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Ginger’s  Tripawd Story, The Beginning

Long post alert, I assume they’ll be shorter after this

Saturday Morning, April 1, 2017.  A day that everything would change for me and my running/hiking pal, much loved pet and companion Ginger.  For introductions Ginger is a 2 1/2 year old German Shepherd, high energy, still much a large puppy.  Adopted year and a half ago, still working on socialization and manners but she was coming along nicely.  I left her in the house while I went on a 5k run with friends.  Sometimes she runs with me and sometimes not, sure wish I had taken her that morning.  But trying not to get caught up in the what if’s, should have’s, and if only.

Below is her typical how she appeared before that fateful morning when on the way back from the run I got that dreaded call from a neighbor asking if my dog was home as there was one laying on the side of our little private road and it was pretty beat up.  We live out in a rural area, so it’s not uncommon for them to run free some, my aunt had let her out but this time she had streaked down the road vs her usual lounging in the yard.  But with a temptation to self blame she had an electronic collar, though I knew it was time to replace the battery I hadn’t seen her running off so had procrastinated, kept planning to stop but kids, medical appointments, life, etc., I had resolved to go Sunday after forgetting to stop by Friday since the Home Depot is a town over, big ouch there but again, can’t go back and change anything so trying to keep focus forward.

While there was no one to report what happened I’m going with the safe bet she was hit by a car, and they kept driving, was mad about that at first but finally moved on.  An accident, purposeful, animal control even wondered if there was an attempted dognapping since collar was missing?  But however it happened I was fortunate a neighbor was out walking their dog to notice her laying there with a couple who had stopped to check on her.  Thank goodness for neighbors who track all the dogs on the road and who their owners are and had my number in her phone.   I spent the 15 minutes of the heart pounding drive right after phone call trying not to break speed limits, not knowing if she was dead or alive and working my phone to set up an emergency vet appointment assuming she wouldn’t be dead in the ditch when I got their since all I heard is “yeah she’s pretty banged up, can’t walk, bleeding from mouth (turned out to be scratch on nose).”  I try to remember these panic feelings as something to be grateful for, I prayed for her life as I drove, just didn’t think to pray for life AND limb.

Glamour Shot


She’s been my hiking buddy, and I was in process of grooming her for traveling companion and some long backpacking trips.

Learning to backpack


After rushing to find her on side of road, with help of neighbors and a very good friend who had been with me on run then had me let him out to get his pickup truck, he and neighbors got her loaded up in his truck and I laid with her while he drove the short distance to the vet, while I worked as hard at calming myself as I did her.  Fortunately it was the one Saturday of the month for our usual vet to be open and they were expecting us so had stretcher and staff ready to assist.  Couldn’t have asked for better care and my prayers were answered when the vet came back and delivered the mostly good news about her condition beyond the crushed front leg.  I have to admit to being fairly useless at first, focusing on trying to keep my emotions in check and to comfort my dog when I could due to the shock of trying to process everything going on, fortunately vet made their recommendation, gave us pills and scheduled surgery for Wednesday.  At first wondered why she was going to have to suffer so long, then followed up thinking glad I have some time vs. having to make that kind of decision in the moment.  Vet consulted an orthopedic surgeon they used, I consulted another with the pictures I had (isn’t technology grand), and consensus was lot of money and no guarantees with all the splintering.  So with no clear direction to try any other approach the surgery is still on.

Leg not looking so good


Finding Support

While coworkers, friends, family and all were most supportive I was quite happy to find the Tripawd website which I stumbled across while researching what to expect with dog amputations.  Great supportive group, helped me remember to see it from the dogs perspective vs. being too wrapped up in the human emotions.  And while Ginger had a pretty rough first day from accident, here we are day before surgery and she’s trying to play fetch again, already walking around on 3 legs and just keeping the bad one off the ground.  So I’m getting more confident she will adjust, and is already handling it better than I am and I assume she will continue to surpass me in the coping skill department.

Night before surgery

And here we are the night before surgery, 99% sure I’m making right decision except for vet friend in the UK having fits about my description of her treatment and telling me to pursue specialist orthopedic treatment… well maybe elsewhere….. but here in rural GA and after feedback from two different orthopedic surgeons and in the 11th hour I don’t see a clear path to change course so going ahead with it and trying to find peace with the decision.  Trying to fight the seeds of doubt starting to appear from vet friends candor though and prodding to try and save the leg,

Anyway have already taken up her food, fighting the jitters.  Cuddling her lots for what I know will be some rough days ahead for her and already anticipating bawling all the way to work after I drop her off.  And probably all the way home Friday when I pick her up.  Going to spend the couple days she is gone getting mattress and elevated food bowls and whatever other accommodations I need to make. Already slept on floor with her since it happened (she used to share bed with me) and assume I’ll be spending a few more nights down there when she returns.

I know we’ll be ok in the long run.  So this intro just to cover the first few days, will try to keep the updates coming after she is home, as recovery process starts, etc.  Will help me to track it if nothing else but hopefully others can benefit as well.



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3 Responses to “Hello Tripawds!”

  1.   benny55 Says:

    You are doing an EXCELLENT job of holding it toegther!! You have been through an incredible amount of stress these past couple of days! The fact that your humor and positive attitude still come shining through shows me you have what it takes to get throuw this rough period! Goodness knows Ginger is made of “tough stuff” too! 🙂 🙂

    I know you’ve posted in the forums and that’s an excellent place to get questions answered quickly. So be sure and stay connected!! We understand like no others can!

    Just a tip…qhen you go pick Ginger up after surgery, don’t even pay any attention to the incision. She sure won’t be! She’ll be looking at your happy smiles and listening you tell her what a good girl she is!! 🙂 Besides, they shave a lot of fur and that is more startling than the incision!

    Ginger will come home with Tramadol, Rimadyl (or something similar), an antibiotic and probably Gabapentin. It can be a little tricky get the timing a d doses of the pain meds right. It varies from dog to dog.

    She may not each much at first and she may not poop for a few days. All that’s normal. But drinking and peeing are important, and keeping ahead of the pain with meds.

    Some dogs are lethargic and barely mobile at first. Some are restless and whiny and just will not settle down at first (my Happy Hannah sure was that way)!

    Update us as soon as surgery is over. TRY and get some rest! Yeah, right? At least eat lots of CHOCOLATE! 🙂

    And oh my goodness! Your Ginger is beautiful!!! She is absolutely stunning!! Tha ks for sharw those great photos!!


    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

  2.   tinsch Says:

    You know, the doubts are normal and they will be staying with you for a while yet. But Ginger will be getting on and for her it will be the new normal soon and it will be yours, too then.
    Try and get some rest while Ginger is at the clinic. Get some sleep. You will probably need it all for when she comes back on the first few days.
    But it sounds like she’s already been adjusting to life on three (even though there’s still four) so I’m sure she’s a fighter and will get through this quickly!
    all the best and to a speedy discovery
    tina & Manni

  3.   Patc Says:

    I’m past the one year mark with Scooby, my GSD. He’s a front leg, I think it’s probably the harder of the two. It certainly slows them down, but we still love each other very much.
    If he does as well as Scooby, you’ll be figuring out ways to slow him down. If he’s front leg, he’ll go up stairs better than down, so be prepared. Use a towel as a sling if you need to.
    He’ll keep getting stronger and better balanced. He’ll turn one way better than the other. Stopping from high speeds is always a challenge. Plus’es: no leg in the way of belly rubs, and standing on the back legs is super easy.
    Keep giving him lots of love. It’ll all work out. And give yourself some love too. Shit happens.

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