When life gave her lemons, our Critter of the Month made lemonade. Emma Gray lost one of her legs to cancer over a year ago. She has impressed us all with her pluck and can-do attitude in the wake of this loss. With the support of her loving owner Siobhan she has served as a shining example to all of us here in how to overcome life’s obstacles. Emma was an easy choice for our star patient this month.

Here’s her story in Siobhan’s words:

“I met Emma then Cleo at the Manhattan Beach SPCA storefront on July 14, 2002.  She was a high energy 1 year old with bigger than life ears (one has an incredibly cool grid pattern on it :-)). She had been found wandering the streets of Los Angeles alone.  Two days later our journey began when I adopted her and renamed her Emma.   She has been my faithful companion for 9+ years.  The first 3.5 years of our life together she came to work with me every day which we both loved.  Over the years we have shared many walks, hikes, camping trips and sleep together every night.

She was a handful when she was young.  She was willful, a bit stubborn and didn’t get along with other female dogs.  I worked with her to make sure she got plenty of exercise and she responded really well to obedience training.  Both big investments of time but well worth the payoff.  She also had stomach issues so for the first year I had her I made her food, Emma Mush, which consisted of cooked chicken, pumpkin, brown rice, peas and other green veggies and blueberries.

Thanksgiving weekend 2010 while playing ball in Los Angeles she broke her hind left leg and we discovered she had bone cancer which is very painful and highly metastatic.  I had 3 options, euthanize immediately, amputate or amputation & chemotherapy.  I was devastated but remember looking into her eyes and knowing in my heart it just wasn’t her time to go. I had her leg splinted, got pain medicine for her to keep her comfortable and headed home to Berkeley.  I immediately called Campus Veterinary Clinic, told them what I was dealing with, that I was leaning toward amputation only but was told to have her lungs x-rayed to make sure the cancer hadn’t already spread. Thankfully x-rays indicated her lungs were clear.  3 days later she had her hind left leg amputated.  I picked her up the same day of the surgery and by that evening not even 12 hours post surgery she was up and walking on her own.  I was amazed at how quickly and well she recovered from the surgery.  We got lots of great tips on “tripawd” life from Dr. Yen and staff and the wonderful Tripawds community we found on Facebook.  We couldn’t have made it through this without them.

I have loved Emma since the moment I met her but the resilience, strength and tenacity she has demonstrated during this fight against cancer and as she transitioned to life as a tripawd has only deepened that love.  Her willfulness and stubbornness have served her well in this fight.  I am so thankful I followed my heart regarding choice of treatment.  Average post amputation survival time for dogs with Osteosarcoma who are treated by amputation alone is 3 to 5 months.  February 3rd marks 14 months since her amputation surgery.  I am so grateful for every additional day we have together and for the incredible care and support  from Dr. Yen and staff.”

Likes:Walks, Trader Joe’s dried chicken breast strips, hanging with my baby bro Aiden, her friends at Campus Veterinary Clinic

Dislikes: Cancer, other female dogs

To learn more about Tripawds, a “User-Supported Three Legged Dog Blog Community,” visit www.tripawds.com

Think your pet is a good candidate for our next Critter of the Month? Email us a