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A little bump in the road

I was reminded over the weekend that this journey can have some hiccups along the way and that life with a tripawd isn’t always a bed of roses. We had a mini earthquake last Friday night and while I don’t “love” earthquakes, when I commented that the little ones were good since they break up the pressure so we can avoid a BIG one, someone mentioned that that is a lot like this journey with a Tripawd dog with a terminal cancer. There can be little bumps in the road along our journey that can stop us in our tracks but it is important to remain calm, focus on the positive and remember to be more ‘dog’. Shelby continues to be blissfully unaware of the cruel disease fighting back at us inside her.

Last week Shelby had her 8th chemo treatment (two more than what we had signed up for but we switched treatments mid-course when the mets were discovered and it was determined that her leg was destroyed by hemangiosarcoma). As always, Shelby has a love/hate relationship with going to the clinic. The oncologist group is right next to the ER vet (the ones that did her surgery) so she’s got quite the fan club there which always turns into a 2+ hour visit since Shelby needs to see everyone. At her oncologist appt, we learned that Shelby is still very anemic and were prescribed some iron pills. We popped next door to visit with her favorite nurse, Andrea, who has been with us through all of Shelby’s surgeries. Andrea’s dog was diagnosed with the same cancer as Shelby around the time that we met. It broke her heart when Shelby had her spleen removed and was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma. Since that day, she has been an even stronger advocate for Shelby – their bond is so incredibly special – I can see it. Shelby is like that; she bonds with people in ways that I haven’t seen with other dogs in my life. She really “gets” people and loves unconditionally.

We learned, sadly, that Andrea’s dog, Lola, lost her battle a few weeks prior. Right after Shelby and I had seen her in February. We cried a bit, together, and celebrated that Shelby was doing so well. Andrea’s dog fought a valiant 9 month fight. More proof positive those statistics don’t mean a thing!

Shelby is coming up on her 6 month diagnosis with cancer – almost 9 months since her leg first broke. As each ‘anniversary’ approaches, I feel elated and trepidation.  I try and ‘live in the moment’ but it’s so hard when you have those dates creeping up on you.

Shelby had a rough go with this round of cancer. The carboplatin really hits her harder – makes her more lethargic and less interested in her food. We added the iron supplements and within 2 days, Shelby had extreme nausea. I can usually get her to eat SOMETHING but Sunday afternoon, after going for our walk, she just refused to eat. I finally forced some gluten free pasta into her and then noticed she was dripping from her mouth – not really drooling but drops on the rugs. A quick call to the ER vet advised me to wait an hour to see if her anti-nausea meds kicked in. They did not. Then she started to shake. I really didn’t want to rush out (it was after 8:30) but they told me to bring her in. On the way there, she just dipped and shook. We get there and she’s a perfect angel for them (of course). A quick exam and they determined it was probably the iron pills and to stop those until hearing from the onco. Thankfully no fluid in lungs/belly yet her remaining rear leg was a little bloated so they suggested I massage it to see if I can get the swelling to go down (they called it a cankle).

Shelby usually goes to the bathroom when she isn’t feeling well (as we have discovered in the past) and she did go in there Sunday. But I coaxed her out and she slept in her bed next to my floor all night. She was feeling a smidge better Monday a.m. when I left for work but still no real interest in food. I picked up some ground sirloin at the store that night and she had that and leftover gluten free pasta for dinner … the onco told us to ease off the iron pills until she gets back to normal. Shelby had serious GI distress Monday night and I could just tell she wasn’t feeling herself. Yesterday, she didn’t poop at all, and I could kind of tell she wanted to. I feel horrible when I get frustrated or annoyed on our walks – because she will start to pant, which indicates we have gone too far, but she refuses to go up the stairs. I know she wants to please me but I can tell she’s struggling. We went to bed last night without a poop but she ate a full healthy dinner of ground sirloin and white rice. I am just happy to see her eat.

So this a.m., I think she tried to poop or maybe she didn’t and I didn’t see it but she was definitely interested in eating this a.m. She had cookies, some deli meat from my lunch and a banana slice. Her energy/personality levels seemed great when I left. The swelling on her leg does appear to be going down. She was ears up/tail wagging/alert. I know we will have to deal with the low-iron issue eventually and I hope there is something else we can give her. And I know within a couple days, she will feel 100% better from her chemo treatment. But it is exhausting and heartbreaking to go through this. I wish I could “fix” it but all I do is look at her and tell her that she is a fighter, that I am proud of her and I thank GOD every day for another day with her. I give her lots of kisses … I try to be a good mom and try to mask my frustration on our walks when we don’t go as fast or as long. I have to believe that deep down in her soul, she knows that I am not really mad at her – I am mad at the situation. And that she remains, as always “the love of my life” and “#shelbystrong”.

