Introducing Gizmo!

Hello Tripawd friends! It’s been nearly 6 months since we lost Abby and our family has been all over the map on what our future holds for dogs. I wanted an adult rescue Rottweiler, my husband and youngest son wanted a puppy Rottweiler, and my older son thought we should go back to being a one dog family. If the pug could have voted, he would have voted to remain the only canine child too!

We came close to getting a Rottweiler puppy recently, but the two in the family who most wanted a puppy wanted another female and our breeder’s litter didn’t have any available. I signed up to be a foster family with our nearby shelter in hopes of satisfying the son who wanted a puppy this summer. He thought it was a terrible idea. In his words, “why would we get a dog at it’s most difficult stage and then give it back???” I convinced him to at least try it out.

Our first puppy came to us two weeks ago on just a few hours notice. She was billed as a Chihuahua/Shih-Tzu with kennel cough.  Not a dog I’ve ever contemplated, but it’s just a foster, right? Just past 3 months, she was up for adoption, but needed a break from the shelter to recuperate. Her name was Sunshine and she was ADORABLE!!! With her little brown monkey face, she didn’t look at all like her name so we quickly renamed her Gizmo after the Gremlins movie – and then made sure we didn’t give her food or water after midnight!image1 (1)

She is, by far, the easiest puppy I’ve ever had and is happy both laying in my lap and playing outside where she loves to run and jump and chase anything that flies. She gets along with Quinn and he even manages to tolerate her, despite the fact that he is Alpha Pug of the House. A few friends wanted to adopt Gizmo immediately and asked how I could possible give her back, but I was resolute. We were just her temporary stopping place.

My husband caved first. Then my younger son. After long family talks about how we are only getting ONE puppy this year, it was decided that Gizmo needs to stay with us. If it is possible to take all of Abby’s sweetness and lovability and repackage it into a tiny 6 pound dog, this is Gizmo. I keep thinking about the book A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron about how a dog keeps coming back to its true family. Gizmo officially joined our family two days ago!!

I don’t think she’s likely shih-tzu or chihuahua, so I uploaded her selfie to the Microsoft Fetch app which does doggie facial recognition. The proclamation was 50% Affenpinscher. I had never heard of that breed before, but once I read the description as Monkey Terrier, I knew we were on the right track. Even better was this personality description from the Affenpinscher Club of America site… this breed often possesses a “big dog in a small body” mentality. This boldness makes it necessary to be cautious that your little “Rottweiler wannabe” does not inadvertently provoke an attack by a large dog. It is this same bold attitude, however, that also make them such a joy to own.

Welcome Gizmo! You are already a joy!

Happy 2nd Birthday Angel Abby

Today, my Dear Abby (her official name) would have turned two years old! Although I miss her every day, I am at peace with her being gone as well. Losing her broke my heart into pieces, but I wouldn’t trade back the time I had with her. Just having some happy memories today that I wanted to share.

Here is one of her cutie puppy shots:


She loved being outside, but HATED the leash for weeks. She also didn’t like cars, buses, garbage trucks, birds. Yep – she was one tough Rottie girl!IMG_5319 - Copy

She loved the beach and the water – as long as her belly didn’t have to get wet!IMG_5761

I’d never had a digger before, but Abby taught me all about it!IMG_6846

Abby spent a fair amount of time in her cone so she had a chance to try (and chew, pop, etc.) many different styles. This was her favorite. It even served her well once when she briefly thought she was a bird and jumped off the dock. This cone had the added benefit of being a life preserver too.IMG_6652

Although she grew to be the biggest dog of the house, she sometimes forgot which bed was her. IMG_6685

She was sweet through it all. IMG_6852
Forever our baby. We miss you Abby!


My Sign from Abby

One of my faithful followers told me to look for a sign from Abby that she was doing okay after  we let her go. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but within a day it was crystal clear.

I took a trip less than 24 hours after Abby passed. I had intended to cancel the trip to care for her, but the end came even quicker than we anticipated. The conference was a much needed spiritual reboot so I decided to go regardless of where my head and heart were at the time.

Look what was waiting for me when I checked in! I’ve stayed in a lot of hotels, but never one that came with its own dog. At first I thought I should chop off one of its legs, but then I realized it was Abby’s sign that she is running free now on all 4 legs.


Still have pictures and videos to come…


The rest of the story…

My next post will be all my favorite pictures, but before I get that organized, I thought I’d share the rest of our story. It’s not a pretty story so feel free to skip this one if you’d rather just wait for happy running puppy pictures.

It’s been a week since we lost Abby. She would have been 19 months old yesterday. She was here such a short time, but every single person who met her fell in love with her. I just loved her 100 times more – and she loved me back that much.

We only had 12 days with her after the vet found lung mets. We weren’t even planning X-rays since she’s just had them 4 weeks earlier, but a suspicious lump on her shoulder led to broad X-rays and the discovery.

Abby had been fatigued the day before the diagnosis and that continued. She would get up to go to the bathroom but then just lay down on the ground as soon as she was done. She was happy to rest on a couch or bed and wanted constant affection.

Her breathing was never horrible, but there was a constant wheeze. She tolerated a week of dasatsnib (a tyrosine kinase inhibitor) and then she was done. She couldn’t keep it down, lost interest in most food, and occasionally lost control of her bodily functions. She started retreating to her kennel which she had never done. At night, she would lay on the bed with my son, but was always awake when I checked on her. Our vet had warned us she would resist sleep because it made breathing harder. She slept a little during the day and always looked like she was REM-crashing into another 4-legged running dream.

Because her decline progressed so quickly over the weekend, we never got all of our medical questions answered, but it became clear she was dying. It didn’t make sense to push for answers when there was really only one. The tumor on her shoulder doubled in size, she was rapidly losing weight, there were signs of internal bleeding, and the scent of her body changed.

One of our goals all along had been to get Abby back to our house after being away for a 6 month remodel. In my mind, all the pain of carrying her up the stairs of our apartment would be rewarded when we were all back home together. I had to let that dream go and realize that home for Abby was wherever her people were. We move in to the house today and it will be hard not to have her with us. It was hard just checking out of our hotel this morning (we finally found a place with an elevator!) as we shared her last days there together.

On her last day, we took her to the house and let her lie in the grass. She was at peace, but wasn’t able to play. At the end of the day, we took her back to her original vet who first found the cancer. As tired as Abby was, she still managed to get up and give puppy kisses to the vet when she entered the room. We each said goodbye and Abby kissed our tears away–loving to the very end. She passed quickly and peacefully – 2 last wheezes with her head on my lap and then she was gone. She looked so small laying there – she’d lost so much of her size in the last few weeks.

I still cry every day, but it’s easier than it was a week ago when it felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest. I actually slept better the first night she was gone than the several before because the constant worry is gone, but it still feels like she should be here–like there should have been a way to win this battle and keep her for years longer.

Cancer will always suck, but the one thing I’ll never regret is the amputation. Abby lived a full life as a tripawd. She had just over 3 months, but there were very few down days in there. She still needed our love and we needed hers.

Goodbye My Sweet Girl

I’ll post more in a few days, but I wanted to let you know that we let Abby go today. It hurts like hell, but I finally could see that we had crossed that invisible line.

Amazingly, we had a good last day. Here are all my kids together. image

Thank you for all the support. The Tripawds community rocks and you have the best blog commenters anywhere!