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17 Jun 2019

5 Year Ampuversary for Warrior Nitro

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

 

It’s so hard to believe that 5 years ago today was Nitro’s amputation. I still remember everything leading up to that day…getting up early to have him at the clinic by 7:30 am; worrying the whole day until I’d heard he safely survived surgery. Going home after work, to (hopefully) get one last night of sleep before he came home. Working the next night till 9pm, then leaving work early to get him from the clinic. Scared sh*tless to go get him, soooo afraid of what lie in store for us. Looking down the hallway, dreading that first glimpse of a 3-legged dog….my heart swelling with joy to see my Warrior hopping towards me for all he was worth. Falling to my knees, tears in my eyes, hugging him and  telling him he was beautiful, and that I loved him! Beginning the next unchartered chapter of our lives….terrified we’d made the wrong decision, not having a clue what we were in for. Not knowing what the future held, for him, or for us. Never dreaming that I would find a family here, a family who helped me through the worst time of my life, who I would come to love. Our lives were forever changed that fateful day; the day we knew we had to give him a chance at life. I’m so glad that I was blissfully ignorant of all that we were facing, otherwise I might not have had the courage to fight, and help him fight, for a beautiful and fulfilling life. Thank you all for sharing this ride.

And to my brave Warrior…..”Be good, mama loves you”!

first day home

my Tiny Devil, reminding me of Nitro

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Jun 2019

3rd (Tripawd) Family Reunion

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

The shirts Michelle made for us says it all

I just got home from a week in Virginia with my Tripawd Family. It always amazes me how close we’ve grown…what started with faceless strangers in Tripawds chat, and blossomed into love for each other. We all come from such different places, both literally and figuratively….New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, and Germany! We all have very different tripawd journeys as well…some had very short times, and some of the luckier ones had years with their angels. We never tire of sharing and listening to our various tripawd journeys, from the very beginning of a diagnosis, thru recovery, to saying our good-byes. We reminisce and remember some of the hardest things we’ve ever lived through….our highest highs and our lowest lows. And I think we heal, a little more each time we experience this family time. I love these ladies with all my heart, and I’m so grateful I got to meet them and be part of their lives. We are forever bonded, thanks to our Tripawd Warriors. Here are some pictures of our week together:

our rental house in the country

the beautiful back yard

my German “sister”; Sally learned what “AF” means, and used it often all week long

my “twin”, Donna

the sign down by the river on our property…unnecessary really when you see what the water looked like:

beautiful from afar

the road to our rental house – so fitting

cards against humanity night

Karma and I at Virginia Beach

lunch at the beach….seafood joint that I ate a lettuce salad at

Sally and Blind Rock Star Myrtle

Sally with Myrtle and Frankie

picture that Michelle had commissioned for Sally

the band is back together

saying good-bye to Tina

proof of life pictures from home

As always, sending you peace and love from the Ehlers’ ranch

18 Mar 2019

Honorary Tripawd Kodi has a birthday

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

 

Honorary Tripawd Kodi had a birthday!  That’s right, the only dog that Warrior Angel Nitro loved, is 15 years old!

Although I thought it was touch and go almost 2 weeks ago. One night after work he had what we think was a seizure; he came bopping out to see me, bouncy and happy – then he coughed, and vomited up some foamy white froth, and collapsed. He didn’t lose consciousness, but when I picked him up, I thought he was going to die in my arms. When I finally put him down, he seemed ok, and even drank some water and ate some treats. The next day we went to the vet where he had extensive (and expensive) testing done…. blood work, blood pressure check, EKG, ultrasound and chest X-rays. Everything came back normal – as normal as a 15 year old dog with Cushing’s Syndrome can be. A few days later he had an ACTH stim test done, to see if his Cushing med was in the range it should be, or if it was high and pushing him into Addison’s Disease. That too came back normal. This tells my vet that it’s not likely a cardiovascular event. His Cushing’s is most likely due to a benign tumor on his pituitary  gland, which COULD be getting bigger, thus causing seizure-like activity. Although it scares me, we weaned him off the seizure med, and are taking a wait-and-see approach. The episode was very mild and short, (but scared me half to death), and I really don’t want to put him on any more drugs unless absolutely necessary; if it happens again, I’ll restart the seizure med, and go from there. He didn’t present with typical seizure symptoms, so maybe it wasn’t really a seizure.

