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So very hard to write….

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I’ve been putting it off, and putting it off, then off some more.  Writing this post that is. And knowing I never ever wanted to write this post.  But there, in the dark recesses of my mind lives the lingering thoughts that keep telling me it needs to be done.  So, here I am doing it – writing my last posting on Tripawds.

With all the sadness that I think a person’s heart can withstand and continue to beat, Tahoe crossed the Rainbow Bridge on August 1, 2014.  My heart has felt like it has been punched; it feels as though it is being crushed and squeezed.  They (whoever ‘they’ are) say that if you are lucky you get one, or maybe two “heart dogs” in your life.  Those special dogs that connect into your spirit in a way different than other dogs you have owned.  ‘They’ say this is almost cruel when it happens to you because when the dog is gone, they take a part of you with them that can never be replaced.  ‘They’ sure are right about that.

Jennifer's iPhone 2378

Tahoe was my heart dog.  He got me and I got him. We had that connection.  We had that connection prior to his accident and the ordeal and aftermath of the amputation only brought us closer. I know some of you reading this understand what I am talking about and some don’t.  For those that don’t, I wish for you a dog that is your heart dog, although the pain when they die is so great that maybe I don’t wish it on anyone.

It was summer and it was hot.  And I have a three-legged male dog that refused to:

  1. Pee or poop in his own yard, ever, and
  2. Pee all in one location. He was a maker to match all markers.

Walks were the only way.

Tahoe was taking more breaks on his walks than normal.  I had him on Rimadyl and wanted to have his blood work done to check that there was no damage being done to his system.  The blood work came back – all within normal limits – a surprise even to the vet considering Tahoe was nearing his 11th birthday.   I still have the report and I’m still amazed at how perfect it all was.

But Tahoe was still taking long breaks while on his walk; just not quite normal for him.  It was still so hot and I attributed these breaks to the heat and his age, and what the toll heat and age can take on a nearly 11yr old Great Pyrenees with three legs.  His fan, with him right in front of it, ran 24×7.

My gut told me something wasn’t quite right.  And within two weeks back to the vet we went for x-rays.  The sedation worried me and knowing he’d have to be there until the sedatives were out of his system worried me.  I was worried about him because I knew he would be worried about me – he is a Great Pyrenees after all.  Pyr owners will fully understand this.  So I packed up his fan and bed for him to have during the day at the vet getting x-rays.  I’m probably the only person to have shown up with a fan for their dog at the vet’s office.  But he loved it, I loved him and I wanted him to be comfortable – it was summer and it was hot.   No abnormalities in the x-rays.  No fractures, no shadowing.. completely normal and healthy dog!

Something still wasn’t right.  I knew it deep in my heart of hearts.  About two weeks later, as I was walking him, he laid down. For a long time.  Again, nothing really new with this.  Sometimes I could leave him and bring his minivan to him.  But I couldn’t this time as we were too near a road if he tried to get up and follow me.  (He had ZERO car savvy as evidenced by the accident that left him a tripawd in the first place.)  We waited it out, I helped him cross the road.  The thing to keep in mind here was that Tahoe always wore is harness and I always helped support his hind end by holding up the harness when walking him. This time I had to pretty much carry him across. 92lbs. We got across the road, he laid down again, and I noticed his left front forearm was about twice the size of the other.  My heart sunk. Fortunately, two women happened to see us when they drove past and knew something was wrong. They parked and came to stay with him while I got his mini-van.  I lifted him in and I headed straight for the vet.  I was in tears. He was on a car ride and happy.

Jennifer's iPhone 2419

X-rays we taken immediately and revealed osteosarcoma. From the wrist half way to the elbow on the left front forearm.  You might be asking why it wasn’t seen in the x-rays two weeks earlier?  The x-rays done then were only done on the back half. The vet said he never suspected cancer with his perfect blood work so he only took x-rays on the back half assuming something was going on with his remaining rear leg or knee.  The vet did tell me that he feels he did me a great disservice.  That he should have taken the full x-rays the first time because as the owner I know when something isn’t right even if it can’t been seen right away. Owners have instincts that way.

Is there a moral here with the vet? No, I don’t think so.  Even if he would have taken the full body the first time, the results would have been the same and the same decision would have been made.  My advice is to trust your gut.

How tragic and unfair it is that my best friend, my heart dog, who became a tripawd due to an accident and not cancer, ended up with cancer and no option to amputate.  Utterly heartbreaking.  One week shy of his 11th birthday, August 8, 2003.  On August 1, 2014 we held him, we told him we loved him, we told him we’d never forget him. I told him I’d never be the same and thanked him for that.  It was a Friday, it was summer and it was hot.

