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25 Jul 2020

3 Years in Heaven…..Warrior Angel Nitro

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized


Another year has come and gone without my heart-dog by my side. He’s now been gone almost as long as he was a Tripawd; it’s hard to believe it’s been 6 years since his diagnosis. I still think of him EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Those days (years) seem like a dream now, a very distant memory…which, I suppose is not a bad thing. That stress and anguish is not something that can be sustained forever.



Wish I’d had this shirt back then, I could’ve used the advice! I try to make this my attitude today, with every new challenge I face. Speaking of……


Having a dog who is 16+ years old is a new challenge! Besides his long-standing Cushing’s issue, Kodi now has a corneal ulcer in one eye. The cause is unknown, could be he just scratched it while sniffing a bush. We’re trying antibiotic eye drops for a week to see if there is improvement; if not, he may need to see an ophthalmologist at the referral vet. And of course, there is the arthritis that comes with being an old dude, but he can still “sprint” to the car for a ride.



Then there are the tots…..the joyfulness of youth! They continue to provide daily amusement for us all. Grizzly has been on a hunting mission of late – all hours, day or night. I’m not sure what’s out there, in our yard, but he insists on searching. And Tucker, is, well, Tucker. Always smiling, happy-go-lucky, clown of the household. Always has to be near someone, loves to cuddle. They are the perfect combo – playing, chasing, tormenting – each other….so much fun to watch.


Love Bug Grizzly




Tucker “T”



Three weeks from today will be the 4th annual Tripawd Family Vacation….Wisconsin-style! I can’t wait for my “Tribe” sisters to come visit us – and meet the family. We even have Angel Sally (Benny55) heading this way; a week in the beautiful Door Peninsula is just what the doctor ordered after the crazy, upside-down months of the pandemic.  Our rental house – on the shore of Lake Michigan – should prove to be a wonderful, relaxing, much-needed reset on life. I’m sure there will be some Cards Against Humanity in our near future. These special women (and a couple hubby’s) are the gift that Nitro keeps on giving!

So this is where I am today….time keeps moving forward as it is meant to do… the pain of losing Nitro has lessened, I have the love and friendship of some very wonderful women. My life at this point in time is pretty okay….and remember, “If your path leads you through Hell, walk as if you own the place!” Sending peace and love, from the Ehlers’ Ranch

P.S. As is my custom, I leave you with my tribute to the most beautiful Dobe on the planet…




17 Jun 2020

Nitro’s 6th Ampuversary…

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized


Hi friends – it’s been awhile since I posted on our blog. We’re all fine, and adjusting to “the new normal” – man, how I’ve come to despise that term! I thank God everyday that when we were going through the cancer journey with Nitro that started 6 years ago today,  we didn’t have THESE times to deal with. I couldn’t imagine having that added stress to one of the worst times of our lives. I couldn’t imagine not being able to go into to the vet’s office with him – having “curbside” service. But I guess we would’ve gotten through that too, what other option is there?

I can still vividly remember every detail leading up to surgery day; not sleeping the night before, just laying there looking at him, wondering/dreading all that was to come. Getting up early the day of surgery, to get him to the clinic for 7:3o AM; barely able to breathe during the day, worrying if he’d survive. Finally getting the call that surgery was done and he was in recovery, and that I could call later to see how he was. I’m so thankful he spent the night at the clinic so he could be carefully monitored – and that we could get some much needed rest! Then going to work the following afternoon, knowing I was leaving about 9pm to go get him and bring him home.



All of these memories are etched into my very being, yet I sometimes have trouble remembering little details about him. Sometimes I’m afraid he’s starting to really slip away from me – yet I remember vividly the sight of him hopping down the hall when we went to get him, and the horrible yelp he let out when we tried to get him in the back of my Rav4. Many things have become a blur, but what I remember most is my love for him – the way my heart swells even today whenever I think about him. Sometimes I think I’ve put him on a pedestal as the years pass, that he’s become this ultimate perfect companion – bigger than life,  never to be imitated or duplicated, if that makes any sense.


solar light


And yet, life goes on….meanwhile, back at the Ehlers’ ranch….Kodi turned 16 in March and continues to do well, in a doddering old man way. He sleeps a lot, but then he’ll bounce and run to the car to go for a ride. He has earned his spot as the patriarch of the pack, and gets spoiled shamelessly. Grizzly turned 3 in June, and has taken over the hunting job that was Kodi’s for over a decade; he obsessively gets us up at the crack of dawn to check out the back porch and walk the fence line, sniffing for critters. So far I haven’t seen any carcasses, but not for lack of trying. And finally, Tucker turned 2 in March; he is THE happiest dog I have ever encountered. He always has a toy in his mouth, is always smiling and wagging his little body, and follows me everywhere! The tots keep each other amused, and run and chase each other for hours a day. Weather pending, we take several walks a week, Kodi in his stroller at times, and all 3 of them walking (while I push the stroller) at others.


