Wednesday, August 24, 2011


When the Chili Dawg was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (OSA) and given a short time to live, I never expected the blessing that the diagnosis has turned out to be.  Naturally, I was devastated.  We decided to amputate his leg to remove the pain, the cancer will return no matter what we do, but the amputation at least took away the pain.  The day after Chili came home a "tripod", we noticed he was bruising.  Not knowing if it was normal, I googled post-op amputation images for dogs, and a website popped up:  This website has been a source of strength for me in this journey with the Chili Dawg.  I have formed friendships with people all over the country- our common bond being our amputee dogs.  Not every dog on the website has cancer, but they all have 3 legs.

At the beginning, the community answered all of my questions: how would Chili adapt, how do I not feel guilty for not doing chemo, etc.  Since then, I've been able to pass on what I have learned to new people who are experiencing the same shock that we felt when we heard the diagnosis.  We are able to celebrate our "ampuversaries" together, we are heckled by the 4-legged dogs (also known as monkey-butt dogs), and we also comfort each other when there is bad news- cancer found in the lungs, or our best friend has crossed the rainbow bridge and is no longer with us.

On Monday, a package arrived on our porch.  It was addressed to the Chili Dawg, from Abby.  I kind of knew what was in it, but I didn't know about everything that was in it.  On the tripawds website, there is a tour known as the Killbarney TourJerry G. Dawg (who is no longer with us) is the dog who inspired the Killbarney Tour.  His pawrents are the founders of the tripawds website.  Anyway, Barney travels in a box, with an amazing journal.  Everyone who has hosted Barney writes in the journal about their dog, stamps their dog's pawprint and puts in a picture of their dog.  Also in the box, each person contributes something of their dog's or a momento from Barney's visit- you are supposed to remove an item and then contribute something of their own.  For example, Abby's mom put in some items from Barney's visit to the San Diego Zoo.

It is amazing what treasures this box holds.  It took me 2 days to go through everything, and I am still reading the journal.  Some of the dogs Barney visited are no longer with us, and reading their journal entries have made me cry.  It is amazing the healing that dogs bring, they are truly a blessing from God.  If Chili Dawg had not gotten OSA, I would not have found this community and gotten to experience the Killbarney Tour. 

The Chili Dawg has not gotten to kill Barney yet.  I have taken Barney on an "educational" journey for a couple days, but soon he will get his turn, and then I will write our story in the journal and choose another deserving tripawd to send Barney on to.
All of the treasures

All of the letters that accompany Barney

The journal


  1. This is such a wonderful ministry for you. I still say this journal and copies of the momentos should be published into a book all proceeds to the Tripawds and cancer. Love, Mom

  2. The journal is the best part. It really makes you feel close to all the folks who hosted Barney before. It's a great remembrance, getting to add your own dog's story to it and knowing that somewhere down the road, someone else will read it and also feel close to you.

    I would definitely buy a published version of it! Just not sure the folks who own the rights to Barney would be too happy about it... :)

    Hope Chili Dawg has fun killing Barney!

    Jackie & Abby