Call Me Bear! This boy will always be a big, snuggly bear to us. He has huge paws and movements that reminds us of Gentle Ben. He came to us as AMF Set on Fire, and was recently retired because he started having seizures. In some ways, his racing name, Set on Fire, is fitting for him when a seizure strikes, but he wasn’t answering to that name and after going through a list of possible names, he responded when we called him Bear. So Bear it is!
Bear is an official member of our special needs sanctuary. He could be adoptable to the right person/family, but if we don’t find the right home for him, he’s got a permanent place with us. We adore our Bear!
Please click here to read about our sanctuary.
Bear is a tall, lanky boy who sometimes has trouble figuring out where his feet go! He loves to get himself in the most interesting positions. Typical greyhound, of course! He can be silly, sometimes a little clumsy, and sometimes a little needy. We often find ourselves saying, “Oh, Bear …. ” He’s not a troublemaker, but trouble always seems to find him. He’s one of those boys that just doesn’t quite know what to do with himself and doesn’t realize his size. Yet, his lack of gracefulness is one of his endearing qualities and he touches our hearts everyday.
Living with a seizure dog can present some challenges at times. Following a strict medication schedule is a must with Bear. He needs to take his phenobarbital at 5am and 5pm every day and we must work around that. We also need to make sure that he doesn’t spit out the pills, so the “down the hatch” method of administration works better than hiding the pills in food or a pill pocket. Bear gets very thirsty from the medication, and we need to monitor his water intake to make sure he isn’t drowning himself. Sometimes, if he gets too much water at one time, he also gets the sudden urge to urinate, so Bear wears a belly band, just in case. Bear also gets hungry and wants to eat his breakfast after his morning potty break at 3 am. He also wants to eat all day long. We can’t accommodate his food requests, as he would quickly gain too much weight.
But, most of the time, Bear is as normal as any other dog … except when the seizures strike. His seizures are unpredictable. Just when we think we’ve got him on the right dose of medication and he’s had a long stretch of being seizure free, he starts seizing. It always happens when he’s asleep. He has some violent movements that last about a minute or so. Then he stares off into space for another few minutes. Finally, he starts to come out of it and gets up and wobbles around. We can’t say for sure, but he seems to get comfort seeing us watching over him when he coming out.
Because we are still adjusting his medication levels, we need to test for the level of drugs in his system. Bear gets periodic blood work and we keep in contact with our vet. We’ve learned a lot about monitoring vital signs and emergency care since Bear has come into the sanctuary. We’ve learned that life isn’t always fair to Bear. We’ve also learned that Bear takes it all in stride and that “Bear Hugs” make life worth living.
We do believe that what goes into a dog’s stomach makes a real difference in the quality of their lives. We switched Bear to the new grain-free formula from ProPlan and we began to see a marked difference almost immediately. Not only did Bear stop shedding excessively, the time between his seizures also lengthened and the side effects of his seizure medications lessened. He’s always been a happy boy, but now he seems to be more settled, as if he is at peace with himself and his body. Bear will most likely always have seizures. Our goal is to give him the highest quality of life possible. For him, it’s a balancing act … getting the right dosage of medications and the best nutrition for his system, keeping him on a strict medication schedule, along with lots of love, attention and soft bedding and blankets. Bear gives us so much, it’s the least we can do for him.
Today, Bear is having a bad day. He’s been quiet, a little withdrawn and had 2 accidents in the house. We can’t help but wonder if a seizure is on it’s way. Years ago, a friend with epilepsy, said that she could usually tell when a seizure was on its way. About an hour before she would seize, she’d experience a “feeling” in her head. Is Bear experiencing a “feeling”? Does he have a headache? Is he reacting to something in the environment? We are three days away from a full moon, does that ever play a role? So many questions … We sure wish Bear could tell us so we could help him.
UPDATE: Bear never did have a seizure on this day!
Bear is such a tall, lanky boy but he’s usually curled up into a tight ball, laying on one of the oval beds. It’s hard to imagine where all those long legs go. It’s also funny that he rarely uses the square or rectangular beds … perhaps he can’t quite figure out how to make himself into a square. Oh well, we love watching Bear get into his “positions.”
Just a side note … He’s only had 1 mild seizure in the last 10 weeks!!
Here is Bear modeling a fundraising hat!
Yes, it’s true! Our wonderful, loveable seizure dog, Bear, found his forever home with a fantastic family that has experience with seizure dogs. He is doing very well and we are so happy for him!! We would be lying if we said that we didn’t miss him, but he had such an attraction for his new family (and vice-versa) that we had to let him go to fulfill his destiny. Luckily, his new family keeps us posted and sends photos frequently. A win-win situation for everyone!