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Emerson in Sydney, Australia

Our 12-year-old black Labrador, Emerson

Emerson in Sydney, Australia

Hello from Emerson to all Tripawds!

March 24th, 2019 · 11 Comments · Uncategorized

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Emerson down at the beach.

Emerson’s osteosarcoma collapsed just before Christmas 2017; we amputated within days, before the cancer diagnosis was confirmed by pathology, which made it a very difficult decision, relying primarily on X-ray analysis. But the pain was clear and awful, and waiting was not an option.

As it was, it came through as a low-grade tumour, no sign of mets, and still no sign of mets.

The post-op nights were bad – we had Emerson at home the day of the op as Deanna was a qualified vet nurse at the clinic where the operation took place, and the vets felt he’d get the best full-time attention at home, which he did, we barely slept in days, taking turns sleeping with him on the floor. The whining, the panting was awful, and it was during that, while Googling around, we came across Tripawds. Some of the nuggets of wisdom we found, from Jerry & the team and from those who had shared their stories, helped immeasurably. One note on the possible effects of a particular pain killer was especially helpfu,. and lowering the dose (under vet advice) seemed to help greatly.

We wrote to the Tripawds team afterwards to thank the whole community, and they made Emerson Tripawd of the Week! https://tripawds.com/2018/01/16/tripawd-tuesday-emerson-the-labrador/

Together with his ongoing recovery, we had a quite joyous 2018. Those slow-motion days before and during, where we didn’t know if he’d make it, they changed my life in focusing on what matters; I’ve not been quite the same since. I spend as much time as I can with Emerson every day, though really, I did that anyway. What’s better time spent than hanging with your dog?

We’ve been fully aware that every day is a bonus, and that life post-op can be cut short at any time by a complication, by metastatisation, by quality of life dropping below the threshold at which an intervention has to be made. We were lucky to be part of a groundbreaking cancer vaccine trial here in Sydney, and to have top-notch vets at our clinic. To all them, and to the Tripawds community, our endless thanks!

So far, he’s done so well. We’re down at the park by the beach dunes (they can swim in the lagoon) as many days a week as we can; many of you will know how popular a three-legged dog can be at a dog park, and how children react, and Emerson is a great dog for them to come and meet – we raised him as a guide-dog puppy, and he failed for being a bit too bonkers, but he’s exceptionally good with people and children. There was even a retriever called Bo, which was another tripawd, with his back leg missing. Can’t say there was any sense of recognition between them, but it was great to meet the owners. Very sadly, I met Bo a month or two back being taken on his final walk, as after six months his cancer had spread. That was a sad sad day.

Our sad day will come, of course, but it comes to all dog owners, and I truly think that Tripawd owners who have been through the near loss already are blessed in becoming so super-attached and ‘awake’ to them for however long we do get. Already 15 months, we are so lucky. And recently when we switched meds he was obviously improved in mobility and was bombing around like a puppy, and started ‘dune-bolting’ again, still going off a lot faster than I can catch him…

So thanks to all, and especially for anyone reading this site during or pre-amputation, don’t think of it as a non-option. It’s humans that freak out about three-legged dogs, they can be absolutely fine about it. The chemo is not like chemo for humans, the side effects are far less severe, indeed we noticed none at all. If you can get on a cancer vaccine trial, so much the better. If they can have a good quality of life, and love doing stuff like Emerson, don’t think twice. Our love to you all!

Vid here, if you can see it!

Jez, Deanna & Emerson

P.PS I forgot to include this pic!


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11 Comments so far ↓

  • jerry

    Oh my heart is going pitter patter! That boy is so darn handsome and inspawrational and EVERYTHING we hope that our heroes get to enjoy after the hard part of amputation recovery is over.

    THANK YOU for returning to share a pupdate, and let us know that there is life after losing a leg. He is such a joyful boy! And you are very fortunate and wonderful humans.

    May Emerson and all of you have many, many more good times ahead. Live in the now! Be More dog! And life is good.

    Give him extra smooches from us!!

  • Aimee Chagnon

    Our dear girl Hershey had her right front leg amputated due to cancer 2 years ago. It was the hardest on her humans…I’m a doctor and she comes with me to work and is everyone’s favorite staff member. She is a pit bull and was already a breed ambassador but now even more so…and we celebrate every day we have with her (she’s about 10). She is my heart, and she reminds me of what’s important in life.

    • emerson

      Lucky Hershey, coming to work every day! Emerson would love that – he’s home alone two days of the week, poor boy, and darned near wags the place down when we get home. Two years, wonderful! Long may be she carry her Ambassadorial role!

  • Kelly

    Jez, Deanna & Emerson, I have 3 yr old dachshund whom is right hind leg PO since Monday (11th) we brought him home fromvet office on Friday. They didn’t give us any pain medication but he doesn’t seem to be in any pain. We haven’t really had him out much walking as we don’t want to over do it. Oh I should add he has a fractured pelvis and a large hernia that was repaired. He was hit by a 12,000# truck, theme day evening before. Are we ok by not making him walk too much or should we be doing something every so often? I’m just lost and I don’t want to harm him in any way by doing too much or not enough. Please let me know what you think. Kelly

    • emerson

      Kelly, I absolutely don’t know, and would follow your vet’s advice on that one, and let your dog set the pace. So sorry to hear – you poor guys and poor dachshund. Emerson sends wags, and our love for the recovery.

  • Ann Courtney

    What a wonderful year for Emerson and your family! My Holden became a tripod on January 9, 2019, and he is taking on the year with gusto!

    “It’s humans that freak out about three-legged dogs…..”, not the dogs themselves. That will be my new motto!!

    • emerson

      Thank you Ann! Wags to your tripawd, and glad you found the community here. We picked up the ‘Three legs and a spare’ phrase from here, which is a great way of explaining it to children.

  • Michelle

    Emerson you are so handsome. Thanks for the update. It sure looks like Emerson is living a wonderful life on 3 legs

    Michelle & Angel Sassy

  • benny55

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading every single word as you chronicled Emerson’s joyful life as a tripawd!

    And the insight you shared about the lessons of enlightenment you have learned from this journey are so nicely expressed.

    Yes, we do become”awake”. Well said. Everyday with our tripawd is an excellent day! Nothing else really matters.

    I’m glad yoj got to meet Bo. I have a feeling he’s helping to watch over Emerson now💖

    These pictures are beautiful sacred treasures. They will always have these to remind you of why we do what we do and how our dogs just get on with living life to the fullest!!

    And the pjoto here at the bottom…..PRICELESS!!! As you may know, we do a calendar every year. Here’s your choice right there with that photo!😎

    Thanks fot such a great blog post on so many levels. And put me in line for the smooches yo Emerson! Love this dog!!

    Hugs
    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

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