Three Legged Dog Club
Cassie's Club Members

Dear Cynthia/Cassie:
This morning my husband brought our sweet and lovable Sandy to the hospital to have her front left leg removed.

We made this difficult decision after a week ago when we were given two options, 1) amputate or 2) have her put down when she could no longer take the pain of the lipoma sarcoma which has basically wrapped itself around the muscles inside her shoulder...

Other than this cancer in her leg, our Sandy, who is a 68 lb, 11 year old Boxer/Shar Pei mix, there is basically nothing else wrong with her.
We just had to give her this chance; she deserves it, she's our family... the rest of our family and friends have rallied with their support through love and even financially, as the cost is difficult for us to bear as well.

Everyone loves Sandy, she's such a good girl and so good with our kids. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers as we wait anticipate news on the success of her surgery and speedy recovery.
I will try to provide updates.

Thank you so much for your website. It's been helpful, informative and heartwarming. And thank you to Sandy's doctors' Luetke, Brady and Sadanaga for their professional experience and personal caring nature.
Friday June 8, 2007

Hello Cynthia and Cassie!
It's been a couple of weeks since I last wrote the day of Sandy's surgery. The first week was very difficult for Sandy and our family.

I think it was more so recovering from the stress of the surgery and stay at the hospital, as well as coming off of the anesthesia and then having to take the pain medication and antibiotics...

but after that, she was back to her old self!

I didn't think it was going to happen, but she really is the same playful and happy dog that she was before the surgery and before the pain and lump in her leg.

One day, about a week after her surgery, I opened the back door to take her outside and she just took off to the back of the yard after a cat!

There was nothing I could do to stop her, she was down the three steps and 25 feet to where the cat had previously been.

That was pretty much the moment where I felt, she's gonna be just fine.

For anyone else about to go through this, I just want to say, hang in there, the first week is definitely not easy on you or your loved animal, but attention and lots of love will get them through.

We were also concerned when she hadn't eaten for two days after returning from the hospital, but they suggested canned dog food (which she doesn't typically eat) or baby food. Once we tried that, she ate.

They also said if she still wouldn't eat, to give her chicken broth, because she was drinking water and at least she'd get more nutrients and vitamins, which is a great idea, but we didn't have to do that, since she ate the canned food.

Sandy used to sleep upstairs, but no more; any more than 3 or 4 stairs is too much, so the first 4 nights or so I stayed in our living room with her, but she's good on her own now.

They truly are remarkable in how well they adjust, truly fantastic and humbling as a human.

At her 2 week follow-up visit, she received rave reviews from Dr. Sadanaga. He was very impressed with her speedy recovery and attitude. He said that he hadn't expected so quick of a recovery, especially considering her age (11 years) and her size, 68 pounds.

Pretty much the only bad news is that there is still a chance that the cancer will spread. After removal, they biopsied the tumor and found that it had spread more than they thought... even starting into her lymph nodes, but they had removed that as well as the entire leg, including shoulder. So basically, it's a wait and see.

Dr. Sadanaga said that we could come back for another x-ray in 4-6 weeks to check her heart and lungs... or not, and just look for signs of spreading such as wet cough or another quickly developing lump about egg size with a hard feeling to it.

We'll see how she is in another few weeks. We are just so grateful that Sandy is happy again, playing with her 'bo-bo', chewing her bone, talking to us like she used to... and with everyone being so supportive. Thank you!

Kelly Byrnes
Clifton Heights, PA
Wednesday June 27, 2007


I got my beautiful Buddy at just 6 weeks.
He's 1/2 Malamute, 1/2 Golden Retriever (he was an accident - they didn't know their Golden was in heat!). He looks like a big, white polar bear and everyone thinks he's a Pyranese.

Bud loves to run, so it wasn't surprising at 4 yrs old that he blew out his back knee. After the surgery he did great and life was good, 'til he blew out the OTHER knee.

After a long 5 years of 4 knee surgeries, he could walk, but could no longer run.

The vet went in to tune up one knee and while he was at home healing he got away from me and tried to chase a squirrel, jumped off the deck and broke the bone at the knee.

Three surgeries later, bone grafting, etc., he got an infection in the knee and the bone began to disintegrate.

My vet called me in the middle of surgery (he was in tears) and told me he had to amputate. It was a big decision to make, because my Buddy is now 12 years old, but he had been so miserable for the last year with the infection.

The leg has been gone 2 months now, and because of his age and the fact he's been down for a year, he can barely walk, but he is sooooo much happier and he's not in any pain.

I bought him a little red wagon so he can join his brother on walks and a life jacket so he can go to the lake for a swim.

I'm shopping now for a cart for him. It was the right thing to do for both of us. Hopefully we'll have a couple more good years together!

Diane O'Connor
Thursday June 28, 2007

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