So back to “being more dog”, and being thankful for whatever time we have left. All in all, he’s doing well; he sees the “tots” frolicking and goofy, and he in turn frolicks and is goofy. The weather here in Wisconsin is finally starting to warm up, so we’ve been taking walks and spending time outside. So happy birthday to the “White Knight”…

20190216_111732-e1552944138708.jpgImage Enlarger

 

place of honor, looking out the window

 

the “tots”..Tucker and Grizz

 

23 Feb 2019

Nitro’s Final Resting Place

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

After a year and a half of seeing my boy sitting in a bag in my computer room, I decided it was time to find an appropriate final resting place for him. It didn’t take long before I found the perfect memorial for him. I didn’t realize until it came today, that I’d subconsciously picked out the perfect words for his urn…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m very pleased with the final outcome, and I think he would be too.  <3 <3 <3

 

 

18 Dec 2018

New Ink for Nitro

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

 

Our second Christmas without Nitro is drawing near….he is gone from our side, but still very present in my thoughts – so much so, that I got a new tattoo in his honor.

It’s still in the healing phase, so it looks a little ruff yet. Not that I need another permanent reminder of him, but I do love a good tattoo!

The tree is up, full of all our dog’s ornaments – a special reminder of how our lives have been blessed by paws through the years.

 

yes, our tree hangs on the wall – safe from tiny terrors

 

 

 

some of the ornaments

 

Such a bittersweet time of year – but I guess every day without him is bittersweet. A memory came up on Facebook the other day showing Kodi opening presents, and Nitro was in the background, watching him.

It still amazes me, the bond I have with him; I’m forever changed because he came into our lives. A cancer diagnosis gave me friends that became family, who could ever have guessed?

And so we move forward with life, a very different life, with tiny terrorists. Kodi continues to do well as he moves towards his 15th year. The tots annoy him at times, and at other times he frolics and plays like they do. I do think they keep him feeling “young”. Grizzly and Tucker are the best of friends and bring much joy to the house. Christmas is pretty much over for us, as we celebrated it a week ago when my sister was home from Arizona. John and I are both working the entire holiday week, but that’s ok. The boys will still open their presents Christmas Eve after work – the paper will be flying! We are very blessed here at the Ehlers’ ranch, and hope all your Christmas miracles come true.

 

31 Oct 2018

Nitro’s 2nd Birthday in Heaven

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

This is Nitro’s 2nd birthday without us….he would be 13 years old today.  It feels like he’s been gone forever, or that he never even existed. He’s fading from my memory, and I never thought that would happen. How can a piece of my heart seem so far away? I still think of him dozens of times a day, that hasn’t changed. I still ache for his goofy smile, his hugs, his intense need to always be touching me. That has gone, and will never be again. Who I was when he was with me, will never be again. What’s that old saying – “Tis better to have loved and lost….”, I’m not so sure of that.

Yes, time marches on for everyone. As sad as I am that my Warrior has left my side, we do have new joy in our house. Nitro would have wanted that, I think. (not while he was here, of course, because he hated all dogs except brother Kodi). Our newest addition is Tucker, a Cairn Terrier that just turned 7 months old this week. He and Grizzly have become the best of buds, and play/fight endlessly. They make me laugh every day with their silly puppy antics, while exasperating me at the same time.

