Saturday, November 17, 2012

An Update on Chase

For some reason I am unable to leave responses to comments about Chase. And so much has happened since his seizure several days ago that I've decided to post again.

The news is not good. Until last night when we essentially knocked him out with 510 mg of phenobarbital and I can't even count how many milligrams of his regular anti seizure medication-all this after the emergency Valium did not stop his pacing, anxiety, sudden 'spikes' that caused him to jump up and pace as if he'd been hit in the head.

This has been exhausting and heartbreaking. I have stayed up with Chase all night for the past two nights and finally this morning he is lying down and resting, but he is so drugged he splays when he tries to walk. 

JB and I knew that Chase had seizures and an ankle injury when we adopted him now two months ago.  No regret, we feel good about offering family and love to this sweet dog in need, much as we did Stella, who gave us so much back. Two months ago we didn't know what we now know: Chase likely has a closed head injury. That probably happened during a collision on the racetrack, perhaps when his ankle was broken as well. Both vets involved and helping us have now mentioned 'quality of life' issues and we know what that means. This sweet dog also has an rear foot that he often lifts and that prevents him from running and playing without consequence the next day. Maybe he and we can work around that. But if these seizures cannot be controlled, coming once a month and lasting for several painful days with all these partial seizures, that is something JB and I will have to face. I'm not sure at all that she and I could handle that and I am sure that we cannot let Chase suffer like this.

Yesterday JB fell. Her ankle is swollen the size of a grapefruit and we are looking at one another in stunned disbelief. I should mention we have also had news of a close family member (not my Mom) who is very ill, unexpected and in its own way tragic. Combined, this is also called a two by four to the head. 

What a week. I know I have to squeeze in enough sleep so I don't get sick. I know we are going to stay with Chase totally until we are due back to work on Tuesday. I know we pray this round of seizures has been resolved, that we pray the new anti-seizure med works and we are not on eggshells a month from now. I pray that Chase does not suffer, whatever that means. It has been agonizing to witness his distress. Is this the story: this dog is in a major collision at a West Virgina racetrack, he sustains a closed head injury with seizures and a broken ankle that is never treated and he is rescued rather than euthanized and now he has been adopted by two women who didn't know the extent of his struggles and it is not certain his struggles can be helped?

Where is the fault here? The first line of fire: a dog who is a commodity to a corporation that owns hundreds and thousands of greyhound racers. But what about the next piece? The Neurologist in Boston said yesterday, "I don't believe in adoption for dogs with epilepsy like this. They end up suffering."

Should we blame the rescuers, clearly well meaning and the carriers of good works? Should JB and I have been more prudent in understanding the whole picture--we, who suffered ourselves helping Stella die last December?

And now: we love Chase and his hardship pains us. Thankfully we can and will get him through this. I told JB yesterday, at a moment of feeling totally overwhelmed: "We have to look at this as a privilege. We will help him and he won't be alone no matter what. We can do that."We both nodded. 

I have this way of prettying up adversity. But isn't it true that this is a privilege?

I'll keep updating my blog about Chase. For now I won't be able to respond to your comments but I sure as hell appreciate every one.



  1. Oh honey, I am getting here a few days late. I know about the 2x4's to the head, I have had many over the past two years and they are no fun, but I believe they make us deeper and softer human beings. All you can do is take it one minute at a time, love Chase like you do and he will tell you what he wants. Breath and try not to worry, stay in the moment.
    And a side note: When I adopted Bella I had no idea of her issues and they are many, everyone told me I should take her back to the shelter, but they wanted to put her down, if I had not taken Bella, no one else would have, so it is up to me to give her a good loving home. If you and JB had not taken Chase he would not have known love, and for as long as you have him, he is lucky.
    I hope JB is on the mend.XOXO
    And P.S. I had to put 3 of my beloved animals to sleep by myself in a span of one year, it was not easy, but you do what you have to. You have JB and she has you and when the time comes you will be able to do it for Chase.

  2. Greyhound racing is a dirty business. It ought to be outlawed. But the rescuers are doing their best to deal with a bad situation, and I'm sure they didn't understand how difficult it would be for anyone adopting a damaged dog. I guess you'll know when you've done what you can and it's time to help Chase die. Until then, you have to be content in the knowledge that loving him makes a difference. Because it does.

  3. God, kj, it doesn't rain but it pours. I am so sorry. Hard stuff all around. I have no answers. You are doing what needs to be done with great love and care. Be sure and take good care of you - sounds to me like you are the Elmer's glue in all of this. Rest, rest. And I hope JB's ankle is better soon. xox

  4. Oh dear, oh dear, no answers here too, but I am sending you good thoughts and I wish you two a lot of courage. I am very sorry to read this all. Poor Chase.


  5. First to be shot should be breeders, everywhere. Without them there would be no racing industry, with regard to greyhounds. But I'd like to line up anyone breeding anything, that is not well-thought out, balanced and planned (planned includes homes lined up before birth; great breeders have waiting lists).

    "The Neurologist in Boston said yesterday, "I don't believe in adoption for dogs with epilepsy like this. They end up suffering."

    I'd be taking my dog somewhere else. Tufts, in Grafton, has done amazing things with seizure dogs. Epilepsy is not a death sentence or a reason to suffer. Ignorance is responible for that.

    Hoping Chase and those that love him find the answers that will bring all of you peace of mind and a better quality of life.

  6. Maybe you just need to think of it this way: by a chain of events that included Stella giving you direct instructions, Chase was given over to you so he could have his very own family, just once, before he dies. Who better to help the transition than you, JB, and Stella in absentia? As for the details of his health and how it all happened, maybe they're irrelevant. Small comfort maybe, but it's like you have been appointed stewards for this journey.

