Sad Days

As anyone who knows me in real life knows, I have rescued Greyhounds. I have donated a lot of time and money to the southern Arizona Greyhound Adoption org, and ran their website for a few years.

Last Tuesday, we had to put one of our greys to sleep. He had long suffered from seizures, big, scary grand-mal epileptic seizures that had been increasing in both frequency, and in numbers (clustering).

While we knew the end would come, and that the decision was inevitable, it still hurts to lose one of your fur kids.

I am not as sad as when we lost his predecessor, Oliver, whose osteosarcoma was sudden, and aggressive. We have known for a long time that with Tate, our job was to weigh quality of life versus, the horrors of seizures.

I am using my other blog, Greytbros, to write a series of posts to remember the good times, and the joy that he brought us.

Having a seizure dog is a difficult course, and we are glad we could make his 5 years with us as enjoyable as possible. In the end, he passed peacefully, and while there is a huge Tate sized hole in my heart, I take comfort in remembering the good times.

The Drive

Over the 4th weekend, I took a couple of days off (Thursday and Monday) to drive my dogs from Tucson, where they were staying at a pet lounge, to our new home in San Jose, California.

The drive was fine, we rented a big Dodge Grand Caravan, as we wanted there to be enough room for the boys, and all the crap they need (beds, food, water, our bags, etc). Although Barbara was worried that it would not have enough room, it was surprisingly cozy in the back, with well partitioned areas for the boys.

Chillin' in their rented van. This is the life
Chillin’ in their rented van. This is the life

We settled in to an easy lope across Arizona. Starting later than I had hoped (surprised? Ha, you don’t know Barbara very well, do ya?) we made pretty good time. A stop at the junction of Gila Bend to top up the tank (we had been driving the van around all week) and to potty the boys, grab some Subway sandwiches, and off we went.

Smooth sailing until we hit Quartzite. One of those famous Arizona monsoon pattern dumps, we ended up parking in a Chevron lot for 20 minutes until the deluge passed. I will miss that.

Barb takes over driving, and we head to California. As we were approaching Palm Springs, and it was already 6:30 PM, it seemed like a good time to find a place to stay. So I pulled up my trusty iPhone, searched for dog friendly hotels, and the top recommendation was the Best Western Date Tree Inn. Setup the navigation, and we are 20 minutes out. Cool.

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Our furkids: Tate Edition

Our family is complete with two furkids.  We have adopted retired racing greyhounds, and made them completely spoiled. Greyhounds are some of the sweetest, laziest, dogs you will ever know.  Both of ours are couch potatoes, and are often ridiculed for being the slowest walkers. We don’t mind.

However, there are some downsides to the Greyhounds. Their upbringing and time on the track is really hard on them. They often come off the track with worms, bad coats, and teeth that are frightful. However they clean up and adapt very well to home life.

But there are other issues. Many of them are injured at the track, and (if they are lucky) have a long recovery before their retirement. But there are other health problems that arise later in life. The incidence of osteosarcoma is frightfully high. We lost our last greyhound, Oliver, at the far too young age of 8 to bone cancer.

Tate suns himself on the grass
Tate suns himself on the grass

After we lost Oliver, we had a hole in our family that needed to be filed. Enter Tate.

Tate raced 8 times, and broke his right rear hock on his 8th and last race. Fortunately, there was a rescue group on hand, and he was taken in and nursed back to health. After that he leaped into our hearts, and has been here for almost 3 years now.

Alas, all is not perfect.  About 2 years ago, he began to have seizures. Grand mal epilepsy. They seemed to be getting worse, and more frequent, so off to the neurologist. When I was commuting from Tucson to Chandler last year, the frequency increased to about 1 a week, an escalation that was frightening (often it is indicative of a brain tumor that is growing). So off for an MRI (at a price that is frightful).

Fortunately there was no sign of a tumor, and he just has epilepsy.  We cope with pretty heavy anti seizure medication, and the frequency of seizures is about 75 days.  A tolerable state.

Today was one of the seizures.  We get less freaked out not, and he recovers remarkably quickly compared to before we began the anti seizure medication.