Twin Terrors

 

 

 

my trainers, hard at work
Tucker and Kodi

 

Senior Kodi

 

Kodi is doing well for a dude that’s 14 1/2 years old.  He still bounces like a puppy when it’s time for a walk, even though his walks are much slower and shorter these days. His days are more relaxed since Tucker came – he’s happy to sit back and watch the tots act like fools. Tucker is getting “the big snip” on Halloween, so I thought it fitting to make these costumes (that the little boys will wear) for the trip to the vet that day:

 

 

 

I think Nitro will be smiling in heaven, when he sees this on his birthday. So that’s how things stand here at the Ehlers’ Ranch….Nitro is no longer by my side, but forever in my heart; and a trio of terrorist’s, er terriers, make me smile every day. Wishing you peace…

 

 

 

So my dear friend Linda wanted to do something special to honor Nitro’s 1 year angelversary….she knows how much I loved that dog, and that I would be sad on this day. I contacted Rene and asked her to design a  bracelet that would embody all that he was – WARRIOR. And as I thought about it, I realized I thought of myself the same way… he made ME a Warrior too! After much trial and error, this is what we came up with. I love it, and will cherish it always! Thank you Linda, for thinking of me and honoring my Warrior… and thank you Rene, for making such a beautiful treasure.

 

 

25 Jul 2018

Nitro’s One Year Angelversary

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

 

 

So here we are, at the dreaded one year angelversary….

It seems like just yesterday he was still with us; and at the same time it feels like he’s been gone forever. As I write this, it’s the weekend before the big day. I can’t help but remember where we were a year ago at this time. His mobility was so limited that John had to come home from work both days to help the sitter maneuver him outside. If you recall, we had scheduled, and then cancelled two “appointments” by now. And the “home visit” was looming for the coming Tuesday. His appetite was almost non-existent as well, so we knew his time was drawing near. I could almost argue that we’d waited too long, if not for the gloriously wonderful day that Monday would be. He rallied for one last beautiful day for me – his “Aunt Laurie” stopped over after work to see him, and he was moving about the yard un-assisted, and also ate like he hadn’t in days. I remember once again pondering cancelling “the appointment”.  It amazes me, looking back at that time, that I was able to stay even somewhat sane. I don’t know how I accomplished that, other than that I was  on auto-pilot, one foot in front of the other, dazed.

 

Glorious Day Before

 

Brother Bonding with Aunt Laurie, the night before

 

Morning of….

 

They say time heals all wounds…I say time “lessens” the wounds. My heart will never be healed from losing him. I still think of him dozens of times every day, from morning to night. I cry less, I ache less, but I mourn him as deeply as I did a year ago. When I think of his goofiness, his smile and his hugs, it can still bring me to my knees. I try to remember the good times, but seem doomed to remember the bad. As I’ve said before, his entire life seems to be measured by those last 3 years. The early years are a blur, and if I didn’t have pictures of them, I’d say they never happened. But, have pictures, I do….

 

1st day home

 

1st day home – look at those ears!

 

they loved each other

 

Awwww…

 

But our life is not all grief and sad memories. Nitro saw to that when he sent a tiny white devil our way. Grizzly is so full of life and love, fun and laughter – all the while trying my patience and tormenting brother Kodi. I could not have asked for a better diversion for the loss of my heart dog. All of my dogs have had personality, but this little clown goes above and beyond. It’s  impossible to be sad with his ridiculous antics. And the love he has for me! If there is such a thing as dog reincarnation, then Nitro has surely come back as a tiny white devil.

 

these two are so alike in so many ways

 

so innocent

 

crawled up here by himself

 

Kodi continues to do well, especially for a senior dog. He’s 14 years old now, dealing with Cushing’s Disease, arthritis, and some hearing loss. With the way Grizz harasses him, I wouldn’t be surprised if he packed his bags and left home. He acts all put-out, but maybe he secretly enjoys the interaction. “Enjoys” might be too strong of a word, but I think Grizzy is keeping him young, and engaged. I think he’s keeping all of us young and engaged – without him, I’d hate to think of how lifeless and listless we’d be.

 

 

 

who you calling a senior?

 

So far this summer I haven’t seen any cardinals – I’ve heard them, but haven’t seen them. I’m holding out hope I will as the angelversary draws near. I’m also hoping to see his banner on this site – I haven’t seen it in so long, and I’m on here a lot lately.  He doesn’t send me a lot of signs, but every once in a while I’ll see something that I know is from him.

