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There is Life After Death

As we all know, life does move on.  As hard as that is to admit, we keep on going.  There is no time to just curl up in a ball and hold on to the sadness that could so easily engulf us.  I’m not saying that I’m not sad, or that I don’t have bad days, because of course I do.  Murphy was special – I miss his bark (I never thought I’d say that!!), I miss his sighs, I miss him watching me in the kitchen from around the corner of the wall.  I feel bad that I haven’t been as active in the forums or blogs as I used to be, but it’s just so hard!  Just when I think I can do it, we lose someone else.  I have my core group, and that helps, of course.  But I also feel that I’m letting the Tripawd Nation down, and I’m sorry.

We’ve been keeping busy around here.  Before we lost Murphy, Cassie was diagnosed with arthritis in her back and a couple of bulging discs.  She’s been having a hard time walking and her back end is getting weaker.  We’ve gone through laser treatment and she recently started wearing an Ortho Pets Toe Up support boot which is helping to prevent her from knuckling her toes.  We’ve only gotten it for 1 foot so far to try it out.

Cassie just turned 13 at the end of summer, so she’s slowing down a bit.  I think she’s missing her best friend.

For Labor Day weekend, Glenn & I drove across Michigan then took a ferry across Lake Michigan over to Wisconsin and spent the weekend with my “twin” Paula (Dobemom) and her husband John.  We had a wonderful weekend!  We got to play with their new puppy, Grizz and with Kodi, too.  The weather was perfect for sitting outside, a motorcycle ride and a tour of Green Bay.  

This past weekend we added a new member to our family.  The name he came with is Cosmo, but we’ve changed it to Cooper.  The rescue group originally thought that he was 3-4 months old, but once they took him to their vet he put him around 8 or 9 months, that would mean that his birthday is right about the same time as Murphy’s was.We have no idea what mix he is!  He weighs about 23 lbs and is about the same size as Max.  Cassie likes him, which is what we expected, since she loves all babies.  Max is doing ok.  Their initial meeting was outside and went better than we expected.  When we moved inside, Max became a little bit possessive of pretty much everything lol.  It’s only been 2 days, but that’s gotten better already – he’s sharing food, toys and space.  Like most puppies, Cooper wants to play, but Max isn’t too sure that he wants to play with him.  Cooper will try to play with Max, Max will wag his tail, growl & bark at Cooper, Cooper will back up (or go behind one of us!) but then come back & bark at Max – it’s quite the cycle!  I try to break the cycle with distraction and a small treat.

He’s found the basket of stuffed babies and is having a good time with them.  He’s a busy boy!  lol  We haven’t seen much of the cats – the foster mom said he did good with her cats, so we should be fine.  He’s doing pretty good with house-training, but needs to learn some manners.

Donna

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There aren’t enough words to say Thank You

So I’ve never really been very good at sending cards or letters.  I’m so bad that most years my Christmas cards get mailed out on December 23rd, and a couple of times I just haven’t sent them out at all.  And I’ve never been good at putting things into words, especially in writing.  I had joined Tripawds 2 years before I wrote my first forum post – Murphy fell on the ice on our deck.  And 3 years before I even started this blog!

We’ve lost other pets before, so I knew that when we said good-bye to Murphy that we would get a couple of cards …it’s what some people do, and it’s always appreciated, even if each one brings more tears.  Each card shows me that someone cares enough to reach out, that they truly understand our pain.   But there was more.

My sister (who really is not much of an animal person) sent us a copy of the Rainbow Bridge poem & a prayer to St. Frances.  My “twin” Paula & Linda sent paw print stones & a beautiful personalized stepping stone.  And Michelle made a donation to Michigan State University’s oncology fund in Murphy’s name (I didn’t even know that existed!).  I am so touched beyond words.  Who knew 4 years ago that people I met here would become some of my closest friends?

I have no regrets for the path that we took with Murphy.  I am angry that another cancer took him – it’s just not fair!  But I know that we gave him a good life and he did beat the odds of his first cancer, so that’s a win.  Cassie & Max are doing pretty good; I think having them there helped.

 

 

 

  We donated Murphy’s unopened food & treats, as well as a couple of blankets to the local animal shelter in his memory.  They posted our note on Facebook.                         

I cried a lot when I read that Eurydice & Fionn joined Murphy at the Bridge all on the same day … what a party they must have had!

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There’s just never enough time …. we had to say good-bye

I knew that someday I would have to write this blog, but I kept hoping “not yet.”

In May when we left for our 2 week vacation in Ireland, I thought, “not yet.”  Murphy was doing well and my son came to stay at our house with the dogs.  I was so afraid that something would happen and he would have to make a decision while we were gone, and that’s a lot for him to have to do.  Cassie had just recently been diagnosed with bulging discs in her back, so there’s that to deal with, too.  Luckily we were able to check in with him through Facebook every day and we were able to make sure everyone was fine.

When we came home we almost immediately turned around (about 12 hours later!) to leave again to head down to Virginia and the Pawty of the year!  Murphy felt sort of “boney” to me in his back & hips, but I know that he didn’t always eat very well for my son (he can be a bit stubborn like that).  But other than that, he seemed good!  I really wanted to take Murphy with us, but my husband was concerned that 9 hours in the car would be too much.  I’m sure he was right lol.  As most everyone has already posted, the Tripawds party was incredible!  Spending time with my twin (Paula) as well as Michelle & Linda that we met last fall in Chicago and then getting to meet everyone else – Karma & the girls, Lisa, Clare, Tina, Alison & Jasper, THE Sally, Samantha, Jim,  Rene & Wyatt, Amy Jo,  Elizabeth…oh my gosh, I’m drawing a blank on names!  I’m sorry, I’m forgetting people!  Dominoe’s mom was there, Isa’s mom,  the greyhounds (2 different families)…. Just hanging out and visiting like old friends <3

So on Memorial Day we got home in the evening Murphy threw up a little bit.  He seemed ok, and he ate well about an hour later.  A couple of days later he had some loose stool, but was still acting ok.  He had an appointment with his chiropractor and his weight was the same, but she also mentioned that she felt he had some muscle wasting.  Every day Murphy ate a full can of food, he had a great appetite!  He was alert, happy, greeting us at the door like normal.  About a week later he had more loose stool, so I decided to feed him boiled chicken and rice.  In the morning he threw that up.  So I added a Zantac – maybe he just had an upset tummy?  He still had a great appetite, but I did notice that when he greeted us at the door, he was a little slower and didn’t bark, he just leaned into me.  We kept an eye on him all weekend and noticed that he was moving slow, not wanting to get up, and he didn’t pee all day Sunday.  I also felt that his belly seemed a little bit distended.

On Monday we took him in to the vet to see what might be going on.  After an exam, blood work and x-rays she found that he had a large mass in his spleen – a hemangiosarcoma, that fluid was building up in his abdomen and that his red blood cell count was low – indicating that it was already bleeding.  She did say that his lungs were still clear.  He still beat histiocytic sarcoma!!  4 years, 2 months & 1 week (prognosis: 12-18 months)  So yes, we were lucky enough to get so much more time than what was expected, but it’s never enough, is it?

That evening we took Cassie & Max and we all said good-bye to our Cancer Warrior.  He passed quietly in our arms.  Sweet Murphy beat one cancer, only to fall prey to a different one.            

 

        

 

       

Thank you to everyone who’s been there for us!  Words really are not enough to say how I feel.  This really is more than “just a support group.”  It’s so hard to describe to people what Tripawds is … the Tripawds Nation is a family and I love you all.

Donna & Glenn

 

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Still Kicking Cancer’s Butt 4 years Later!

Yep, that’s what I said, 4 years!!!!

4 years ago today Murphy had his surgery. wow.  So much has happened in that time.  I’ve made so many friends!  We’ve learned so many things.  Murphy is still a sweet, stubborn, happy dog.  He’s a bit slower than he was, but he can run the fence when he wants to, he just has to take a pain pill afterwards or he won’t be able to walk very well the next day.  Most people who meet him still remark that he seems happy, and I think he still is.  He wags his tail, seems to smile at me, moans and groans when he’s rolling around and barks at us like he’s trying to get us to understand what it is he wants.   He seems to enjoy his chiropractic adjustments, and I think that they’re helping with the stiffness he had in his back.  Tonight we celebrated with steak and apple-peanut butter muffins for the dogs

          

   watching me cut the steak up lol           num, num, num!

   notice that the smallest one is the 1st one done!        Muffins!

Love you guys!!

Donna, Glenn & Murphy

 

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Murphy went to the chiropractor

So we’re late joining the bandwagon, lol, which is weird because I’ve been going to a chiropractor for many, many years.  But there really isn’t a canine chiropractor anyplace near us, so I really had to do some research to find one to go to.

We’ve been a bit concerned lately because Murphy’s been slowing down some and acting a bit more achy,  which is to be expected since it’s been almost 4 years since his surgery.  But still.  He normally will take a Carprofen maybe once or twice a month, but in the past month he’s been taking it every-other-day or sometimes even every day.  When we found this place it took about a month to be able to get an appointment that worked with my work schedule.

ARF – Animal Rehabilitation Facility is about a 45 minute drive from us.  They offer all kinds of rehab – chiropractic, acupuncture, laser, massage, reiki, ultrasound, there’s a pool, water treadmill, diet counseling, you name it!  That’s what I liked about this place as opposed to the other chiropractor that I found.  Before our visit, they contacted MSU and our regular vet to get his records.  Today’s visit was about an hour long and Dr. Mary did a full assessment, checked Murphy’s reflexes, how he sits, stretches, etc.  She said that he’s in pretty good shape!  Especially for a dog that’s been a tripawd for so long, but he needs to lose a little bit of weight (that’s my husband’s fault lol), he needs his nails trimmed a little shorter, and needs to improve his core strength.  He did used to sit pretty more than he does now, so we’re going to work on that.  They gave us a whole binder with his picture on the front and instructions on how to do the exercises & stretches she showed us.  We’ll be going back in 2 weeks for another adjustment.

We know what the future will eventually hold, but we’re hoping that we can help Murphy have less pain during the time he still has with us.

 

 

            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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