Kodiak Update

Many of you saw our initial posts on our Facebook Fan Page, but we wanted to give you a more comprehensive update.  First and foremost, Kodiak is resting comfortably beside me as I type out this post.

Cheoah and Kodiak walking down the beach Sunday.

Amazing how quickly things can change.  Friday dawned with clear skies and cooler temperatures, destined to be the best weather day of the week.  We put the dogs out on the picket line in front of the RV while we got ourselves ready, and then took The Herd on our morning walk down the beach at Huntington Beach State Park.  About half way through our walk, Kodiak screamed and dropped to the ground.  He never lost consciousness, but it was very clear that he was unable to stand or use his legs in anyway.

We scanned the ground to see what he stepped on (the dogs can be quite dramatic about getting a sand spur in the paw, but Kodiak is notoriously stoic about pain, so that was not his style).  The beach was perfectly clear – no jellyfish, no crabs, nothing but clean, white sand.

Understanding that Kodiak was not going to walk out on his own, we realized that precisely what we liked about Huntington Beach was now our enemy – miles of pristine, undeveloped beach with only a few paths over to any road – and very few people on the beach at all.  One of us stayed with Kodiak while the other ran the rest of the dogs back to the RV, secured them safely, and drove the Jeep back to the nearest entry trail.  We then carried Kodiak up the beach and to the waiting Jeep (trust us, 60 pounds (27 kilograms) of dog is quite the challenge to carry up a beach and across a marsh path).

Kodiak, center, getting attention from some young fans on the beach.

Next challenge – where to for a vet?  We stopped at the ranger’s station and were directed to Murrells Inlet Veterinary Hospital.  We can not possibly say enough great things about the terrific team there.  Kodiak went straight into an exam room and, despite three other emergencies arriving at about the same time, we were seen quickly by a professional, polite staff.  Dr. Chip Jackson and team were superb.  Every time we went back into the hospital itself, the staff was gently caring for other patients and several technicians made a point to stop by, call Kodiak by name, and tell us how much they were rooting for him.

What always impresses me about a great vet is when they acknowledge what they don’t know.  Like our own terrific vet, Dr. Jackson was quick to say what he knew, what he suspected, and, importantly, what he did not know and wanted to consult with someone else.  No one knows everything and I always have great faith in people who admit when they need input from others.

Which leads us to where we are tonight – still guessing.  We have ruled out a lot of things, but have a couple of possibilities.

1)  A stroke.  The initial signs all pointed to a stroke, but as the day wore on, we are less inclined to believe this was the issue for a variety of reasons.

2)  Fibrocartilagious embolism – Basically a spinal stroke, or the deprivation of blood from a part of the spinal cord.  A great article can be found here.  Very strong possibility.

3)  Lesion on the vertabrae or other vertabrae issue – We think this may be a high likelihood, but need a good scan to rule this in or out.  And that means transporting Kodiak to a hospital with the scanning technology.

To continue to narrow down the cause, we are transporting Kodiak back home Saturday to have more extensive scans done.  He remains alert and responsive, though he can not stand well on his own (can take several steps before falling) and has no use at all of his front left leg.  He does have pain and sensitivity reflexes, including in that front leg.  And, importantly, he wolfed down food Friday night when Dr. Jackson cleared him to see if he would eat anything (boy, did he).  Mostly, he just wants to see and, preferably, touch me.  He has spent much of the evening with his head in my lap.

We will certainly keep you posted as we learn more.  In the meantime, we really appreciate everyone’s prayers and concerns for Big Red.  Thank you.

We did learn a few things today and wanted to take a moment to mention them.  We will probably do a post on each of them later:

1)  When you travel, do you know where the nearest emergency vet is located?  I am so thankful for a great referral today but want to make sure I am ready no matter where we are traveling.

2)  When hiking or out with the dogs, do you know how you will transport them in an emergency?  Carrying Kodiak across a beach and over a marsh path was challenging to say the least.

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****


  1. achieve1dream on October 15, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Poor Kodiak! That must have been so scary! I hope he’s okay now.

  2. brooke & darwin on October 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Im catching up with blog posts now! Our thoughts are with the Herd and especially Kodiak! How scary this must be!

