Online Resource Center for Amputee Pets and Their People | Tripawds Foundation

Play Video

Animal Innovations Show - Episode 85 - Tripawds

Online Resource Center for Amputee Pets and Their People | Tripawds Foundation

So, you’re looking for an online resource center for amputee pets and their people?
Then look no further than the Tripawds Foundation!
The world’s largest community for animal amputees and their guardians, Tripawds started as a blog in 2006.
It began when Jim Nelson’s and Rene Agredano’s dog, Jerry, got cancer and has grown into a network of more than 1800 three-legged dog and cat blogs. It also includes a radio podcast, video interviews with leading oncologists and surgeons rehab specialists, photo galleries, and discussion forums, where people respond to each other’s questions.
tripawds foundation Online Resource Center for Amputee Pets and Their People Having created a sense of community, Tripawds Foundation now hosts a number of direct assistance programs to help people facing amputation, recovery, and care for their cats and dogs.
According to Jim, who is a co-founder,

“We never want anyone to ever go through what we went through when our dog lost a leg to cancer, feeling lost and alone.”

Rene, another co-founder, added,

“We like to say that we’re the club nobody wants to join. But, if they have to, our community is here to offer emotional support and bring up good questions to ask your veterinary team about what to expect with your tripod dog or cat.”

Tripawds Foundation as a Community Off of Social Media

tripawds foundation 501c3 charity With more and more cases of animals losing one of their limbs, Jim and Rene established the 501(c)(3) charity to help pet parents even before their companion animal receives a cancer diagnosis that affects their pets’ limb.

“There’s something like 7 million dogs alone that will get diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. A good percentage of those are cancers that affect limbs,”

Rene shared.
To which Jim continued,

“We also get dozens of people joining each day, so that…really tells you quite a bit… And the thing is, our community is not just about cancer. We have seen dogs kicked by horses, shot, bit by snakes, and bone infections… There are all sorts of reasons, but cancer is the number one reason…”

cancer is the top reason for amputation in pets For this reason, Jim himself admitted that their number one product is the “warm, fuzzy feeling” you get from the community that they have established at Tripawds Foundation.

“When people gather around a specific topic, especially when your best friend has lost a leg, there’s really a bond that gets created among these people. That is the most heartwarming thing we’ve ever seen. And that is why we pour our heart and soul into making it work. There’s a new normal pet parents need to understand and certain responsibilities. We have to make sure they (our animals) live long, happy lives on three legs.”

a sense of community with tripawds foundation

Tripawds Foundation on the Basic Standard Advice You Need Upon Hearing Your Pet Needs Amputation

Yet, even though there have been plenty of amputation cases in companion animals, not many pet parents are well-aware of what to do should it happen to them. 
Luckily, Jim and Rene shared,

“One of the first things we say is, ‘Breathe. You’re not alone.’ That’s the first thing we like to say. Other people have been through this, too. ‘Cause when you get that news, you feel like you’re the only person this has ever happened to you. But until you actually have a three-legged dog or cat, you don’t really notice them, but they’re out there. It’s kind of like when you buy a red car, all of a sudden you see red cars everywhere. It’s like that with tripods.”

tripawds on the basic standard advice you need upon hearing your pet needs amputation Aside from that, wanting to be of practical assistance to these newbie amputee pet parents, Jim and Rene also ask things like the amputee pets’ pain management, the environment they’re in (e.g., slippery floors), weight management, and rehabilitation therapy.

“We make the disclaimer that we’re not veterinarians. But because we have interviewed dozens of them through the years, we kind of know a little roughly about what to ask vets and what pet guardians can expect with side effects and things like that.”

With plenty of ongoing projects for the foundation, Tripawds also offer assistance programs, including:
  1. A toll-free helpline
  2. A free rehab session for new Tripawds members
  3. Veterinary financial aid
  4. A harness donation program, and
  5. A cancer care package.
join tripawds foundation community    

Learn more about the Tripawds Foundation!

Visit their website at https://tripawds.org/.

Have suggestions for who we should interview next?

Send us a message at [email protected]!

Jim: Hi there, I’m Jim Nelson,

Rene: and I’m Rene Agredano and you’re tuned in to The Animal Innovations Show.

Chris: Welcome.

Tell us who you are and how you’re innovating and helping animals.

Rene: Well, we are the founders of Tripawds.com, and Tripawds is the world’s largest community for animal amputees and their people.

Jim: Started off, real small as a blog in 2006 when our dog got cancer. But we can get into that later. It has since grown into a network of more than 1800 3-legged dog and cat blogs, Tripawd talk radio podcast, video interviews with leading oncologists and surgeons, rehab specialists, photo galleries, and discussion forums, which are really popular where people respond to each other and answer each other’s questions.

That really created a sense of community. We host a live chat at Tripawds.com as well. And in 2014, we created the Tripawds Foundation, which now hosts a number of direct assistance programs to help people facing amputation recovery and care for their cats and dogs.

Because we never want anyone to ever go through what we went through when our dog, “Jerry” lost a leg to cancer, feeling lost and alone.

Chris: Yeah, I love the fact that you guys—I mean, you’ve made this now your passion, right? I mean, this was a problem that you were solving. And now you’re saying, “Hey, we need this community, right?”

People need this because how often does this happen that a dog or a cat ends up losing one of their limbs?

