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Our World Has Changed So Much

April 4, 2013 is the day our world changed.  It’s the day Murphy lost his leg and we started learning what life was like with a Tripawd.    Over the next 4+ years Murphy taught us all so much about resilience, determination and living life one day at a time.  He never let it get him down, he loved everyone he met, and he was a wonderful ambassador.  When he ran the fence and face-planted, he just got up and kept running.  He proved “them” wrong when they said he’d only make it 12-18 months – he just kept going!  We didn’t do anything special – yes, he got chemo; yes, he switched to a grain-free diet; but we didn’t go raw, we didn’t do any supplements, we didn’t do any of those other things I’ve seen people do for their pets in similar situations.  Why were we so lucky?  I don’t know.

So now our world has changed again.  Social distancing, working from home, people are wearing masks, children are home from school and everyone is afraid.  Today while I have Murphy on my mind, I saw a beautiful bright red cardinal land on our deck and I smiled; a few minutes later a commercial on TV featured a Tripawd dog and I knew that Murphy was thinking of me too <3  He’s letting me know that he’s here and he’s happy.

So, Hoppy Ampuversary at the Bridge Sweet Murphy!


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2 Years At The Bridge

It’s hard to believe that 2 years have gone by already – some days it feels like just yesterday he was rolling over for belly rubs, and other days it feels like he’s been gone for so long that I don’t remember his moany groany self, or the sound of him hopping across the floor & plopping down.  He would lay in the hall and stick his face around the corner looking into the kitchen.  Or lay in the bathroom while I got ready for work in the morning.  I crack up because Cooper will do some of the exact same things Murphy used to do, lay in his favorite places, and I think “hmmm, is he telling you the best places?”

I’m sorry that I’m not here, in the forums like I used to be.  It’s so hard, harder than I thought it would be.  I can talk about wound care and medication management, but then I start to care and then there are losses again, and I just can’t.  I’m sorry.  Please know, though, than you can always message me <3

I’m still, as always, ever thankful for this place.  This place of love, of healing, of tears, of family.  Our “girl’s trip/Tripawd’s party” was full of love, remembering and relaxation.  It’s wonderful to spend time with people who I can just talk to about Murphy, and Cassie too, and not feel like it’s uncomfortable.  We can talk and cry and it’s ok.  We all travelled similar, if different, journeys.

always wanting a belly rub


Murphy & Cooper. both laying on the bathroom floor


up to no good 🙂


my “twin” Dobemom (Paula)


Sally with Myrtle & Frankie


The pain isn’t as sharp as it once was, but it’s still deep.  There will never be a duo such as Cassie & Murphy.




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4/4 Now It’s Just Another Day

4/4/13 seems like such a long time ago.  And for many, it was … most of you probably can’t remember exactly what you were doing that day, but I can.  I was working and waiting.  Waiting for news on how my sweet Murphy did through his surgery that made him a Tripawd.  I remember stepping into the OR hallway to take the call and talking to the doctor – Murphy did great, all went well, he was awake and we could come get him tomorrow.  I teared up a little, but I didn’t have time to cry because I had to get in to a C-section, I had a baby to help into this world!  I remember when I went to pick him up, I took my son with me because I was worried about the long drive home (MSU is about an hour & a half from home), and I kept wondering how we were going to get him into the car (although I figured the hospital probably had a cart or some way to get him there!)  Little did I know that Murphy was going to pull us all the way out to the car & jump in by himself!  And I didn’t have to worry about how Cassie & Max would be when we came home because they sniffed at him and went out side with him then let him be.  Yesterday was another busy day at work – lots more babies coming into this world, which is good – I didn’t have time to wallow in sadness, knowing that I don’t have reason anymore to celebrate Murphy’s Ampuversary.  Even though we were luckier than most and got to celebrate 4 amazing ampuversaries, it’s still hard not celebrating.  Every date is special – 1/15/06 was his birthday; 4/4/13 was his ampuversary; & 6/12/17 was when he crossed the Bridge.   Dates I can’t forget.

on our way home!


