Beach play: Tripawd &amp her big puppy friend

Monday a.m. we drove 30 min. north from Eureka to Clam Beach, north of McKinleyville. Phoenix had her 3rd play date @ a beach with our friends’ 6-month Lab-mix puppy, Lucy, who’s already taller than 9-yr.-old Phoenix! It’s great to see them wrestle, snarl, tumble and run together on the hard sand. Phoenix, being a tripawd & an older dog, eventually gets tired & plops down to rest on the sand (and we give her water), while Lucy looks for driftwood sticks. It felt like we had this wide Pacific beach to ourselves because we encountered only 5 people and 4 other dogs during our hour together.

Four years post-surgery, she still walks through forests

Last Friday afternoon, sunny skies arrived instead of the predicted rain. So, instead of taking our 9-year-old tripawd pit bull girl Phoenix for a neighborhood walk, we drove 35 minutes north from Eureka to Patrick’s Point State Park.

At the park, Phoenix walked on familiar roadways [animals aren’t allowed on the trails] twisting through the giant sitka spruce forests. She had a great time and, when the walk was over, she was ready to rest on the truck’s tailgate. My wife took a shot of Phoenix & myself on a bluff overlooking the Pacific.

My 4-year ampuversary & 4-year adoption

Woof! I forgot to tell you that two months ago that I celebrated my 4-year ampuversary! I kind of celebrated with our house-sitter Sara and her 5-year old son Jacob–they’re like family–because my parents were visiting Ireland at the time. I’m still happily hopping through life. Amazing. Here’s today’s photo of my waggly tail while I’m resting on one of my beds after Pop took me on a nice 1.5 mile walk. Next month I’ll celebrate 4 years since I psychically contacted my parents & they adopted me. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Tail-wagging Phoenix on her bed near computer

Phoenix attends Woofstock

Yesterday–Sat., Aug. 11–tripawd girl Phoenix attended the 23rd annual Woofstock on a sunny, cool afternoon along the Eureka Waterfront in Northern California. This “festival,” which benefits the Sequoia Humane Society and its adoption shelter, ran from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Although Phoenix didn’t get there in time for the morning canine conga line, she did meet many dogs–including a 9-years old tripawd lab named Phoebe. Phoenix also came face-to-face with Solo (another pit bull from Eureka) for the first time, became fast friends and had their owners (John & Neil) pose for a photo (taken by Arlette Large). When Phoenix got home from  75-minutes at Woofstock, she was so tired and content that she conked out on her favorite living room chair for about four hours. A beautiful day in the life of a happy hopping tripawd girl.

3-year Ampuversary & Grief

Three years ago today–Sept. 22–Phoenix had her right front leg amputated. Her continued joyful tag-wagging & face-licking are reminders, throughout each day, that Phoenix loves hopping through life on 3 legs much better than limping painfully on 4 legs.

We are grateful for, and mindful of, Ralph & Mya’s heroic rescue of Phoenix after she was hit by 3 different cars on Labor Day weekend, 2014. They drove her 5+ hours north to Miranda’s Rescue about 25 miles south of Eureka. If it were not for Ralph & Mya, and Shannon Miranda & crew, we would not have met this wonderful dog and had the opportunity to welcome Phoenix into our family.

Speaking of family, three weeks ago we had to euthanize our 14+ year-old beagle Chloe. Cancer, respiratory problems and–during her final day–multiple grand mal seizures, took their toll. Chloe went to sleep peacefully, held by my wife & I, in our vet’s office. Thus began her trip over the Rainbow Bridge to join our other dogs waiting for her. Sadly, at first Phoenix hopped around looking everywhere for Chloe, even looking inside a car in the garage. But as the days have passed, our beloved tripawd girl Phoenix (now probably about 8 years old) has adapted to being the only dog and  getting plenty of attention.



Ampuversary at the Pacific

Last Thursday (22nd) was a sunny, mild, blue-sky morning here on Northern California’s redwood coast. Great weather for tripawd Phoenix  to go to Samoa Beach on the peninsula to celebrate a wonderful occasion: her 2-year ampuversary. When we departed from our house in Eureka, an excited Phoenix launched herself from the adjacent sidewalk curb onto the carpeted floor of the pickup truck. When she first started jumping up by herself, it used to worried me. Now, although I’m always watchful and ready to pick her up, Phoenix prefers to have her strong back legs propel her. When we arrived at Samoa Beach, the four of us–Phoenix, her 13+ year-old beagle sister, and we two humans–were blessed to have the sands by the Pacific to ourselves (it was a weekday, so most people were at work or school) for 75-minutes. Phoenix and her sister scampered freely while we headed south towards the jetty, where a few surfers were catching waves. At times, I’d let Phoenix run off ahead with her sister & Mom, while I stayed behind. Then I’d call her and crouch down. Phoenix would turn around and RUN! (not hop) back


Happy dawgs after a walk

to give me face licks and get a small reward snack. When it was time to leave and we arrived back at the truck, Phoenix looked at me, wagged her tail and said, “I’m tired now, pop, so lift me up.” I picked her up, she drank water from her bowl, had more snacks and then curled up in her bed for the 10-minute ride home. A great morning adventure for a courageous girl.

