TRIPAWDS: Home to 13738 Members and 1215 Blogs.

17 Jun 2017


Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized


Best Smile Ever

Wow! I can’t believe its been 3 years! It seems like yesterday, and at the same time it seems like forever,  that Nitro has been a Tripawd. What an amazing milestone to experience, after years of amazing milestones. Thinking back to that first week, that first month, that first summer after the surgery…..I’m sure we never thought we’d be here, 3 years later. And it’s a little scary being in these uncharted waters we find ourselves in….even his vet has no idea, being that he’s so far off the osteosarcoma chart of  “what’s next”. Equally scary is the fact that I have ZERO experience in dealing with an “elderly” Dobe.

how royalty eats

so sleepy

Around the first week of April, Nitro appeared to be declining; his holistic vet convinced me to do a re-check of his kidney values (which hadn’t been checked in many months). The values were substantially higher than they’d been, so we scheduled a 2-day IV fluid session. When I went to flush the IV port the first night, I could tell something was wrong because blood was leaking out. Off to the ER vet we went only to find that the connection had come loose, which they fixed at no charge. About 3 am Nitro became extremely restless and whiney; at that point I was mentally preparing myself to say good-bye to him in the morning rather than do the second day of fluids – he just seemed to be telling me the journey was nearing the end. But John’s take on the situation was that Nitro was just over-tired from being at the vet’s all day with no rest; so he laid by him and pet him until sleep finally came. We proceeded with the planned fluids, but shared my concerns with his vet. We decided to see how he was over the weekend, and re-evaluate later. Long story short, he improved, once again bouncing back to “normal”.  The new plan is to do preemptive fluids (just 1 day), every 4 weeks, and not do blood work for kidney values; perhaps another example of burying my head in the sand, but I don’t need to obsess on numbers. Since then, he’s been doing extremely well despite all the challenges he faces; his arthritis is progressing, and he tires easily, but we just strap on his harness when he needs a little boost. He’s eating well, is happy and alert, and insists on chasing the laser light every night before he’ll come in the house. All things considered, we are in a good place right now.


bonding with dad in the garage

celebration treat

Can’t leave Kodi out


With all that going on, I had serious doubts that he’d be with us when I went to Virginia, and was apprehensive leaving home, but everyone survived (and probably thrived) without me. The East Coast Tripawd Party was one for the record books! The Puppy Up gathering last September was just the tip of the iceberg as far as the feeling of “coming home”; I can’t even put into words how it felt to spend 4 days with people who have come to mean the world to me. We laughed, we cried, we shared our hopes and fears, we healed,  we bonded for life. I can’t imagine a time when these friends, this family weren’t a part of my life.

first night together

Angel Sally

Tribute Table

So this is where we are, 3 years later….21 years in dog years. We’ll just keep on taking it one day at a time, one crisis at a time, because what else can we do? We’ll keep reaching for, and celebrating every new milestone…..looking forward to reaching his 12th birthday in October and also hoping some of his “aunts” might be able to swing by for a visit this summer. My greatest wish is for all of you to meet this amazing Warrior, while he still wears his earthly clothes. One can hope! For now, wishing you peace and love from the Ehlers’ ranch.


*************IN LOVING MEMORY OF MURPHY**************


We lost our friend Murphy this week….he was our mentor, a fellow Warrior, who showed us the way on this journey we travel. We looked up to him for guidance, as we moved into uncharted territory as cancer survivors. We will miss him terribly, and mourn his loss; until we meet one day at the Bridge – run free, brave Warrior! <3 <3 <3







17 May 2017


Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized


Today is 35 months since Nitro became a Tripawd….just a little teaser of what’s to come next month when its 3 YEARS!

This journey has been full of ups and downs, especially lately. We’re still experiencing  the highest highs, and the lowest lows, but at least we are still on the journey. Every day is a blessing, every day is uncertain, every day I love him more. This dog is the ultimate warrior, a cat with nine lives.


