Preparing Your Home for a New Tripawd

Thought I would get to some serious work here and offer some tips on getting your home ready for a Tripawd.  In the few days before surgery, my husband and I tried to think of every scenario, but there is always something you wish you knew earlier.

We have a 1956 mid-century modern home, and that means we have a lot of terrazzo.  Our first thought was to make it easy for Ranger to get his footing, especially when he wasn’t feeling well.  Because we have so much terrazzo, we opted to buy rug runner by the yard at Home Depot.  This enabled us to have several long solid pieces, and to cut angles where needed to fit a longer piece in with something smaller.  It was easy to clean, too.  I could use a broom, or vacuum on the floor setting.  I also have a stick vacuum that I could use on either the floor or carpet setting.  I also want to add that this was cheaper than buying a boat load of area rugs, but the flexibility with the runner was perfect for us.

We do have a couple of steps going out to the yard, but those were already carpeted with outdoor carpet for the humans.  We worried about Ranger negotiating those steps, but he rarely had an issue with them.  I think if they are familiar with steps they will adjust.

Ranger was 72 pounds, so a rather large dog.  We also thought his feeding & water dish should be elevated (I had wanted to do that anyway) to make it easier for him to keep his balance while eating or drinking.  I looked at several elevated food bowls, but just didn’t find anything I liked.  So, for his food, I used a small step stool and put some rubber feet on it to hold the bowl in place.  For the water, I used a small storage crate I’d had for years that raised it a few inches (here I had to be careful because his sister uses the same water bowl, and she is not as big as Ranger).

When we brought him home, he was not walking.  To get him in the house from the car, my husband cleared off a work cart he had in the garage and we lifted Ranger from the car to the cart and then rolled him in.

We always made sure Ranger was on a clean towel, which means I was washing towels every day, but that’s OK, right?  Heck yeah.

When moving Ranger, we each grabbed an end, counted 1 – 2 – 3, and lifted him up.  Remember to bend your knees and watch your back!  Ranger did not walk for 9 days, so we were doing this a lot.  Get your pup outside in line with his/her normal routine, whether they “go” or not.  Just getting them back into their usual environment makes a huge difference.

We live in Houston, and it was late fall so we had a lot of days where we had to contend with rain and/or wet grass.  I had some old plastic beach mats that I would put down so he did not get wet from the grass (especially important when keeping the wound dry).  We would then put Ranger on the mat when we took him out.  You could use a shower curtain, or a drop cloth for painting, or anything really that would prevent moisture from seeping through the towel.  If it was actively raining, I had a big umbrella I would put over him, but I have to say he was not a big fan of it.  You know how some dogs are – love the rain, but hate baths.

On his beds (yes, plural, don’t get my husband started!), I put a pee pad, then an old sheet, then the towel we carried him on.  I never really needed the pee pads because he was such a good boy, but I didn’t know how much he might move around.  And having the sheet on top of the pad just helped keep it in place.  Yes, I washed a lot of sheets as well.  Heck yeah.

Hope all this helps, and if you have other things you did to accommodate your big dog, please share!

First night home, getting him inside on the cart.
Libby & Ranger snoozing in front of the steps to outside when they were puppies. You can see they are rather shallow.

Ranger Post-Surgery

First night home. We moved Libby’s bed into the kitchen with Ranger, and I slept on the floor on the other side of him. Thank goodness we were able to figure out how to get him to his normal sleeping area the next night.
Trying to keep him out of the rain. He didn’t much card for that umbrella, but it was necessary to keep the wound dry.
We were thrilled to see him feel well enough to spy on the neighboring dogs with his sister. That was a good day!
One last picture of Ranger and Libby when they were about a year old.

You will notice that in some of the earlier pictures, Libby wears a red collar.  Ranger kept on chewing off her collars, but the final decision to have her go collar-less was when I caught him dragging her across the floor by her collar.  Didn’t bother her a bit, but I’d rather spend money on dog food!

The journey with Ranger still seems surreal, and we have a big hole in our hearts that is mending ever so slowly.  As I write this, we are now awaiting an oncology referral for Libby.  Last week, she was in for her annual teeth cleaning, and due to some abnormal levels in her blood work, the vet decided to do a scan.  She found 2 masses on Libby’s liver.  We don’t know what the future will bring at this point, but I know this:  Ranger is waiting for his sissy at the end of that bridge.


Thanks everyone for asking about Libby.  She is OK, but really misses her “bobo”.  In the next few pics, you will see more of both of them.

We’re just trying to give her a lot of attention and hugs and rubs.  I think we may have gone overboard on the treats, but will reel that back in. 🙂

Favorite pics of Ranger

Ranger’s favorite sleeping position
Ranger on the left. With his sister, Libby – inseparable.
In what we called “the circle of love”. Ranger loved this spot and was so disappointed when he got too big for the space.
As a puppy, sleeping on his sister, Libby.
Loved to carry around his daddy’s socks, but only the dirty ones. Such a dog.
Waking up from a nap.
After the amputation. He loved this spot, but found it increasingly hard to get in and out of on 3 legs.
Ranger on the right, after the amputation. He and Libby like to sit at the front windows and bark/howl at anyone who dared walk in front of the house, especially if they had another dog.