Memories and things

The house is quiet. We miss him so much.

We are very slowly putting thing’s away little bits at a time. My son and I put away his red harness, dishes and one of dog beds the day he gained his wings. We just couldn’t bare to see them. Especially his harness.

There are a few other things of his around the house. We had left his main dog bed in the family room alone. It’s been a mixed bag of emotions leaving it there. Mostly pleasant memories but sad memories too as we think of the discomfort he was in towards the end.

This morning I decided that it was time to put it away. I quietly wept as I walked down to the basement to pack it away. I came back up to the empty spot in the room and there stood the cat.

Most days I’m filled with joyful, happy memories. This morning, I decided, it was ok to be a little sad.


It’s been a rough month, Tripaw family. We let our sweet, amazing Buddy go Thursday, May 24. Our hearts hurt but know he is finally free, running and playing in God’s backyard.

Buddy’s becoming a part of our family was no less amazing.  Our son found him while walking the wooded path one day but in reality, I think he found us. He blessed our lives for 16 long years. He was a tripaw for nearly three of those years.

As part of our healing process, we’ve been reminiscing about him a lot. Oh the stories! In the early puppy years he would escape out the front door with us running after him, armed with hot dogs as bribe material to come back. My youngest son joked that upon his entry to heaven the angels were all probably running around with hot dogs as well. He was a master at catching tennis balls bounced off our garage roof and was a champion at chasing squirrels and chipmunks. In his older years he would lay on bed while we watched TV. We got some old DVD’s of the Carol Burnett show sometime after Christmas. Anytime the theme music of Carol Burnett would start playing, he would get up on his 3 legs and leave the room. When his backs legs weren’t working well anymore, he’d thump his remaining front leg on the ground while laying in his bed and glare at us. Then he’d start scooting around in his bed to make sure we knew of his displeasure in our selection of TV watching for the night. He didn’t care very much for American Idol either.

He had been slowing down quite a bit in the last few months, leaving us questioning, what is quality of life?  We read a lot of articles and talked to a lot of friends, because we didn’t want to miss any of the signs. We checked in with our vet from time to time as well.

What I learned about quality of life is that it really is different for each family and not any one article, nor advice from friends is going to give you the answer. Buddy was stoic, brave, determined, and strong when it came to challenges and pain, which made him a really hard read. I had suspected he had a strong will to live for us. Something that our vet had reiterated in a conversation we had via text messaging. Everyday we would say, well, he’s eating, sleeping, pooping and peeing. But the reality was, everyday, he was doing that all for us.

Buddy had torn his ACL in October 2017. Our hope was that it would heal on its own and get better. For awhile it looked like it would heal, but then it never did. Old age and the fact that he was a front leg tripaw worked steadily against him. He needed 100% help from us everyday to get outside. The last six weeks or so he needed 100% help in holding him up to potty outside. His last weekend with us, he had a bad bout of diarrhea. This is exceptionally hard given the fact that he couldn’t get up on his own anymore. And so we found him Saturday morning shaking and laying in his own waste. We cleaned him all up and texted the vet. Luckily she was able to call in a prescription which worked almost immediately. As usual with diarrhea, he got a UTI. So I texted the vet Monday and asked for a new script for his UTI and I explained what his days were like as of late. He eats, sleeps, pee’s and poops outside and only takes pleasure in treats and short periods of sunshine. I told her we were struggling again with the question of quality of life and I asked her what was her best advice for us.

She wrote back the answers that I think I knew deep down inside but really needed to hear. She said that deep in her heart she felt that a dog should be able to walk. Initially they are ok with us helping them to move, but over time it wears on them. He hadn’t been able to act like a dog since his ACL tear. She also suspected that he was in a lot more pain than what we realized while lying on his bed. She said to not underestimate his wanting to live for us. Given all this it would be completely acceptable to let him go.

