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And Then There Was One

Hey Everypawdy,

I am hijacking Travis’ blog today with more devastating news from the OP. We sent Austin Ray on at high noon on Friday the 17th. Given he was a 10 or 11 year old tripawd GSD he was doing OK until last October, when he developed vestibular disease. Many times it clears up within a short period of time and never recurs. Unfortunately, after 6 weeks of improvement, Austin’s recurred and never really went away again. He would get a little better, only to decline again. He had a permanent head tilt (cute, until you remembered why), his one back leg totally gave out on him, and recently his front end basically gave out as well. Lately his spark just really seemed to dim. Although he still enjoyed riding in the truck and in his stroller, and he still loved his food and treats, he was …. less than enthusiastic. And he was just tired–sometimes he slept so hard we could barely get him to wake up. He became semi-incontinent. We finally really got that he just wasn’t going to improve again and his quality of life was suffering, so we made the call to let him go. It was so hard to contemplate, it just felt unbearable given the vast amount of pain and suffering going on throughout the world right now. But it was the right and only thing to do.






Austin was the dog no one wanted. Once upon a time someone cared enough about him to pay for an amputation but he then somehow ended up on the streets. When he was picked up by animal control he was emaciated and had severe yeast and staph infections. His rear amp was floppy–they hardly left any muscle! He was a trainwreck.  We fostered him for a year, got him healed up and tried hard to find him a loving home. Turns out that home was destined to be ours. So we bought him a Paco collar and welcomed him into the pack.





Austin Ray was hands down the sweetest member of the Oaktown Pack. He was our take anywhere no surprises dog. He loved all people, especially kids, and most especially little Mexican girls.











Austin got along with all dogs but took no guff from anyone, not even Codie Rae! Austin ran for Mayor, he was on tv, he represented the OP at our local Tripawds parties, he represented Tripawds at fundraising events large and small. He traveled the West, he chased balls and swam and chewed on his purple squirrel dudes. In spite of his physical issues he was never mean, he never complained, and he never let life get him down.



Run free sweet boy, whole and strong. You will always be our inspiration.


Martha, Ralph, and Travis Ray

15 Replies to “And Then There Was One”

  1. Oh, damn, I am so sorry(((((Hugs))))) I know you did what was best. I know from veterinary tech life that it’s no way to live forever. I also know the feeling of losing multiple lives too closely together.
    You guys are just such awesome pawrents. Travis and Codie are probably regulating every cloud in heaven. I can see Travis tapping her on the shoulder saying chill girl❤
    My deepest condolences to your family.
    Much love and of course breath taking hugs❤❤❤
    Jackie and Huckleberry

  2. Oh Martha, Ralph and Travis Ray I am sorry for your loss. You gave Austin Ray a great life. I know that doesn’t help the hurt to go away. You have had a rough year. We are thinking of you and sending hugs and prayers your way

    Michelle, Snickers, Jasmine and Angels Sassy,Bosch and baby Simba

  3. Oh no! Austin looks like he was the most amazing Tripawd! And he was famous? wow! How wonderful that he got to know what a good life was <3 Fly High Sweet Austin! The Tripawds sure are partying it up at the Bridge tonight!

  4. So sorry to hear this, my heart goes out to you. Fly free sweet Austin!
    Paula and Warrior Angel Nitro

  5. Oh Martha and Ralph, this just sucks. i saw the title and didn’t click on roght away. I knew what the title meant, but just wanted to be in denial little longer. .You two just can’t get a break.

    In the Oaktown Pack way though, you made such a very sad update turn into a beautiful tribute to a beautiful Soul. A tribute that gave us a chance to smile thru the tears. A chance to get to know the essence of what made Austin Ray be Austin Ray❤ And of course, the delightful pictures add the perfect exclamation point to a well lived and well loved life!!

    Your “take a where dog with no surprises” dog. That speaks volumes about what a sociable and gentle good boy he is!!
    I didn’t know the backstory (or forgot), that you actually thought you would just foster him “for awhile”. Ha! I think anyone who knows you knew this would be a foster fail a lot sooner than you did!! Yep, your names were stamped on his butt from day one.❤

    As he shed his failing earth clothes, he felt stronger and younger as he got closer and closer to Codie Rae!! He couldn’t believe she was looking soooo good and sooo young and, of course, prancing around on four!! And then Auatin realized he also had four legs!! They took off together running fast as lighten to the watermelon patch!
    I’m just so very sorry Martha and Ralph.
    Sending love
    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie

  6. Oh no! I’m so so sorry and my heart aches for you all! He was the best foster fail ever! He brought you as much as you brought him. ❤️ I know there are no words to ease your pain at this hardest of times but know we cry with you! Fly free new Angel and Travis Ray you take good care of Ma & Pa for us ok! Sending much love and many hugs to you all!

  7. We are so sorry to read this, Martha. You and the rest of the Pack gave Austin Ray the best life! We should all be so lucky!

    Run free, Austin! We will see you at the Bridge.

    Kathi and the Turbotail April Angel (and the Labrador)

  8. So sorry to read your news. Travis Ray looks like a wonderful friend and companion.
    Sending hugs from Libby & MrB

  9. My apologies – sending love for Austin Ray. I made a mistake with his name. I am so sorry.

  10. Oh you guys. I just got all teary eyed last night when I read this, I wasn’t expecting it for some reason even though I knew it was coming. I’m so sorry.

    Austin really won the doggie lotto when you found him. Yes, he was the sweetest, gentlest and kindest dog I’ve ever met, loyal through and through and so forgiving of stupid humans. He won our hearts from day one and oh how I wish we had the ability to care for another dog or we would have stolen him from you years ago.

    As his parents you gave him a life that he deserved, and you went so far above and beyond caring for his MANY needs. It speaks volumes about your love for him, and all animals, and we are so honored to call you our friends.

    I will never forget all the good times we had with him, and Codie and of course Smokey B. And although the OP is down to one official member, and one adopted one (Wyatt says “HEY I’M STILL HERE! BARK! BARK!”), the legend of the OP lives on. After all, how many other people are crazy enough to bring so many three legged GSDs into their home, and live to tell about it?! 😉

    Austin, may your sweet soul find a way to watch over us and spread love and kindness around the world. We will love you furever.

  11. Austin, I’m gonna miss you brudda. You were my TWIN keeping watch over Oaktown with your kindness and love. Nopawdy can do it like you. And I’m not sure Travis is up to the job. Don’t tell him I said that OK? He’s cool and all and one tough dude but he ain’t got that soft side for people the way you did.

    Thanks for being my best friend Austin. I don’t know anypawdy who puts up with my crap the way you always would. Dang I am going to miss you.

  12. Thanks so much for the kind comments everyone. Don’t know what we would do without our Tripawds family!

  13. Oh hell. I’m so sorry Martha, Ralph and Travis for your loss. I can even imagine losing two so close together. My heart breaks for you.
    Run free Austin. Party time at the Bridge!
    Teri, the Roxinator and Angel Isa

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