  3. Just Ramblin' on October 4, 2011 at 8:48 am

    My heart is breaking for you and all of your herd. I know there really are no words that will ease your pain. Please know that there are many many people thinking of you all.

  4. lexy on October 3, 2011 at 9:14 am

    happy to hear he’s holding on! best wishes for a speedy recovery 🙂

  5. Ozzie, Zozo, John, and Kelly on October 2, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    We are with you in body and soul. We cry with you for the good times and the bad times. You are not and never will be alone.

    Hugs and love,

    John, Kelly, Ozzie, and Zozo and Sabo in spirit.

  6. Kasha the Dainty Great Dane on October 2, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    OMG I am so sorry about Kodiak, I’ve not been around lately and I come back to hear this sad news. I am sending healing thoughts your way and moms and my paws are crossed for you.

    Kasha the Dainty GReat Dane

  7. Tillie & Georgia on October 2, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    We heard the very sad news about Kodiak from Huffle.
    We are so very sorry and are sending you comforting purrs.
    Purrs Tillie and Georgia

  8. Ricky on October 2, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    I heard the sad news on Khyra’s blog just now too. So sorry about Kodiak. Sending heartfelt hugs and all our strength to you.

  9. Bert on October 2, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Ah Kodiak…..Too many lately have been or are going over the bridge. This is such a surprise to us and we are so so sorry.

    We are sending much love your way.

    Strength to you and your family.

    Bert and My Vickie

  10. rahusky on October 2, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Softest husky woooos mates, peace to you & yours in this hardest of times,

    RA, Isis & nukie

  11. Asta on October 2, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    My heawt is bwoken
    Fawewell bootiful fwiend Kodiak
    I’ll see you ovew the bwidge someday
    it’s mot goodbye..you will stay in my heawt
    smoochie kisses

  12. BeadedTail on October 2, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    We just came from our furiend Khyra’s blog to let you know that we are so sorry to hear about Kodiak. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Sadie, Angel, Isabella and mom Sharla

  13. Maggie and Mitch on October 2, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    We just left Khyra’s blog. We are so very sorry for your loss. Our hearts are absolutely breaking for you!

    Love ya lots
    Maggie and Mitch

  14. Karen Millar on October 2, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I just heard the news, too, also from over at Khyras page. I’m so sorry! Run Free, Kodiak! *hugs*

  15. Artemisia, Fenris, Socks & Scylla on October 2, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Our hearts are full of sorrow. (Hugs & Comforting purrs)

  16. Ginger jasper on October 2, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Heard the sad news over at my woofie pal Khyras and came to say I am so sorry and to send purrs and prayers.. Hugs and purrs GJ x

  17. jansfunnyfarm on October 2, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    What a scary incident, especially away from home and having to carry Kodiak. I often wonder how I would cope if I had to carry one of my dogs. Merci, a short distance. But Buddy & Sam – no way!

    Hoping for the best for Kodiak!

  18. The Poupounette on October 2, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    We are crossing all paws and sending lots of good vibes from France for Kodiak.

  19. The OP Pack on October 2, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Our hearts are broken. So very sorry.

    Hugs and Woos, the OP Pack

  20. Keisha on October 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Oh boy! I hope he feels better. 🙂

  21. the clampets on October 2, 2011 at 11:35 am

    We are so sorry to hear about Kodiak. Hope the vet can find the problem soon. All our paws are crossed and we are keeping good thoughts for Kodiak and the whole family. It is a hard time of waiting.
    Love and best
    Ernie,Sasha,Chica,Lucas, Mom Barb

  22. Mango Momma on October 2, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Khyra just sent me the latest on sweet Kodiak. I am so sorry.

    Mango Momma

  23. KB on October 2, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Oh my, we are thinking of you and crossing every paw and finger in the house that Kodiak continues to improve. My heart fell to my feet when I read your post. Hang in there, Kodiak, and stay close to your hu-dad.

  24. Ina in Alaska on October 2, 2011 at 10:00 am

    We are rooting for Kodiak- so sorry to learn this news- we will keep you all in our thoughts & prayers. Great advice about travel in this post- thanks!

  25. Libby and Jim Carter on October 2, 2011 at 9:43 am

    We are saying many prayers for Kodiak and sending healing thoughts his way. We love you Kodiak.

