The latest

Hello, friends! Winnie has had an awesome year and we’re really doing well. I finally took the plunge to get a few chest x-rays for Winnie (we had delayed…another story) and…well…she has a lung tumor. I don’t know much yet. We see the oncologist on Monday. But, if there are any synovial cell sarcoma friends out there, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I want the rest of Winnie’s life (she’s 12 and 1/2) to be pain free no matter the time she has left. So, I am trying to understand how I can keep her the most comfortable and happy. Please give a shout if you have any thoughts. And thanks! Love, Alison and Winnie

Almost a year. Sorry we’ve been gone.

Hi everyone! This time last year, I was just learning about this wonderful community of people and preparing both Winnie and me for a huge life change. I am forever grateful for what you’ve all done for both of us as we learned a new way with 3 legs. I plan to post a video and message on Winnie’s ampuversary date but am having a moment of quiet and gratitude so I decided to reach out. Here’s the latest pic of Winnie. She’s doing great. It was a long haul, no doubt. Two surgeries. Many medications. A brief bout of chemo. Months of physical therapy. A lot of worrying. And more money than I every expected. But…I know her better than I ever imagined. And she knows me too.

A few weeks ago, Winnie and I were on a walk — a regular-length walk. The kind we did before she was a Tripawd. And a man…one who I don’t really know but sees us every once in awhile said “I just want to say that you’ve done such an amazing job taking care of this animal. It’s been wonderful to watch.” Isn’t that incredible? There is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY I could have taken care of Winnie as well as I did without this community full of smarts, compassion and kindness. So..with just a week to our one year mark…thank you.

And one more thing…how can I help? Does anyone need help working through the process? Are we trying to adopt more Tripawds? I’m ready to do my part.

Much love,

Winnie & Alison



Winnie’s Two-Month Ampuversary!

Well, we’ve made it two whole months. (and Happy St. Patty’s Day, folks.) Overall, Winnie is doing ok. But I have a question – for those of you lucky enough to get your dog back to 100%, how long did it take?

I’m getting things all mixed up in my head. She didn’t respond well to the metronomic chemo so we’re taking a month off. We’re, instead, focusing on Winnie’s mobility and comfort first and then we’ll see. She’s doing physical therapy and it’s really helping. But it’s work! About 30 minutes every morning and night – massage, passive motion exercise, “shake” shoulder stretches and stand up/sit downs.

I took her off the Remadyl for a few days because she was panting a lot. At first, she seemed really awesome. But I’ve put her back on worries about soreness/pain. Honestly, she spends about 90 minutes panting every night and maybe that’s normal? I just can’t tell.

This is all to say that she’s “ok”, that it’s a lot of ups and downs, that I’m recently not doing a very good job of living in the moment and long for some normalcy. But, I think she’s happy for the most part and I love her so much!! Maybe I’m just worrying too much?



Finding our balance

Winnie hasn’t had the best couple of days. It’s her tummy. Yesterday morning, diarrhea. And she vomited around 6 pm. And this morning, more diarrhea. She’s in pretty good spirits though! I’m trying to sort out what’s what. She on Novox (I switched her back to Novox from Remadyl last night), Pepcid, Zofran twice a day. Prilosec once a day. And, of course, the chemo once a day. I know everyone says that the side affects are from the NSAIDs but I don’t think she feels that great a couple of hours after chemo. Is it me?

Swim, Winnie, Swim!

This is something I never thought I’d say: “Gotta run. Winnie has physical therapy today.”

Yep. That’s right. She’s swimming in an 88 degree hydrotherapy pool twice a week in addition to strength and stretching.

Apparently, her shoulders (her biceps, really) are rock hard – so tight from shifting all that weight. We’ve only been twice but I think it’s really paying off. And if there can come a day when she will once again be able to make it up a flight of stairs, it’s worth it.

It will come with a daily commitment to her stretching and exercise. It’ll be good for both of us. I thought you all might like to see a video of her therapy. Here it is!! Happy wags to all!

Winnie at therapy

It’s a process.

