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Mav’s 1st Birthday!

May 15, 2014

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Okay, so maybe most people don’t celebrate their dog’s birthdays but I think its important to remind us to cherish every moment we have with them.

Birthday boy pose

So… when it first got warm I made some pupsicles to give the kids a frozen treat to cool off with (Maverick has an unusual affection for banana so I made them with extra large chunks πŸ™‚ ). I call them doggie ice cream and Mav gets excited when I go near the freezer now, lol! Ergo, Mav got doggie ice cream and the cake was saved for the humans.

Banana pupsicle

Mmmm…. yummy!

I can’t believe this boy has grown into such a sweet, strong young dog. He may not be a puppy anymore, but he’s always going to be my baby boy. Can you believe Mav went from this:

1 week old

To this:

Typical teenage boy… sleeping

I can’t wait to see my boy keep growing and experiencing new things right by my side. Here’s to many more birthdays!!!

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Puppy pics

March 24, 2014

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So we missed National Puppy Day but I thought it would be nice to show how a puppy tripaw grows. As most of you know, I knew before I even took Mav that he would most likely become a tripaw so I had more time to research than most people do. Bringing Mav into our family was the best decision we could have made for us, he has helped us heal and grow and become better people.

Maverick at 3 weeks old, my first picture from the breeder

Maverick’s first day home, 9 weeks old

Second week home, 2 1/2 months old


First real walk, 3 1/2 months old

4 months old

First day home after surgery, 6 months old

4 days post-op


2 weeks post-op and cleared for light exercise!

7 months old, first post-op rehab


Maverick today, 10 months old and trying out his Ruffwear Float coat


This winter has been really tough on the canines and humans here in NJ, walks have been short to non-existent. So… with this nice, warm weather coming through we’ve decided to gear up and head out on the trails. I never push my dogs, if they want to go further then I let them. I always watch for evidence of fatigue and foot injury and stop for water breaks regularly. That being said, it is dang near impossible to tell an aussie to stop, lol.

We’ve hit the trails at Lebanon State Park, Cheesequake State Park, and our own Purple Heart Trail here in Jackson, NJ. All of these sites give us a nice variety of sand to loamy soil that cushions the joints in our dogs as well as length of trail. We’ve let Mav take us for just under 4.5 miles a couple times now but I’m a little reluctant to let him go further, even if he does pull and bark to keep going! I think we’ll keep him under that mark for a little while longer and maybe late summer or fall extend it.

We really can’t wait for the water to warm up so we can get the kayaks out and start training Mav to water. His sister, Sage, loves to go out in the kayak so I’m hoping she can teach him to enjoy it too. Honestly, he’s such a momma’s boy he’ll just be happy if I’m in the boat with him.

On the trail at Cheesequake, you can see the steep stairs in the background that are throughout this trail



Maverick PT Pictures

March 8, 2014

Look at those sweet eyes

Maverick wants to let everyone know just how important PT is to him and how NOT scary it is!

Mmmm, coooookie!

You get cookies all the time and if you’re smart you insist you need chicken, cheese, or even steak to keep your attention. Usually though, he does it for the fun.

Practicing his doggie yoga

Doing all your homework is super important to success at PT. If you don’t do your stretching and massage at home then that flexibility and balance you’ve worked so hard for can go away in a matter of weeks or months. I’m not sure what stretch that is, but it seems to be a favorite of Mav’s, lol. It really doesn’t take long, just a few minutes before bed when you’re snuggling on the couch anyway is all you need.

Setting up for his wobble board exercise

Maverick loves his wobble board and we recently upgraded his difficulty to include a donut. Now he really gets to stretch and balance at the same time.

On the board and working it

Lisa works Mav to really engage his abdominals so he has to work to balance. You can see from his tail that he loves this!

Working on the see-saw

Working on different surfaces is important for Tripawds, they need to have more confidence than any other dog that their foot placement will hold. The see-saw has improved his trust and now he goes over the obstacle without even thinking about it.

Foot placement is just as important as balance

Foot placement and body awareness really helps, this one is a toughie.

Look at those abs!

All that hard work really pays off, look at that core work! Mav can now balance on his hind legs for a full 20 seconds! You can see the orange cones in the background (cavaletties), Lisa uses these to teach Maverick to separate his hind legs instead of bunny hopping everywhere. The underwater treadmill is in the back too; we haven’t used that one yet but Mav tries to check it out every time.Β The blue flooring is a special shock-absorbing floor that cushions precious joints.

So you can see that physical therapy isn’t scary at all and it really is a whole lot of fun!

Maverick’s PT visits

March 7, 2014

Hi everyone, sorry to take so long to update! We’ve had some sick puppies this past week but no worries- everyone is better now and all chewed up toys are safely in the garbage can now πŸ™‚ It’s amazing what a dog is able swallow whole when they know you’re coming to take it away.

So everyone knows that I am a HUGE believer in canine physical therapy, especially since my Mav goes consistently. Would he have recovered without it, sure. Would he be in top physical condition and ready to take on the world with this amount of flexibility, heck no. Physical therapy gave us the tools to provide Maverick with the best chance of a long, happy life. It really helps that he thinks its all a big game.