DSCN2444

In full disclosure as I sit here typing this, I am in tears.  On my lap is a 6 year old Chihuahua Pomeranian mix we rescued from the SPCA a couple weeks ago and she is looking at me lovingly with her brown soulful eyes trying to figure out the tears that have fallen on her.  She’s no Great Pyrenees, but she is in her own mind, which I just adore.    I love her.

Will I own a Pyr again?  I’m not sure. I know I’m not ready yet and I’m not sure I ever will be.  It is my favorite breed.  I’ll continue to do volunteer work for the National Great Pyrenees Rescue. And yes, I do that volunteer work with a Pomchi on my lap. 🙂

RIP sweet Tahoe.  Run free on all four. Attack newspapers. Bark at mailmen and give stink eye to the mail vans. Pee on every bush.  Mamma loves you and misses you every minute of every day. Someday we’ll be together again. xxooJennifer's iPad 755


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15 Responses to “So very hard to write….”

  1.   carolraine Says:

    What a sad story. Brought tears to my eyes. They never leave our hearts or memory. he will always be with you. Run free at the bridge and I hope you have had a chance to meet my 6 dogs that have gone to the Bridge since Sept. 2010.

  2.   fetchon3 Says:

    Oh dear. Oh, dear Tahoe. I remember his striking face and story here and I just had to read. I’ve got the knot in my throat and I’m shedding tears for you. It’s been a few months, but with the loss of a heart dog, time doesn’t heal the same way. I am thankful, though, you massed the courage and tissues to come back and give us a great, last story of the mighty Tahoe. He’s a stunner and will never be forgotten. Run fast and free, Tahoe. Mark it up, buddy!
    ~ Katy & Jackson

  3.   Jane Says:

    My heart goes out to you. You’ve shown great bravery in sharing your Tahoe post, and I know others will relate to and be comforted by it. You, Tahoe, and your little Pomchi will be in my thoughts.

  4.   Michelle Says:

    I am sorry to hear about Tahoe. RIP Run free

    Michelle & Angel Sassy

  5.   Karma Says:

    He was a beautiful boy. I am so sorry you had to let him go.

    Karma, Adelaide and the crew, and always our angel Brendol

  6.   mom2shelby Says:

    OMG … I am in tears reading your blog…. I feel your pain, literally. Everything you describe about a ‘heart’ dog. I had never heard this until my Shelby became a tripawd and joined the many other angels on this site. I always called her the “love of my life” and my “soul mate” and she was and will always be. As Tahoe will always be for you. It is the worst pain in the world.

    But what a life he lived with you! He was SOOOOO lucky! He knew it. You can see the smile in his face. You gave him the best gift of a lifetime – the release from his pain and he is fur-ever in your heart and with you.

    I hope this isn’t your last post to the Tripawds nation. I keep Shelby’s blog going to record the memories and good times that I hope will be keepsakes for me when the pain subsides more (it’s been 7 months and she is still on the forefront of my mind). I have a new dog now and I do love her but definitely a different love. Not the same bond.

    Sending you love and hugs …
    Alison with the Spirit of Shelby fur-ever in her heart (and little Jasper too)

    •   Tahoe Says:

      Oh Alison, I also always told Tahoe he was the “Love of my Life” and the “Dream of my dreams”. I also had to tell my husband that there were things he could do that would make me stop loving him, but there is NOTHING Tahoe would ever do that would stop me loving him. It is the worst pain in the world; you are right.

      Thank you for the encouragement to keep writing. Tahoe does have a YouTube site that I visit often to remind me of how he was before he was a Tripawd and his life and accomplishments after losing his leg. The videos are hard to watch and make me cry, but still smile at the same time. “Kiss Time” is my favorite. I’d give anything for one more kissy. He was such a big handsome, serious, silly, huggy kissy guardian- with me all the time. I feel alone without him.
      My little Pomchi is on my lap now, and I do love her. But the love is different, you are right, and that is ok too. She is so sweet and good.

      Sending love and hugs back to you,

      Jennifer, Tahoe and Little Miss Jasmine Pomchi.
      ps. If you are interested in his YouTube videos at all the site is called IAMTheTahoe

  7.   benny55 Says:

    Ohhh….so very, very sorry to read this.

    And you can be proud of how beautifully you articulated the loving UNBREAKABLE connection you and Tahoe have with each other.

    Yes, this piece of crap disease is brutal and cruel and ugly. And to invade Tahoe’s body after all he’s been thru just sickens me.

    However, it could NOT invade that BEAUTIFUL soul of his! It could NOT touch his loving and fun essence and it could NOT diminish his love for life…and his love for you! And Tahoe was sooooooo well loved…and he knew it too!

