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Bruiser

Lost a leg, gained my life!

Bruiser

Got Pet Prints?

February 16th, 2011 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

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I have a fabulous boss named Rachel. She is constantly thinking of me throughout her day and is forever coming up with ways to show her appreciation for me. She also knows how much I love and adore my precious Bruiser. She has been a great support for me throughout Bruiser’s diagnosis, surgery, and chemo treatments. She has sent Bruiser flowers (yes… she really did), she has visited Bruiser, and she happily listens to my many Bruiser stories with interest. But, this past week, she really went above and beyond! This past week, she presented me with this wonderful print of Bruiser.

GotPetPrints.com

This print started as a simple digital picture of Bruiser. My boss sent the digital picture to Linda Love of GotPetPrints.com. Linda worked her magic and turned Bruiser’s photo into an artistic masterpiece. This has quickly become one of my most prized possessions! I promptly took it home and hung it above our fireplace – a place of honor in our house.

I simply had to share this awesome print with my tripawd friends for I know you would all appreciate it. If you want a print of your tripawd (or quadpawd), simply visit GotPetPrints.com. All you need is a photo of your pet (either digital or print), select a background, and fill out an order form. Linda can work her magic for your baby too. Best of all, if you tell them “Bruiser sent me!” in the comment section of the order form, you can get $20 off your order! How awesome is that?!


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Boo Boo Day!

January 27th, 2011 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

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We have a lot of pet names for Bruiser. Big B, Doodle, Poopy, Bubba, etc. But the one that we seem to use most often is Boo Boo (Boo for short). So when thinking of an appropriate name for today (January 27th), we chose Boo Boo Day.

You may be wondering why we are thinking of names for today. Well, let me tell you. Today is not just any ordinary day. No sirree, today is the date of Bruiser’s last chemotherapy session! Therefore, we now pronounce January 27th as Boo Boo Day! Boo Boo Day is an entire day devoted to Bruiser and his well being and the celebration of his life.

Boo Boo Day started out with a nice long cuddle session in bed (Boo is an amazing cuddler), followed by a yummy breakfast. After breakfast, we (meaning myself, Bruiser and Bruiser’s daddy) loaded up in the car and drove to the vet’s. Bruiser is treated like royalty at the vet’s office and is always greeted with lots of love and lots of treats. He then proceeded to have his chemotherapy treatment (while eating even more treats) and then said goodbye to go home and continue the celebration of this glorious day.

Bruiser, knowing that Boo Boo Day is a nationally recognized holiday, decided it was best to go home as opposed to bar hopping as all the businesses are closed today in observance of Boo Boo Day.

Upon our arrival home, Bruiser decided to partake in his favorite activity: nap time! The entire family joined in the festivities as we are all to do as Boo Boo does on Boo Boo Day.

After nap time, Bruiser received a special new toy; a really big Nylabone! This is the first of three toys his majesty shall receive on Boo Boo Day. After a few chews on the bone, it was time for a bath. This was his first bath as a tripawd and he did really well! Now he is all clean and smooth and soft!

After all of that exertion, Bruiser decided it was nap time again. I did not nap as I was too busy cleaning up the bathroom after bath time. As I write this blog entry, Boo Boo is laying on the couch (while I am sitting on the floor, mind you) snoring away.

Boo Boo Day is far from over! There is still lots of fun to be had. We have 2 more toys for him to receive and a special dinner in store. We wish you all have a safe and happy Boo Boo Day!!

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Four Month Ampuversary

January 15th, 2011 · 5 Comments · Uncategorized

On January 20th, Bruiser will be celebrating his 4 month ampuversary! And boy will we celebrate. While I say it all the time, I will say it again – we are so happy to have Bruiser in our lives. He brings such joy to our lives. He is silly and sassy and mischievous and sweet! He entertains us daily and our lives are so full because he is such a great companion

It recently snowed here in CO and Bruiser has been busy trying to unearth his tennis balls, chasing his brother, and snuggling in the bed with us in an effort to stay warm.

Bruiser continues to kick cancer’s butt. Five chemo sessions down and one to go! Chemo ain’t got nothing on Bruiser. He does not seem to have any side effects; in fact he has never so much as missed a meal. He rocks!

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Best Christmas Gift EVER!!!!

December 17th, 2010 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

We got great news about our beloved baby. He was given his first (post-amputation) chest x-ray this week and the results showed no metastasis in his lungs! What a great thing to hear!