Rene: Well, it’s more common than you think, but usually, people don’t face this situation unless their pet has been diagnosed with some type of cancer that affects their limb. And I think, what are we here today?

There’s something like 7 million dogs alone get diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. And sometimes the leg does have to come of in order to give the animal a better quality of life.

As far as, like, hard numbers, how many—we have no idea.

Jim: It’s really hard to track that.

Rene: Yeah, vets don’t track it.

Chris: I don’t even know that I would know where to turn before I met you guys. 

So, what are the types of things that you would tell people when this happens? Is there some basic standard advice or guidance that you give them?

Jim and Rene: “You’re not alone.”

Rene: Other people have been through this, too, because when you get that news, you feel like you’re the only person that has ever happened to.

And until you actually have, like, a dog or cat, you don’t really notice them, but they’re out there.

It’s kind of like when you buy a red car—

Jim and Rene: and all of a sudden you see red cars everywhere.

Rene: It’s like that with Tripawds.

Chris: Yeah. That’s always the case, right? The humans are the ones that are—the animals are like, “Hey, what happened? I’m good.”

So, I’m curious. Take us back to the point when you said: Let’s start a website and talk about our experience and what we went through.

And then when it really— you decided: Hey, we really need this to be a community. It’s not just a website of information, but a place where people can get that emotional support and camaraderie.

Rene: Well, sure. When Jerry was diagnosed, we just started this little WordPress blog as a way to cope. It was just there.

Jim: So, Jerry was our chief fun officer in the business. We were working from home, and he was about 8 years old, and we had always been going on hikes and stuff, but he was diagnosed with cancer and we didn’t even know dogs got cancer at the time.

Rene: Yeah, so we started writing about his diagnosis and what he was going through. And originally we were writing it all cutesy in his voice.

And we started getting emails from people, and this was way back in 2006. And people started asking us questions that we didn’t have the answers to. But then we realized: Oh, well, that person emailed us and maybe they can talk about that cancer because that’s what their dog has.

So, it didn’t take long until Jim realized that installing discussion forums would connect people and take that load off of us because we didn’t have all the answers. Jerry just had Osteosarcoma, and we were getting all kinds of cancers we’ve never heard of.

So, the forums really helped a lot.

Jim: And you talk about going back and how it all began. There’s an interesting spin to this whole thing. When our Chief Fun Officer, our CFO, lost a leg to cancer, we didn’t know anything about it. He recovered quickly, and we were at a point in our business where it was already like— talk about growing or selling.

And Rene sat me down one day and said, “I got an idea!” And we ended up with her idea. We bought an RV, sold the business, sold the house, and budgeted for a year off to hit the road with Jerry, to kind of pay him back for this 8 years, he’s given us.

And I think that lifestyle of traveling the United States and always on the go contributed to his longevity. He lived another 2 years, while we traveled all over the country and grew the blog and started adding forums and then the live chat.

And by the time he left us in 2008, we had a little business going. It’s something we never wanted to sell— sell to people because they’re already distraught with huge bills. But we started offering assistive devices, mobility gear, like harnesses and ramps and booties, and the right kind of litter box for cats.

And it all kind of blew up from there, and turned into— it helped us find our passion and then turned it into our full-time labor of love.

Chris: Yeah, I love that. And I love the fact that you guys— I can feel the compassion and you know what they’re going through. And you’re saying: Stop, take a breath, right, It’ll be okay. This is just a fork in the road. It’s a part of the journey.

I’m just amazed that you started a foundation that now funds things. This is amazing what you guys have done in just a short time.

Rene: Thank you. 

Well, we never even thought about doing the foundation until a couple of members really started encouraging us.

And— then we had a lawyer, who specializes in forming nonprofits, and her dog lost a leg to Osteosarcoma, and they really encouraged us to take that leap and it was really scary, but we’re really glad we did it. Because now we can give back and other people can give back and pay it forward.

Our donors give to our programs. Programs help new members. It’s this constant circle. And one of the beautiful things that’s developed as a result is even when our member’s pets are no longer alive, these members still talk to each other. They get together for reunions.

There’s such a love and such a bond that develops with people who understand what this is like.

Chris: Jim, Rene, this is really cool. It’s amazing what you’ve done. Is there anything else you guys wanted to mention before we wrap things up today?

Rene: And I would just love people to let their veterinarians know that we exist because we do have information that we can send to vets who can in turn hand to clients when they give them the bad news that their pet needs an amputation.

So, TRIPAWDS.ORG, you’ll find a contact form there, where you can request free brochures for your vet clinic.

Jim: So, Tripawds has a paw in the middle. It’s TRIPAWDS and that we kind of empowered the tripod term. When were hearing vets call three-legged dogs and cats.

Chris: Very cool. I love this. Well, Jim, Rene, thank you so much for coming on.

As we wrap things up, I’m going to just remind our viewers and listeners that if you’ve got a passion, if you’ve got an idea of product or service, whatever, anything that’s helping animals, we want to hear about it go to INNOVATIONS.SHOW and come on the show and talk to us about it.

Jim, Rene, thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate everything you guys are doing and I’m excited to see where you’re going to take this.

Rene: Oh, thank you. This has been so much fun.

Jim: Thank you very much. Really appreciate it.

Recent Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts