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Now We're a Nine Legged Family

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Now We're a Nine Legged Family

Now We’re A Nine Legged Family

August 14th, 2009 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

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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….

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • cairasue

    Your guy IS handsome!

    We are 3 weeks post-op and it’s the best decision we ever made for our girl. We know now when we look in her eyes, she is happier than she has been in months. Sometimes we don’t realize how much they were hiding before they even started limping.

    We drove 2 hours home 36 hours after surgery. She was still a little woozy from the anesthesia. She acted drunk and regurgitated a little and peed a little. That first trip we actually lifted her down from the car, but she had hopped right up there before we could help her! I think this is due to her front leg amputation-I think it would have been the opposite with the back leg.

    We also padded our car, and after about 15 minutes, my husband opted to go back and lay with her, which calmed her down immensely.

    If you are waiting a couple days, the anesthesia should wear off. I tried to remember my own surgery-and how I was sick for 3 days afterwards! And that’s about how long she took to quit looking quite so drunk.

    So, good luck to your handsome man! Tripawds has been a great resource for us. Keep us updated!


  • zoes4life

    Your story sounds alot like mine, I am trying to make the decision on what to do. The same thing about 2 weeks ago started limping around, 1st thought to be arthritis, then realized something much worse. I am waiting on one more lab test to come back to see if cancer has spread, but if it hasnt I can’t help but think that amputation is the best option for survival. This website has helped ease my mind. I will pray for Romeo and your family. God bless.

  • admin

    I am always so touched when hearing of others who saw us on Nature’s Why We Love Cats and Dogs then went on to experience the same difficult decisions and challenges with their own pup. It brings bittersweet tears to my eyes.

    Thank you for the wonderful comments, and for sharing Romeo’s story here. Especially this first post … many members find Tripawds wondering how their children will handle the whole amputation ordeal with their furry friends. It sounds like your daughter has the right attitude.

    It also sounds like you have a wonderful vet! Grab an emotional surfboard and ride that wave. Best wishes for a flawless procedure and quick, complete recovery. We look forward to closely following your journey together.

  • jerry

    Oh Romeo, you are so lucky to have such awesome pawrents. What a beautiful story, it really got me all choked up. I’m so sorry you got diagnosed, but know that you have a lot of people out there rooting for you, and we’ll be here for you every hop of the way.

    You know, Vermont is one of our favorite states, we loved it there. Your vet sounds awesome, like all the cool people we met there.

    Oh, to answer your question about driving after surgery; yes, we drove 6 twisty, windy hours from UC Davis to our home just south of the Oregon border. My pawrents were very worried but we did OK. We drove home less than 2 days after surgery, and I was pretty doped up so I don’t remember much. Except, Mom tried to get me to go out and pee when we were halfway home, but I really didn’t need to. That long ride was more upsetting for her than it was for me. Tell your Mom not to worry. Padding is good (I rode in the back of our camper truck), and just try not to worry. It’ll be ruff at first, but I promise it DOES get better!

    We’ll be thinking of you on the 17th. Keep us posted.

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