Snuggles at night

Snuggles before work – she looks super drugged here but she was actually perky right before. I think she hates selfies anymore!


Beach time with my love… even though she didn’t feel that great, I found us a bit of shade on the beach so she could be outside. It’s always one of her favorite things to do.



  1. Michelle Said,

    March 12, 2014@ 10:56 am      Reply

    Alison, this is overall a great update. Chemo is cumulative and the affects add up. She just maybe having a tougher time because of that. Keep kicking butt Shelby we are very proud of you.

    I know how you feel about trying to “fix it”. Just try to remember Shelby doesn’t know she has that and 3 legs is her new normal. Heck she probably doesn’t remember having 4. I am so glad she is doing as well as she is.

    Michelle & Angel Sassy

  2. benny55 Said,

    March 12, 2014@ 11:41 am      Reply

    So glad she’s feeling better and eatng now. Yeah, all that chemo is rough and, quite frankly, I’m amazed that she’s handled it this well. I’m amazed tjt she even feels like gong for walks at all. And to climb stairs on top of all that…exhausting.

    But she’s done with chemo now, right? You can pt all that behi d you and contiue to enjoy the sacred moments of being together!

    Yeah, we’ve all fallen in love with her through a coputer screen…I can only imagine the joy and elation of meetng her n persn!

    She KNOWS she is so loved and she KNOWS you are so thrilled with her and all she’s overcome! He knows it with every snuggle, every “good girl”, everytime she sees you smile…she knows she is loved.

    You BOTH have come such a long way on this crazy journey. Give your self a big at on the back and give SHELBYSTRONG a huge snuggle for us all!! Come on now… it….reach around with your right arm over your lefy shoulder and pat that back ofyours!! Nlw the snuggle for Shelby! GOOD JOB!!

    Sending lots of hugs!

    Sally and Happy Hannah

  3. benny55 Said,

    March 12, 2014@ 11:43 am      Reply

    PS….Keep those adorable pictures coming!! Love ’em!

  4. jerry Said,

    March 12, 2014@ 12:28 pm      Reply

    Alison you ARE a GREAT Mom, never forget that. Shelby sure doesn’t. {{{{hugs}}}}

  5. bcullom Said,

    March 12, 2014@ 1:18 pm      Reply

    I so love all these adorable pics of Shelby! Alison, if anyone knows what you are dealing with, I certainly, without a doubt, do, and not once, but twice in the last 2 1/2 years. You are the best mom to sweet, adorable Shelby, and you surely do whatever is humanly possible for your baby. Try not to worry too much about statistics……although I feel in hindsight I should have done another round of chemo for Polly, she still lived for almost 14 months with this despicable cancer, while the “actual average time of survival” is 3-6 months. We both beat that and then some, and I know Shelby will fight this with everything she’s got.

    Hang in there, enjoy every day to the fullest, and hug all over Princess Shelby…..

    Sending my love and super positive thoughts your way,

    Bonnie and Angel Polly

    • mom2shelby Said,

      March 12, 2014@ 1:36 pm      Reply

      Thank you so much Bonnie!!! I know you deeply understand how cruel this particular cancer can be. Vicious is a word I would use!!! Shelby is indeed a strong fighter – and even with the odds stacked against her – she prevails (oh how I do wish I had taken her leg when it first broke so we could possibly have found this evil cancer then) but everyone is right – Shelby knows that I do EVERYTHING in my power for her – day in and day out. I didn’t realize (or remember) that Polly made it almost 14 months! What an amazing feat!!! Polly will inspire us on our journey with this as well!

      Love my Tripawd family … thank you for always being here and understanding. It’s a nice place to be when you can’t be “brave” and no one can be “brave” all the time!

  6. Angela Said,

    March 12, 2014@ 3:14 pm      Reply

    I’m sorry you’ve had this “bump” in your journey. This disease is so cruel and it’s so unfair our furry babies have to endure all of this (even though they don’t know!) Shelby is so lucky to have such a caring mommy 🙂 Glad to hear she was feeling better this morning though! Keep up those kisses!

    Cody and Family

  7. elizabeth Said,

    March 12, 2014@ 5:42 pm      Reply

    You are such a great mom and Shelby knows it! So happy she’s feeling better today! Keep fighting Shelby!


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