She also said that as a family we needed to decide if this was the right decision for him and to put ourselves in his place and try to decide if the good times warrant the bad. Waiting for him to get worse is perhaps not the right thing. Waiting might make the decision easier, but maybe that’s not good for him and his quality of life. I put my head down and sobbed because I knew she was right and I knew it was time. I sent our grown children and my husband the message. We all agreed, it was time and that he had had enough. We texted her the next day to arrange for her to come to the house later in the week. From that moment on his health went into a steady decline down hill. He started sleeping from 7am until 2 or 3 in the afternoon. He started hesitating to eat and it became crystal clear how much pain he was in every time we took him to potty outside. He was ready and just waiting for us. He was fighting for us. I am telling you, he loved us that much. We spoiled him as much as we could the day before. He enjoyed one last time smiling in the sun and ate lots of chicken treats. We gave him lots of kisses and stroked his scarred, beautiful auburn and white fur. Our vet came the next morning. She took one look at him when she walked in the door and said, “ Oh, Tracie. I promise you it’s time.” I can not tell you how much I needed to hear that. And she cried with us.

Thank you for being such a warrior sweet boy. You are now healed from your pain, running, jumping, playing and eating to your hearts content. We miss your sweet brown eyes, your beautiful smile, your love of the sunshine and your unconditional love for us. We thank God you are finally free. We miss you every single day. Hugs, ear rubs, belly rubs and kisses. Mom, Dad, Matthew, Lindsey and Alex.

When is enough, enough?

When is enough, enough? Where do we draw the line for him? What is considered quality of life for him at this point? We’ve been pondering this one for a little while.

Buddy had a rough go last weekend. We were watching TV with him asleep on his bed when all of the sudden he became restless and went into a grand maul seizure. It came out of nowhere. He’s never had one before. We thought for sure that this was it. It was awful. We got on the phone with our vets office, who talked us through it, and advised us to stay at home unless it happened again. Shortly after that we texted our vet to let her know what was going on. Her thought, in short, was that it could be an isolated incident, stroke or brain tumor. He’s been fine ever since. But we are not kidding ourselves. We think something wicked this way comes. He’s 16.

So we ponder when will we know what’s right for him? He LOVES to eat his dinner. Oh my goodness, just loves his breakfast and dinner and looks forward to chicken treats. In fact he’ll thump around on his bed and crane his neck to show me he wants a treat. LOL. He’s happy when each of us come home from work. He loves his naps in the hallway in the sun and he loves the attention from our adult children. He’s a tough cookie and puts up with a lot though. He’s always been a hard read. The vet calls him stoic when it comes to pain. Although we don’t think he’s in pain. He has lots of drugs to control that. That’s a really good word for him. Stoic. He tore his ACL back in November. There was a point where he was doing really well with it but lately it feels like he’s torn it all over again where he has next to nothing with the use of his back legs. So we cart him out 5 times a day so he can relieve himself. He can sqwat to pee with some help but needs full assistance with number 2. He’s also working on his third UTI with a new med. He’ll have some more testing after this med to see whats going on. Perhaps his kidneys are just shot. We would not be surprised.

Everyone says you’ll know. But what if we are just kidding ourselves and we are hanging on just to hang on? We want what’s best for him and not us. We don’t want him to suffer. The thought of losing him is unbearable sometimes, but then there is almost a feeling of relief in letting him go when the time is right. I want him to run again, freely, without our assistance in God’s garden.

Our hearts are hurting. This is so hard. We are praying that God will make it clear to us when enough is enough.




Pressure sore relief, UTI’s and soup ladle’s

We brought Buddy into the vet yesterday afternoon and as soon as our sweet vet walked in to the room he piddled. Took her 5 seconds to tell us he has a UTI! Yep, his urine stinks pretty bad. We’re talking, open the windows and where’s the air freshener? stink. GAG. We had chalked it up to his med’s causing the smell. Well, now it all makes sense. DAH. His little dribbles here and there and his larger pee accidents are caused by either a bladdar infection or a urinary tract infection. He doesn’t empty his bladder out as well so he’s got this cesspool going on inside of him. Our vet wanted to analyze his urine to be sure (even though we all know it’s a no brainer). Here’s where the soup ladle comes in. She tried massaging him in the office to get him to pee but no luck. So outside we went with the vet tech and a soup ladle to catch his pee. I don’t know why I find this so funny but I do. (One must find humor in every situation.) Steve helped Buddy along outside with his harness and my job was to alert the tech when Buddy squatted so he could play catcher with the ladle. “There he goes!” I shouted! And quick as lightening that tech had that ladle right under him. Best pee catcher on the league. And back inside we went with the freshly caught pee. Nice.

