A Walk in the Park

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Last weekend we had gorgeous weather so we decided to go to the park and we brought Morgan-Dog with us. She was so incredibly happy to go with us. She’s always loved going on our outings but it was difficult because she wasn’t always happy with other dogs. It made it very stressful to bring her along.

However, since her amputation she is different. She is more tolerant of the kids especially ‘J’. She spends most of her time in the playroom wiht the kids. I am certain it is because she doesn’t hurt anymore and because we’ve been uber-spoiling her. So! I had hopes she would be okay with other dogs and decided she should come to the park.

Well, there were zero dogs at the park. 🙂 But we had a lot of fun anyway. The two photos below should give you a good idea of how happy she is! She is my gorgeous tripawd.

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thank you

Tripawds is a user-supported community. Thank you for your support!

I would like to quickly thank the Tripawd community for their support and wonderfully encouraging comments. Morgan-Dog rests at my feet right now. She is back to being the “crazy for people food” & loving dog we remember from last summer. There’s just two differences, she appreciates us more and she adores M&J. She sits in the middle of the playroom and just hangs with them.

Stay away cancer. Stay away.

one month post op!

Morgan is officially one month post op! She is my Tripawd Rock Star! She still “catches” herself with certain maneuvers but for the most part she is rocking the world on three paws!

Just last week we went on a slow but long walk through the neighborhood with M&J. It was about a mile long and I don’t think we were going fast enough for Morgan. A five-year old and an almost three-year old walk really, really slow. 🙂

We also took a family outing to the park. Morgan-Dog was whining to walk (she never whines). So, I left the slow pokes and walked with Morgan-Dog. Again, I didn’t seem to be going fast enough. My question to the Tripawd community: Is this normal?

I am very concerned about the pyoderma. Morgan is on her almost 6th week of antibiotics (after a three day break). It is getting smaller and dryer but still it is there. How long will she need to be on anti-biotics?

Now, I am certain my Charlie-Cat is sick. It appears to be a good case of constipation, but our my luck with my 4-legged children has been pretty shakey lately. I feel bad for Charlie because our funds have been spent on Morgan’s amputation. I hope to God it is just constipation. Wish us luck. I feel bad for my Charlie-Cat.

Morgan’s First Official Walk on Three Legs!

Morgan-Dog has been my walking/running partner since she was able to handle at least a three mile walk (at about 7 months old).  I enjoyed having her with me. She kept me company and kept me safe. She helped set the pace and she was my ears. (I am deaf in my left ear.) When I found out she had cancer in her hind left leg, I could not go for my walk/run; it hurt way too much.  I tried, but I cried the entire time. (I am glad I wore my sunglasses that day.) I miss my walking buddy!

Dr. Morrison gave Morgan the ‘okay’ for lite walks at her two week follow-up appointment. I couldn’t wait, but Mother Nature would make me. The Upstate (Greenville, South Carolina) is very hilly which made me nervous to begin with, but the snow/ice/rain storm really had me nervous. The walk would have to wait.

Super Bowl Sunday brought a lovely, mild and sunny day so I laced up my running shoes, put on my Maryland ball cap and went for a walk/run…without Morgan. This time it was okay because I knew I would be doing a “cool-down walk” with Morgan. Her first official walk on three legs! We were both so excited.

I knew we had to take it easy and I let Morgan linger and enjoy! She was so upset when we headed home and pulled me past the house. Below is a photo from her first official Tripawd walk!

Which Way Should We Go?
She's wondering which way to go?

We have a Pyoderma

Morgan has had two follow up visits to her surgery so far. She really is doing very, very well.

One week post-op the staples were removed and the incision was checked. Dr. Morrison was pleased with how it was healing but wanted to watch the back end of the incision because of how he had to close it up. I have not problem with follow-ups and re-checks. And, to be honest Morgan loves to visit (just as long as she gets to leave with me).

At that first visit, Morgan was given permission to climb stairs twice a day and go for short, easy walks. We were so excited! It is just too bad that a snow/ice storm in Greenville, SC kept us from celebrating with a walk.

Morgan was so happy to see that baby gate go away when we got home. She loves her Josie-girl so much and sleeps in her room 90% of the time and that was the first place she went after she climbed the stairs. (Although, since the amputation she has been spending a lot more time in Max’s room too.)

M&J joined us on the second follow-up visit which made it quite “fun”. Dr. Morrison noted how much more “pep in her step” Morgan had with M&J around! 🙂 I am glad others notice that.

The second visit brought us good reviews from Dr. Morrison. However, he did notice what my husband and I discovered on Morgan’s right side torso. I didn’t think it was a “bedsore” and he agreed. It isn’t in a spot that gets a lot of pressure when she lays down. So, they took her back, clipped around it and cleaned it up. They believe it is a Pyoderma: a skin infection. We don’t know the cause, but antibiotics will hopefully be the cure.The good news is that it doesn’t seem to be bothering Morgan and she cannot get at it very easily unless she is standing.

