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RIZZO 5.5 Spring 2015

April 12th, 2015

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Rizzo is Chilin

Rizzo is Chillin

We are celebrating this spring with Rizzo turning 15 in May.This last December marked 5.5 years post amputation!

Pretty dang remarkable for a little dog that had a Mast Cell tumor on her hind leg and cells in her abnomen.  The prognosis for Rizzo at the time was quite iffy.  As my friend Ge’Lena would say, Iffy-Smiffy!  That’s Rizzo’s attitude and she has taught our entire family to just move on and live instead of dwell and grind on what she doesn’t have.  She is a inspiration to an entire community that has seen her keep prancing during her Walkies for five and a half years.  I can see it in family’s as they drive by us during our walks…..pointing and waving, smiling and almost cheering this little dog RIZZO.

Rizzo just had her “Senior” checkup and she has developed a heart murmur.  Dr Spellman took X-rays of her heart and lungs and took some blood for some work.  Her lungs do not look all that great. A radiologists will be back with a report early next week on the heart valves.  The Blood results already came back and all her levels look great!

MURMUR-SMURMER!!! Until we hear anything different! There are meds for that!

So that’s the news and updates on the Riz….she is living large and PROOF that the STINKING C DOES NOT ALWAYS WIN!  She has survived!

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Rizzo 3.5

May 3rd, 2013

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May is here and that means I am another year older…..whatever that means.  Thirteen years old.  I like the three in that.  Next month will be 3.5 years since this journey began.  I live here in Northern California and it is already getting into the 90’s most days so my Momma takes my sister Beans and I on walks early before the pavement is blistering.  We love our walkies but some days I lag way behind and we have to cut the walky  short.   I will randomly pick some people’s shady grass and just lay down in the cool grass and decide I’ve walked enough.  My Momma loves me and gives me a teary eyed look and carries me home. I love my Momma.

Our house has changed in the last couple months. March 1  my other sister, Sophie, went to the rainbow  bridge.  I’m not sure where that is but I know she is not here any more and I miss her.  She was here before I was and she was 15.  Momma and Dad were sad for weeks and Beans and I kind of wandered around and didn’t know why Sophie was gone.  We got snuggled a lot and still do since then.

Sophie 1998-2013

Sophie 1998-2013

My Mom gives me pills every morning, and she doesn’t even try to hide them any more.  I don’t even fight  about them either.  I get peanut butter with them and I love peanut butter so it’s a win-win for Momma and me.  Momma tells me the pills make me feel better and I trust her as she has helped me get this far so she must know something about this Cancer stuff.  I have Mast Cell Cancer and when it rears it’s ugliness I get sores and itchy spots (on the outside and probably the same thing on the inside) too.  So I get benadryl twice a day  to control all the itchies.  I get other stuff too, but that one I really care about otherwise I feel like I’m itchy EVERYWHERE!

This past week, Rene, (yes our Rene from Tripawds) emailed my Momma and asked if we’d be interested in representing Tripawds in the Sacramento area for a TV broadcast that a local station was doing about the upcoming Morris Canine Cancer walk.  Momma said YES!!!!   It was really, really fun except for the being there at 6:30am part.  I usually sleep until 8.  It was worth getting up early…..lots and lots of treats and lots of people petting and making goo-g00s over all of us tripawds.  Here is the link if you’d like to watch it.


I was so tired for two days after that….but it was worth it if more people came to the cancer walk the following Sunday.  We went and did the Walk on Sunday and saw Karen Riley with her pack of Pugs and Ralph with Austin Ray.  Those were the only Tripawds we saw there.  Rizzo got to wear a Purple bandana as she is a survivor.  The supporters of the cause wore brown bandanas.  We sure saw a lot more brown than purple this year.  We did the short walk and it was fun and not blistering hot, but I got really tired.  I was asleep the minute my Momma started the car.

Well, That’s all for now.  Hope everyone is having a great spring and has a great summer!!!!!!!!!!