Bruiser is doing great with the chemo. Since there is no metastasis, we will proceed with two more sessions (totallying 6 doses). He is tolerating the chemo really well. Our little family is so happy right now. The holidays couldn’t be better!

On a side note, I baked these cookies for Bruiser’s oncologist. They were all eaten before we left the vet’s office!

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Fourth Chemo Session…

December 14th, 2010 · 10 Comments · Uncategorized

Bruiser’s 4th chemotherapy session is quickly approaching. According to Bruiser’s vet, the “typical” Carboplatin treatment calls for four doses of the drug, but we will most likely have six doses as there is some evidence that six doses may be more effective than four. However, we cannot be certain this is the plan until after we complete the fourth dose and then have x-rays taken of his lungs. We have to be certain the cancer has not metastisized before doing additional treatments. We hope and pray that Bruiser’s lung x-rays will be clear. Please keep us in your thoughts.

In the meantime, Bruiser is doing great! He went for his longest post-amputation walk the other day and I could not have been more proud! He ran down a steep hill and looked just like the Bruiser-of-old. He didn’t consider the fact that eventually he would have to go back up the hill and he was plenty tired on the way home. I also think he was just buying his time before heading back inside. He is such a diva.

Bruiser is going to have an awesome Christmas this year. Chris and I have already bought him tons of toys and a new dog bed (not that he is likely to use it as he is plenty comfy snuggling with me  in our bed). Maybe Chris will get some use out of it? Santa will also bring Bruiser lots of goodies since he has been such a good boy! I am going to make it my personal mission to make Bruiser ‘s Christmas experience this year the greatest day a dog could ever hope for.

Happy Holidays!

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Attitude of Gratitude

November 21st, 2010 · 7 Comments · Uncategorized

As Thanksgiving approaches, I find myself thinking of all the many things in my life for which I am thankful. At the very top of my list this year (and for the past 6 year) is Bruiser. This year, however, there are new things to be thankful for in regards to Bruiser. Below is just a sampling:

I am thankful Bruiser is still alive. The day of his diagnosis, one vet recommended euthanasia.

I am thankful for Bruiser’s oncologist and the wonderful team with which she works. Bruiser’s oncologist was the one who told us euthanasia was not the only option. She walked us through all of our options and helped us to understand the diagnosis and prognosis.

I am thankful that we can afford care for Bruiser. While it has certainly taken a toll on us financially, we have the means to see that Bruiser receives the care he needs to live a happy, healthy life.

I am thankful for supportive friends and family and I am especially thankful for the Tripawds online community. I have been able to draw so much strength from other members here

I am thankful that my husband is on board with Bruiser’s treatment and I am thankful he understands how much Bruiser means to me.

I am thankful Bruiser has responded so incredibly well to treatment – both the amputation and the chemo treatments.

I am thankful we have a house in which Bruiser feels comfortable and can relax knowing he is well taken care of.

I am thankful Bruiser can sit on the couch with me, nuzzle up to me, and sleep. I am thankful we can play together. I am thankful we can share our love.

I am so very thankful for each moment I spend with Bruiser. He is an amazing gift in my life.

Happy Thanksgiving

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What a Cool Program…

November 5th, 2010 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

Bruiser has been nominated to take part in a program here in Colorado called YAPS. YAPS stands for Youth and Pet Survivors and it’s essentially a pen-pal program that pairs kids with cancer and blood diseases with dogs with similar afflictions. I think it is such a cool program that I am sharing this article:

A Beautiful Bond by Andra Coberly

Anne Gillespie has tons of stories about the power of the human-animal bond and the program she calls YAPS. The most gripping story, arguably, involves a teenager, a dog named Boone and a letter. Or better yet, a series of letters, which fortified their relationship into something beautifully unbreakable.

Gillespie started the YAPS program at The Children’s Hospital after the organization disallowed dogs from visiting patients with cancer and blood diseases. “I knew there had to be a way around that,” she said. Gillespie has always believed in the healing power of animals and she thought a pen-pal program, which matches the children with dogs who are dealing with the same afflictions, would offer the same benefits as a visitation program. It’s a way for the patients to communicate their feelings to a similar, nonjudgmental friend; for pet owners, it’s catharsis and gives their ailing dogs a greater purpose.

“The healthy benefits have gone way beyond what we expected,” she said. “It’s really very magical. I think that’s the right word for it. It gives these kids a chance to tell their story to a loving dog who has been through the same journey. …There is real love there.”

Just a couple years ago, Gillespie paired a big dog named Boone with a young man who had bone cancer. The two developed a true bond over their common challenges and struggles; both had had a limb removed. They not only wrote back and forth but he also would visit Boone and his family.

