He is a very happy, go-lucky little boy! His favourite past times include meeting everyone and everything thing he can on his walks, playing with his two big brothers, Coach and Brier, as well as visiting patients in the local hospital. He has become a favourite hospital guest of both the staff and the patients - you can't help but smile when he is around!
Chance had a rough start in his little life. He was found a few days old on the streets of St. Lucia. He was nursed back to health after recovering from parvo virus, and then fell ill again at only a few weeks old. Of his 6 brothers and sisters, he was 1 of 2 to survive. Once he was healthy enough, he made the trip on the airplane to Canada and came to join our family in March of 2017 at approximately 3 months old.
His love for life and happy personality is contagious. He is so smart, and has learned many tricks and enjoyed showing them all off to his friends at the hospital. However, on June 24, his (and our) life has been forever changed.
Chance along with his big brothers, Coach and Brier, and his Mom, Britt and Dad, Tim, all went for a hike on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. It was Chance's first ever hike. He was SO EXCITED! He was literally smiling from ear to ear as he ran around with his big brothers. This was everyone's first time on this particular trail, and we had no idea what would lie ahead.
We turned a corner and the three dogs ran off ahead. Britt called them all back, and they all returned to check in and took off again shortly after. Britt and Tim came to an edge on the trail, and as soon as Tim and Britt realized where we were and how deep the drop was they hurried to grab the dogs to ensure their safety. Chance was so excited, he was bouncing and running all over the place. He got too close to the edge. Tim and Britt ran to him calling and when they were about 5 feet from him, he fell off the cliff. He fell approximately 50 feet down. No one could see him, they heard barking and knew it was him. They knew they had to rescue him. They grabbed Coach and Brier and ran for the truck.
No one had any idea what state Chance would be in. They were not sure if he would be alive or dead. They drove the truck down to the lowest and closest access point they could find and began their trek up the escarpment to his rescue. The woods were dense. There were no trails. With all the rain the ground was so soft and wet and there were thick trees to push through and large, unsteady rocks to climb. The four of them, Britt, Tim, Coach and Brier all pressed forward towards the cliff were they saw Chance fall.
It took about an hour to get close to the rock face. Britt had used her phone to put a pin on their location when Chance fell, and that was the only way of them knowing where he had fallen. After hiking up for nearly 1 hour, Britt called 911 for assistance. She explained the situation, and they tried to locate them. They were sending help, but it would take time for them to get to the closest access road, and even longer to trek up the escarpment as they had done.
Being thick in the brush, their cell phone navigation system, the only way they could track where the last saw Chance was failing them. It kept showing that they were walking in the opposite direction. Britt and Tim called for Chance the whole time. They wanted him to know that they were coming for him. When they were facing the rock face near where Chance had fallen, after over an hour of trekking through the brush, their GPS not cooperating. Coach knew. Coach knew they had to find his baby brother. Coach pulled Britt and Tim the opposite direction of the GPS. Coach led them (up until now Coach stayed behind Britt and Tim, as German Shepherds tend to do!), but now Coach was leading the way. Coach led us right to Chance, but they were not prepared for what they saw.
There he lay. His face covered in blood. His head was up, but he was gurgling on his blood from his mouth. But, he was alive. He had fallen approximately 50 feet, and dragged his injured and sore body about 6 feet from where he fell and then lay down, waiting. He knew they wouldn't give up on him. Tim took off his shirt, and Britt wrapped him in it and lifted him off the ground. In her arms, he went limp. He was still breathing, but the sounds were awful. The firefighters began to call the cell phone, Britt handed Chance to Tim and they began the trek back down the escarpment, and the firefighters were on their way to meet them.
The path was awful. Many times they had to turn around and try a different way as it was too dangerous to get down. The brush was thick, the rocks were slippery, and the ground uneven. With Britt and Tim both covered in Chance's blood, they pressed on. They had to get him help.
They slid down hills, through creeks. Coach and Brier stayed with them. Chance was unresponsive. Bloods still dripped from his mouth, but he was breathing. At this point they believed they were sending him to the vet to be euthanized, but Chance has proven again that he is a fighter and won't give up, and neither will they.
Britt and Tim met the firefighters after over an hour hike out of the brush. They came to a clearing and the firefighters brought a stretcher and oxygen. Tim laid Chance on the stretcher and the firefighters put the oxygen on his muzzle. They called the closest emergency vet, and when we got to the road, the firefighters escorted Britt and Tim, lights and all, to the closest veterinary clinic.
