On Wednesday, October 14, I received a call from Jim Howell with Greyhound Adoption Center. “Barbara”, he said, “there is a greyhound at the Sacramento County Animal Shelter that has been hit by a car. Her left ear tattoo is 17422. She’s not ours - could this be one of yours?” I looked up the tattoo number in our database and found that it belonged to a red fawn girl named Hannah who had come in from Colorado in April, 2007 and had been adopted in May.
I called the shelter and spoke with Diane, one of the medical staff. She said that Hannah was in shock and was being given fluids to help stabilize her. It didn’t appear that anything was broken. I couldn’t reach the adopter, but left a message for her and called Maryanne Novak, one of our adopters who works in central Sacramento. Fortunately, Maryanne could leave work right away to pick up Hannah and take her to the VCA Sacramento Veterinary Referral Center, only 5 minutes away from the shelter.
I got a call from Dr. Malouin at VCA later that day. Hannah was much more severely injured than originally thought. She had pneumothorax (collapsed lung with air escaping into the chest, compressing the lungs), multiple abrasions, and neurological issues. She couldn’t get up or stand on her own. She was also very thin and flea infested.
When Hannah's adopter called the next day, I told her what had happened to Hannah. When she was told the estimated costs for her care (initially $3000 to $4000), she said that she didn't have the money to pay for this.
Hannah had been loose for a week. No one called GFFL to report her missing. She had no collar (with or without tags) and no microchip. It also turns out that Hannah was allowed to run off leash on the river levee. The adopter’s comment was, “but she always just ran a little ways, then came back.”
Except for the time she didn’t...
Hannah was at VCA for almost a week before she was stable enough for an MRI to determine why she wasn’t able to get up. I was driving up to see her every couple of days. Prior to the MRI, they were putting Hannah into a supportive sling, just to get her up and start passive physiotherapy with her legs. Tests indicated that she had sensation in three of her legs.
Tuesday, October 20. When I saw Hannah today, there was no light in her eyes and she had lost even more weight – she was down to less than 50 pounds and every bone was protruding. She had started coughing and tests showed that she had developed a mild pneumonia and had a urinary tract infection. These are both common complications for dogs that are “down”. However, Dr. Holland, the neurologist at VCA, thought that she would survive anesthesia for the MRI and we shouldn’t put it off. I agreed. They planned to start the MRI as soon as I said goodbye to Hannah. As they were taking Hannah away, I told Dr. Holland that if they found major spinal problems to not let her wake up. I drove home in tears, expecting the worst.
Late that afternoon, Dr. Holland called with good news. There were no apparent fractures to her spine and no ruptured discs. Her inability to stand and move was due to swelling and bruising along the spinal cord, which was affecting the nerves to her legs. Dr. Holland thought that when the swelling dissipated, Hannah would gradually recover and be able to stand and walk again, although it would require physical therapy to “reteach” her limbs to move properly. She will also need to build up her muscle tissue. Her left side is the most affected, and her left front leg is considerably more damaged than her left hind leg.
Wednesday, October 21. Hannah perked up today, probably due primarily to the antibiotics given to her for the pneumonia and urinary tract infection. She was hungry and eating well. She was taken outside for some fresh air and new sights for the first time today!
Thursday, October 22. Hannah was lifted to her feet and was able to stand on her own for a minute or two for the first time. She was taken outside again for a breath of fresh air.
GFFL adopters Cathy Kastner, Kelley Graham, and Frank Loriaux have volunteered to cover visiting hours at VCA every day, just to keep her spirits up. Even though she doesn’t make eye contact yet, I think that she likes the treats, petting, and pep talks! She has gained weight each day for the last two days!
Friday, October 23. Hannah is continuing to put on weight, little by little. Because she is now eating well, she will have her IV line discontinued and medications will be given orally. They will try to get her to walk in her sling cart using food as a motivator.
Saturday, October 24. Hannah has put on 4 pounds over the last three days and was able to get up by herself last night and again today! Barbara and Cathy and Bill Kastner stopped by at midday. Cathy and Bill took her outside for about an hour, where she feasted on Cathy's scrambled eggs and some canned food. Dr. Holland is pleased with her progress, although her left front leg still shows no sign of recovery.
Sunday, October 25. Hannah continues to eat well and gain strength in her three good legs. She was able to walk outside with less assistance today than yesterday. She's enjoying her chicken and scrambled eggs!