The most important thing to remember is that its up to you to follow through on everything you learned in therapy. Going to a session once a month means nothing if you don’t commit to sitting down once a day and doing your stretches and massage. It doesn’t take as long as you think, just a few minutes while you’re sitting on the couch relaxing with your best best friend is the perfect time.

I promise to upload some of our photos at PT later tonight!

Mavericks out of surgery!!!

November 4, 2013

Maverick is officially out of surgery and doing great! I pick him up Wednesday night after work and then the real work begins, lol. I had my panic attack this afternoon, waiting for the call but we made it and everything is okay! I have a whole fleet of old friends checking on him in recovery for me so I think Maverick wont be lonely for a second. Oh, sweet relief!Maverick in recovery

maverick pt2maverick ptMaverick went for his pre-surgical physical therapy today! OMD, we are getting sooooo close now, just a week away! It’s crazy to think how this little guy has changed over the past three months, from a little ball of fluff to a sleek young adult. Of course, his energy level, if anything, has only grown exponentially.

Well, that crazy Aussie energy got little Mav into trouble when he injured his back right leg last week. Keeping him on bed rest has not been easy, actually close to impossible. I’m definitely not looking forward to his post-op rest and am hoping his pain medication will keep him drowsy for at least a couple days.

Good news is I think I’m finally getting the hang of this whole picture upload thing so be prepared for more pictures πŸ™‚ I put a couple pictures up of Maverick at his session today. He found his favorite spot right away and he was perfectly satisfied to stay there for his cold laser therapy. Of course, treats may have had a factor in that too (p.s. that face is the ‘what do I have to do for that cookie?’ look).

We’re trying our best to stay busy and not over think Monday’s surgery. The more I focus on it, the more worried I get so its best not to even go there. We got our Ruffwear Webmaster Harness and sling courtesy of Hallie and Libby (thanks so much again!) so we’re all prepared for the big day now. So, anyone have some Xanex we can use… Okay, okay, we’ll stick with the chocolate and try to lay off the extra caffeine.

New Maverick Pictures

September 9, 2013

I thought with all the bad news recently, we need an infusion of cute around here. So here’s a few more pictures of Maverick just having fun, being a puppy.

Maverick figured out how to get on the couch

Maverick figured out how to get on the couch

Two of the three stooges quarantined post chipmunk-hunting bath

Two of the three stooges quarantined post chipmunk-hunting bath

Taking a rest during a walk at Batsto State Park

Taking a rest during a walk at Batsto State Park


I’ve seen it a million times at each veterinary hospital I have worked at, the head shake followed by the solemn words of Β “That’s such a shame.” As a society in general I thought we may have progressed to a better understanding of amputation as a viable surgical option. Since becoming the proud parent of a future tripaw I have heard these words more than ever.

I’m finding it a little hard not to take those four little words so personally. Currently, I’m fighting more and more to not feel like a failure for not being able to fix my own dog’s leg. Accepting that no surgeon is a miracle worker is far easier for me than for those around me. There is only so much patching, sawing, and pinning you can do such fragile little bones. If I choose not to put my baby through all those surgeries for no guaranteed result, am I really such a bad person?

Maverick starts puppy classes in a few weeks and I know that more stares and questions are in order. However, I have decided to make it my mission to demystify amputation. There is no ‘shame’ in having a three-legged dog. I have lived with a one-eyed cat for years and after an initial clumsiness post-surgery she has become a beautiful, graceful feline. I think Grace and Maverick have nothing to prove to the world – handicapped animals are not shameful!

I am taking the Tripawds motto to heart; it is better to hop on three legs than to limp on four. Our animals hop so proudly, I think we can too.

Maverick’s Start

August 27, 2013

I’m not sure how anyone could have seen my Maverick and not taken him home immediately. All I know is that I couldn’t, and from his first baby photos I was hooked. Hooked enough anyway to drive four hours into Lancaster, PA to pick Maverick up, the last of his litter to go home. I cannot say how grateful I am that the breeder did not euthanize him at birth as so many others would have. As a purebred Miniature Australian Shepard, there were concerns that he would not able to do the things he wanted so badly to do with a deformed front right leg. Nuts to that, I said!

At 4 months old now, I can see that Maverick has a long way to go with his future rehabilitation. We need to amputate at the shoulder in another month or two but the adjustment will be quick as he barely uses the leg now. We have started working to strengthen his core muscles and will start puppy classes soon. I am looking into a canine rehabilitation therapist to help us after surgery. I am Maverick’s biggest cheerleader and will forever be.

As a vet tech I will be forever thankful for my contacts with orthopedic surgeons. This makes our journey so much easier than others I have witnessed. The only thing I am nervous about is Maverick’s age. I have helped so many older dogs recover from amputation but have not yet seen the long term effects in a younger amputation patient. Any suggestions are always welcome.

As updates progress, I’ll post them here.