On to the pressure sore. It had gotten pretty nasty to where it was red from infection and now a small crater had formed. This was all caused by the under strap’s of his harness. He need’s a lot of help getting up and when he goes potty outside. Even though the straps are padded, they cut into him pretty hard. Over time, it has caused a pressure sore. We had an older version of the Ruffwear harness without the brush guard. I don’t think the brush guard attachment was out yet when we first got his harness. My advice to older Tripaw owners or if your furry friend is in a situation like ours where they need a lot of assistant is to look into purchasing this attachment if you don’t already own it. Amazon sell’s it for about $25. It will distribute the weight more evenly on their underbelly. Or maybe even look into the sling type harness that Tripaw has. Ok, so we really need to get pressure off of that sore. The new harness attachment will help but still, there needs to be as little pressure as possible on that sore. So we picked up some foam insulation tubing that goes around your pipes at Home Depot. We cut a square off and cut a hole in the center. The hole is where his sore goes and TA DA!, it takes pressure away from that sore. I’ll attach a picture at the end of this post. We are still playing around with the best placement of it and it’s not easy to put his harness on but eventually we will get it down to a science. He’s on Clavamox for the infection as well. All in all it was a pretty good vet visit with solution’s to some pretty messy problem’s.

We continue to embrace his senior citizenship. (To bad he can’t carry a card with him so we can get cheaper dog food) Here’s looking forward to better smelling pee, healing pressure sore’s and continued patience for that ACL to heal!


This is the underside of his harness with the brush guard attachment. We attached the foam and cut out a hole where his sore is.

Pressure sores, ACL tears and old age

It’s been awhile Tripaw family so I thought I would check in. Our sweet boy is doing ok these days. He suffers from an ACL tear (which happened before Thanksgiving) in his back leg. NO fun for an old guy. Its tough on those back legs. Some days are better than others. He is not getting any better but he is not getting any worse. We understand it takes a long time for these things to heal and thats ok. We decided against surgery given his age. We tried some braces from Amazon and they just didn’t work for him. His pain seems to be doing ok. Sometimes it’s hard to tell because he can be so stoic when it comes to pain. He’s a prideful old guy! He’s on Tramadol 3 times a day and Rimadyl twice a day as well. The added Rimadyl has been helpful. He has small pee accidents here which is just age related. Our vet explained that its probably aging kidney’s and not being able to concentrate his urine. So all the water he drinks goes straight through and is produced into urine. As a result the bladder fills up frequently and a lot of the time they can’t empty it as much as they need to and so there is an overflow issue. It’s also hard to squat to urinate so they tend not to empty their bladder completely when they do go outside. He used to mark his spot everywhere he went. When your back legs don’t work so well you only want to go once while you’re out there! Especially if its 15 degree’s!

Our newest issue is a nasty pressure sore right where the strap of his harness hits on his underside. We hadn’t noticed it until yesterday when it started to seep. At first I thought it was a tumor we hadn’t noticed (he has fatty lumps everywhere!) but given where the harness hits, its probably a pressure wound. The front under-strap pushes very hard into him especially when he goes out to poop. He needs alot of assistance. He can squat down but we have to hold him up full force with the harness. OUCH. He needs alot of help getting up as well. So lots of pressure on that underbelly. I texted the vet again. She suggested a new harness. Right now he has the Ruffwear. We just ordered the AST Get A Grip harness through Tripaw in hopes that it won’t hit that area as hard. But now I see Ruffwear has a Brush Guard so we ordered that off of Amazon as well. Hopfully one of these will help stay away from that area. In the meantime off to the vet we go. 🙁 I understand these wounds are nasty and hard to heal. It would be super helpful if his back legs would just start kicking in so that we can stop having to help him around with the back handle of his harness! UGH!

All of these new phases of old age have made us think and ponder when enough is enough. We love him enough to know that quality of life is what comes first. We had some good hard talks with our beloved vet earlier this week. Together, we have agreed with her, that he is not there yet and pray that the good Lord will help see when it is his time.  He enjoys his naps in the sunshine and Lord knows he loves his chicken treats! So we will just keep trucking on and hoping the vet can help his new wound. Praying he gets more strength in those rear legs soon too! 🙂 Cheers!