    So many of us start this journey with our dogs limping off and on…being treated for a pulled muscles strain…..then perhaps some arthritis, etc. So please don’t give any energy to woulda, shoulda, coulda. That’s just one more way that piece of crap disease tries to continue doing it’s dirty work and keep you from focusing on the GREAT memories you and Tahoe share!!!

    Your thousands and thousands of days were glorious! The slow down leading up to his transition back to Spirit was just a blink. Focus on all those sacred happy times and they will slowly, ever so slowly push the sadness in the backgound.

    Right now the void seems unbearable. The intensity of this journey with a tripawd is like no other….intense love…intense caregiving…intense depth of loving and spoiling…and an intense depth of grief that sucks the life out of you.

    Lean on us. We understand. We are family. TAHOE WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN HERE!! Tahoe is an inspiration and role model for all big dogs facing life on three legs. And he mastered it beautifully!!

    PLEASE continue to share more pictures of your exquisitely handsome boy and more snippets of your life together.

    We have a thread called Tripawds Alumni started by Bonnie in honor of her magnificent Polly. It’s a place where those of us who have our furbabies at the Bridge waiting for us go to share stories, support each other, help newbies, and post pics and stories of any new pack members. We would love to hear more about your precious Pomchi with pictures!!!

    I do hope you feel you can continue Tahoe’s blog with shared memories. His legacy of a big dog mastering being a tripawd will inspire so many!!!

    You felt so privileged to have Tahoe in your life! Well, he felt just as privileged to have you in his!!!

    The bushes and shrubs and trees at the Bridge will be well “watered”!!!

    Heart Dogs like Tahoe will always be by your side as your Guardian. Pay attention, he’s sending you messages.

    Surrounding you with love and Tahoe’s eternal grace

    Sally and My Eternal Light Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle

    •   Tahoe Says:

      Sally, Hannah and Myrtle –

      Thank you for such kind, thoughtful and inspirational words. You are so right, that the slowdown back to Spirit was just a blink and I have to remember that. I feel blessed to have had him in my life even if only 6 years..they are 6 years I would never give back for anything.
      I’ve gone back and watched some of his videos on YouTube (IAmTheTahoe) and to see him when he had all four legs was helpful as well. I cherish every minute I had with him.
      I am aware of the messages he sends me too. Right after he died I’d see the white puffs (from dandelions I suppose) everwhere and in odd places swirling in front of me. They made me feel he was watching me and loving me from somewhere else. And now with my Pomchi Jasmine – she sometimes looks at me and her eyes are different somehow than they are other times…I feel Tahoe in them.

      Thank you again for the kind and encouraging words..

      Jennifer and Jasmine (on my lap)

  8.   jerry Says:

    Ohh my heart breaks for you, I’m really sorry. Who can blame you for putting off this post, it had to have been terribly difficult to write. Thank you for updating us though, we’re glad you did.

    Cancer is so sneaky and sometimes it just gets around all of us, despite our best instincts and our vet’s care. Tahoe had some awesome people looking out for him and if there was anything at all that could have been done about getting rid of that nasty cancer, I have no doubt that you would have made it happen. I’m really, really sorry that there were no options for treating it in your sweet handsome pup.

    Tahoe was one very special big boy, he not only left an impression on your heart but on all of ours too. He will never, ever be forgotten, he will always be remembered here. What a journey you had together. It was an honor to be a part of it.

    Many, many condolences coming your way.

  9.   leland4 Says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss of your precious Tahoe. I along with so many others in this community understand the pain the heart goes through in having to let that special furkid go. My husband and I had to let our boy Leland go on 6/30/14 and it was the worst suffering for us to go through. We still have days where we’ll shed tears for our boy but it’s not everyday like it was.

    Take comfort in knowing that Tahoe is up there at the Bridge running, playing, eating whatever he wants, and he’s healthy. He’s not alone up there…he has so many Tripawd brothers and sisters to keep him company till you both meet again. That thought truly helps my husband and I in knowing that one day we will see our Leland again as well as our other furkids.

    Sending you a hug.
    Sahana and her Angel Leland

  10.   Tahoe Says:

    Thank you Jerry – and for having this forum for those of us that unfortunately need it. Tripawds was a savior for me when he first had his accident and to know others before him have made it on three just fine. It was also a valuable source of information on helpful products. The Ruffwear harness was really a blessing to us – and such a well made product. I cannot say enough good things about it. I will always keep Tahoe’s red harness. Tahoe was very special; I feel him with me all the time.

  11.   harmony Says:

    This just makes me heart-sick for you. Tahoe was so very lucky to have you as his heart-human. It’s so obvious by your blog, how much you loved him and how devoted you were to him.

    Peace be with you as your Angel Tahoe looks over you and awaits the day you will embrace again.

    {{{hugs}}}

    Pam & Angel Harmony.

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