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I wanted to come back here and say farewell.  I lost my tripawd last Tuesday way too soon.  He was almost three.  The message I want to send today is not one explaining how cancer killed him, or his misery, or one of a poor disabled dog.  It’s one of a dog that was saved, and had a pain-free life and was loved as much as any dog, because we corrected his condition – an inoperative benign “crunchy” tumor in his shoulder – with his amputation.

Scooby loved chasing balls.  He had a nose that could find that Kong ball in high grass twice as fast as a four legged dog because of his amazing sense of smell.  Was he faster at chasing?  Not really, but that didn’t distract from his love of chasing them, nor my love for throwing it for him. He did have a huge advantage for tricks, especially standing on his back legs, but he wasn’t so good at ‘shake’.  He wasn’t real good for long hikes but he loved hopping around my huge backyard, and chasing his brother Shaggy (which Shaggy LOVED).

He had the same stupid dog problems – not listening, chasing my cats in not a good way, biting his brother once in a while. He needed a whooping once in a while for sweeping the countertops. He barked and howled during our ‘cuddle time’, which was really annoying.  He was just any old dog, except for the fact that he was mine, and we miss him.

Shaggy was his ‘buddy’.  When we brought Shaggy home, he was under 20 pounds, 13 weeks old, and all Scooby wanted to do was attack him.  We hired a professional dog behaviorist / trainer, and she suggested we get rid of the puppy because he was more ‘adoptable’ than the tripawd.  We stuck it out, and when Shaggy got to be about 80 pounds (versus Scooby’s 55), things took care of themselves.  It’s a shame people wouldn’t adopt a tripawd over the puppy, but I understand, I guess. Tripawds make great pets!

Scooby’s number one problem was his stomach.  We think he had stress induced collitis, and serious bouts of it, after ultrasounds and barium swallows.  Collitis is a common problem with many GSD’s.  He also couldn’t resist eating things, whether it was mulch, sticks, rocks, whatever – he wanted to eat it.  The last bout with his stomach took him from a lean 55 pounds to about 46 because he wouldn’t eat.  After a lot of tests from a specialist and a handful of pills every day, he started to bounce back for about a week.  As dogs that are gaining weight from such a condition, their bodies have cravings, apparently dogs can eat stuff they shouldn’t.  We think that’s what finally got him.  I spent the last few hours he had with him.  He was loved, and he is missed.

I hope when people read this they realize that tripawd dogs are just dogs.  They really don’t know they have a limitation.  They’re just dogs and they have dog problems.  They need boundaries like normal dogs.  They need training and play time, and exercise.  You’ll love them like any dog, and they’ll love you back ten-fold.


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It’s been a while since I last posted and it’s been on my mind to do so.  If you remember, Scooby is a young German Shepherd, front leg Tripawd.  He’s about 18 months old now and very much a puppy.  He had the extra leg removed, I think in February of 2016.  He gets around the house, goes on walks, up and down stairs, easily navigates hardwood floors, spends the day at doggie daycare on occasion.

We’ve also made a few changes!  We moved from a house in the city on a hill (aka stairs) to a 3 acre flat lot in the country.  He really loves chasing that ball long distances with no asphalt to drag his face on to stop.  Here are our current challenges, with some just being German Shepherd problems.

Challenge #1: Tripawd Problem.  Getting enough exercise without him hurting himself.  He really loves chasing a ball.  Problem is, his front leg brakes are not adequate to slow down and he uses his face to stop.  If this happens to be near concrete or pavement, it wreaks havoc on his face and rear elbows.  The new house has helped a lot.  He does stop and rest quite a bit.  I’m trying to just walk him around the property without the ball so he doesn’t act maniacal about the ball.

Challenge #2: GSD Problem.  Stop chasing the cats.  I think this falls into the “normal dog” category, but it shows that he’s mostly a normal dog.  He will not leave my cats alone.  I think I’m going to need a professional dog trainer.

Challenge #3:  GSD Problem.  He doesn’t like our new puppy Shaggy.  He’s a 10 week old male, and Scooby pretty much wants to kill him.  I’m hunting a behaviorist that can help with GSD problems, waiting on one to call me back actually.

I have a few more comments.

