Guard Dog Has an Important Message for MUTTS Fans and Everyone!

Wyatt Ray, our forever Guard Dog, is spotlighted in the November 2023 MUTTS Guard Dog saga happening this month. We are honored.

The legacy of Tripawds Spokesdawg Wyatt Ray Dawg continues. This month as the world watches the heartbreaking saga of Guard Dog unfold in the panels of MUTTS Comics, we are reminded that Wyatt and Guard Dog have so much in common. This series has really hit home for us, and having the Mutts pack share Wyatt’s story today on social media is an incredible honor.

See MUTTS Spotlight Wyatt Ray on Facebook

We want to share MUTTS’ post, fan comments, and Wyatt’s story here for a furever remembrance, and posterity’s sake. Here’s what MUTTS wrote:

Guard Dog
Image © Patrick McDonnell used with permission from MUTTS.

Ode to Guard Dog Wyatt Ray from the Pack at MUTTS

Our friends Jim and Rene Nelson, founders of the nonprofit Tripawds, have dedicated their lives to providing advice and support for amputee pets and their people.

In 2009, their journey connected them with Wyatt Ray, a tripawd “guard dog” who lived the first few months of his life tethered and neglected in a backyard. Excited for attention or eager to escape, his confinement caused the chain to wrap and strangulate his right rear leg. A Tripawds member involved with a local animal rescue helped save Wyatt, who ended up abandoned at a vet clinic. At eight months old, Wyatt joined the Nelsons’ pack.

Jim writes: “Wyatt Ray indirectly showed his love for us, as best as he knew how. Our steadfast German Shepherd was not a cuddler. He didn’t care for hugs, baby talk, or deep eye contact. If he joined us at night, it wasn’t for long. Instead, he preferred to lay at the foot of the bed, always in protection mode and sleeping with one eye open.”

“Protecting the pack was his job, and by doing it well he showed his love. You can’t blame him, really. As a puppy, his first introduction to family life was to stay chained up out back, ignored and starving for attention. And from that early experience, he not only lost his leg, but a level of his trust in the humans around him.”

“It took years for him to regain what was stolen from him at a young age. We cherish memories of those rare occasions when Wyatt felt free enough to let his guard down, and be an ordinary family dog.”

Tripawds Jerry and Wyatt
Tripawds Spokesdawgs Jerry and Wyatt Ray

To read more about Wyatt Ray — and about a special “heart and soul” dog named Jerry, who inspired the Nelsons to start the Tripawds community — check out Jim’s heartfelt essay (written in 2021) on our blog:

One Heart Dog, One ‘Guard Dog’: A Tale of Two Different, Triumphant Tripawds

Comments from Team Tripawds


Thank you for sharing our story! ❤

We’ve known many Tripawds who started life as Guard Dogs. It’s sad how many dogs lose a leg, or their life, due to being tethered and neglected. So watching the Gard Dog story unfold in MUTTS really hits home. Thankfully, there are also good people people who know better.

Wyatt needed an amputation at 8 months old from being chained up as a puppy. We helped him love life on three legs for 12+ years. So there is certainly hope for Guard Dog. But only Patrick knows his fate…which is my reasoning for my quote shared here.

Wyatt Borrego Springs

Tripawds Spokesdawg II Wyatt Ray


❤ We can’t thank the pack at MUTTS enough for sharing Wyatt Ray’s story, and the work they’re doing to raise awareness for this important issue. Guard Dog has such a great message to share. It is both heartwrenching and heartwarming to watch his story unfold. Patrick is brilliant, and we’re certain there will be deep meaning behind whatever happens.

Having had the honor and pleasure to meet Patrick, we also know how difficult this story is for him to tell. And you can’t rush greatness. The best thing we can all do is help spread the word. Sharing now with Tripawds fans everywhere…

Patrick McDonnell & Wyatt Ray
Patrick McDonnell & Wyatt Ray

(#Tripawds Spokesdawg II Wyatt Ray meets Patrick at 2009 book signing.)

3 is the Magic Number

Watch a wild tribute to Tripawds Spokesdawg II Wyatt Ray for his three-year angelversary.

Oh Wyatt, how have three years gone by since you moved on to your next assignment? Your spirit is strong as ever, we still hear your barks echoing alongside us wherever we go.

All dogs have something to teach us, and hoo boy you had plenty of lessons for us didn’t you?

In our 12 years together, you showed us what comes from determination and hard work. With a little play thrown in too, of course.

Tripawds wouldn’t be what it is if it wasn’t for your encouragement to keep our heads down, and do the work that needed to be done.

