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Caira Sue. What a long strange trip it’s been.

So how did we get to this point? How did we get to the point where we plaster cast and painted a mold of our dog’s front left foot?

In May 2002 an adorable brown puppy was born in Colorado. From here the story gets shaky. She’s never really told us the details. Stuff happens and this puppy was found wandering streets in a not-so-great-town and was brought into a clinic where my sister just happened to be working that night.  The lady who brought her in said “if you guys don’t take it, I will just put it back on the street where I found it.”

More stuff happens. All the vet staff take turns fostering this little puppy and calling her “Molly” of all things. Then in July 2002 my sister drives down to Ft Defiance, AZ and brings us the most adorable puppy we’d ever seen. We name her Caira Sue. We find “Caira” in an old dictionary to mean “It will go on” and “to charge forth.” That totally describes our girl-then and now. Of course, we did the only proper thing to do in America, we completely change the pronounciation. It kind of evolves into “Kara or Kyra.” The “Sue” is a nod to my hillbilly roots. Love those two names.

At the time I was working as a RN on the reservation. My husband, like most of the husbands there, had nothing to do but hike and explore. From the age of 4 months, Caira Sue has been going on adventures. Her jumping and smiles and all around goofiness has been infectious. You can always hear her shouting “I’M A DOOOOOOOGGG!” as she runs and jumps and digs.

7 years of amazing adventures. Hiking, backpacking, swimming (lots of stuff happening)-many moves later and Caira Sue lives in the east San Francisco Bay.

In July 2009 she was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in her right shoulder blade. At the end of the month it was amputated-shoulder blade, leg, the whole kit and kaboodle. Stuff happens.

We have had many adventures since. Camping, hiking, swimming. Roadtripping across the Southwest. We have met beautiful people with huge hearts through the tripawds group. In NorCal we have met amazing tripawds. We have learned that having 3 legs never really slowed a dog down. In fact, I often thought they were having more fun.

While taking her to UC Davis to treat the OSA, Caira Sue was placed in a Gemzar inhalation chemo study. Because of that, Caira has had an amazing 6.5 months. I am forever grateful that we were able to take part in this study.

Now that this study has been ongoing for awhile and there’s evidence of it working, they are starting to use it on children. Our Caira Sue. Our most amazing, most beautiful, most adventurous, most precious dog…has helped countless children in the future.

And that’s a beautiful thing.

May 2002-Thursday, Jan 21, 2010.

May you always catch the tennis balls and swim in the waves. May you always be heard shouting “I’M A DOOOOOOOGGGGGG!” Charge forth, forever Caira Sue. Charge forth.


   GerrysMom wrote @ January 21st, 2010 at 8:37 pm   

Gerry says to Angel Caira Sue –

We’ll miss you SO much Caira Sue! I wish you didn’t have to go so soon. I only just got here! But the Everlasting Tripawd Pawty in the sky will be so delighted to welcome and play with you.

Don’t worry, as much as Yoda loved tennis balls, he always let the other dogs at the park have them when they wanted them. He’ll be quite the gentleman as far as that goes.

Don’t be frustrated if you can’t figure out how to cheer your pawrents up from the other side. They’re going to be really sad for a while no matter what, but you know they’ve made some really good friends here at Tripawds and they’ll get lots of support.

Rest well, tripawd hero!

   Mackenzie's Mom wrote @ January 21st, 2010 at 8:59 pm   

We are at a loss for words….beautiful Caira Sue…and filled with such great sadness right now. But we know that Caira Sue was so loved and had a wonderful life with her wonderful parents. She’s touched all of our hearts with her amazing adventures and athletic ways. A great tripawd hero . Our thoughts and prayers are with you……

   majorbubbatank wrote @ January 21st, 2010 at 9:02 pm   

Though we never met I somehow feel like I know you and find myself shedding a tear (okay, several) for you. You will, no doubt, be missed by many. I’ll burn a candle for you tonight, Caira Sue.

   admin wrote @ January 21st, 2010 at 9:08 pm   

This beautiful. So sad, but such a beautiful tribute. We are honored to have met Caira Sue and can’t thank you enough for sharing her heroic life with us all.


   jerry wrote @ January 21st, 2010 at 9:16 pm   

Oh Caira Sue. Beautiful girl. I think I hear you coming now. I’m ready, let’s go hiking! Let’s swim in the lakes! Let’s run through the trees and the grassy meadows!

You made the world a beautiful place, and there are so many people out there who will never, ever forget you. My Mom is sitting here crying thinking of you not being with your peeps. You and I had a lot in common, being outdoorsy dogs and all. This beautiful tribute reminded my Mom of all the great times we had together, and she is very very sad right now that cancer has taken one more tripawd away from this earth.

But I’m telling my Mom, “Buck up little soldier! Charge forward, be strong like Caira Sue, and keep telling the world for us, that it’s better to hop on three legs than limp on four!”

You will always be a special girl in our hearts. See you at the Bridge.

