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Isa's Story

August 4th, 2022

Roxinator Update

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

[Edited to add pathology report below. Oops.]


A long overdue pupdate but mostly life has just been cruising along. Assuming of course you don’t count insanely large and out of control wildfires.

But that’s a different story. And has no dogs in it. I know where your priorities are.

And in the scheme of things this is a non-event, or very nearly so, in the scheme of this community. Enough so, I feel a little awkward about presenting it here. But you’re my family so you’re stuck with Roxy and me.

Roxy’s right back foot, inside toe, has been inflamed/infected/mucked up for quite a while. Her licking it nonstop has not helped anything. I was thinking it was nothing more than a hotspot. Not sure what I maybe should have done but whatever that might have been, I didn’t do it. We went for her annual check up in March, were patted on the head (literally and figuratively), given a round of antibiotics and threatened with the cone of shame. Antibiotics did nothing, nor did I follow up.

A few days before I left for vacation (end of May), I noticed the toe was swollen – a new symptom. Boarding called while I was gone to tell me the toe was not in good shape. Got home and it was indeed looking yucky and she continued to lick it.

I have no excuse, much less a good one, for why I waited longer to go back to the vet after that. Finally, finally took her in on June 28, deliberately scheduling to see a doctor I knew from when Isa was sick (versus the newish one we saw in March).

The vet more or less freaked out and ten minutes into the appointment started pushing to amputate the toe. At some point she calmed down and we (she) decided on doing hardcore antibiotics and rechecks at one and two weeks. Plan was to get the swelling down and see what we’re dealing with. And, oh yes, the threatened cone of shame.

I do not know what cancer she suspected during this period, it was not named and that’s a good thing. Can’t consult Dr. Google without a specific search term. She did tell me twice in a four-minute conversation how aggressive this (suspected) cancer was.

If that wasn’t enough, for the record and for context of my personal freak out, Isa was diagnosed with osteo on July 1. “Be more dog” is not something I am remotely good at.

I would like to mention that since (obviously) doggo cannot use the dog door while wearing the cone of shame and the fact that I live in the little-house-with-“quirks”, I had to carve out the header to the hall so the back door would open all the way (and not block the hallway).

How to destroy your house

Then hung a screen that opens down the center with magnets and Miss Thang was once again in and out of the house at will. Please note, she could totally reach her toe around the giant-ass cone [technical term]. And she did make it out the dog door a couple of times with the cone on (it flipped inside out) but required human assistance to come back in. Always, always well after I was in bed. One must retain all doggy standards in this regard.

Those antibiotics, combined with the lack of Roxy-abuse of the toe, helped. Swelling went down, seemed to me to have dried up a little but the vet said not so much. Admittedly I wasn’t wiggling the nail around to have goo ooze out – go figure. She also said it worried her that the opening the goo was oozing from was not closing.

Biopsy was scheduled for July 25 resulting in a big ol’ bandage, leashed potty walks and no running around like a wild thing. The Roxinator? Quiet and sedate? I think not. I fenced off the back porch (in the rain, at 7:30 pm, without dinner) and we’re back to leashed potty walks (reminding me of our trailer days). She was not initially happy about the yard being fenced off but seems to have accepted it (for now). They also narrowed the circumference of the cone to the point that she can no longer reach her foot. Made some things around the house easier and some more difficult. Bandage change on the 29th, and we were given the wonder of an old IV bag for mud protection during potty walks. Worlds better than the grocery bag(s) we’d been using. However, still not ideal. It’s too small, too low on her foot and tends to start to slide off. So I am currently looking for an alternative.

And for your entertainment, picture this: I circle around her to get to the appropriate foot to apply the required mud protection. She follows directly behind me, circling me circling her. We made at least three full, tight, circles of one another before I made her stop. Laurel and Hardy prepare for a walk.

At the bandage change on August 2, I was told that her toe was worse, largely due to lack of air circulation/bandage and “sweaty dog paws.” (For some reason that phrase cracks me up. Maybe, just maybe, I need to get out more.) Last night I noticed an … odor. I called this morning and reported same, and we will now be heading back there this afternoon.

Also at the August 2 recheck, the lab report was back. Technically good news if a tad ambiguous (in my opinion). Final conclusion was a “pseudo tumor” but maybe perhaps possibly starting to turn into soft tissue sarcoma. Inconclusive but, but, but.

Roxy path report

(hopefully that works for y’all.)

As I/we have known from the start, the toe will be amputated. Even if it’s not cancer, the toe is too damaged at this point to ever heal properly. Waiting for biopsy results was primarily to determine how high the amputation site should be. The amp is scheduled for next Monday, August 8. I’m told they will probably keep her overnight since they’re wedging her into a non-existent spot on the surgery schedule.

The doctor laughed at my primary concern being “how long with the cone?” We’ve been over a month with the damn thing and all three of us have varying degrees of PTSD from it. I think Wallee may have been pounced on and trapped within it at least once. I have bruises and may well be pushed down the stairs one day. Best thing in the world will be to be done with the damn thing. (Answer: two weeks post-amp.)

Assumption is, post-amp and the appropriate healing period, she will be fine. It’s not a full blown STS and even if it was, excision is a cure all. No chemo, nothing but standard follow up. A blip in our rear-view mirror. Inchalla.

I have thought of this community often through this month, grateful for all I’ve learned, grateful for all of you and your fur babies. I know how inconsequential this is relatively speaking within this community. It could be so, so much worse.