Adios for now!!

Adios for now!!






Happy Triday!!

March 3rd, 2013
Rizzo still hunting the squirrels!

Rizzo still hunting the squirrels!

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An Amazing Three Years!!!!

December 9th, 2012

We are all in the midst of the busy and crazy time of Christmas and in our house we too are celebrating the Joy of the Birth of our Lord. We are also celebrating the well being of our Brave and Courageous girl Rizzo for battling and beating this horrible disease of Cancer for Three Years.

It was the 10th of December, 2009 when we felt the lump on her outer side of her rear right leg.  Being a Jack Russell there is not a lot of meat on their bones or tons of fur so any lumps are easily noticed.  We also have a Miniature Schnauzer who has fatty lumps and bumps that move around and I always get them checked out , but I knew in the pit of my stomach that this lump, that was hard and did not move, was a different animal.

We went to our vet the very next day and he was doing the general check over and then he came to the lump and the look on his face gave me the same pit of my stomach feeling.  He knew too that it was not the fatty, “no big deal” type of lump.  He did a needle biopsy and came back with an ominous look that made me sick to my stomach.  He said the cells where large and looked to him like a cancerous type of cell.  We would know more once the biopsy came back and told exactly what we were dealing with.  We didn’t even talk about options as I didn’t want to know until we got the results back.  He did mention that in his experience the cells looked like a Mast Cell type of cancer.   So we went home and came back in three days for the results.

Of course, like all of us do, I came home and began to read and search and read and search all I could about canine cancer and Mast Cell cancer and survivability  and of course you fill your head with so much stuff it becomes all consuming and this is without even getting a firm diagnosis.  The biopsy came back as Mast Cell and the prognosis was good if we took care of the tumor quickly.  The Oncologist appt was made pronto.

So my little Rizzo  went from this pup in 2001


to this pup in 2009.

Now we were talking about amputation.   You can see the lump on the right hind leg.  Unlike Osteocarcinoma, Mast Cell is not painful to the dog, it’s just lurking and spreading.  They have to take wide margins and with that boney little leg the margins don’t exist, so the answer is to take the entire leg.  Unfortunately, the lymph nodes in her abdomen showed the cells had already began to spread.  So Chemotherapy was in Rizzo’s future too.


Dec 29, 2009 Rizzo lost her leg, and began her life as a tripawd.  She could have cared less.  She just wanted out of that stinking hospital.  She made the vet tech’s life hell for the next three days….barking every time they walked by.  Finally they moved her so she couldn’t see anyone and that helped slow the barking or at least they couldn’t hear her so much.  She was very glad to come home.   She had a rough time healing and never went at her amputation sight.  On Jan 19, 2010 they had to reopen the surgery sight and clean the entire area out of dead and dying tissue and resuture the sight.  She then began to heal properly.  She went through hell for the month of January and really never complained…..I did that for her.

 Beware, here are some of her pics that show how sore and yucky her amputation sight was before they reopened, cleaned and resutured her sight:


Tell me that doesn’t look like it hurts.  She was such a trooper!!  I do have to tell you that through this whole ordeal, the bond between your dog and you becomes something that’s hard to explain unless you’ve been through it.  I sure would not wish it on anyone.

I, unfortunately, didn’t find TRIPAWDS.COM until the middle of 2011.  It was nice to find people who were and had been going through the same thing I had been going through for a year and a half.  The support sure would have helped me in those first few months of hell.   Hopefully, sharing my story will help others who will go through this journey some day too.  I don’t wish this fricken Cancer on any Pup.

Rizzo went through Chemo starting in Feb of 2010.  Her Mast Cell was Stage II, Grade II at Biopsy.   Her first Chemo was Vinblastine and two weeks later was Lomustine.  Two weeks later was Vinblastine again.  Then two weeks later in March was Lomustine again.      The last chemo she had was Vinblastine.  With each Chemotherapy it is a cumulative effect. Rizzo did fine after all her treatments until her last one.

