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Senior Tripawd Boxer Benefits from Free Canine Rehab

Tripawds Community member jill409 is recipient #73 of the Maggie Moo Fund for Tripawd Rehab. Read on for details about the benefits of free canine rehabilitation session for senior Tripawd Boxer Petra, and learn how you can get a free canine rehab evaluation for your dog or cat.

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Free Canine Rehab for Senior Tripawd Boxer Petra

Petra is my 9-year-old Boxer rescue baby! In 2013, I started fostering for Austin Boxer Rescue; with two Boxers already in my pack, I KNEW I wouldn’t be tempted to “foster fail”—famous last words! Petra came and never left. From the start, she had a growth/sore on her rear left hock. It would flare up from time to time and we usually treated it with antibiotics, which seemed to work. This past fall, she had a bad flare up and the regular drugs were not doing the trick. The growth grew substantially and became ulcerated.

In October 2019, my vet debulked the growth and sent it out for pathology; it came back as squamous cell carcinoma. We visited an oncologist who was the first to suggest amputation, much to my horror. But as the growth roared back and caused pain for Petra, I started reconsidering. And then I found! What a lifesaver. Reading the stories and posts gave me the confidence to move forward with amputation on December 22, 2019.


I want Petra to have the best life she can on three legs so I decided to look into rehabilitation options. Using the link on the Tripawds website, I found a mobile rehabilitation vet with a CCRT designation, Dr. Elena Lee of Kokopelli Integrative Veterinary Care. Dr. Lee examined Petra thoroughly to determine what areas of her body were weak or painful and observed her walking and getting up from the ground.

Dr. Lee demonstrated a number of actions and exercises for us to do on a daily basis including:

1. Ice pack neck, back, and legs once to twice daily if painful.

2. Gentle massage of neck, back, and legs once to twice daily. Use your entire hand using front to back, side to side and circular motions.

3. Full body stretch 5-10 repetitions once to twice daily. While she is laying on his/her side, place one hand next to triceps and one next to her thigh and gently push them outward to stretch him.

4. Skin rolls anywhere skin is tight once to twice daily. Gently pick her skin up and roll it in one direction until you feel tight skin is not tight. If there is a tight area found, gently lift the skin there and gently twist the skin in both directions to loosen the restricted skin area

5. Place the edge of your hand at her hip flexor region and perturb for a few seconds and repeat until muscles relax.

6. Stand to sit to laying down exercises for 5-10 repetitions once to twice daily.

7. Cookie stretches for 5-10 repetitions once to twice daily. Use a treat to lead her nose to each hip.

8. Hip bounces for 10-20 repetitions. Place one hand on top of her pelvis and one under her abdomen to support. Then gently push down on her pelvis to bounce him/her up and down

9. When on walks, walk on different surfaces, up and down curbs and incorporate gradual inclines and declines.

10. Walk in large circles in both directions for 5 repetitions once or twice daily.

These exercises will help build strength to support Petra’s remaining back leg and help to keep her body limber to minimize injury. For the most part, Petra loves the exercises. She has a mind of her own on walks and wants to sniff around far more than she wants to “exercise” but we are working on it! She’s been through a lot and keeps on smiling!


I think the thing I learned most from the visit with Dr. Lee is that I need to look at rehab in a more holistic way—that is, I shouldn’t just be concentrating on the remaining back leg but should work with her to strengthen and condition all the parts of Petra’s senior Tripawd Boxer body.

My username on the Tripawds website is jill409 and I have a Tripawds Supporter blog for Petra the Great in desperate need of updating.

The Maggie Moo Fund for Tripawd Rehab is what really pushed me to at least give it a try. I’m so glad to have had the experience and to have a tangible list of things I can do to help Petra recover. We don’t have immediate plans to see Dr. Lee again as finances are a bit of issue post-amputation, but I would recommend her to other Austin folks and we hope to follow up with her in a few months.

Included are couple of pictures of senior Tripawd Boxer Petra along with a copy of my invoice from Dr. Lee.

Thanks so much for considering my application!

~Jill and Petra the Great (aka: jill409)

Petra the great

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4 thoughts on “Senior Tripawd Boxer Benefits from Free Canine Rehab”

  1. Very interesting advice. We have a 12 year old boxer who is used to walking with us twice a day for a total of 3 miles. A month ago we noticed he was limping on his left rear paw. We thought he must of broken a toe, but the xrays showed what the vet believed to be osteosarcoma of the knee. By that time his leg seemed to be lame. The blood work was good and the fungal test negative. The vet gave us a choice of amputation or riding out the next couple months on pain and anti-inflammatory meds. We struggled with the amputation recommendation but after reading aboit other successful surgeries, we have scheduled him for next week for the surgery. My question is that knowing what post-op rehab and possibly more meds, chemo and radiation, would you have gone ahead with the amputation if your boxer was 12 years old like our Nico?

    • Hi John, we are sorry to hear about Nico, it’s a ruff situation. While you wait for input from Petra’s people, please hop on over to where you can read about other senior Boxers who lived life on three, and connect with members in our Discussion Forums. We look forward to seeing you there.

    • Hi John, so sorry you are going through this with Nico! Petra’s recovery from the amputation was so much smoother than I feared it would be. We are about 5 weeks out from amputation and Petra is back to walking her usual mile or so each evening. Most importantly, she is feeling so much better without the leg—that tumor was really causing her a lot of discomfort. We have decided against chemo and she’s no longer taking any pain meds, just a daily joint supplement. I don’t regret the amputation at all and only wish I would have done it sooner. If Petra was a few years older, I would still go forward with amputation. I’m not sure how much time we are going to get but I’m so grateful her quality of life has improved for whatever time we have. Hope that helps and look forward to following Nico’s progress!


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