   Emilysmom wrote @ January 21st, 2010 at 10:15 pm   

I am so so sorry. I read your forum post earlier and not not understand that Caira Sue had gone to the Bridge. She was a beautiful girl, a true hero to future tripawds and also to the children that benefit from the drug study.
Debra & Angel Emily

   jakesmom wrote @ January 21st, 2010 at 10:20 pm   

I just can’t stop crying… 🙁

I’m so sorry that Caira Sue has finally lost her battle with this dreaded disease!!! I remember reading about her when my Jake was first diagnosed and I thought… Wow! There is definitely HOPE!!!

But no matter how long Caira Sue, or Jake lived after their diagnosis… it’s never enough time… But at least they are at peace now… running free and playing… no worries… it’s just their pawrents that are left behind to cry and miss them so much.

You are both in my thoughts and prayers… Thank you for sharing your precious Caira Sue with us!!!

Angel Jake’s Mom

   anyemery wrote @ January 22nd, 2010 at 7:05 am   

I’m so sorry to read about Caira Sue. She has been an inspiration to us as we go down this road…. you’ve both been there for us through this, and we will keep you in our hearts and be there for you now.
Sending you lots of hugs and doggie kisses,
Holly and Holly’s mom

   cometdog wrote @ January 22nd, 2010 at 1:04 pm   

Oh, I just looked her puppy pics and ooo’d and awww’d. She was a darling baby. I know she was a precious girl. Thanks for sharing her with all of us. We fell in love with her, too and we’ll miss her.

   Andy wrote @ January 22nd, 2010 at 1:48 pm   

Caira Sue, what an inspiration you are and will continue to be! We never got a chance to meet you but we are grateful for all you have done to help others during your fight.

We took our walk earlier today with our dad in your honor and we know he was very sad to hear about you this morning. We will keep our tails wagging and keep on running for you, Caira Sue!

Mackey and Suzi Easton

   Peyton’s Path wrote @ January 22nd, 2010 at 5:47 pm   

We are so sorry to hear about Caira Sue! She was an inspawration to all of us! So beautiful and full of life. It just shows how fast things can change when this stupid cancer takes a hold of our babies.

I can’t stop crying! We always looked forward to her wonderful adventures and just her happiness for life.

You are in our thoughts and prayers. Hopefully you can find some peace knowing Caira Sue is with Peyton and Jake at Rainbow Bridge playing ball and swimming and just having fun! Take Care and know Caira Sue is smiling at you with a giant tennis ball in her mouth!

Kris, Cami and Dillon

   jack crowder wrote @ January 22nd, 2010 at 11:10 pm   

I had to take some time to digest this. We knew it was coming, but really were not ready to lose Ms. Caira Sue or for you to be heart broken. What a beautiful tribute and a wonderful life story of the beach combing, mountain climbing, ball loving gal! You are fabulous pet pawrents, actually fab people overall. Take time to heal your hearts and know that you are enveloped in warm hugs and tearful prayers.

   Tazzie wrote @ January 24th, 2010 at 6:24 pm   

I just came back to read your tribute to Caira Sue. It is the most beautiful tribute and speaks volumes to an amazing dog and her loving family.

   Opie wrote @ January 27th, 2010 at 1:33 am   

I have been trying to catch up on two weeks worth of tripawd blog reading and just tonight, got to Caira Sue’s blog. I hate that the cancer wins so often, but you are right, the study Caira Sue was in will help many in the future and it made possible the past 6.5 months of her amazingly adventurous life. Run fast, Caira Sue. Jump high. Swim strong and give Peyton and Jake a couple of giant dog kisses from me. We will all see you again. That is a fact. –Opie (and his mom)

   Tehya's Mom wrote @ January 29th, 2010 at 1:11 pm   

I too am just catching up on all of the blogs and news on the site. I am so sorry to read of Caira Sue’s crossing the bridge. She truly was an inspiration to us all.
Stay strong in knowing that she is in peace and playing with all of the wonderful tripawd angels.
Tehya and her Mom

   Merlin's mum wrote @ February 19th, 2010 at 4:51 am   

We’ve only just been catching up with tripawds blogs today and yours is always one we click onto. We are so sorry to hear the sad news about CairaSue.
Hopefully she’s running free with Peyton, Jake, Merlin & all the other tripawds that have left us.
Thinking of you.

   ThreeLeggedMax wrote @ March 7th, 2010 at 7:06 pm   

I don’t get on here as much as I should, so I just recently read of her passing. Caira Sue was really an inspiration and it was obvious she lived life to the fullest–especially in that last photo! How lucky you were to have her!

   Chloe's mom wrote @ September 27th, 2010 at 4:32 pm   

I just started reading your blog (really late in the game here since I just joined 2 months ago) and I can’t help but smile at pictures of Ciara Sue since she looked like my current tripawd Chloe!

Chloe has similar face and body coloring, though different body shape. She likes to take apart tennis balls rather than play with them (more of a squeaker girl), but she is not a water dog.

I know its been about 9 months since you lost your good friend, but Chloe and I would be honored to walk for Ciara Sue at the K9 Cancer Walk in Los Gatos, CA on 10/10/10. You can see the forum post I made about this and you can see a recent picture of the shirt back with all the names of dogs affected by cancer. I will add a + by her name to show Ciara Sue has crossed Rainbow Bridge.

If you would like me to do this (and I would love to) please visit my forum and leave a comment. Thanks!


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