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Violet the Tripawd Dog

Violet's adventure as a three-legged dog

Violet the Tripawd Dog

Violet’s Story

February 2nd, 2017 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

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In May 2014 I begged my husband Hayden to take me to the Humane Society to say hi to all the dogs. I assured him that we wouldn’t adopt a dog, I just wanted to see them. We got to the shelter and looked at all the sweet dogs. There was a sweet black and white one who was laying on a bed in the kennel and was very calm compared to the rest of the dogs who were barking and jumping up on the windows. We continued to look at the other dogs and say hello, but I kept going back to look at the sweet black and white one, who was called Bandit. Eventually I asked Hayden if we could have the shelter staff bring her out so we could meet her. He was hesitant because he knew if I met a dog I would fall in love and want to bring it home. I assured him that that wouldn’t happen, so we ended up going to a private room to meet Bandit. We found out that this sweet girl was about five years old and had been in two other shelters previously. The staff did not know anything else about her history, but we could see that she was extremely timid, especially with Hayden.

My husband knows me well. I (well, both of us) ended up falling in love with the sweet, shy Bandit that day, and we left the Humane Society with a new family member. When we got her home we starting thinking about new names, because Bandit is more of a boy name! Hayden suggested the name Violet after one of his favorite musical albums, High Violet. I loved the name! It was so beautiful. From then on, Bandit became Violet.

Having a nervous rescue dog was an adjustment. Violet took some months to adjust to us, but she began to figure out that we were there to love her, play with her, and adventure with her; we would never abandon or harm her. We figured out that we were dealing with urinary incontinence and were able to get Violet on some good medication to help with the leaking.

Now, almost three years later, we have a happy, spunky, sassy, playful girl. We’ve gone on lots of adventures, chewed up lots of toys, and had lots of cuddles. We just love her and would do anything for her!

Back in November Violet took a pretty big spill on the hardwood floor while running and barking at the doorbell. I ran to her side and had to pick her up and lay her on her bed, as she was shocked and unable to stand on her own. For the next couple of days I iced and massaged the leg that she had fallen on, and after a couple of days she stopped limping on the leg. We thought everything was okay.

In late December, before we left on a New Year’s trip to Nebraska to visit Hayden’s family, we noticed Violet limping on that same leg again. I had our dog sitter keep an eye on it while we were gone, and she reported that Violet seemed to be having a lot of trouble. I suggested to Hayden that we take our pup to the vet as soon as we returned from our trip, in case there was something broken in the leg.

I was stuck in a mandatory two-week long training for work on the day of Violet’s appointment to check out her leg, so Hayden had to take her himself. The vet initially suspected a torn ACL, but needed to x-ray the leg to make sure. The x-ray found that the ACL was actually just fine, but a small spot on the hip bone was suspect. Hayden called and told me that Dr. Baldwin would need to send the x-ray off to a specialist to get more information, as the spot could be a number of things.

The next evening when I was out of training for the day we returned to the vet to discuss the specialist’s findings. We learned that the spot was likely some sort of bone cancer. We discussed options, most of which sounded terrifying and very expensive. There was a lot of crying and worrying. We asked the vet if we could sleep on it and make the best decision for us.

After a couple of days, I told Hayden that I wanted to move forward with at least a radiograph of Violet’s thorax to see if there were any other spots in her body. If that went well, we wanted to do a biopsy of the spot on the hip. The next snag we ran into was money…

I am a hairdresser by trade, though I no longer work full time in a salon. While thinking of how we were going to pay for all of Violet’s care, I decided to start advertising haircuts on my social media, explaining Violet’s situation. We didn’t feel comfortable outright asking for money–I value working hard and seeing the fruit of that hard work. The response and generosity of our friends was overwhelming. That first weekend alone I did eight haircuts! After just two weeks of working my regular job and cutting hair outside of my regular work hours, I was able to earn enough money to pay for Violet’s radiograph and biopsy, should we be able to move forward with it. It was amazing!

We took Violet in for her radiograph and blood work, and waited nervously for the results. It was great news! Her chest didn’t show any spots–only normal signs of aging! We were so relieved! After we heard the good news, Dr. Baldwin came into the room with a kind man whom she introduced as board certified surgeon, Dr. Crane. We discussed further options. It was explained to us that we could go ahead and move forward with the biopsy so we know what we’re dealing with, but then we’re back at square one as far as treatment options. They explained that the best option with less steps and less cost in the long run would be to amputate the bad leg. Dr. Baldwin had spoken with lots of doctors and everybody agreed that the overwhelming likelihood was that the spot was malignant. Hayden and I had decided that if it came to it, we wanted to avoid chemotherapy, and remove the bad leg if it was an option. It was NOT an easy decision to come to, but it seemed like the best thing. We discussed the surgery itself, recovery, adjustment to a new way of life, and the cost of such a procedure. We told Doctors Baldwin and Crane that we wanted to do the amputation surgery, but I would have to ramp up my haircuts again in order to save up enough money to do the surgery. They explained that if possible the surgery should be done as soon as possible to avoid hairline fractures on the pelvis, as the hip bone was already very weakened. The concern for this happening was very real.

I got straight to work. Miraculously, within two days, I had done enough haircuts and scheduled enough future appointments to call the vet and get the surgery scheduled.

And that’s how we ended up here today. I dropped Violet off first thing this morning with our board certified surgeon, Dr. Crane. She was his first patient today. As I am sitting here waiting for a phone call update, my nerves are slowly fading away. Hayden and I very much struggled with the decision to amputate the leg but are now at peace with it, and confident that Violet will have a much better quality of life when all is said and done. We are ready for our sweet fluffy girl to come home so we can start helping her adjust to her new life. We know that the days ahead may be difficult and trying, but we know that in the end it will have all been for the best.

I plan to use this blog to update about Violet, her recovery, and her new life as a tripawd. There is more to come!

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