    Nina, Myshka, Sasha, Betsy, Lucy, Phoebe and Lily

  26. Piappies World on October 2, 2011 at 7:10 am

    We are saddened by this news from the Herd. We have Kodiak in our prayers, Hu-Dad. Somehow it is comforting to know that he is well taken card of by the Dr. V-E-T.

    Sending lots of positive vibes and hug from the Piappies.

    Piappies Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Pai, Wai-Max & Forgie

  27. scout and freyja on October 2, 2011 at 12:33 am

    We are praying and crossing paws and the kitties are purring for your wonderful Kodiak. We are sure the mystery will be solved and that a treatment will be in place. That is our prayer.

  28. The Bleu... and now also The Reufus on October 1, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    Just can’t go to bed tonight without telling you that our hearts are with you. We’re sending up the most thoughtful of prayers and our very best wishes. We’re extremely hopeful, and we hope you can feel us right there with you and Kodi!!!

    with prayers, well wishes, postive thoughts, crossed paws and LOVE from the Bleu

  29. NCMountainwoman on October 1, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Oh no! Since I won’t follow even my own kids on Facebook this is the first I heard. Please know that we will pray for dear Kodiak and both of you as well. And thoughts also for the rest of the Herd. I’m sure they immediately picked up the big change in the hiking pattern and were a bit upset about the whole process…on the beach, waiting for you to bring Kodiak, then waiting during the hospital visit. Fingers and paws crossed here on our side of the mountain for a good outcome.

  30. houndstooth on October 1, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    I’m glad he’s “home” with you, even if it’s in the SRV. That has to make him feel so much better! I am hoping really hard that he’s going to make a great recovery. Please know that we’re thinking of you and Kodiak!

  31. Holly & Khady on October 1, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    We are definitely keeping our paws crossed and sending lots of prayers for Kodiak! We know what it is like to have one of your babies suddenly fall ill with no warning. You have all our thoughts coming your way for a quick recovery for your boy and also an explanation for what happened and how to fix it! Many hugs and snooter smooches to Kidiak!

    Holly and Khady

  32. HUSKYS RULE on October 1, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Pawstively get well soon vibes will keep being sent to you Kodiak till you are better!
    Licks & Nibbles,
    Kody & Nia

  33. sarah on October 1, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    I just found your blog and can’t even tell you great I think the name is! Since getting my second dog last winter I have called my 2 dogs plus my parents dog “the thundering herd”. Their nicknames as part of the herd are 1/3, 2/3, and 3/3…of the thundering herd. Your dogs are beautiful. I hope Kodiak is doing better in no time.

  34. Bobo and Meja on October 1, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    We hadn’t heard from Facebook so didn’t know. Last we heard the pups were making fun of your hat!

    Prayers sent and will continue. Dogs have crossed paws…

    Bobo, Meja and Mommy

  35. Rumpy Drummond on October 1, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I am also rooting for Kodiak. I can imagine how scary that was for all of you, both 2- and 4-leggers. Thanks for sharing because you now have me thinking not only what I’d do away from home but what about walking in the neighborhood.

  36. The Ao4 on October 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Our prayers continue for Kodiak! Thanks for the update. Mom would appreciate it if you’d give him a smooch on the snooter for her. Dave and I would like to do neck grabbies, but now is not the best time for that. Maybe you could just let him know we’re pulling for him!
    Play bows,

  37. Stella on October 1, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    We are shocked and saddened at this news about Kodiak.

    Our thoughts and prayer will be with him and we will be watching for news.

    Blessings on our pals of The Herd, we love them all!

    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  38. jen on October 1, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    kodiak! oh no.

    good questions to consider about the e-vet while traveling, and how to carry a dog back.

    I hope Kodiak’s diagnosis is soon, and that his recovery is rapid. Many thoughts and prayers for you all.

  39. MAXMOM IN SOUTH AFRICA on October 1, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Oh Wow, I am so sorry to hear about Kodiak. The worst thing about an ill dog is ‘not knowing’. I do hope that your mind will be put at ease soon. Please know that I am thinking of you, especially Kodiak, and hope that he will recover soon.
    Very scary indeed.
    sending lotsaluv

  40. Sam on October 1, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    We will keep Kodiak (and you!) in our thoughts and prayers. We are sending him lots of healing vibes!