Monday, October 26th through Wednesday, October 28th. Hannah is still eating well and putting on weight. She is gaining muscle strength and has two sessions in the water treadmill.
Thursday, October 29th through Wednesday, November 4th. Hannah went to her foster home on Thursday as planned. She is having many of the same issues any greyhound has when they are placed in a new environment, but she is becoming more comfortable with her foster family. She will continue to have two therapy sessions at VCA each week for at least the next couple of weeks. She is eating well, but not progressing yet in terms of standing and walking. It was probably unrealistic to expect much in the way of improvement during this adjustment period. She is getting lots of physical therapy, with help from Beth's daughters!
Tuesday, November 10th. Hannah has made good progress at Beth's house! She is able to get up, stand on her own for 10 minutes, and do some walking. Unfortunately, she will need to have her front left leg amputated; the surgery is scheduled for this afternoon.
Friday, November 13th. Hannah's surgery went very well and she will be coming down to Marni's home today for continued rehabilitation. She was bright and alert yesterday when I visited and is getting up and moving around well without her useless front leg.
Wednesday, November 18th. Hannah had her first PT visit at VCA since her amputation. She is gaining weight and is able to get up and stand on her own. Her left hind leg still knuckles under when she walks, but this is gradually getting better. She is in good spirits and seems to be more comfortable without the useless left front leg.
Tuesday, November 24th. Hannah went in to VCA for her PT visit and had all of her stitches removed. She had gained another 2+ pounds, which was great! She went for a long walk on the waterbath treadmill and Dr. Moore was very pleased with how strong she's gotten! She will require only weekly PT sessions going forward.
Saturday, November 28th. Marni reports that Hannah is making great progress! She jumps up when the other dogs get up, and moves around the back yard without assistance. We have arranged for local adopters to stop in a couple of times a week to work with Hannah to relieve some of the burden off Marni. She has a great appetite and we can't wait to get her weight on December 1st! To the left is a current photo of her - just think how pretty she'll be once all her fur grows back in!
Saturday, December 12th. Hannah attended the Holiday Open House in Auburn onDecember 12th and received lots of pets and hugs! Here's a photo of her with silly antlerstaken by Cathy Kastner!
Wednesday, December 16th. She had her PT session at VCA yesterday and Dr. Moore was amazed at the progress she's made. No more sessions will be necessary, but we'd like to get Hannah back up during the holidays so that everyone at VCA who worked with her can see how great she's doing.
Sunday, January 3. Hannah had her last visit with her vets and their staff at VCA on December 29. She had one more x-ray to check that the damage to her lung that she sustained when she was hit by the car had resolved. She was given a clean bill of health! She is shown here with Dr. Holland, her neurologist, and Dr. Moore, her physical therapist. They were thrilled to see the progress she had made - and it shows in their faces!
Sunday, February 14. Hannah will be going to her permanent home next week! She is getting around wonderfully and will have a greyt life with
her new greyhound brother and greyhound sister!
Hannah is Home! Hannah has settled wonderfully into her forever home with her newbrother andsister. She has a wonderfully backyard with lots of grass on which to play (and snooze). Her adoptive parents adore her and her new siblings have accepted her into the family without reservation! Here are some photos of Hannah in her new home.
Thanks to all of you who have provided donations, prayers, and good wishes for this beautiful, sweet, but feisty dog!
lick here for a video link that shows Hannah in Marni's back yard area.
The Hannah Fund. The care that Hannah has received at the VCA has been excellent—the veterinarians, techs, and staff have been wonderful to Hannah and to the GFFL volunteers who have visited with Hannah. In addition, they are giving us a very nice rescue discount. However, as of October 23, treatment for Hannah stands at approximately $6000 and will climb further to at least $8500. GFFL needs your help to help Hannah. We have set up the Hannah Fund to cover Hannah’s medical treatment and physical therapy. Become part of Hannah’s extended family and contribute to her care either by check or by Paypal on the “How to Help” page of the website. Please make your check out to Greyhound Friends for Life or GFFL, note that your contribution is for the Hannah Fund, and send it to Barbara Judson, 364 Coventry Road, Kensington, CA 94707. Your contribution is tax deductible (tax ID 20-5323161).
Hannah and GFFL are grateful for your support!