Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tripawds Gathering...

I didn't go to church today (but I will download the podcast, I promise, Dennis).  I wanted to go, but there was something I needed to do.  Yesterday afternoon, I received an email from a lady I had met through Tripawds, a community for 3 legged dogs.  There was supposed to be a group of Chicago-land tripawds meeting at the Montrose Dog Beach on Sunday, but due to the Gay Pride Parade, the streets to get to the dog beach were going to be closed.  She was looking for any alternative dog parks in the area to have the meeting.  I had not been planning to go to the meeting at the dog beach, because bringing both dogs and both children (Ryan had a previous commitment at church and it was too late to get a babysitter for the kids when I found out) was a bit overwhelming for me.  As I read through all the emails that went back and forth with the different options, everyone seemed to be starting to despair, as most of the dog parks cost money or you had to buy a one day pass (but you had to buy it the day before and it was too late to purchase it).  I knew of 2 dog parks in my area.  One cost money, and the other was rather small, but it was free.  I offered it as a possible solution, with the thought that it would be shot down since it's kind of out of the way for many people.  To my surprise, it was embraced by everyone and they all agreed to meet at 9 AM on Sunday.  This is when my dilemma began.

Last year, when Chili Dawg became a tripawd, we were never able to make it to any of the group meet ups.  The first one occurred a couple weeks after his amputation and he was still learning to hop-walk, the second one occurred while we were in Arizona, and the third one occurred 3 days before we put Chili Dawg to sleep.  So, why would I want to go to this when I don't even have a tripawd anymore?  When you go through the process of deciding to amputate, no one understands your decision.  These people did.  They were our support system, even though we never met.  We talked to each other through our blogs, messages, and the forum.  When Chili Dawg's cancer returned they were right there with me when I cried, and when we put him to sleep, we received cards from tripawd owners from all over the country.  I wanted to take this opportunity to thank them for being there for me and my family during our journey and I wanted to be able to say it face to face.  So, I made the decision to miss church this morning and meet some of the people who helped us.

At 8:45 this morning, I loaded Juli, Noah, Buster & Finchy into the van, along with a bunch of water & treats and my camera.  We were the first to arrive at the dog park and Noah and Juli were very excited.  The next to arrive were Jan and her husband Rick.  Their tripawd, Tate had crossed the Rainbow Bridge after Chili Dawg, but they brought their 2 dogs, Sam and Zeke.  Susan arrived next with tripawd Holly and her sister Zuzu.  Finally, tripawd Ginger arrived with parents Annie and Brian, who drove up from Pontiac.  I just want to say that even though this was my first time meeting these people face to face, I felt like I had known them for a long time.  Tripawds is a very close knit group and while you don't ever want to be a member of this club, you are glad once you become one.  The support that everyone gives each other is unbelievable, and they welcome you with open arms.

Noah and Juli had a great time running around with the dogs.  Noah kept saying, "I thought you said there were going to be tripawd dogs here, Momma!"  He hadn't noticed that Holly only had 3 legs (she is a rear-amp).  When Ginger arrived he yelled, "She looks just like Chili Dawg!"  He and Juli took turns handing out dog treats to the dogs and petting them.  Finchy and Buster had a good time running around with the younger dogs.  Everyone was impressed that at almost 10 years of age, Finchy could keep up with 16 month old Sam.  We stayed at the dog park for almost 2 hours, and then Finchy got a little grumpy, and Juli had run out of water in her cup and was wilting.  I was sad that our visiting time had to come to an end, but extremely thankful that I got to attend this get together.  For me, it was another step towards healing the paw shaped wound on my heart.

I was able to take some pictures of our morning, when the dogs weren't running around with each other.  It was truly a "sea of dogs" at times!  Juli would get knocked to the ground and the other adults would gasp, while I said "you're alright".  Juli would giggle really hard, get up and say, "more again!"

Tripawd Holly- she recently celebrated her 30 Month Ampuversary!

Finchy with Zuzu behind him

Noah with Finchy, Holly (notice she's a rear amp), Zuzu, & Buster

Zuzu- she would place her front legs on either side of the cooler and sink her face into the water

Tripawd Queen Ginger- she's 12 and going strong

4 month old Zeke

Sam & Buster

All the dogs chilling out in the shade

Tripawd Holly

Tripawd Ginger

Buster had to find his own shade, so Noah went to be with him so he wouldn't be "lonely"

Sweet Ginger


  1. Glad you decided to go...I know Pastor Dennis will understand. Love, Mom

  2. I'm glad you went Jenna! Thanks for giving us Ryan for the day. He's been such an asset to Kim and SummerLand! This has been an important healing journey or you, and I'm glad you participated in this event. There will be an extensive test on the podcast...bring a #2 pencil. I'll find a Scantron machine somewhere!