 

the cardinal that showed up last year, an hour after he left us

 

The journey nobody wants to take has brought us to this place in our lives.  I couldn’t imagine a life without my Tripawd Family! You threw me a lifeline when I was drowning, comforted and guided me. I’m the person I am today because of you….love you all! Thanks for always being there when I needed you. Wishing you peace and love from the Ehlers’ ranch…..and as always, for you, Nitro, “Be good, Mama loves you”!

 

 

 

 

***EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE A DOG ENTERS YOUR LIFE, AND CHANGES EVERYTHING***

 

17 Jun 2018

4 Years Ago Today…..

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

 

first sign of trouble

4 years ago today we began the journey of a lifetime….

I’ll never forget the terror, heartbreak and stress I felt when we began this journey. Time has lessened these emotions, but they are forever burned into my memory. I think it’s good we had no idea what we were up against;  if we had, I don’t know if I would’ve had the courage to proceed. Ignorance is bliss it seems.

the lesion

 

As it turned out, the agonizing decision to go forward  with the amputation was the least stressful of all that lie ahead. Again, I’m glad we didn’t know what was in store for us. Ignorance IS bliss. I was terrified he wouldn’t make it out of surgery….I was almost afraid  he WOULD. That statement won’t win me any mother-of-the-year awards, but a part of me felt that way. I was so scared to be bringing a 3-legged dog home….how would we manage??? When we went to pick him up the next night, I was almost numb with terror to get that fist glimpse of him when they brought him to us.  I dropped to my knees as he came hopping down that hall, tears running down my face , amazed that he could walk. He was the most beautiful site! I fell in love a thousand times over in that short instant, and we never looked back.

 

the incision

1st week of amp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t realize it at the time, but a WARRIOR was standing before me…..

 

 

For anyone out there who is considering, or has just begun, this journey I leave you with this…this may be one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to go through, but it may also be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. Because my dog got cancer, my life has changed forever. I have experienced a love like I never knew could exist, I’ve seen courage like I never dreamed existed. And I met people who were in the same boat as us, and I now  have forever friends because of it.

 

 

Virginia 2018

 

Peace and love from the Ehlers’ ranch

 

 

25 Apr 2018

9 Months an Angel

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

9 months ago today we said one of our hardest good-byes ever…9 months ago today my heart shattered into a million pieces…9 months ago today a beautiful, gentle soul went to heaven.

It still seems surreal that Nitro is gone; sometimes it feels like he was never really here, but just a dream. I think of him every day, several times a day. I still cry when I watch his tribute video. I miss his goofiness, and his Velcro personality; I miss his beautiful, magnificent presence. I miss him following me EVERYWHERE.

Spring has finally arrived in Wisconsin, after a record-breaking snowfall 2 weeks ago. Nitro would have loved both of these things; he loved romping around in the snow, dropping his ball in front of the shovel, only to snatch it away when I went to grab it. He LOVED beautiful sunny days where he would be out in his yard for hours, barking at the neighbors,  watching the birds and squirrels, basking in the warmth.

 

X marks the spot where I found Grizz, trying to make a break for it over the fence

 

This fence is 6 feet high

 

Spring in Wisconsin

 

It is  a very different atmosphere here these days. Grizzly continues to bring us joy, with his wild, puppy antics. I’ve never seen a dog so full of happiness and love like he is. He is the definition of joie de vivre – exuberant enjoyment of life. As he is a little too full of life for brother Kodi, we’ve been making friends with other, younger, Westies; their playdates are full of fun and laughter.

 

Loves “Nitro’s” bed

 

Kodi playing in mud

 

Cutest Devil Ever

 

So while we mourn the loss of our magnificent Warrior, we move forward – for what else can we do? I hope Nitro is smiling down on us from Heaven, grinning from ear-to-ear as we move thru life with the Tiny Devil he sent our way. Thank you baby, and always remember: “Be good, mama loves you”