I missed you!


a favorite place to sleep

As always  … missing my boy <3


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What would I do without my friends?

There’s a group of us who met here a few years back and  we bonded.  We’ve bonded to the point where we talk pretty much every day, we vent to each other, we cry to each other, we support each other, and we just gab.  We know each other’s spouses, their family’s names, their other pets, their work schedules.  We’ve visited each other and we’ve vacationed together.  We’ve basically become sisters, spread out all across the country, and even across the Pond.  And there are many times that I think, wow, what would I do without them?  They are the first ones I turned to when we lost Murphy.  When we were thinking about adopting Cooper.  And when we lost Cassie.

This was our first Christmas without both Murphy and Cassie.  And even though Max and Cooper keep us entertained, it was difficult at times.  Last year we bought a special ornament to honor Murphy to put on our tree.  So this year on our trip to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, MI we bought an ornament for Cassie, too.   At Bronner’s they will personalize any ornament however you’d like.  You can order from them online, too, but not every ornament can be personalized and they will only do so many letters.  When you go in person, they will do any ornament that they sell, and write as much as they can fit.  I was a little sad as I hung Cassie & Murphy’s ornaments on our beautiful tree, along with so many other memories – trips we’ve taken, places we’ve been, my son growing up, our grandchildren – the normal memories.  Well, 2 days later I came home from work and our beautiful tree was on the floor!   The dogs weren’t responsible (this time they’re innocent!) because they were behind a gate in the hallway.  The cats could have been responsible, but I don’t think so – my tribe thinks that it just “fainted.”  Yep, that’s the conclusion – we bought a fainting tree!  I had to wait for Glenn to get home, then my son helped us to get it back up.  After an hour of struggling it still ended up a bit crooked, and there was a mess on the floor.  Maybe 15-20 ornaments were broken – but  the one that hurt the most was Murphy’s special ornament 🙁  I immediately got online to cry to my tribe about it.  I looked to see if I could order a new one, but there’s a character limit, so it wouldn’t be the same.  And the town is a couple hour drive from here, so we weren’t going to be able to make it back up there before Christmas.  sigh … Well, the next morning one of my angels messaged me not to order it, because she already did!  She looked up the company and called them and ordered it to be just the way it was <3  I cried.  And this evening, when I got home from work, Murphy’s new ornament is here, it’s perfect, and I cried again.

Cooper   &    Max

Fainting tree!


These sisters are amazing.  And I’m thankful that we came together through Tripawds.






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1 Year, 12 months of Sadness, 365 Memories (well, really more!), and a Lifetime of Love

It’s been a year since Murphy left us.  12 months of sadness, tears, anger at that stupid “C” word.  How unfair that he beat one cancer for so long just to be taken by a different one!  At the time that we lost him, Cassie was getting worse with her walking, so taking care of her took up our minds and it sort of helped in a way.  I think that one of the hardest things when you lose a pet that has special needs, is that your day revolves around them – their care, their meds, their feeding, so when you lose them, you feel it more than you do with a pet that didn’t have special needs.  So the fact that Cassie suddenly was needing care – vet visits, rehab, medications, therapy, help with walking … meant that our minds were still busy.  It didn’t mean that we didn’t miss Murphy, it meant that we shifted.

In September we adopted Cooper.  We knew that Max would eventually be alone, so we wanted a companion for him.

In October we got a ramp for Cassie to help her with the 1 step off the deck.  We also used it to get her into & out of the car.  By Christmas she was not walking at all.  By the end of January, she was gone.  Two loves gone in 7 months, and then it all really hit, and it hit hard.