We’re blessed with a couple of days of weather in the 50’s and the snow has melted. Thank God.

Winnie is now almost a week into chemo. The first few days created a lot of panting which the doc thought might be some mild GI upset from the anti-inflammatory. We added Zofran into the mix and that seems to be doing the trick.

Winnie has a new dog walker that she loves. Her name is Cara. She gives Winnie her chemo midday and then comes back twice in the afternoon to encourage her to pee. But, I think it’s all too much for Winnie. She’s tired. And I think her back leg is much weaker now. She goes to physical therapy on Wednesday and I can’t wait. I need to help trying to figure out who to help Winnie get back on top.

I’m realizing that this is really all part of a very long process. I don’t regret our decisions to date – I couldn’t imagine leaving that cancer in Winnie. And I hope the metronomic chemo doesn’t hurt Winnie’s way of life. I do wish she could be off all the meds and wonder sometimes if all these pills are really going to help. But we can only do the best we can with the information we have, right? And I’ll do anything for Winnie. Anything at all — clearly because she’s sleeping on my bed a lot more these days. Delusions of grandeur might be our next issue. 🙂



One Month Ampuversary!

When Winnie was in the hospital getting her amputation, I spent hours on this site looking at videos of dogs one-month-out from their amputation. And, frankly, I wasn’t all that encouraged. I saw loving Moms and Dads take videos of their three-legged loves and while it looked promising, they stumbled and faltered and I was empowered but still saddened by what I saw. So, now it’s our turn. Winnie had her one-month ampuversary two days ago. She also started metronomic chemo yesterday. But, in spite of it all…she…is…awesome.  Granted, we have 12″ of snow on the ground and I’ve had to rescue her more than once. But, if I think about it objectively, I think she would’ve made the same choices I made for her. It’s safe to say she isn’t back to her old self. But it’s also fair to say that she’s happy and finding new triumphs and just might live cancer free (or living with cancer) for a good long while. So…now…we get it. This experience of Winnie becoming a tripawd…and this experience of meeting all of you supporting us through something no one else quiet understood…well, it’s made me listen to and understand my dog in a way I didn’t know was possible. And it simply wouldn’t have been possible without your kind words and encouragement along the way. I wish Winnie could read all her tripawd family’s comments. And I offer this: if you are waiting for your dog to get an amputation and you’re scared and confused, email me. Or post a blog to this group. We will help you. And while it sucks right now, it SO WILL GET BETTER! And as I am obligated to do ( 🙂 ) , here’s a video of my lovely Winnie one-month out.

Love to all – no matter how many paws you have.


What a long…strange trip it…is!

It’s been a few days. And they’ve definitely has their ups and downs. Last Thursday, we went to the oncologist to check Winnie’s progress before we started chemo. By Friday night, she had completely destroyed her skin around the incision. It was a mess. What’s crazy about it is that the worst damage was about 2 inches below the incision. When I got home from work, we went straight to the vet. The good news? She didn’t open the incision. But she did really gnaw at a spot about 2 inches below the incision. And here’s where the opinions come in….

1. Urget care vet says it’s phantom pain and we’re back on the gabapentin.

2. Surgeon says he’s never…ever…seen anything like this so far out from surgery.

3. Oncologist thinks is might just be a sensation from the other sutures underneath. Or, she’s anxious back on the gabapentin. In other words, she doesn’t like being drugged.

And I’m thinking it might be what happened when she was bored and left to her own devices for so long. (It was the first time I left her alone all day without the donut).

Meanwhile, she’s been panting like a madwoman all night tonight. Can’t get her to sleep or calm down. What is  it? Anxiety?  Pain? Getting attention? I am so lost.  And every now and then, she pants really hard and whines. VERY unlike her. She’s the most stoic dog I know.

I’m lost. Feel like I can’t read her. And we’ve been at this for so long. Just sitting here trying to decide if I should take her back to the vet.

Like every said…it’s a journey. I have so many other things I’ve learned like living the moment. But right now, I just need her to calm down.