A massive thank you to those who have talked me down, repeatedly, over the past month. I’d be under the bed (and never come out) without your help.

My new mantra: “A toe is not a leg” – something to celebrate.

Love you all.

Teri, Roxinator and Angel Isa.


  1. It’s always good to back to our roots! So sorry you’ve been dealing with this, I know how stressful it’s been. Even though you have the knowledge gained from the “club nobody wants to join”, it’s normal to freak out some now. Soon this will be in your rear-view mirror, and life will get back to your normal. You know I have experience with the toe amp gig, and I’m always here for you! Throw those “coulda, woulda, shoulda’s” in the trash! The amp sucks, but as you’ve said, it could be so much worse. Thank you for sharing this with the Tripawd family….even “minor” things like this are learning experiences. Love you, friend!

      Paula — August 4, 2022 @ 6:28 pm   Reply

  2. OH MY Goodness Terri. You should have said something I would have helped talk you down some. Thank God it wasn’t the dreaded C word. I know how hard it is to face things without support around you.

    We are all here for you and in any way that I can help let me know.
    I know we hate the dreaded cone here too. 🙁
    I love the new Mantra. Keep saying it over and over again.

    hugs and lots of love
    Michelle & Angels Sassy,Bosch, Baby Simba and Sweet Snickers

      Michelle — August 4, 2022 @ 6:29 pm   Reply

  3. Teri and Roxy, you’ve got this! And we’ve got your back. A toe is not a leg and she is barely going to notice it’s gone. With a little time, you won’t either. Breathe in, breathe out….

    Hugs from Barley, Shae, Ken and I.

      hester — August 4, 2022 @ 6:51 pm   Reply

  4. Oh Roxy! Cooper licks & licks, so I know how frustrating it can be – he often has spots on his legs where he’s licked it raw.
    The IV bag with a shoe string to tie it closed worked well for Cassie – much stronger than a grocery bag or a sock lol
    And you’re right Teri, a toe isn’t a leg, but surgery is surgery, and it’s always worrisome.
    Hugs to you my friend!
    <3 Donna

      midnighter94 — August 5, 2022 @ 12:25 am   Reply

  5. WOAH! Inconsequential? Stuck with you? LOL! You are FAMILY Teri, we always want to know how things are going, good, bad, and otherwise. I’m just sorry you’ve been dealing with this icky situation. Talk about amputation ordeal PTSD!

    You’re absolutely right: a toe is NOT a leg! That is what I call being more dog. You are TOTALLY doing it!

    That grocery bag is hilarious by the way! What about Pawz booties? They are pretty effective but unfortunately not good to leave on all day, they don’t let feet breathe. But they’re good for outdoor adventures without the cone.

    Roxy is one tough pupperz! She’s like ‘What? Something wrong? Nope!”

    Monday is my birthday and I KNOW this is a sign that her surgery will go just fine. Please keep me posted with a birthday present update! xoxo

      jerry — August 5, 2022 @ 6:21 pm   Reply

  6. Listen up my crazy friend (and I mean that jn the most complimentary loving way!), you ARE family here furever!!!!
    Anything involving you and Roxinator , and Wallee too, matters to us!!! NOTHING IS EVER INCONSEQUENTIAL HERE when it involves are beloved dogs and cats.
    We understand like no others how any bump, lump, limp, sneeze, cough, etc, etc can throw us into a fear and panic that even junk food and ice cream can’t help alleviate the scary thoughts.
    And it IS a big deal finding out Roxy has to deal with this toe surgery and Wallee has to deal with being trapped in the cone!!
    If I read this right, the report showed it may, or may not, be sarcoma, but curable regardless.
    And you were getting word while on vacay Roxy was having issues with this toe thing while we were on vacay????? Good job of keeping things compartmentalized! On vacay….enjoy vacay. Nothing can be done til you get home anyway. Can worry when get back home. Yep, my crazy friend did a good job of hiding her concerns….but I understand completely!!! You just kind of learn to deal with “stuff” in a solitary sort of way when it’s just yourself.

    Okay, so tomorrow (Monday) is surgery day. I’m glad she’s spend the night. It really will be like she’s a recovering tripawd at first, as I imagine her paw will be really sore and hard to walk on at first. Ueah, will pro bring some “flashbacks” to you……..just remember this does not equal that back then!

    I truly have no doubt….zero doubt…that she will be absolutely fine! She is a strong willed gal and will power through this!
    That video shows not holds her back. The cond, the law bag….quite a sight, but did slow her down at all!!
    You KNOW we are all sending you the pawsitive energy that does, indeed,work across time and space…..
    And so does sending you love💖
    PS…you still crack me up with your humor and Teri-specific wit!!!

      benny55 — August 8, 2022 @ 1:48 am   Reply

  7. We are adding our pawsitivity for Roxy today, Teri!
    I HOPE/PRAY for this not to be sts, and regardless, as you say, taking it off is the answer & will provide more answers with the pathology.

    “A toe is not a leg a toe is not a leg ”
    YES, but still an appendage, and in my own experience, toes are extremely painful, so hopefully, goodbye, toe, and this is in your rearview mirror very soon, along with the damn cone for all your sakes.

    We are thinking of today & sending good juju, pawsitiivty & prayers

      Purrkins — August 8, 2022 @ 2:42 pm   Reply

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