This Pyoderma gets us another visit with Dr. Morrison! Did I mention Morgan likes to visit Dr. Morrison? 🙂

Morgan would like me to ask her other Tripawds if they have ever experienced a Pyoderma post-amputation?

My Dog Hops

“My Dog Hops”, says Josie. She’s my almost three year old little girl and this is how she describes our Morgan just 7 days post amputation. Seems perfect for Tripawd’s…doesn’t it?
My name is Cate. I am a wife to Cass and a Mom to Max, Josie, Morgan-Dog and Charlie-Cat.  Charlie-Cat has been with me the longest and then Morgan-Dog. The husband and the human babies came later. I tell you this so you know the history and so you understand the bond between me and Morgan.

June 11, 2001 is the date I met my beautiful pup. I had just lost my job and decided it was a perfect time to care for a puppy. My brother had met a family who had tried their hand at breeding their English Shepherd and the result was 13 puppies weened at 4 weeks.

I knew I wanted a female. I knew I wanted black & tan. It was a hot day. The puppies weren’t very playful and choosing my pup was very difficult. Until, I noticed a beautiful, smart pup who had dug herself a bed at the base of the house away from the sun and the activity. And, I knew it was her! 🙂

Her name was Emma for half a day. She wasn’t an Emma. I did some research and found that Morgan is Gaelic and means “of or by the sea”. I am Irish and grew up by the sea. Perfection! Her name was officially changed to Morgan.

We’ve been through a lot together…unemployment, boyfriends, break-ups, illnesses, marriage, babies! She is more than just a dog! She’s my friend.

She started limping in November. We thought it was arthritis in her hip. We had recently  moved from a flat yard in Baltimore to a sloped yard in Greenville. I just assumed soccer in the sloped yard aggravated her hip. I was wrong.

Standing in the Dr. Ann’s office with my Morgan and M&J I learned of the bone tumor. I was crushed and the tears started and then the questions from M&J. It was so much all at once. I drove around with M&J while Morgan had her chest x-rayed. I explained to them that Morgan was very sick and we were trying to find out how sick. We picked Morgan up about 60 minutes later. Her chest x-rays were clear. What was next?

The funny thing was that Morgan seemed relieved, happy and elated! She was the best we had seen her in weeks. I think, I know she was happy we knew and that she wasn’t alone with her illness anymore.

There were lots and lots of tears, hugs and love. We spoiled her more than she was accustomed. She ate people food, sat on the couch and slept on the bed. We didn’t know what we were going to do and how much time we had with Morgan and we were going to make her life (more) awesome!

We enjoyed Christmas and decided to have a biopsy done after the holiday. Our worst fears were confirmed. It was cancer and believed to be a primary tumor, an osteosarcoma. Now we had an answer to know what to do next. The abdominal ultrasound was done a few days later. We were relieved to know it was clear!

The decision to amputate was actually easy. My husband said, “I would rather have a Morgan with three legs than no Morgan at all.” We scheduled the amputation not to save or to extend Morgan’s life, but rather to ease her pain and to avoid a fracture in that leg.  With each step we worried about a fracture and more pain.

So on January 20th, Morgan’s left hind leg was removed. “Her sick leg was removed and sent to Heaven.” This is how we explained it to M&J. Actually, tripawds.com was so helpful in explaining things to my  5 and almost 3 year old.

Morgan made it through surgery with flying colors. She was recovering “ahead of the curve and with a lot of spirit”. She was ready to come home on Friday the 22nd, but we wanted to wait until Saturday. My Mom had come to get M&J so that the house would be quiet for my “lighter” dog. It was a good plan. Morgan, Cass and I needed to adjust and get settled. Morgan needed to be reminded that running up the stairs and hopping up on the bed was not good for her recovery. However, by Monday we all missed M&J!

The day I met my Mom to pick up the kids, I had a picture of Morgan’s left side. I showed M&J and explained that her hair had been shaved and her sick leg had been removed. I further explained it hurt and she wasn’t allowed to go up & down the stairs, etc. They were ready to go home and see their dog.

When I entered the house with M&J, Morgan was so happy and M&J were so happy to see Morgan. It was heart warming!  It was perfect until my almost 3 year old took a second glance at the missing leg/incision. She burst into tears saying, “I am sad for my Morgan. I want her leg back. Is it in Heaven? I want her leg back!” I just froze. How would I handle this? Well, I didn’t have to. My beautiful Morgan-Dog hopped right up to Josie and kissed away all the the tears. It was perfect and I was reminded of how much I love my Morgan-Dog and that she is a huge part of this family.

We had made the correct decision, right?