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Now We're a Nine Legged Family

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Now We're a Nine Legged Family

True Love, Happy Valentine’s Day

February 10th, 2010 · 8 Comments · Uncategorized

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 Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!

(I still seem blog challenged but Romeo really deserves to have his picture posted—it’s been months)

Greta and Romeo have always been raised as siblings. I’ve always referred to Romeo as my first born so when we came home from the hospital with Greta we brought him a big brother gift! Everyone brought dog biscuits and presents for Romeo to our baby shower.

Romeo has been watching over Greta since the day she was born. One of the unexpected gifts of Romeo’s surgery was how much Greta has taken care of Romeo as well. When we told Greta about Romeo’s diagnosis and surgery she was only six and she was the one who declared, “We used to be a ten-legged family, now we’re a nine-legged family.” It was very difficult for Greta(and all of us) when we first picked Romeo up after surgery. Within a few hours, however, she was taking care of him. When I see Greta’s love and devotion to Romeo, it makes me feel like I have done something right as a parent. She is incredibly proud of Romeo. She loves to bring him to school and she now draws all her animals with three legs! She will tell anyone who will listen Romeo is a Tripawd! Romeo always loved Greta, but it seemed his primary relationship was with us. Something shifted as Romeo celebrates his ampuversaries—he is still a momma’s boy of course, but he now seems to have his own special relationship with his little sister.

If there are parents out there wondering how their children will deal with a beloved dog’s surgery, for us the experience has brought us even closer as a family. In a way, our daughter has really blossomed as she is the proud sister of a Tripawd. And she loves keeping track of all you Tripawds out there(and she is still asking if there is anyway we can adopt Travis Ray….)! 

 Romeo’s six month ampuversary is coming up on February 17th! And even though Greta has been taking care of him—-don’t think he isn’t full of energy and amazing stamina! Today New Haven was all but shut down by a huge storm, and Romeo just LOVED the snow. He found those gusts of wind positively enchanting! And yesterday we were watching our two-year old lab neighbor Maizy (who may be the worlds most energetic dog)—and Romeo outran her (he took off down the street actually) to greet my partner.  Greta thinks he may run even faster as a Tripawd and sometimes I think it’s true……

We’re thankful for every day our boy is here to teach us about love. And we’re praying we’ll be celebrating many more ampuversaries.  

It’s a little early but Happy Valentine’s Day to all the amazing Tripawds and their familes! We so grateful to all of you for your wisdom, love, and support.

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Miracle Day

October 7th, 2009 · 5 Comments · Uncategorized

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Edgerton Park Fair 2009 342Romeo will have his two month ampuversary on October 17th. We just wanted to share what an amazing day he had yesterday and hopefully give some hope to new Tripawds out there–or those considering amputation.

We feel very lucky overall. Romeo has made a wonderful recovery. He has been running and playing, but early on we came to the realization he would probably never get his stamina back and those really long walks we loved or simply spending hours in the park would be precious memories. We were fine with that—just grateful to have our boy happy and healthy.

Well yesterday we decided to visit a small park that connects to some very expansive lawns on campus. It’s near our old apartment, where we first lived when we moved to New Haven. Coming from Vermont, we were always in search of green space! We used to walk there with Romeo regularly and he loved to take off across the magnificent lawns with New Haven’s famous giant elm trees. We probably haven’t visited there in over a year. Well Romeo was so excited—he took off three legs and all, no harness!He just ran and played, chasing sticks, even playing tug of war with my daughter—and tug of war is something he has not really been into for years. He rolled down the hill with my daughter, showing his belly, just acting wacky! I kept trying to get him to slow down and rest, but would not listen. He was celebrating life! Loving the fall air and having so much fun. I had to call my partner to to tell her to stop by on her way home from work. She just had to see Romeo! When her car pulled up he took off full throttle. It was almost surreal watching him run and run! Like he was trying out for the Tripawd Olympics!

As we were leaving, we ran into a dog that seemed so sweet, but was not allowed to say hello—her tail was wagging and she looked at Romeo so longingly. I don’t want to judge, but you know sometimes you get the sense an anti-social human is condemming their dog to the same life? Something in that dog’s eyes broke my heart, and I looked at Romeo and I can say he has had a wonderful life. I know his life will not be as long as we had expected, or as long as he deserves, but he’s had a good life.  And he’s known great joy!  After the surgery, we resolved to treasure every day, just trying to take it one day at a time, every day our beautiful boy is with us is a gift.

