpful to others considering or preparing for canine amputation.

Thank-you to all those that have helped us!


Just a picture

July 1st, 2012 · 7 Comments · Uncategorized

Lookin handsome


What Now?

June 27th, 2012 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

Joseph and Bubba surgery #4’s been a few days (weeks, maybe?) since I posted an update on Bubba.  Thankfully, Bubba is doing wonderful and I couldn’t be happier with his recovery!  Of all 5 of us in the house,  Bubba is probably doing the best right now!

I am very fortunate to be healthy and have a healthy family. With Bubba being the only ill ‘family member’ I have been able  to tend his extra needs: medications, vet visits, wound cleaning, constant water bowl refilling, hand feeding food, etc, etc. I work close to home and have been able to check on him during my lunch hour.  I am feeling stressed and hoping that I can maintain the extra care he needs as we face some new health and schedule challenges in our family.

In the past 3 weeks, our family has been plagued with some health issues. One mends and another falls!  Cursed!  On Sunday, my oldest (and most responsible) son fell off a bucket in the yard and severely fractured his arm.  It was 8 hours in the ER from 7pm to 4am, a day off of work to recover and weekly follow-up visits to make sure the bones are healing correctly.  The very next morning, I wake up to my middle child screaming that he can’t open his eyes.  Pink eye. Tonight, Bubba is the only one that does not have pink eye!  With baseball games, doctor visits, vet visits, spur-of -the-moment child care arrangements and a pending vacation….did I mention that my youngest is celebrating her 4th birthday today as well and a party is planned for the weekend?  How am I going to keep up?

I know…what does this have to do with my Tripawd?  First, his recovery is a priority to this family.  Second, I need him!  When the schedule is so crazy that I can loose my sanity at any given moment, that crazy face of his brings me back to happy.  He knows it.  For the last 3 crazy days, he has been better than his old self.  He barked Matthew (aka, middle child) into a corner after he had enough of Matthew’s misbehavior!  This is a common exercise for Bubba (pre-amp) when he feels that we are not parenting effectively.  It is hysterical!  Tonight, he pushed aside the baby gate and helped himself upstairs to the second level (first time post-amp).  Joseph and I were struggling upstairs with his cast and feeling anxious about it…I honestly think Bubba sensed it and came to help.  Immediately, all 5 of us went running to catch him before he decided that things were ‘OK’ and he would head back downstairs, as he so often did in the past.  There we stood, jaws dropped, laughing as he stood there on 3 legs, smiling, wagging his stub as if he was saying “Look, idiots, it’s not a big deal. I can go up the stairs. You only have 2 legs and you do it.  You all need to get it together up here, OK?  Woof.”  (I did harness him immediately and assisted him back down the stairs! Overprotective, I know!)

Bubba is an amazing dog.  I will say, Tripawd parents, you are right.  I am learning an awful lot from this dog!  Also, he is helping my son cope with his ‘temporary’ one-arm life!  Bubba and Joseph have a unique bond and it is ironic that they are both going through some life adjustments together right now.  Thank God for my Bubba.

Bubba’s baby


Good News

June 19th, 2012 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

A bit of relief tonight at Bubba’s follow-up, at last!

Kidney function tests were within normal limits, but the constant drinking water and peeing is not getting any better.  Possible reasons include: behavioral issues with adjusting to changes, underlying kidney stress (early dysfunction), or medication.  The only medication he is on is synthroid, which is new as of 2 weeks ago.  Apparently, appropriate thyroid levels in the blood are difficult to determine.  Too little causes fatigue, weight gain and compromises healing/immunity.  This is where Bubba started, which makes sense since he tires easily, has gained 20 lbs over the last year, and had complications with healing & infection after the last 2 surgeries.  Tonight, I learned that too much thyroid hormone can cause issues, one of which is excess thirst!  This could explain his new love of water and peeing in the house!  I sure hope this is the cause.

He needs to be on the current dose for 1 more week to accurately assess the dosage in his blood.  He will have bloodwork next Thursday to measure the level of thyroid hormone in his blood.  After that, the dosage could be reduced. Until then, it’s going to be a bit messy.  He is not happy to be sent in quarantine in the kitchen during the work day, but….it’s temporary.

