Saturday, May 17, 2014

In memory of Sir Charles the Duke of Fayette County, our beloved foster beagle.

The Lovely and Awesome Shane with Charlie shortly after he came into our home as a foster.
It is with great sadness and indeed many tears that The Lovely Shane and I report to you the death of our foster beagle, Charlie.

Charlie left this life at around 11:30am on May 12, 2014.

The Lovely Shane and I went to a gathering on the evening of May 10, 2014. When we returned after being away for about three hours, we noticed that Charlie was limping on one of his hind legs. We suspected that he had injured himself in an altercation with one of the other pack members. Sadly, our suspensions were invalid.

Charlie on one of his favorite beds
The next morning he was not limping as badly and we thought that he was recovering. We were, once again, mistaken.

By the evening of May 11, 2014 he could hardly move at all. He was in severe pain. At around 10:30 PM, I contacted the Southern Crescent Emergency Clinic in Fayetteville. I explained my concern for Charlie and the staff at the clinic suggested rushing him there right away. I was planning on doing just that and had contacted the clinic to let them know my intentions so that they could be prepared for his arrival.

The veterinarian on call, a lady whose name I can not recall, examined Charlie and told me that he very likely had a ruptured disc. She did not have any good news for me. Initially, surgery and/or steroid treatment seemed to be an option but neither would likely provide immediate relief to Charlie.

Michelle Crampo of BullyWag, Inc. ( The rescue who saved Charlie earlier in his life) was out of town. Since Charlie technically was only our foster, we contacted Michelle in the middle of the night while she was on vacation to inform her of the situation.  Upon discussion with Michelle and the veterinarian, we decided to give Charlie an injection to ease his pain. It worked. Almost immediately, he fell asleep and slept well for a few hours. However, around 2:00 am, he was in severe pain again. The plan was to take Charlie to his regular veterinarian on the morning of May 12 to get a more detailed assessment of his condition and our options for most effective treatment.

After staying up most of the night with Charlie, I contacted Jonnie Craig of BullyWag, Inc. She aided me in making arrangements for an veterinary examination of Charlie on the morning of May 12.
Charlie being visited by his buddy, Sammy. This was taken while
Charlie was recovering from a bout with pneumonia.

Dr. Chris Schwenk and the entire team at The Animal Medical Clinic in Peachtree City, Georgia are wonderful, caring, and compassionate people. I have been around dogs most of my life. I have to report that this is absolutely one of the most professional and caring groups of animal health professionals that I have ever encountered!

After the initial examination, an x-ray was done to aid in diagnosis. By the time we got to the clinic, sadly, Charlie had lost all feeling in his back legs. He was paralyzed and in tremendous pain.

The x-ray image confirmed our fears. Charlie had at least two ruptured discs. I am not a veterinarian, so, I will attempt to convey this as it was explained to me. The material that was ejected from the ruptured disc was pressing against the spinal cord. This was restricting the cord. This is why he was paralyzed. It is also why he was in so much pain. The nerves were being pinched.

It was explained to me that in cases of paralysis caused by a ruptured disc there is only about a 10% chance of ever recovering from the paralysis after surgery. There is also likely no relief from the pain.

A painful and distressing decision had to be made. Charlie's only sure relief from the almost unbearable pain was humane euthanasia. However, since Charlie was a foster, it was not my decision alone to make. I contacted Jonnie Craig. Along with the veterinarian, we decided that we really had no option here. Charlie had to relieved of the tremendous pain. It was extremely unlikely that he would ever walk again. Fighting back the tears Jonnie and I knew what had to be done.

There were tears in the eyes of the veterinary technicians and everyone who worked with Charlie that morning, including your dog trainer buddy here.

I was with Charlie throughout the process. I petted him and told him he was a good dog. Even after I knew he could no longer hear my voice.

Charlie was a joy to have in our pack here at the Dog Training/Foster Shack. We will miss him. However, we know he is in a much better place and no longer feels any pain. I firmly believe that he is likely chasing rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels and having a great time in heaven right now.

For those of you who do not believe this in a theological sense. I used to agree with you. I no longer agree. Dogs will be in heaven and I am convinced I will see Charlie again one day. Even Billy Graham seems to believe this as well. I leave you with these quotes:

“God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he'll be there.” –Billy Graham

“The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common. Our Lord God has made His greatest gifts the commonest.”
― Martin Luther

“There is no faith which has never yet been broken, except that of a truly faithful dog”
― Konrad Lorenz

I Have Done Something

I looked at all the caged animals in the shelter...the cast-offs of human society.

I saw in their eyes love and hope, fear and dread, sadness, and betrayal. And I was angry.

"God," I said, "this is terrible! Why don't you do something?"

God was silent for a moment, and then He spoke softly, "I have done something," he replied. "I created you."

-- Author Unknown

Goodbye my friend , Charlie!


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