In less than 2 weeks I will be in Virginia to attend the “International Pawty of the Century”.  And while I’m beyond excited, I’m apprehensive leaving home; I know John will take great care of my boys, but a mother worries. Not that long ago I didn’t think Nitro would even be here when I  headed east; but he’s proven me wrong so many times, too many to count. I hesitate to even write these words, for fear I will jinx things. So instead, I will send out the most positive vibes this universe has ever felt.

ribbon for the Tribute Leash

Until next month, when we celebrate “3 ON 3″….peace and love from the Ehlers’ ranch.

15 Mar 2017

Kodi’s 13th Birthday!

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s hard to believe that this guy is 13 years old already! It seems like yesterday that we brought home this little 4 pound bundle of energy; boy did he kick our butts! I remember holding him up one night, looking into his eyes, and saying “why are you doing this to us?!?” when he wouldn’t settle down and go to sleep.  But what a treasure he turned out to be… easy going, laid back, stubborn with a mind of his own. He didn’t seem to mind (too much) when all our attention and energy went into taking care of Nitro throughout his cancer journey; in fact, at times, he just seemed to melt into the background – I’m sometimes ashamed to admit how often that happened, and am trying to make it up to him.

Through the years he’s made me laugh, made me cry, frustrated me, tried my patience, grossed me out, and taught me that life is on his schedule, not mine. So without further ado, get ready for some Westie cuteness overload, and join me in wishing him the happiest of birthdays, with many more to come!

first day home

No small amount of self-esteem

introduction to big sister Harley

One of his trophy’s

Pumpkin for lunch

Love you to pieces, White Knight!

12 Mar 2017


Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized


Or “Apparently Nitro wants my hair to be gray”…..

When I got home from work this past Wednesday night, there was a pile of vomit and 2 piles of runny diarrhea waiting for me. Ever since the issues of kidney failure started, one of the questions I get asked by my vet is “is he throwing up?”. I didn’t jump into full-blown panic mode just yet, but I was uneasy. The next day I gave him some Cerenia, didn’t make him eat anything, and called my vet with concerns about renal failure, and “the end being near”. She said, “he’s fooled us before, let’s give our boy the benefit of the doubt and treat him for his diarrhea”. I texted my sitter to let her know he was under the weather. When she got there, she texted me that he wouldn’t get off the couch, just laid there, not moving. THAT sent me into full-blown panic mode! When I got home, he got up for me and went outside; I gave him his diarrhea med, and we went to bed. I’d eaten nothing that day (due to worrying), so I brought a piece of cheese with me….he sat up, looked at me like “what do you have there?” I offered him some – and he ate it. The next day he seemed a little perkier, and ate some canned pumpkin with slow roasted chicken. When my vet called to check on him, she told me when she heard “diarrhea”, that put his issue back to a GI condition, not a kidney one. That night my friend told me 3 of her coworkers had dogs that had the “doggy flu”; this would’ve been good to know sooner so I could have avoided spinning out of control.

A few weeks ago for some reason, I brought up CBD oil with his holistic vet; she thought it was worth looking into. She has a contact at UC Davis who is “scary smart” and has a lot of experience with this – and even uses it on her own dog. She recommended a product to try, so I ordered some.

Ever since I started thinking about this remedy, I’ve been seeing signs of it everywhere….John talked to a patron at work who has family in Colorado who gets them CBD cream for her mother’s arthritis and swears by it; my California connection (Alison) has friends who are knowledgeable with it, and also feel it works; the State of Wisconsin is close to passing legislature to make it legal here; and finally, the book I’m reading mentions its use for pain management in cancer. It seems EVERYWHERE I look, I see signs that this is the path we are meant to try. (Thanks to Rene, for sending me a book, “The Secret”….it seems it really does work!)

We are on day 2 of the Canna Companion…I am hopeful it will help….I am out of my tailspin of doom….my Warrior takes a licking and keeps on ticking….I am grateful for my Tripawd Family for grounding me once again. Peace and love from the Ehlers’ ranch.

