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How Tripawds Got Its Name

Chapter 6 of Be More Dog: Learning to Live in the Now tells the story of how Tripawds got its name. When Rene and I got the word that our Chief Fun Officer Jerry would need an amputation, websites and domains were the last thing on my mind. By the time we returned to the hospital for his surgery, he had inspired us to start a blog, and that is when I registered

Tripawds Chief Fun Officer Jerry G. Dawg

Why Tripawds? It was not because was taken.

The Story of How Tripawds Got Its Name

We learned the term “tripods” from the vets and techs at U.C. Davis Vet Med School. That’s where we got the news Jerry had osteosarcoma. That’s when we discovered that dogs could live a happy life on three legs. And, that’s when we became consumed by so many questions for the surgeon.

“They really do get around great on three legs, I see it all the time. There’s probably one or two out in the lobby right now.” He put his pen down, folded his hands on his lap, and waited for the same questions he heard almost daily.
Be More Dog, Chapter 6: Cancer Comes Calling

We would have a million questions. We would soon wonder about recovery time, walking, swimming…and Jerry’s prognosis. But one particular question came to mind first.

“But how can they walk like that? How would he go to the bathroom?”

“It’s easy for them!” It was one of the first questions people always
ask. “They adapt, even to urinating. When they need to go, they’ll go!”

The good doctor proceeded to explain how amputee dogs adjust their stance and gait, to compensate for the missing leg.

They compensate by moving the leg to the middle. They stay upright that way, like a three-legged stool. That’s why we call them tripods.”

“Tripod? Like a piece of furniture? That’s harsh!” Jim didn’t like the insult.

I disliked that “tripod” term. It seemed derogatory. That changed the day we decided to start a blog to document Jerry’s progress, and later his adventures. We wanted to show how awesome “tripod” dogs can be – at least how awesome ours was. So I empowered the name.

Time dragged on while they waited for a surgery update, hoping it was a good one. They had their laptops open, but neither was being productive…web surfing wasn’t doing it for Jim; he needed something more to focus on. So, he did what he does best; he began building a new website.

I took back the term for three-legged dogs everywhere. I put a paw in the middle. It dawned on me as we waited for word about Jerry’s surgery in that Davis hotel room.

Jim thought back to the vet’s conversation about three-legged dogs, almost feeling guilty about referring to his own dog as a piece of furniture. That “Tripod” nickname just seemed kind of mean. And dumb, too. After all, what three-legged stool has paws on it?

With a new website, we would need to register another domain.

That’s when it hit him. “Paws, Tripod…Tripawds!” He turned to
Rene. “Tripawd. Get it?” He spelled it out for her. “T-R-I-P-A-W-D.
Let’s empower it! I’m going to build Whatchya think?”

She smiled for the first time in days. “I love it!”

That is how Tripawds got its name.

Never in our wildest dreams did we ever think Jerry’s little blog would one day become the global Tripawds community it is today. It was November, 2006. We published that very first blog post, simply titled Ouch. We had no idea we would still be blogging about Tripawds so many years later. And we couldn’t be any more grateful.

Get the full story of all our adventures with Jerry, and how Tripawds got its name be in Be More Dog: Learning to Live in the Now.

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