Another “Champion” nears her 2-yr. ampuversary


Hello again, tripawd families! Phoenix is still a hoppy, sweet, tail-wagging, face-licking dog. In two weeks she’ll celebrate her 2-year ampuversary (and in three months it’ll be 2-years since we adopted her). She’s healthy and enjoys our 1+ mile walks around our part of town. On a few occasions, people on the sidewalk or driving by in cars have called “Champion!” I learned this refers to the 3-legged pit bull (also missing her right front leg & with very similar coloring) on the former TV show “Parks & Rec.” And, in many ways, Phoenix is a champion. Like many tripawds, she doesn’t seem to care–or notice–she’s only got 3-cylinders as she hops, runs and jumps her way through life. Phoenix loves to jump up on the couch to greet friends, as in the attached photo when she welcomed Laura, usually a “cat person,” but now friends with Phoenix.

A year and a prayer

Dec. 20th marked the one-year anniversary of our family (2 humans and a beagle) adopting and bringing home Phoenix. At the risk of repeating prior posts, she is a face-licking, tail-wagging, tripawd pitbull. The worst thing I can say about Phoenix is that she’s not always thrilled about going out in the rain–and we’re getting plenty of that (f0rtunately) here on Northern California’s coast. Her health is great, her mood is sweet. I’m ending this post by including my poem “A Dog’s Prayer,” which I wrote in 1995. Several people have asked me for copies over the years. Now, 20 years later, in the spirit of Christmas and good health for all our tripawd kids, I’m sharing it here.


Bless my mom for giving me birth,
and my litter mates for their play,
the folks who gave me shots and food
and a safe home where I could stay.
Find forever homes for my friends,
many are homeless, you know.
Help dogs that live in fear, alone,
or whose spirits have sunken low.
Please keep my kennel warm and dry,
protect my pads from slivers,
instead of baths in soapy tubs
let me paddle in cool rivers.
Can I go outside and play
when the vacuum makes all that noise?
Give me plenty of rawhide chews,
hard bones and squeaky toys.
I like eating meat, not just kibble.
What about burgers from the grill?
Teach me to avoid skunky spray
and the porky’s sharp-pointed quills.
I will watch and herd my master’s clan,
old folks, kids and babies,
If Lord you protect me from poison,
angry guns and rabies.
Remind my folks to brush my coat,
to check my teeth and ears.
Let my smart vet have kind hands
while treating me over the years.
I’ll guide the blind, pull sleds in snow,
even work in the K-9 corps,
so shield my ears in lightning storms
and my tail from swinging doors.
When we’re on a deserted beach
and I scamper off chasing birds,
help me feel joy, not be ashamed
if I ignore those “Come here!” words,
Keep freckled-face children ignorant
of my sly cookie-snatching schemes.
And though cats can be my friends,
let me chase them in my dreams.
Shoo away the two neighbor boys
when I rest in the maple tree’s shade.
They always want me fetching sticks.
Can’t they learn a hobby or a trade?
Send me some suckers, Lord,
so my sad face will be able
to hook their naïve sympathy
and get food under the table.
Help my friends to understand
how my bark differs from my growl,
and grant them the tolerance to endure
my silent farts most foul.
Let me nap on the cozy couch
while they drive to the grocery store,
and if I’m lost, return me home
this, Lord, I do implore.
Remind them to roll down the windows
when they leave me inside a car,
and if traveling makes me queasy,
don’t make our trips too far.
May flea and tick prevention meds
keep those pests off my skin,
and when I roll in something gross
just forgive this impulsive sin.
Let my people sometimes ponder
if I can read minds, or have a soul,
and have their kids keep track of time
when they tie my leash to a pole.
And if I don’t ever win a ribbon
for best of show or breed,
award me with love anyway
for this is what I really need.
Finally, when I grow old and feeble,
let folks know when I can no longer cope,
then Lord, tell them to lay me to rest,
not to hold onto their false hope.

© 1995 Neil Tarpey