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Second guessing amputating my dog’s leg… Again

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Here’s the thing.. I KNOW this is the right decision, I think… Oh boy. Having to explain what’s going on to a bunch of family members this weekend has kind of been agonizing. Some understand, others think I’m crazy to call Bear my child, and others think I’m being cruel.

Everyone wants to know what would happen if I don’t do the surgery. The thing is, this is cancer. There are no certainties, just as nothing is certain In life. I can only do what I feel is the right thing. For me, that is giving Bear his best chance for a cancer free life. I caught myself (internally) flip flopping all day today.  I had a couple of good days, just enjoying life but today I found myself on the verge of tears all day.

I don’t know why, but I didn’t turn to Tripawds, but internalized my fears all day. so winding down for the day I went to check my email and found a bunch of wonderful comments on my last post and on the forum posts I’ve been on. I then I remembered how great this community is and how everyone has said I will second guess myself for a long time. I’ve decided I want to take  this experience and make something of it. I don’t know what yet, but I want to do something epic.


 As marketing professional in the pet supplies trade for over 6 years and an pawrent of 3 dogs and 2 cats, I’ve gained a plethora of pet-related experience ripe for the picking, though I am new to tripawd pawrenting. My goal is to share my story and the knowledge I’ve gained with the pet pawrents everywhere. You can also find me on That Pet Blog or .

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~ by BarretsMomHeather on May 26, 2013 . Tagged:

7 Responses to “Second guessing amputating my dog’s leg… Again”

  1.   zeuspod Says:

    First, you cannot live your life by the standards of others. At that point it’s not your life anymore. Make your decision – the one that you believe in your heart- and then stick by it. It is hard, but if you don’t you will always have regrets. Think of it this way: Would you ask a dentist questions about a heart condition? Would you follow the instructions of a TV repairman on how to fix your car? Then, why would you count on the opinions and advice from people who haven’t walked this road?

    Second, not everyone would agree that you will question yourself for a long time. We took off the leg and we moved forward from that day on. I never questioned. I knew what would happen if I didn’t do the amp. I took away the cancer and I gave my boy a chance. Plain and simple. The first couple weeks were hard, but I knew it would pass. And, it did.

    This is a very personal decision, so please know that I am not trying to convince you. I’m simply saying to make the decision that YOU can live with. Many hugs to you and your baby!


  2.   jessk Says:

    Only you and your husband really know your dog and what is right for Barret. Not family that don’t see him every day or live with him. When faced with the decision to amputate for my dog, I knew it would be rough but I couldn’t hesitate. This is cancer we are dealing with and I wanted the tumor off her body ASAP! Only you can make the decision that is right for you and your dog. Just remember that dogs are so much stronger and can overcome so much more than we could imagine… My new tripawd amazes me every day. Good Luck!
    Jessica & Athena

  3.   Michelle Says:

    Both Lisa & Jessica are right. I will share my story in a shortened version. basically short version I put my dog through 2 biopsies and still didn’t have a definate answer. My family kept saying what if its not cancer what if we take her leg and its not. Well, after the 2nd biopsy came back inconclusive I decided to amputate anyway. I knew she was in pain. Long story short is Sassy has proved so many people wrong, the 1st vet we saw, the vets we are seeing now because they werent sure a 138 pound Rottie could walk on 3 legs (guess what she did the very 1st day from surgery).

    This is a personal decision. You know the right answer. You just go in and say this is my decision, my baby (as I think of Sassy) and I am doing what I need to do. You can support my decision or you can not support it. But I will do what is right for my family.

    Every day you wait is a chance the cancer is spreading. By the time I did 2 biopsies and finally the amputation it was a month 1/2 from the 1st xrays. The only regret I have now is I didn’t do the amputation earlier as the cancer has spread to her lungs after 4 chemo treatments.

    Michelle & Sassy

  4.   Christine Says:

    I’m in the same boat as Michele.. I should have done the amputation earlier, the week that the cancer was discovered.. Instead, I took my guy home thinking that we will just let him be a dog. Only when I educated myself more, and found this site, and read upteem blogs and posts.. did I realize I was doing the wrong thing by not amputating! If it ever happened again with another pet of mine, I would not hesitate again. I guess I could say that was my only regret.. You know your doggie best.. and don’t listen to those people who are saying you are being cruel… obviously they have never loved their dogs and kitties like we do… You won’t regret it when you see the spark back in his eye and his tail waggin.

    •   Barret's Mom Heather Says:

      Thanks everyone,
      I’m not listening to the fools in my family that are skeptical or unsupportive, even though most of them are good intentioned. I’m waiting because the only surgeon in my area can’t fit us in until June 11th. If her opinion is the same as my family vet (amputation) the surgery will happen that day.

      The part that makes it hardest for me is that Bear doesn’t have osteosarcoma. He is in no pain other than healing from his lump removal surgery. He looks healthy and acts like a normal four year old dog. So when I look at him, I have to ask myself “is this really the right thing?” The cancer is there, just waiting to come back with a vengeance. I’m lucky though because this surgery should be curative all on its own. No chemo or radiation. It won’t come back or spread to other areas of his body after this.

      I can see what the family sees: removing the leg of a dog who doesn’t even seem sick. I known the sickness is there, hiding out. It has to be done. Life will go on 🙂

  5.   Dakota Dawg Says:

    Dakota did not have osteosarcoma, either. He had a soft tissue cancer that didn’t hurt. He wasn’t limping. He was fine. The only thing noticeable was a lump that was growing.

    I asked our vet what would happen if we didn’t amputate. He said the lump would grow till the skin couldn’t stretch anymore and then the skin would break. He said infection would likely set in pretty quickly and then probably gangrene. Because the lump would continue to grow even if the skin broke open, it would always be an open, bleeding, leaking wound.

    I know what you mean, though, because not showing pain would make it easier for others to wonder what the big deal is. And to be honest, if the leg had hurt and Dakota had been limping, his adjustment period would have been shorter. Those dogs that stop using that leg before surgery don’t take as long to figure it out because they’ve been effective tripawds already.

    As far as anyone questioning you, my standard advice is to say, “I promise I won’t euthanize you if you get cancer. I hope you wouldn’t euthanize me.” That’ll shut up pretty much anybody.


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