16 Feb 2017

Update On Da Bros

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized





So I was thinking I should post an update on how things are going for Nitro and Kodi…….then I thought if I did, maybe I would jinx things somehow; then I thought I was over-thinking things (like that never happens, right?) So here goes:


Kodi is just over a week out of being on his Cushing meds. I think I can see signs that they’re relieving his symptoms a little. The potty pad I leave out for him has been dry and  the water bowl still has water in in when I get home. He still wants to eat, but isn’t throwing a fit if he has to wait a bit. We’ve been walking just about every day, and now he’s gotten to where he’ll sit outside, staring at the house, and bark until I grab his leash and we go. There is a small hill near us, and we’ve been going up and down it several times to work on his “core” (he’ll never have 6-pack abs, but we’re trying). He goes back to the vet next week to have his blood tested to see if the dosage he’s on is where it should be.

As for Nitro, he’s still playful and happy, and seems to be feeling pretty good. I’m still on pins and needles when it’s time for lunch, stressing if he’ll eat or not, but he’s eating – after a little bit of “priming the pump”, he will eat his full meal. I’ve given him a dose or two of Mirtazapine when he gets really fussy, and then he’s back to eating (and I truly don’t know if that was necessary, because he does like to play me and would rather eat treats than his bland Hills K/D food). Two of my co-workers just lost pets to kidney failure, and it seems like every other patient who’s labs I verify has the diagnosis of “acute renal failure”. It’s hard not to obsess about this disease when I see it everywhere, but I’m trying.

So for the moment, things are going as well as can be expected. I’m excited for 50 degree weather to hit our area this weekend…I forsee longer walks and steak on the grill (and perhaps a glass of wine or two) as I strive to live in the moment and enjoy every bit of it with my boys. Peace and love to you all from the Ehlers’ ranch.

P.S. Tomorrow will be Nitro’s 32 month ampuversary!

31 Jan 2017

Kodi says “it’s my turn”

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

Kodi says it’s his turn to take over Nitro’s blog….

Last week Kodi underwent testing for Cushing’s Disease. He’d been drinking a lot of water lately, which  translates into peeing a lot;  he also had an increased appetite, which for him, was a huge red flag. You’d never know by looking at him, but this dog was THE worst eater his whole life. I practically had to stand on my head to get him to eat, so when he started pitching a fit to be fed, I knew something was up.

I wasn’t surprised when my vet called and said he did indeed have Cushing’s; and oddly enough, I’m not too upset by this. After all, it could be SO much worse. This disease is pretty common in terriers, especially as they age (he will be 13 in May). It will entail him taking a daily pill for the rest of his life; while it’s not a cure, it will help alleviate his symptoms of thirst and urination. The tricky thing is to watch him closely so diabetes doesn’t develop – which can (and does) happen. I posted his story in a Westie group on Facebook to hear what other people’s input was. Some had poor experiences, and some had up to 4 years of living with the disease.

So, that is where we are….he is still the same old Kodi – stubborn, playful, demanding, as terrier’s usually  are. We will take this one day at a time, as that is all we can do. Wishing you peace from the Ehlers’ ranch.

P.S. If anyone is in need of a kidney or other body  parts, I’m looking to sell mine to pay for my vet bills. 🙂

21 Jan 2017


Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

Glad this week is over! The last 4 days were spent taking both dogs to various appointments – I’m not a soccer mom, I’m a vet mom!

On Wednesday, Nitro saw Dr. Patty for his chiro adjustment and acupuncture. She added 2 new supplements for kidney support – Arginex and Renatrophin PMG, both by Standard Process. And she tweaked the acupuncture for more emphasis on the kidneys.

Then he spent all day Thursday and Friday getting IV fluids to flush out the kidneys, hopefully lowering his BUN and CREAT levels. I’d recently found a t-shirt that says “LET YOUR FAITH BE GREATER THAN YOUR FEAR”; that became my mantra on Friday, repeating the phrase over and over in my head, hundreds of times. The levels remained pretty much the same, but by the end of my conversation with my vet, oddly enough, I was totally calm. Earlier in the week I was a basket case – just ask Michelle, who’d had several conversations with me. She even pulled out the big guns in chat one night and had Sally pop in for a pep talk. And Sally hardly EVER comes in to chat. So for me to be totally calm after the trying week is nothing short of miraculous.

