RITA and Wolf (German shepherd)


My name is Rita Ryder and I am 32 years old. I live with my family in Northern Maine although I grew up along the coast on a small farm. This is where my love of animals comes from. I am the youngest of five children so there was always plenty of animals around for all of us and hard work taking care of them.   I have three beautiful sons; 2 four legged and 1 two legged. Wolf and Owaci are German Shepherds who are ten years old. Wolf is my epi and Owaci is his half brother. My newest son is nearly two years old and my husband is Steve. I love my family very much.

I work full time as a medical transcriptionist/secretary at a local physical therapy place. I run the front office. I love my work and I also love volunteering to help people who are going through what I have gone through. I love many outdoor activities and being with my family.  

On Oct. 5, 1999, Wolf had his first seizure. I wasn't at home and was completely floored when I found out. I'm sure I was in complete denial. I thought it wasn't any big deal because of the other two dogs who I had been around with seizures. I was completely unprepared for how serious it really was.

In the beginning he would only have one seizure every so often. Then they got closer. Then he had clusters. At this time I looked for anything that would help him. We started him on Phenobarbital. His normal episodes were cluster seizures every 22-26 days. The PB increases helped for a short time then he would go back to the clusters.

On March 10, 2001, Wolf had over 17 seizures in a 24-hour period. I was devastated and completely at a loss. I thought I was going to lose him. Thank goodness I had met a Guardian Angel a few weeks before that by chance (or not chance I say) through a pen pal website! That is when I learned of all the wonderful things that could help Wolf.

We checked his thyroid and sure enough he was hypothyroid. It was a new beginning for us as we started Soloxine and Kbr. We switched to a home-cooked diet and I prayed that I would get my boy back. Wolf is very healthy for his age and what he has been through. For a while there I wasn't sure he would make it to see his fifth birthday let alone tenth but he is a trooper and so very strong in spirit if not in body as well.

I really think the combination that we have him on now is working the best. He has gone twice for 3 year seizure free bouts and one is still counting. That is a miracle and also a testament to those who have helped me with him and the hard work they have put in with research and knowledge. Wolf wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for them. Now I hope to help others who feel that helplessness when they hear their pup hit the floor in the throws of a seizure and do not have any idea what to do next.