After the fifth treatment, her body said “NO MORE”.   In one day, she became lethargic and I really thought those were her last days.  I took her right back in and her liver had gone into complete failure.  I began giving her the drug Denamarin for her Liver in the hopes of regaining some liver function and slowly her liver began to function again.  That is a great drug and is just a supplement!

We thanked the Oncology dept and have never been back to see them.  My husband and I feel that we have medically done all we can do for her procedure wise.  We have gone back to our regular vet for various pain meds to help control some issues with pain and anxiety that have cropped up in the last year.  Mast Cells floating around in anyone’s body cause the release of histamines which in turn cause the body to turn on itself which causes uncontrollable itching and sores to crop up.  So a daily regimen of benadryl helps keep that in check. The histamines also cause the stomach to create too much acid which is controlled by a daily regimen of Pepcid.  Tramadol twice a day keeps her aches under control and sometimes she needs more.

All and all she is quite the amazing Tripawd Warrior Princess.  She refuses to give up and that inspires me to not give up on her.  She has had some down months where I wonder if this is the decline that we all know will eventually come.  With the help of my regular vet, sort of my hospice advisor, we tweak meds and get her feeling normal again and she keeps amazing us all.

That is always the question my husband and I ask ourselves… she happy, pain-free, and our old Rizzo?  Not a doped up Rizzo who is just existing.  That is when the decision to stop treatment comes into play.  She is and acts like our normal Rizzo…..feisty and spoiled and ruler of the house.  She still makes me laugh every day and loves life and her walks every day.  Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t comment on what an amazing spirit she has.  I have to agree!


My Best Buddies!!

August 13th, 2012

Well, we are in the middle of a typical NorCal summer and this last week it has been between 105 and 111 outside.  I am pretty much a country club type and enjoy my couch inside at 75 degrees except when Mom makes me go out to peep and poop.  I usually go outside in the fenced backyard.   I am not allowed to run free in my front yard as I lost those privileges many moons ago for not minding Mom.  So I get to go out in the front yard on a leash only sometimes.  I love our front because almost every time I go out there (either early in the morning or in the evening cuz of the heat) I have special friends out there.  They sleep in my yard and I don’t bug them cuz they are very fragile and gentle.  Here are some pics of them:









and here is another one:    

But I am also very quiet and gentle and because of the evil monster big Mommas that are sometimes with them that run after me and try and stomp my head!!!!! One just about got me one day…..scared the crap out of my Mom!!!   Hehehehe……I thought it was so funny to see how scared she was.  The baby deer are really cute.   I don’t understand why those Mommies are so mean to me.  I would never hurt them.  I love my front yard….that’s also why I am always on my leash in the front yard.   Here is the last picture of the evil Momma giving me the stink eye……


She looks mean doesn’t she?


Barney Withdrawals……

June 26th, 2012

Summer is here in all its glory and Rizzo is massively depressed and refusing food unless it has some form of human touch of deliciousness added to the regular dog food.  I know that most of us Tripawd pawents deal with finicky eaters for various reasons whether it be chemo, pain meds, etc, etc, etc.  I can relate.   When I feel rotten I don’t feel like eating either.  When I have someone hawking over me to eat I have even less of an appetite.  Maybe it’s because I am “MORE DOG” every day.

Rizzo has always been a finicky eater, but since I put the Purple Beast, BARNEY, in the box and shipped it off, she is downright depressed.  I have looked online to purchase one… one has them.  I have dug some old stuffed animals out of the closet that were my daughters but none of those have that special “STANK”  as Diane (Maximutt) described it so perfectly.  So, it’s a Barney hunger strike.  Actually, she is just back to her old self.  She just rallied because Barney was here.  She was so active and hungry and wild while he was here it was a rally.