Kodi, 16 years old


Grizzly, 3 years old


Tucker, 2 years old



getting ready for a walk


The Tots


In 2 short months, my Tripawd Tribe will be coming to Wisconsin for our annual vacation together. We’ve rented a house up on the beautiful Door Peninsula right on Lake Michigan. I’m so excited for them to meet “The Terrorist’s”, and spend a relaxing week together.


our private beach


our rental house


Until next time, wishing you peace and love from the Ehlers’ ranch.

5 Nov 2019

Birthday Present From Nitro

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

Sally alluded to this on Nitro’s 2nd Birthday in Heaven post…..I’d ordered this necklace quite some time ago, and it was delivered on Nitro’s birthday, Oct 31.  I choose to believe it wasn’t a coincidence, but rather a sign from him, that he is watching over me <3 <3 <3





These words bring me much comfort, as I miss my boy, and look forward to seeing him again. Be good, mama loves you!


31 Oct 2019

Happy 2nd Birthday in Heaven Nitro

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized


Today is my Warrior’s 2nd birthday in heaven….he would’ve been 14 years old, and most likely would’ve passed on by now, but I still feel like I was robbed of precious time with him. I miss him every bit as much today as I did 2 years ago….the sorrow is never-ending. It’s no longer a sharp, stabbing pain, but rather  a dull, throbbing ache in my heart.


I feel even more melancholy this year, probably because we’ve been facing some trying times in our personal life as of late. You know those people who seem to live a fairy-tale  life, where everything just falls into place perfectly…….yeah, that’s not me. My whole life I’ve been a “glass-half-full” kind of person, but now that seems pointless; why set yourself up for disappointment? But I digress…our lives are so very different now; our house is now a Terrier house, the Dobe Days are most likely done forever. Nitro broke the Dobie mold –  ruined us for future Dobes. But I’m ok with that – why mess with perfection? I’ll see a Dobie walking down the street and briefly consider getting another one – but I don’t think that’s in the cards for us. Everything happens for a reason, and Nitro was the reason we found ourselves here, with this wonderful Tripawd Family.



The Terrorist Trio are doing well; Kodi seems to take cues from the tots, and is acting like a puppy again; at 15 1/2 years , this is a joy to see.



The tots are a non-stop whirlwind of energy, always underfoot. I find myself saying “watch out”,  “move it”,” go on”,” get”, “MOVE”, a thousand times a day. Tucker follows me EVERYWHERE, never lets me out of his sight. And he is a huge cuddle bug, always on someone’s lap. Grizzly still shows jealousy, but its not out of control anymore – he is my kisser, loves giving kisses. My sister ran into a man walking a 2 year old westie, and told him about my 3…..he said “now that’s a busy house!”


Pack Walk, Kodi leading the way


Tot Bookends

Next August brings our annual Tripawd- Family Vacation, and this time the gang is all coming to visit me in Wisconsin. We’ve reserved a beautiful house on Lake Michigan, with our own private beach. I’m so excited to have them here, where they can meet “The Terrorist’s”, and “The Voice Of Reason” – Sally’s pet name for John. The heartache and sorrow that came from losing my Warrior, also brought me these women who have become my sisters of the heart….and for that I will always be grateful. THANK YOU SWEET BOY!

And now I leave you once again with Nitro’s Tribute Video…..Happy Birthday in heaven, I hope you are having a blast! I miss you with all of my being….be good, Mama loves you!




25 Jul 2019

2 Years An Angel…..Remembering Nitro

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

I MISS HIM! It’s as simple as that…..I miss Nitro as much today as I did the day he left our lives.

We said good-bye to our Warrior 2 years ago today.  I can still remember vividly  the moments leading up to that day, and THAT day will be forever etched into my memory. Sadly, other memories of Nitro are fading. They say in time, the sadness fades, to be replaced by memories of happier times.  The opposite seems to be true for me. The sadness and stress seem to be all I remember. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of him, usually several times a day.


This isn’t to say my life is only about sadness…..we have the “Trio” after all. It’s hard to stay sad when the tots make it their mission to make me laugh, while Kodi with his calm, chill self evens things out. Life is just so different than it was 5 years ago, when our journey started. While I would never want to re-live those days, I can’t seem to let them go either. Maybe its wrong to want to.


Kodi, with a "stogie"

Kodi. with a “stogie”


the “tots” on a hot summer day


Tucker…think he watches me drink too much wine?


swinging with the tots

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason….I guess that’s what I need to believe now; the cancer diagnosis, the surgery, the difficult recovery, the stress, the incredible new life on 3 legs, the unexpectedly wonderful new Tripawd Family, the kidney failure and old age, the peaceful transition to The Bridge. All of that has brought me here –  because the journey happened for a reason.

Like others have mentioned, its hard to be on the site these days; I still try to check in regularly, but its difficult to “invest” in new members just starting this journey. Five years ago, I poured my heart and soul into Tripawds.  All of us back then  were lifelines for each other, and thankfully we still chat every day. I’m so lucky to have these friends, who became family. I’m the person I am today because of this site, what we went through, and  the kind souls who helped me survive what was undoubtedly one of the worst times of my life.

And now  I leave you with  Nitro’s tribute video….please share in my memories of this magnificent warrior who took a big piece of my heart to heaven <3 <3 <3

— peace and love, from the Ehlers’ ranch






















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.