We expected Romeo might be a little tired today and he certainly was. No Tripawd Olympics tonight. Who knows if he’ll ever have a day like that again, but we’ll always remember Romeo’s great joy and amazing speed, his love of life, his miracle day October 6, 2009.


Pass the Cider Donuts!

September 16th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Romeo and Greta Applepicking Sept 09 040Romeo's Recovery and First Grade 149Romeo and Greta Applepicking Sept 09 054Hello Tripawd Friends! We are finally back to the blog! We are officially now a nine-legged family for one month! Romeo is doing great. He just got back from a great trip to VT where he went apple picking, wading in two different lakes (ok one lake, one pond), “hiking,”  and tried acupuncture for the first time too.  He also took some very long naps…….and yes he ate a cider donut.

The surgery went well and right away they told us Romeo was a “star patient”—he got extra points for being inventive and resourceful. Apparently on his first trip out to pee he tried to balance himself by doing “a perfect downward dog” (one of his favorite yoga positions) and used his head in place of his left paw. Poor guy. We were so blessed to be taken care of by everyone at Hinesburg Animal Hospital in VT (have to give them a shout out). Not only did Romeo get so much love and individual attention, we did as well. Ellie the amazing vet tech even talked to my six year old daughter on the phone, answering all of her questions (a lot!) and giving her in depth updates on Romeo.

Nevertheless, pick up was very hard on all of us. Romeo did do well, but nothing could have prepared us for how difficult it was to see him post-surgery. We were all overwhelmed emotionally–Romeo included. My daughter wanted so much to come pick him up, we tried to prepare her by describing the incision etc, but it was really too much for her. She had been so brave and positive, but she just crumpled in my partner’s arms. Once Romeo had his t-shirt on she did much better (a suggestion I would have to any parents w/ young children—we wished we had the t-shirt on him before she saw Romeo for the first time. Not to hide anything, but to help the visual transition. We didn’t realize how terrifying the stitches/incision would look to our daughter at first). But we all pulled ourselves together and made it home. For the first week, I slept like the mother of a newborn (barely and with one eye open). It’s all a blur—everything was about taking care of Romeo, his comfort, appetite, meds, just loving him and praying for him. Early on he was really cheered up by visits from his neighbor Maizy. She is normally a crazy two year old lab puppy, formerly a bit to wild for Romeo to want to spend too much time with her, but she slowed right down for him (forgive all the run on sentences!). Those early visits with Maizy really helped our big guy out. And even though he could just hop around a little he loved to get out and go to the park and visit his horse friends. We tried every day to get out for a little. He loves to ride in the car. And even if he would sleep all day, he would jump (yes!) off the bed (now on the floor for easier access) and run to the door when he heard my partner come home from work. Things really turned the corner for us at ten days. We feel so blessed.

We never could have down this without all the love, support, and advice from all of you at Tripawds. You have been a lifeline to us. Thank god I happened to see that Nature program with Jim, Rene, and Spirit Jerry last year! You are all so brave (people and pups). It’s been a rough couple of weeks at Tripawds and we just wanted to send our love out to all of you, especially the families of Zeus, Horacia, and Boinka.   

I still tear up a couple of times a day. We are so aware of how precious every moment is with Romeo. As many of you know, we agonized over whether or not to do chemo. Upon diagnosis, we had definitely planned to go all out. After the surgery, however, we began to question whether or not it was right for Romeo. In the end, we couldn’t shake a gut feeling it would be too much for him. One thing this experience has taught me—trust your gut. He has had so many GI problems—he can’t even take a little bit of Rimadyl without getting diarrhea. He has just got his happy boy self back and we want him to enjoy all the days he has. He seemed to find the acupuncture very relaxing so we are hopeful it can help him out.

Ok! So much to say–will have to update blog more than once a month!

All of this makes me see how much goodness there is in the world—from all of you, neighbors we barely knew who crossed the street in concern, my daughter’s ballet class who made cards for Romeo. When I see my daughter caring for Romeo with the sensitivity of someone wise beyond her years, I know she will hold him in her heart forever. He has taught her so much about how to care and love for animals. It will guide her all her life. 