Rizzo is in the palliative stages…..very inactive and I have to really try to fire her up for walks, so we are really just back to normal.  It was sure great to see that old crazy Jack Russell for a week or so though.  She is on pain meds full time as without them she has a really hard time getting comfortable laying down. She takes benedryl and pepcid every day as the mast cells spreading make her itch from the inside out and also creates too much stomach acid.

So Barney was a wonderful break in her routine and really helped her think about what she loves, instead of how crappy she feels.  Thank You for helping her feel like a dog again instead of a patient.  Also, thank you for helping me realize that I need to treat her like a dog instead of just a patient.   It’s so easy to get stuck in that daily routine of pills, feeding, pills, etc, and forget about the park and running off leash and fetching the ball at the park.

Barney Comes to NorCal

June 11th, 2012

Rizzo and Monkeybutts Sophie and Beans greeted him and here is how it went down………


The UPS man arrived and just the sound of the truck stopping in front of our house incites the usual riot between Rizzo and Monkeybutt sister Beans.  Monkeybutt sister Sophie used to participate in the mass riots but since she lost her eye sight three years ago, she just stays out of the way and lets the other two idiots have at it!

To watch the video of the two rocket scientists (Rizzo and Monkeybutt Beans) trying to sniff out what might be in the box (they could have bright futures working for the TSA)…

After the sniffing, I had to put MB Beans away in solitary as she claimed the box was hers and didn’t want to share.

Then Beans got to open the box all by herself and discover that the UPS man is really an amazing guy that brings the coolest of stuff… did he know I would love this sooooo much!!
Here is the link to watch Rizzo opening the box:

After she carried Barney around and around and around the house she fell asleep with him and I can honestly say this is the first stuffed animal toy she has ever had that she did not destuff!  Maybe it’s the smell of all the dogs before her that have carried him around and I know destuffed him, but she was very gentle for some strange and “honorable” reason.

I never let Barney out of the closet when MB Beans was out of solitary because she is the destroyer and would have destroyed him just so Rizzo would not be able to enjoy him.  She is a true MB.   Rocket, you would be proud of her.  And Angel Samson, you I know are  laughing from above at the MB stuff she does.

Since Barney almost incited a Riot at the McCauley house I did drive him down to the Folsom State Prison to let him know where he could go next, or maybe just jump off the Folsom Dam Bridge into the American River.  He would not survive.  Here are some pics of the rest of Barney’s peaceful stay.  Rizzo, as  I said, was gentle and calm and  I saved Barney’s butt from the Beans.   Watch the slide show of Rizzo:

Monkey Butt Beans just waiting in all her glory for her

chance to dismember Barney!!







Watch Rizzo at the ball field chasing and playing with her bud Barney before it got 95 degrees outside:

She came home and slept for four hours and that is about the extent of her day…..slowing down a lot but goes like crazy when she’s up and about….Barney lit her fire!!

Here is a picture of my Monkeybutt sisters Beans and Sophie

Deer are not Big Dogs

June 2nd, 2012


Rizzo, and her two monkeybutt sisters live in a subdivision, with houses lining the streets and not a lot of space between houses. Well evidently, the deer lived here first before all the subdivisions went in and the deer are not going to move any time soon.   We have been here for 14 years and there are more deer than ever.  Why should they move?   It’s country club living for these deer….lush green grass to eat, beautiful plump blooms to pick, and the supply is never ending.  The deer make their rounds and usually end up bunking down for a snooze in our front yard.  Sometimes four, sometimes ten!

I don’t mind sharing my front yard with the deer.  They are fun for Rizzo to bark at and she thinks they are soooo  dumb and scared of everything.  It makes her feel really bad-ass that these huge dog-looking creatures are scared of her…..a three legged Jack Russell.  Haha!