In summary:  1. Nitro’s kidney levels are not what we’d like to see, but his ISN’T ACTING SICK! In fact, if we weren’t monitoring them because of his NSAID’s, we probably wouldn’t even suspect they were high. 2. He has been off the Carprofen (NSAID)  a week tomorrow, and his mobility is good; the Adequan injections appear to be working. 3. He is on 3 holistic kidney supplements that I’m hopeful will help. 4. The last several days his appetite has been very decreased, but last night when I got home from work, he ate! And if needed, my vet will give him an appetite stimulant.

So that is his story so far. Kodi also has a story, but I will save that for next week’s post when I have more information. Thank you Tripawd family, for your guidance and love. For now, there is peace at the Ehlers’ ranch.

15 Jan 2017


Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized


Still wants to play

So Nitro has been less than enthusiastic about eating lately – his dog food, that is. I’d been attributing it to almost zero exercise due to the bitter cold temps/ice covered yard, getting tired of his Hills Science KD food, and just being spoiled beyond words and only wanting treats. Yesterday he had his re-check for kidney function labs that we do because of the NSAID’s he’s on for his arthritis. The values (BUN and CREAT) went up – again. I requested a full chemistry panel along with a CBC to see if anything else was going on….because what else would a lab rat do? Good news is, everything else looked really good.

So now I’m in a panic about his kidney values…when this journey began, I always figured cancer would be what took him away from me. Now I forsee kidney failure taking my boy. I’m back to the stomach-twisting fear I felt after his diagnosis; I can’t eat, I feel like crying all the time – in short, I’M NOT BEING MORE DOG! I feel like such a fake, telling other members this importatnt piece of advice, when I’m not even close to it. I hate that I’m mourning him while he’s still here. Oh, and by the way, he isn’t acting the least bit sick! Other than having to coax him to eat, he’s playful and happy and loving. I keep focusing on the end…when will it come, how many days, weeks, months do I have left with him? What is wrong with me?

He has an appointment next week to have IV fluids to flush out his kidneys. He sees his holistic vet on Wednesday for chiro and acupuncture, and I will ask her about some homeopathic options for kidney support. My brain knows we’re not at the end, yet my heart is saying something different. Part of me says “he’s been a warrior and faced every challenge thrown at him so far, he can face this too”; the other part of me says “he’s been a warrior and faced every challenge thrown at him so far, maybe he’s finally run out of luck”. I know I have to snap out of this funk, for his sake as much as mine, but I’m not sure I know how.

After re-reading my words, I’m struck by how selfish they sound….he is over 2 ½ yrs post amp, still happy and goofy, and I’m mired in self-pity! How many members out there would KILL for what we have right now? My apologies for the pity-party.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference”

Loves his sunspot



17 Dec 2016


Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

First snowfall of 2016

December 17, 2016….exactly 2 1/2 years ago today,  Nitro had his right front leg amputated due to osteosarcoma. At times its hard to clearly remember  that day, while  other parts are seared into my brain and will never be forgotten……

Like my first image of him hopping down the corridor when we picked him up the day after surgery, wearing his t-shirt and Ruffwear Harness;  his eyes were glazed with drugs, but what a glorious site to behold. Tears in my eyes, I dropped to my knees, and told him he was beautiful.