Let me make a comment about harnesses.  I bought one, and a sling, when he first had his surgery.  I had both on him once, and was a complete waste of time.  I’m not saying it’s useless for some tripawds, but he really doesn’t need one.  The harness also makes him hot.

Dog problems are dog problems.  Scooby is reaching adulthood at about 17 months old.  He feels good so he’s stubborn.  Hopefully the dog trainer can give us some exercises to do to keep him busy.

Anyhow, here’s a video of Scooby catching a ball in slow motion.  He’s so good at catching a ball, you can throw one past him and he’ll jump with it and catch it out of the air.  He’s very nimble.  He can even trot sideways since his leg isn’t in the way.

 

image

Shaggy

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Izzie and Scooby

I’m running out of new things to report. Scooby is becoming a “normal” dog. He’s still working on endurance, but mobility is pretty good.

 

He falls sometimes, but I think it’s more calculated, such as slowing down quickly when chasing a ball. He jumps and twists in the air while going for a badly thrown frisbee (short throw). He handles hardwood floors like a pro, actually slides his front foot at times rather than picking it up for short moves. He rocks back on his back legs and rotates to make tight turns. We’re still working on ‘sit pretty’, since he’s naturally good at it now. We’re making progress learning to be a normal dog.

 

And if you’ve ever wondered what a tripawd looks like chasing a ball in slow motion, here you go.

 

So today marks 5 weeks since Scooby had his amp. He’s one happy dog. Before I made the decision, I knew he was hurting, but I never knew how much it affected his mood and really his activity level. Maybe he was trained better before I got him, and now he is just getting over on me, acting like I would expect a 1 year old GSD puppy should act.

A few things I’ve learned / observed:

  • He prefers area rugs, but he doesn’t really have to have them.
  • And while I’m at it, go ahead and get good rugs with the rubber back. When he comes to a rapid stop on my “caulk back” rugs, they tend to roll up. Only the rubbery backed commercial rugs, or heavy rugs survive.
  • He doesn’t need the raised bowl either. As a matter of fact, we have a food gulping problem. A new slow bowl is on the way – the first one didn’t really slow him down.
  • He runs really well, he bobs when he walks slow. Bobbing seems to take more energy.
  • He still gets tired easy on walks. Bursts of speed then rest are what he prefers, but we have to work on endurance. I’d love to be able to take him on some short hikes. He still is resting on fairly short walks.
  • He still acts like a stubborn dominant German Shepherd Dog. This cat chasing has to stop. I just needed to get him healed up enough to make him quit.
  • He definitely goes UP better than he goes DOWN. That includes running down hill, going into and out of a ditch, going up or down stairs. He may even go UP better than he did with three legs.
  • He has really learned to balance on his back legs. He rocks back and pivots on his back legs to turn around in tight spaces.

Oh, one more thing needs mentioning. One of the worst visual issues is the shaved hair. So much has to be removed for the surgery down to their bare skin. It’s a mental relief that it’s finally growning back. That fuzz feels so nice. He seems to like me to pet it and scratch him in that place.

Fur!

  

Happy dog!

 

Raided my dirty clothes pile. 

   

I spent the Valentine’s weekend away from Scooby.  When I came home, I got to see two more days of improvement.  He runs now.  He jumps.  He wants to play constantly.  Before the amputation, he would lay down and chill on a regular basis.  Now he has this one year old puppy attitude!  That’s good and bad – I get a real one year old GSD puppy to “deal” with now.

Things I’ve learned since last blog post:  The leash never gets between his front legs.  When he’s laying in the way and I have to step over him, I only have to spot one leg to miss.  I believe it’s true that going faster is easier – a lot faster.  Icy stairs are not good for tripawds, or dogs with an extra leg.

I went and saw an agility club contest over the weekend.  That would be my dream to go out there and win one of those things.

Here he is chasing a ball this morning.  I didn’t throw it very far.  He’s still wearing out fairly quickly but he has his agility.  We’ll keep working on endurance.

I also put his Webmaster harness on him last night, and his purple Pawz.  I couldn’t leave the Pawz on him for long before he was trying to chew it.  I tried to keep him occupied so he might get used to it.

  

Oh, here’s Izzie too. 

  

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