    I work with rescue horses, many of whom come from the track. I was recently considering adopting one, a harness racing Standardbred who won over $180,000 for his owners and won 22 races that I know of (maybe more). You'd think his people would have taken care of him after he so royally took care of them. But it's a business. And I'm happy to be in the business of seeing the transition from working stiff to retired pet. It doesn't always work out with horses, either, but the success stories are sweet. I just found out that a lovely Standardbred mare who I've been helping care for for months and months is finally going to a new home. She fell through a barbed wire fence early this year, destroying her front legs enough that she may never be ridden again, and she's not exactly a looker, but she found someone compassionate to overlook all that and adopt her as a pet and companion for their other horse. So so happy.

    Hugs and good wishes to you both at this difficult time.

  7. hugs. i am glad that he has you to give small comforts as he goes through this...animal or human...i dont think it would be a good time to be alone...and at least he knows he is loved...

  8. This is so heartbreaking, dear Twinkles. Poor Chase. The way many humans treat animals is despicable. But you and JB are giving Chase a taste of true love for the first time in his life, however long that may be. You will know in your hearts what is best for him, just as you did for your beautiful Stella. I do believe that quality of life is important for animals. We had to make that heartbreaking final decision for our own Beau not long ago. It's never, ever easy. You will do the right thing for Chase, you and JB.

    I'm so sorry to hear of your other sad news, as well. And poor JB's ankle. I'm sending her healing thoughts, and I'm sending you thoughts of comfort and peace as you go through this newest challenge.

    Love and huge hugs,

  9. Oh this human experience. This is an extremely personal decision for you and JB. It was much easier in the "old days" when it was unheard of to spend thousands of dollars on a was more of a common sense decision. With advanced medicine, be it humans or animals, we now have to deal with guilt if we make a decision with common sense. Oh the struggle of the heart and intellect. Only you can decide what is best for your family. I am grateful for two more human hearts in the world that love greatly and I respect and support your choice either way. Sending prayers and Big Love, Deb

    Oh, and a **kisskiss**

  10. Bonnie turned 15 in October and, along with being blind and mostly deaf, has started to fall flat on her chest a few times a day, but she doesn't appear to be in pain and still enjoys a spirited game of fetch. It would be hard to euthanize her since she's not ill and not in obvious pain, yet because she's not ill, she could continue going downhill for another year or two. So, for now, I'm just watching and asking myself how bad things will have to get before the decision becomes clear. I would--and probably will--euthanize myself someday, and I just wish that I were like her and had someone to do it for me.

    I waited beyond all reason to euthanize my dog before last, and I will always feel guilty about that. I euthanized my very last dog at just the right time, and I will always feel good about that.

    You will have noted that I haven't said a word about Chase. That's because I really don't know what to say beyond sharing my own experiences. If you were not such good people, this would not be so hard. You wouldn't see him as a "commodity," but you would see him as "just a dog," and therefore a creature to be disposed of when he became a lot of trouble or cost a lot of money.

  11. oh this all makes me cry. i'm so sorry kj. i'm glad you face adversity the way you do,it's an amazing quality you have, and it is indeed a privilege to be in the position you are in. take good care of you as you care for chase.and jb too, oh dear!

  12. All wonderful, caring words here. I know what the neurologist meant, not just an epileptic dog, but one who has grand mal seizures that go on forever with no hope of long term recovery. With each seizure comes a little more brain damage. I didn't know about the closed head injury. That sure makes sense. And I gasped at how much phenobarb it took plus more meds! Wow, poor Chase.
    I agree about Stella leading you and JB to this darling dog who needs loving guidance for his next journey.
    And you know I agree with his medical team (and you) about his quality of life.
    He is in the most loving hands right now. I know that and I'm sure he feels that.

    I'm sorry too, for your family member who is gravely ill. And JB's foot, oh my.
    I'm calling you later.

    love to you both...all three actually.


  13. oh well . kj.. all i can do is send u a hug.. so here's a hug.. take care!

  14. i am sending big hugs to all of you. there is no easy decision in this. i read snowbrush's comment and it made me think about my 15 year old airedale who is doing fine right now, but at some point i imagine i will find myself in your shoes. i hope i have the strength and clarity of mind that you possess. my heart goes out to you both as you weigh all your options and continue to love chase.

  15. Oh, dear, KJ! I am so sorry to hear all of this, from Chase to JB. But mostly Chase, who likely doesn't understand what's happening to him, and needs your love and care so desperately. You are so good to him!

    Blessings and Bear hugs all round.

  16. I can't say anything right now, am overwhelmed. Can only send you and JB hugs and kisses and lots of prayers for Chase. I know that you know that he knows! xxxxxxx

  17. I am overwhelmed at your news, did I make that clear? My cursor is flashing and I just don't know what to say. xxxxxxx

  18. kj,
    I am so sorry for Chase, and both of you.
    It is really always difficult to know the answers in these situations. However, I am so glad that Chase has experienced care, love, and a home at this time.
    Darn, everyone involved in this racing business!
    My heart just hurts for dear Chase!
    I hope JB's ankle heals, that can be so painful!

  19. Sweetie, you have had more than your share since we last talked.
    I *do* understand what the neurologist was saying, and occasionally Doctors don't communicate things well (Dr-Speak) but when the time comes you'll both know it.
    Closed head trauma is very difficult to treat, and I am assuming that this happened a long time ago?
    And yes, breeders should be shot for raising animals to profit from their *entertainment value*. It is an extremely skewed system.
    Hugs to you ALL....♥