Like the heart-wrenching cry of pain he let out as we tried to get him in the back of my SUV. And the long, sleepless night as he tried to get comfortable, only to pant and whine and moan.

wherever there is a blanket, there he is

Fast-forward to today…a week ago he had lab work to check his renal (kidney) function, as its been determined he has arthritis in his left knee and low back, and has to be on an anti-inflammatory which can be hard on the kidneys. The lab values had gone up, so we decided to cut the dose in half – BAD IDEA! After just one reduced dose he was painful, and had such a hard time getting around that I had to resort to using his harness to assist him. It was such a low point for me, that I looked into his eyes to see if he was telling me he was tired of the fight – but apparently his eyes were only telling me he wanted another treat, because by morning he was moving much more easily. The following night after work, he was practically doing ninja kicks in the yard. This tells his vets that it is most likely the arthritis, and he is now going to get Adequan injections that I will be able to give him at home once I learn how. It’s not an inexpensive treatment, but if it enables him to be comfortable while lowering the anti-inflammatories, it will be well worth it to give his kidneys a break.

Hard to see Kodi in the snow

So that is where we are at this point of our journey; still ups and downs, to be sure, but we are most assuredly blessed in this Christmas season. Wishing all of our Tripawd friends and family a healthy and hoppy new year.

Peace and love from the Ehlers Ranch


31 Oct 2016

11th Birthday Milestone for Nitro

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized
Lookin' good at age 11

Lookin’ good at age 11

As Nitro reaches his 11th year on this earth, I’ve been reflecting on my love/hate relationship with this journey we find ourselves on..

  • I obviously HATE CANCER, and all that that entails.
  • I HATE  that not one hour of a day is not spent stressing, or worrying about him; and if not him, then any one of several of our fur-friends we’ve “met” here.
  • I HATE  that his brother Kodi is oftentimes pushed into the shadows, as I worry and stress over Nitro.
  • I HATE  that our best friends, no matter how long they are with us, leave us far too soon.
  • I HATE  that I don’t take him for walks anymore, or let him chase the ball too hard, for fear of damaging any of his remaining legs. He was once a breathtaking athlete, and is now reduced to a few chases of the ball in the yard.
  • I HATE  that I used to be an optimist, but now I see zebras instead of horses.
  • I HATE  the gut-wrenching grief of watching other members lose their best friends, and not being able to hug them and cry with them, and say “lean on me, I’m here”.
  • I HATE  that when his time comes, I will never be the same; I can only hope to hold onto a little piece of  sanity as my world crumbles.
  • BUT….I LOVE that I stumbled onto a website filled with strangers, who quickly became not just friends, but family. You are the most caring, compassionate, generous people I’ve ever had the honor to “meet”.
  • I LOVE  that I got to really meet some of you at the Puppy Up walk in September. I treasured every second spent with you, and will never forget it.
  • I LOVE  that I got to experience, first-hand, what it means to be a Warrior; that I bonded with this dog like I never imagined possible…. my heart dog, that will take a piece of mine when he leaves his earthly body.
  • I LOVE  the joy he still has for life, no matter what is thrown at him, and that he continues to try to teach me to “be more dog” daily.
Anniversary/Birthday campfire

Anniversary/Birthday campfire


  • 20161029_151307

    Kodi cuteness

Since our last post, Nitro has experienced some issues. He developed some hind-end weakness, with reluctance to move. I started him back on his drug cocktail of Tamadol,  Gabapentin, and Carprofen which made him more comfortable. His chiro vet was able to squeeze him in for an adjustment and acupuncture treatment which really seemed to help. Dr. Patty didn’t want to ASSUME his issue was neuropathy, and consulted his regular vet; together they decided Nitro should have x-rays of his spine and long bones of his legs to look for any other obvious condition. 28!!! x-rays were taken, with some spinal stenosis noted in his lower back by his tail; since he is a “mature” Dobie, I guess this was to be expected, and was not really concerning to them. So for now, we will increase his chiro and acupuncture treatments to every 2 weeks. With the aid of the x-rays, it will be easier to pinpoint where the needles need to go to give him the most relief. I’m happy to report that he has had a dry diaper the last 4 mornings, and is back to his goofy self, wanting me to throw his ball. I can tell he is slowing down, but is still SOOO full of life. We will take every precious moment we can get with our brave warrior. Losing one of our most beloved members earlier this week was a blow, and drives home the fact that life is short and we need to treasure every second.

Peace and love from the Ehlers ranch

Cujo mode

Cujo mode