After the young man died, his parents found a letter that their son was writing to the dog.
“In the letter, he was telling Boone that he was prepared to die, that he had come to terms with it, that he was at peace with it,” Gillespie said. “These were things he had not articulated to his parents. It really changed how his parents dealt with his death and it really showed how special the dog had become in his life.”

Boone sat front row at the funeral.

Loss and heartbreak, love and devotion, healing and surrender are a part of the story of YAPS. But it’s also a lot about diversion, about fun and even about therapy.
“It’s really taken on a life of its own. We had no idea,” she said.

As a pediatric oncology nurse at the Children’s Hospital, Gillespie’s original goal was to bring the benefits of human-animal interaction to the families in the oncology department. Now, she wants the program to spread globally and she wants children’s hospitals everywhere to participate. It has inspired something so profound and emotional that she can’t help but hope that all children with cancer and pet-owners of dogs with cancer can enjoy the benefits, she said.

“For the patients, it’s a chance to express your feelings and know you are heard but not judged,” she said. “And it’s also about the kids getting to be a caregiver. There’s a lot of laughter and fun and distraction. And on the other end, it really helps the dog-owners work through some sadness. It transcends any circumstance.”

Yellowscene Magazine, September 2010

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Kicking Cancer’s Butt!!!

October 28th, 2010 · 7 Comments · Uncategorized

Today was Bruiser’s second chemo session. His blood work looks good and the administration of chemo was  smooth.  We are hoping he will have no side effects just like the last time he received chemo.

While we were in the waiting room, we met another tripawd! Frosty was his name and his hind leg was amputated was September 13th. He looked good! Who needs 4 legs?!

While we were checking out, 2 other exciting things happened. First, a woman who owns a Mastiff came up to us and asked if she could take a pic of Bruiser. She said Bruiser was an inspiration! Obviously, I already know this, but it’s nice when someone else comments on this fact.  Then, just as we were about to leave, Bruiser’s oncologist asked if I would talk to one of her clients whose dog is facing possible amputation. Of course I said yes. I told her all about our tripawds community and told her to check us out cause we rule!

All in all, a successful trip to the vet. Best of all, the chemo is kicking cancer’s butt as I write this. Take that cancer!

Lastly, I want to share a little project I recently completed. Last weekend, Chris and I went to this place called Sippin’ and Painting. It’s a place where you get to paint a canvas while you drink wine. After enjoying a few glasses of delicious wine, I channeled my inner artist and created this lovely work of art. It is a painting of three paw prints and on it, I wrote “Love Walks on Three Legs”. Can you tell I absolutely love Bruiser?!

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Bruiser’s Photo Shoot

October 19th, 2010 · 11 Comments · Uncategorized

Here is a sneak peek from Bruiser’s recent photo shoot. I think the pictures turned out fantastic! For tripawds (and four legs) in Colorado, I enthusiastically recommend photographer, Natasha Japp (www.natashajapp.com). I think her work speaks for itself!

Here is what Natasha had to say about Bruiser on her facebook page:

I met with Bruiser and his people, Stephanie and Chris, for a super fun session …last Saturday! Bruiser is a 6 years young English Mastiff, and lost his front right leg to osteosarcoma (bone cancer) last September…

But he does not let it stop him: he was VERY active during our session at the park, running around, rolling on the grass and exploring the tall grass!

He is a sweetie, a big goofball and very lucky to have Stephanie and Chris as his parents! Having lost dogs to canine cancer, I truly connected with them. We are wishing you a speedy recovery, Bruiser!!

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Book for Tripawds!

October 17th, 2010 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

Bruiser’s Grandmother sent him an adorable children’s book in the mail today. The book is called Jack & Jill: The Miracle Dog With a Happy Tail to Tell by Jill Rappaport. Guess what? It’s about a tripawd!! Here is a summary: 

This is the true story of an abandoned puppy that was rescued by NBC’s Today show correspondent Jill Rappaport. Jill named him Jack, and together they lived on a farm. Life with Jill was grand, all right! Jack spent his days running through fields, digging holes, playing with the horses, and chasing deer. But one day Jack’s leg started to hurt. When Jill took him to the vet, she received bad news. Jack had bone cancer. In order to beat the disease, Jack’s hurt leg had to be removed. Would life with only three legs be as grand as it was before?

Though the recommended age range is 4-8, I think any tripawd parent (and tripawds themselves) will enjoy it. Happy Reading!

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