(Ok, reading this over I guess I got a little mushy. Forgive me.) 

Eve (and Romeo!)


Now We’re A Nine Legged Family

August 14th, 2009 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

Swimming BoyRomeo and GretaBig SmileSleep TightWe used to be a ten legged family. Now we’re a nine legged family.

Tuesday night  we told our six year old daughter about her brother Romeo’s “sick leg.”  Just over two weeks ago I suddenly noticed a bump on Romeo’s front left leg. It seemed to come out of nowhere.  He was running around, acting completely normal. He did not seem to be in pain at all. He had a scheduled appt at the vet the following week—so we decided just to keep an eye on it. We were thinking a little inflammation? The next night he jumped out of bed and started limping. The following morning he could barely walk.

When they told us it was cancer we just wailed to be honest. Romeo is all heart (and appetite!). He is love. We adopted him from the Humane Society when he was five weeks old—-supposedly a golden/lab mix. But maybe something much bigger? He is a big, tall guy weighing just over a hundred pounds.  He is such a big guy—we often call out “He’s a gentle giant” to approaching small dogs and children. He loves to say hello to everyone!I refer to him as “my first born.” And I couldn’t love him more if I gave birth to him myself. He is nine and a half years old and, ironically (now), people always say he looks great for his age. He is the heart and soul of our family—we can’t imagine life without him.  We have anguished over the decision to amputate his leg, but we know he will pull through, with his amazing spirit and heart. We are so grateful for all of you at Tripawd dogs! Reading your stories has helped to give us the courage to go through with the surgery. We will all go through it together and we will survive—-like our daughter said, “We used to be a ten legged family. Now we’re a nine legged family.” Three humans and a very special dog. 

We remembered Jim and Rene and Jerry’s amazing story from “Why We Love Cats and Dogs Last Year.” I remember hearing Rene saying, “How far would you go for a dog?” and I remember thinking, for Romeo, “FAR.Very Far.” Thank goodness we happened to see it—I thought of their courage and love and Jerry’s great zest for life! It makes it easier to believe our boy who loves to run and swim will also find happiness as a tripawd dog.  

Romeo is scheduled to have his surgery this Monday August 17. We’re trying to be brave, but it’s hard not to feel like we’re about to be hit by a tidal wave. It still seems like a bad dream—we keep hoping we’ll wake up. 

Once Romeo got on some pain meds he has been running around like nothing’s wrong.  Obviously we don’t want him to be in pain, but in some ways it would be easier if he was limping. Did anyone else have a dog that was acting normal? Not limping? Our vet says maybe this is a blessing—we caught it early. My partner just reminded me, “We need to remember we’re doing this to save his life. We’re not taking away his leg, we’re saving his life.”

We’re living in CT for graduate school, but we’ve never found a vet here we felt completely comfortable with. When Romeo got his diagnosis we picked up the phone and immediately called his beloved vets in Vermont and took him up there for a second opinion. They’ve known and loved him since he was a puppy and we trust them implicitly. The vet in CT was very bleak—she said Romeo would only live three months w/ amputation, maybe nine w/ amputation and chemotherapy. Our vet in Vermont was very emphatic. He said, “People are going to start throwing a lot of numbers at you, but your dog is not a number.”   He didn’t minimize the seriousness of the diagnosis, but he also believes Romeo may have a couple good years ahead of him. So we decided to have the surgery in VT—where he is going to be treated as an individual in a loving, positive environment by people who love him and care for all of us! He will spend a couple nights at the vet, and then a night at his grandparents. We are padding the back of the minivan with foam mattresses, hoping to give him as smooth as ride as possible back to CT. We hate to put him through the drive after surgery, but we know he will be better in the long run being treated by his old friend Rich and co. Did anyone else have to make a drive? How did your dog do?

Also, how did people navigate the car. If you’ve got a minivan/suv/truck?Should we buy a ramp? I’m worried Romeo could lose his balance and fall.Especially in the beginning. But I know we can’t use the harness for a few weeks. Will he be ok if we use a towel to help him?

Well I’ve gone on for quite awhile. Thank you for listening. Please say a prayer, send good thoughts for Romeo on August 17.

p.s. trying to figure out how to add pics of our handsome guy—hope it works….


Hello world!

August 12th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

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