When they arrived there, the veterinarian hadn't arrived yet. It was just the veterinary technician, Britt and Tim. Luckily, Britt had years of experience working in a vet clinic, so while Tim held Coach and Brier, Britt and the wonderful vet tech worked on Chance.
They started and IV on began giving him fluids. Chance was still unresponsive. The vet was on her way, but it felt like forever. The tech gave him something for his pain, and Britt sat and stroked and kissed his head, whispering to him. His blood pressure was poor, but his breathing and heart were okay so far.
The vet arrived, and began assessing Chance. They started doing x-rays, and began to assess the extent to his injuries. His blood pressure dropped even more, and he was still listless. Coach sat as close as he could to the table, concerned and worried about his brother he worked so hard to find.
After the x-rays, the vet pulled Britt and Tim aside. She explained he has broken his right humerus (front right leg), and his mandible (his jaw) in two places. He has also separated his tongue from the bottom of his mouth. However, there were no skull fractures, and he had muscle tone in his back legs, as well as tail and was reactive to stimulation of them both. This gave them hope that his back and spinal cord were not affected. The plan was to send him to the Ontario Veterinary College ICU for stabilization, assessment with neurology, as well as for surgery.
As Britt and Tim were about to leave (with Coach and Brier as well), the vet came out to tell them Chance's lung was collapsing, and they were calling the specialist to decide what to do next.
The drained the excess air from his thoracic cavity, and with another dose of pain medication, they were on their way to Guelph. Britt drove, and Tim sat with Chance on his lap. Chance began to cry out as they drove. They comforted him, and Coach stayed close by, resting his head on the centre console.
When they arrived at the college, they took him immediately into ICU. Britt and Tim were in the waiting room, both covered in dirt, and blood. Tim had lost his shoes and we had used his shirt to cover Chance. They waited for the vet.
The vet pulled them aside and explained the situation. He explained that the least of his problems right now were the fractures. Lung contusions, as well as brain damage were Chance's biggest obstacles right now. His pupils were not reacting well to light at this point, and his ultrasound showed fluids around the lungs. They would keep them posted in a few hours.
The vet returned and explained that Chance had shown slight improvement. His pupils reacted slightly, and there was not any worsening fluid surrounding his lungs. The vet explained it could take up to 48 hours for the damage to occur in his lungs and brain, and right now they were going to keep him as stable and comfortable as they could. They explained that things could get worse before better, and to be prepared. The plan was, to allow the brain and lungs to recover enough to handle surgery. Chance would have a CT scan the next day (if he was stable enough) to assess the injury to his jaw and brain, and then from there they would decide on the surgery.
As of now, on June 25, 2017 at 5pm, about 24 hours since the accident, Chance sits in stable condition. We are planning on following through with the CT scan tomorrow under a general anesthetic, and assessing the damage and hopefully surgery on Monday. Their main concern right now, as it was initially is the brain and the lungs. We are hoping the brain injury is not permanent and that his lungs can heal as well. He does not have any skull fractures, nor does he have any rib fractures or lung punctures. Unfortunately, it is a waiting game, and we must wait and see how things progress for him, and from there decide if surgery is the best for him right now. We are really hoping the brain injury is more like a concussion, rather than a permanent deficit, but it is too early to tell.
We have never been one to ask for hand outs. We have never thought we deserved anything. We are two very hard working people who love our dogs like they are our children. We are selling what we can and putting every penny we have towards Chance right now. His bill is estimated to be around $6,000-$8,000 at Guelph, plus the additional $1,000 + we spent as the Markdale emergency clinic. He is such a special boy, and such a fighter. He didn't give up, and neither will we. If you could spare anything, anything at all towards Chance, we will forever be thankful. Tim and I promise, that once we get over this financial hurdle of Chance's accident, that in the next year or so, we will donate out of our own pocket a percentage of what we raised towards Chance to the Ontario Veterinary College in Chance's name.
This is a large sum for us to come up with and we are doing everything we can to help him right now, and anything you could spare would be so appreciated.
Thank you for reading this boy's story. And please keep Chance in your thoughts.
Chance, Britt, Tim, Coach and Brier.
- Tracy Wimmerth
- Julie Rayner
- T W
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