Other than that, he got a good report.  Almost all the staples are out and the small area where the infection was is still healing and sutured.  He is moving around great and doing his “crazy time.” Crazy time is a special exercise for Bubba and entertainment for the whole family!  He lays belly up with all paws in the air and snaps/growls at the carpet upside down!  When I saw crazy time make it’s post-amp debut, I knew my Bubba was going to be OK!


Dealing with People

June 15th, 2012 · 7 Comments · Uncategorized

OK Tripawd Parents: Help Me!

I am assuming that it is natural to be a bit overprotective of my baby, especially since we are still adjusting to life with 3 legs.  However, I am upset that some people make inappropriate comments in regards to our decision to amputate.  I have had 2 experiences with strangers who feel the need to speak up about what I have chosen to put my dog through.

What have I “put him through”?  3 failed attempts to control a soft tissue sarcoma, six weeks of twice-weekly bandage changes of cast material that prevented him from using his leg and numerous pain medications and antibiotics which strain his system.  Sometimes, I am sorry that we didn’t just amputate the first time around (or the second time or the third time).   Do these strangers know this before they comment?  Nope.

Yes.  He is having some complications.  But…we are no longer dealing with a rapidly growing tumor.  I have seen what happens to people with soft tissue sarcomas and dogs are not that different!   The tumor continues to grow and destroys everything in the general area.  The limb looses functionality and the entire body can be compromised by uncontrollable bleeding and infection.  This is a situation that is prevented by amputation.

You are probably wondering what was said that got me sooo upset!  Today, a very handsome boxer comes trotting down the hall at the vet, enthusiastically leading his owner and children to the checkout.  I can’t resist but to compliment the owner on her handsome boy. She is struggling with him, much like I used to with Bubba.  Her children are obviously disturbed by my Tripawd (understandable!)

She offers little for conversation and leads the team out behind us.  The poor kids tell her that they don’t want their dog to end up like Bubba.  The lady replies “don’t worry, he won’t.  We actually take care of our dog.”  Hmmmm…maybe I am being too sensitive, but is she insinuating that this is the result of neglect or ill provided care of my dog?

Like I said, there have been 2 incidents…..the first one happened while he was still in the hospital and I was visiting him.  I was struggling to get my emotions in order and looked visibly upset walking him back to the kennels.  A man stopped me and said, “you know, they wanted me to do that (points at Bubba’s missing leg) to my dog.  No way could I put my dog through that” (points again) and looks away from me, shaking his head.

Has anybody else had these experiences?  It is so frustrating!  I love my dog and can’t imagine anyone would put a loved one through a surgery like this unless it was the only option to provide happiness and life!  I know, it doesn’t matter what people say.  This is right for Bubba.  I have a new place in my heart for the Tripawd population and for the people who get them back on their feet, literally!  It is an emotional and, for some, a physical strain to manage through recovery.  I never thought I could lift a 100lb dog into a mini-van, but strength comes out of nowhere when my best friend is depending on me to get well.

Learning to walk again


Kidney trouble?

June 14th, 2012 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

Well….no more injected antibiotics for Bubba.  The blood tests were within normal limits, but the doctor was not happy with the urinalysis.  The antibiotic he was on is toxic to the kidneys.  This is a double-edged-sword: he needs the antibiotic to get rid of the infection but the one that works best can destroy his kidneys.

This morning, I woke up to 2 accidents in the living room.  It has been 4 days since the last injection and I hope that his kidneys can recover from any damage.  His next appointment is tomorrow and I am hoping for good news!  The hardest thing about these vet appointments is trying to entertain 3 kids while waiting for bloodwork results!  Last time, we played a game of Simon Says.  I Spy has already been exhausted as there is not much to the exam rooms!

I’m also starting to think that Bubba is taking advantage of this situation.  He pooped in the neighbor’s yard!  Not allowed!!  He know’s that.  Everyday, I tell him the same thing, “Get up.  Go potty, STAY IN YOUR YARD!”  Compliance with the rules is not his priority right now.  I am just as guilty because I reward him with a treat for getting the job done on 3 legs.  If my neighbors see me wandering around at odd hours with a shovel in hand, think nothing of it….and I apologize for any doodie drops gone unseen…

What? I didn’t do it?