We no longer had anyone who needed full-time care, no one to schedule around, to worry about, so all of the grief just crashed down on us times 2.  One night I somehow found  a book called “The Amazing Afterlife of Animals” by Karen A. Anderson.  I practically read it in one sitting!  She spoke to my soul, she reached right through that book and held me and I found a bit of peace.

But today is Murphy’s day, and coincidentally it’s World Pet Memorial day.

Murphy was a scrawny little thing when we adopted him.  We were told that he was an “Irish Setter/Spaniel” mix by the rescue group and we decided to name him Murphy in honor of my mom!  That was her maiden name, and as an only child the name was never passed on by her.  Since he was part Irish, we thought it was appropriate 🙂  He was stubborn right from the start – if he didn’t want to do something, he would lay down & roll over.  One time I did battle with him because he started digging next to the central air unit – I think we fought for about a half hour!  I had no intention of hitting him, I just wanted to show him & tell him “NO,” but he alligator-rolled, & twisted out of his collar, dug into the ground, ran away from me…ugh!   Murphy & Cassie were always the best of friends, right from the very minute that they met.  She taught him how to crawl under the bed to sleep.  He loved to be outside, and he didn’t care what the weather was like!  If it was raining, he would lay underneath our large blue spruce trees.  Other times he’d lay in the sunshine on the deck.  Whenever we got the hose out to water the flowers, Murphy went to the furthest corner of the yard!  Cassie would come over to bite the spray or steal the sprinkler, but Murphy ran away from it.  He also ran away from the brush – he would start barking at me any time I got it out, and Cassie would walk over in between us and push her head under my hand.  Murphy loved to stick his head out of the car window, and he was a great passenger in the car.  He loved belly rubs from anybody who was willing to give them, including toddlers.  When we moved into our house, Murphy & Cassie were very quick to create a path in the grass around the pool.  No matter where they were in the yard, they had to go back to the path first before coming up to the deck to come in.  Murphy loved to chase the squirrels and he’d often corner them on the pool deck railing, forcing them to jump to the trees.  Murphy liked other dogs and liked meeting new friends.  Murphy loved when we were wrapping presents – he knew that eventually we would have an empty tube & they make great toys!  He really was a happy dog.  The day I took him out to Michigan State the fellow really gave his leg such a work-out and Murphy just let him, not one sound of complaint, even with a tumor there.  After his amputation he participated in 2 Bark for Life walks and raised money for the American Cancer Society, plus we traveled to Chicago for PuppyUp’s walk and raised money and awareness for canine cancer.  He was a true ambassador for canine cancer and Tripawds 🙂 Whenever I took him someplace he got attention, but if people felt bad for him I quickly assured them that they shouldn’t – that he was happy, healthy and pain-free because of his surgery.

I miss Murphy’s smile, his hugs (yes, he hugged!), and even his barking (I never thought I’d say that!  lol).  I miss him rolling over for a belly-rub, his moany-groany sounds that he made when he was happy, his hop-hop-hop down the hallway.  I miss watching him run the fence when there was another dog in the park – oh, he could run!  I miss the way he sat on his butt so that his back feet stuck up a little  bit so we could dry them off when they were wet.  I miss his sweet kisses – he gave sweet little kisses, but you had to be careful because sometimes he tried to slip that tongue in!  lol  I miss the little white tip of his tail, and the black outline of his ears.  I miss him looking around the corner of the wall from the hallway when I’m in the kitchen.  I think about both of them all the time 🙁

I’m so very grateful for this site and for the people here.  Some days are just too hard to be here for long, but I do still try.  I’ve made life-long friends here, friends who have travelled the same path I have and can understand what we’ve been through like no others.  Meeting in person, first in Chicago, then in Virginia was incredible!  I don’t know what I’d do without you.





















most of my Tripawds family 2018

my “twin” Paula aka dobemom

A brief rainbow we saw in the Outer Banks

thank you Rene <3

Thank you for letting me share (or over-share!) our Murphy tonight.

I love you Smurphs!

Donna & Glenn





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