Today we are still doing it thanks to you, and all the dogs and cats out there who deserve another chance at the good life. We do what we do to honor your memory, you sweet, wild, loud, crazy dawg.

Thank you for being you Wyatt, and helping us become better humans.

Always in our hearts, running free with the coyotes.

Thanks for Looking Out for Us, Wild Angel Dog

Remembering Tripawds spokepup and wild angel dog, Wyatt Ray, on his two year angelversary at the Rainbow Bridge.

Hey Wyatt, how’s the Rainbow Bridge holding up with you running the show? We can just imagine you’re running things like a well-oiled machine, everything orderly and nothing out of place.

three legged german shepherd wyatt
Wyatt Ray, May 2017

Two years ago today, you sprouted wings and ditched those old earth clothes. Twelve years was a good long life for a three-legged German Shepherd, but being human, we still wanted more. You, however, had other plans, and made sure you let us know that it was time for you go. We respected that, broken hearts and all.

After you left, our life was pretty tame. No more eating inappropriate objects, or rowdy riots with the Oaktown Pack. Can’t say we missed any of that chaos, but we sure missed you, Mr. Handsome. In fact we missed you so much that we couldn’t bring ourselves to bring another dog into the pack. We came close, but again, you had other plans for us.

From far away, you orchestrated the most beautiful thing you ever did for anyone. Thank you for making sure that Nellie B. Dawg was picked up the mean streets of San Jose. By some miracle, you got her off death row, and sent her to the two people she was meant to be with forever.

wild angel Wyatt angelversary

You just knew Nellie is a little like you, and a little like Jerry (yes, I know, “Jerry this and Jerry that, Jerry Jerry Jerry.“). She’s the perfect blend of a German Shepherd who knows how to love her people with all her heart, and keep them on their toes in the big bad world to make sure everyone knows who’s in charge.

Thank you for bringing her to us, wild angel dog, and for all the years you taught us how to be patient, wiser dog parents. Because of you, Nellie is finally getting the home she deserves. We are furever grateful for your handiwork from afar, and thank the universe every day that somewhere, you are still looking out for all of us.

Our Tripawd is One Year Gone And Impossible to Forget

Our Tripawd Wyatt Ray is one year gone, and impossible to forget all of his wild antics, loud bark, and good times we shared in twelve years.

There’s a lot that can happen in a year. 2020 got off to a ruff start for everyone. We had no idea about the heartache it had in store for us. And now, our Tripawd is one year gone and impossible to forget.

Wyatt Ray Had a Lot to Say, and Always Will

Twelve years went by in a flash. We traveled a long way together.

We still find it hard to believe that this dog who tested our patience but never our love, is no longer laying next us while we work.

Or riding in the back of the truck while we roam.

He was always ready to work.

Or make us laugh like the big goofball that he was.

He only had three, but Wyatt always wanted to lend a paw. Like last August, he seemed to know that his granddad was getting ready to move on, and spent a lot of time by his side.

 Maybe Wyatt sensed that by the end of the year, those two snarky old dudes would be together forever.

Some people worry they will forget how their Tripawd sounds, or felt. I’m pretty sure we won’t ever. Nor will the neighborhood dogs he visited last year while we stayed with his grandpawrents.

Long live Wyatt Ray Dawg. There will never be another one like him.

Wild Wyatt Whispers in the Wind

Tour the wild stretch of desert where we installed Wyatt Ray Dawg’s memorial sign, dedicated to his incredible life on the road.

Wyatt spent almost all of his life on the road. He traveled coast-to-coast several times, and all the way to Alaska. That boy saw more places than most people get to enjoy during their lives.

Wild Wyatt on the Road
Wyatt was a road dawg for 12 years.

Wild Wyatt Whispers in the Wind

When it came time to crate a memorial marker, it was only fitting that Admin created a design that reflects his wandering spirit. Take a look.

Since we are perpetual nomads, we don’t have a backyard where we can place a memorial marker. So we installed the sign in the wild stretch of desert where we have spent winter for the last few years. It’s across from our favorite RV park, in a very sweet pet memorial area where Wyatt took his last stroller ride. This is a place where the coyotes yip and yowl every night of the week, where we lay in bed under the stars and listen to echoes of Wyatt’s spirit dancing in the wind.

three legged German Shepherd
Wyatt was always at home wherever we roamed.

The sign was made possible by our very generous Tripawds family members who chipped in for a group gift. Thank you so much, you know who you are! And the chimes in the soundtrack are a beautiful tribute gift from longtime Tripawds friend Heather. Wyatt’s marker was designed by Admin but made by Hicks Graphics.