Judi and Angel Keno (Siberian Husky)
I will tell you a little about me, and about how I came to know about canine epilepsy, and eventually live with an epi. I grew up the only child of two 'older' parents. The third floor of our older city home was rented out (by room) to students of Washington U's Medical School, so I was surrounded by mostly good looking young men mumbling medical stuff all my life. <g> These students were always included in our family life, so even though I was an 'only' it always seemed like I had a bunch of big brothers!
My parents and my grandfather were all animal lovers, even though we only had one dog, my beloved Mike. Mike was an 'only' too, until I brought home a cat from the stable where I was working as a teenager. I went to the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and married at 21 to a wonderful man.
When, after 11 years of marriage, I became pregnant, finally, I worked until two weeks before my son, Jeff, was born. Jeff is now 18, and in college at Butler University in Indianapolis. Jeff has a younger sister, Jaime, who just turned 12. We have a mini-farm, about 5 acres, with 5 rented acres 'next door' and 16 animals, not counting fish, at the moment - 4 dogs, 4 cats, 4 horses (plus one being kept temporarily for a friend, ) 2 parrots, fish, a chinchilla and a sugar glider-- and, apparently, no common sense<grin>!
My first real experience with canine epilepsy was with a neighbor's dog, a beautiful little black and tan Pomeranian. We loved Penelope so much that eventually we ended up with two black and tan Poms of our own. My neighbors traveled, and we always 'babysat' Penelope and the others, dogs and horses. When Penelope was 4, she began to have seizures, so I had to learn how to care for her, and how to give her meds, and such. She was my first experience with status, too. When I had to travel on business one day, I didn't think about telling my husband about a change in her medicine. When I got back, Pen started into a seizure that wouldn't stop. We ended up in the ER, and really thought we would lose her. Besides our own worry, because we loved her, I couldn't imagine having to tell my friends that their pup was gone. Thankfully, she pulled through. Because Pen's epilepsy was caused by a tumor, she did go blind, so we had to learn to deal with that too, because surgery was not indicated for her. By then, when we babysat her, she came and stayed at our house - I didn't want to leave her even for the night. Pen lived a great life, even with her blindness, until she was almost 11. My Jaime was about 3 at the time Pen's seizures began, so we've been involved with epi for about 9 years.
When Jaime was 8, we adopted our Keno. Immediately, the bond between Jaime and Keno was evident - the kind of bond that they write books and movies about. When Keno was 5 months old, a painter who was painting our home came running to me in my office screaming "Something's wrong with the puppy!" As soon as I saw Keno, I knew exactly what it was, and my heart sank. The second seizure happened about a month later, and it was a cluster - a bad one. That's when we first went to a specialist, as our vet knew then that PB wasn't going to do the job. That was in May, of '98. By July, he was clustering regularly, and we were giving valium at home, although just the rectal. Almost every other week he was in the hospital or the ER, and our finances were straining, never mind the emotional toll. I got on the Internet, looking for any information I could find, and I will never forget the feeling of relief when a lady on another list 'found' me, and sent me to Rich Brady and Joanne. We began to use the protocol, and Keno was never in the hospital again after that. But, he wasn't doing well. Nothing seemed to be the answer. We were torn between wanting to be sure we tried everything, and not wanting Keno to suffer - my son kept saying "There's got to be something else to try." That's when we tried acupuncture. But, still, nothing was helping. Before we had to make a decision, it was made for us; Keno left us on October 28th, of '98, at just 11 months old.
The hardest thing for me was watching my baby daughter, then just 9, holding him in her lap the last two hours of his life. His eyes never left her face, as her tears fell on him. I raged at God, asking "Why did You make me learn about epilepsy, if You weren't going to let him say with us?" I don't know, still, if it was my own subconscious, or God Himself, but I decided then that the best tribute I could give to Keno was to be there for others who were as lost and alone as I had been. When I was asked to be part of the ownership group of another list, my 'specialty' became answering the emails that came through their website. It was a way I felt that I could 'give back' to those who had helped me. I will never forget the feeling I had of a great burden being lifted when I knew I wasn't alone in the fight for Keno's life, and I wanted to help lift that burden for other people and their dogs.
When this website and list were formed, I was asked to do the emails that come through our website. We now have a team of wonderful people who help me. I am very happy to be a Guardian Angel, if I can help others, it gives meaning to Keno's all too short life.