Well, last night, something different happened.  I took Rizzo out the front door (on the leash of course cuz of deer) and there they were.  Two of them.  Standing right in my front yard right by the walk way.  Oh boy…here we gooooo……yap, yap, yap, yap.   Hold on here.  She’s barking and they aren’t moving.  So I stomped my foot to get them to run away and nope that didn’t work either.  Suddenly Miss Rizzo was not feeling so bad-ass any more.  They actually came walking toward me and Rizzo and started stomping their feet.  I know Rizzo was thinking….THEY ARE TRYING TO GET ME!  They are not big dogs!  They are monsters.

I picked Rizzo up and took her inside and laughed really hard. Rizzo didn’t think it was funny.  She is the defender of our yard and those huge monsters have decided it’s theirs when ever they want it.  So she had to peep and poop in the back yard but she could smell those monsters out in the front yard!  There must have been babies bunked down out there and these two deer were not even letting us out our front door.



Monkeybutts I put up with!!

May 23rd, 2012

Rizzo checking in and I figured you all need to know more about me so I need to introduce my two monkeybutt sisters I have to live with.  Sophie and Beans.


Sophie is a Miniature Schnauzer which to me is a fancy name for funny looking silver yapper.  She is 14 and was here when Mom and Dad brought me home as a puppy.  She used to play and romp and was loads of fun.   Everything was great, she taught me how to act right and how to bark at the UPS, Mailman, Garbage man, you know, all the important things a dog should know.   Most important, she was my best bud.  One day, about a year before Mom had my leg donated to science, the strangest thing happened.  Sophie woke up one morning and was running into walls and couldn’t find her way and when we went outside she walked straight into the swimming pool.  I don’t know if you know this but schnauzers can’t swim, they go through the motions, but they sink like rocks.  I thought Mom was going to have a heart attack.  Mom took her that day to UC Davis Vet School Eye clinic and they diagnosed her with SARDS.  My poor sissy went blind over night.  So our sisterhood changed that day and we never played the way we used to.  We still snuggle though.  I didn’t understand what happened and I still don’t.   Here is a picture of Sophie, my big sister:



My other sister, Beans, is a whole different story.  She is a wack-job!  Mom volunteers at a Senior Citizens place and one day she came home with this crazy, freaked out, loon Jack Russell that some old lady couldn’t take care of and she was going to put her to sleep.  My Mom wouldn’t let that happen so she brought this crazy dog home.  I was hoping for just a few days but no….it was a long term forever type of thing.  She was 5 months old and was nuts.  She is now 6 years old and is still the same…..nuts.  She never stops running, jumping, freaking-out, whatever.   She is not a great relaxing roommate.  I guess I love her though, she does bring a lot of zip and zest to every occasion even if you don’t want any.  I have tried to teach her to chill and she just doesn’t get it.  Mom says it has something to do with her first five months of  life and what she went through at the old peoples place.  Oh well.  When Mom brought her home her name was Lady.   Hahahaha!   That name didn’t fit her at all.  We changed her name to Beans and that fits her perfectly.  Here she is:

Here’s a picture of Dad trying to sleep with Beans and Sophie 


Well, that’s all for today, gotta run and see if I can catch that bird that keeps teasing me in the back yard!


Amputate that sucker!

May 17th, 2012


December 29, 2009

So amputation of the right hind leg is the answer from the oncologist and all my vets recommendations.  MAST CELL CANCER   Get it out of her and let’s get on with living.  Rizzo came home after three days and had some healing issues and major pain issues.  First off, I don’t know if she had ever been in pain and secondly just the looks of her site looked very painful.


On January 7 2010 they took her back into surgery and cleaned it all up and removed a lot of tissue that was not healing.  She immediately felt soooo much better and then began loving me again.  She was not a happy camper for quite a while until they fixed her all up with the second surgery.  Then some real convalescing began!

It would not be until February that Chemo would start but Rizzo layed low for the month of January and learned that she could do most anything on three legs…..even fight with her MonkeyButt sisters Sophie and Beans.  That’s a whole blog post for another time.

This is Rizzo today…..all lazy and healed up!!