    When we took the boys to the Grand Canyon last year, Monty suddenly got too tired to keep walking. We were judging our walks by how Sam was doing, since Monty seems to be an energizer bunny. Mom picked him up and carried him the last couple of miles to our campsite – not easy since he is a 70lb boy! She is so used to carrying horsefeed and hauling hay… Luckily, Monty was just tired.

    Give Kodiak a hug from us!


  41. Amy@GoPetFriendly on October 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    We’ve all got our fingers and paws crossed here, hoping Kodi makes a full recovery. After making several trips to emergency vets as we’ve traveled around we knew we had to include veterinarians on the GoPetFriendly.com website. Also, we scanned the dogs’ medical records to a USB drive that we carry with us – just in case. I’ve had to carry Ty a couple of times, but I have no idea what I’d do if I had to carry 75-pound Buster anywhere. We’ll have to think on that a bit.

  42. Fiona and Abby the Hippobottomus on October 1, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Paws are crossed here – we’re hoping for good news and a speedy recovery! (And Mom says, yes, actually, when we travel, she gets a list of every vet/emergency vet clinic from our doorstep to our destination – a hold-over from when TaiChi and Ben were still alive but sick, and could have needed emergency care at any moment. As for transporting? Yuh. She needs to think about that a little more – especially when we’re hiking on the single-track paths in the mountains….) Keep us posted!

    -Fiona and Family

  43. Sheila & Bob on October 1, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Kodiak and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Sheila & Bob
    Hamish & Rescue Sophie

  44. rottrover on October 1, 2011 at 10:43 am

    You’ll be in our thoughts today, and we’re hoping that a scan can yield more information. The world turns upside down when an extremely active dog can barely move. There’s no more helpless feeling. Please keep us updated.

  45. Wimsey on October 1, 2011 at 10:04 am

    We are all pulling for Kodiak (literally) up here in NYC!

  46. Sage on October 1, 2011 at 9:28 am

    All our thoughts and prayers are going out to you and Kodiak. I hope you find answers soon and he makes a full recovery. Thanks for the Facebook updates.

  47. Amanda @ Click. The Good News on October 1, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that. My heart aches for you right now & I hope you can get some answers. The scary part is not knowing and waiting to get some relief. I’m off to go hug my dogs a bit more this morning & I hope you made it hope safely.

  48. jack & moo on October 1, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Paws crossed for the best possible outcome for Kodiak. We know how scary it is to have an emergency, much less away from home!

    Sibe vibes of healing,
    jack & moo & mom

  49. Gemma on October 1, 2011 at 8:55 am

    I’ve been following along on Facebook and appreciate the update. Everyone here is rooting for Kodiak, and thinking of you all. It is the worst feeling when one of our beloved companions takes ill. 🙁 My greyhounds all send gangly-limbed love and encouragement!

  50. The OP Pack on October 1, 2011 at 7:51 am

    We are shocked to hear about Kodiak. We all have our paws crossed for him to feel more comfortable and for answers to come soon. We are all pulling for you, Kodiak. Prayers from Mom too.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning and Mom too

  51. Husky Haven in MD on October 1, 2011 at 7:43 am

    We give the hu-dad such a hard time because we feel poor Kodi is a wallflower compared to the rest of the herd! We want Kode-Red to get more attention, but not like this!! We’re thinking and praying for you buddy. Kodi sends woos and Georgia and Molly send healing smoochies. Take care buddy!

  52. Ice 'n Ayla on October 1, 2011 at 6:42 am

    Me’n Ice and our hu-Mom are sending long “Siberwooooo’s” down to Kodiak from Dawson Creek BC Canada. Hope you are soon back on all four feet, Kodi. Our hu-Mom has promised to let us know as soon as she gets an update.
    With lots of Sibernuzzles from Ayla and Ice, and our hu-Mom.

  53. Khyra on October 1, 2011 at 6:38 am

    Paws khrossed here – as they have been since we saw the news on FB –

    Khome on Kodiak –

    The HuDad really didn’t need more material for the blog –

    SERIOUSLY, we will be pulling for a full recovery SOON!

    Khyra and Phyll

  54. Wild Dingo on October 1, 2011 at 4:41 am

    OMG, this is frustrating to not know but nice to know the vet is thorough and open for help when he doesn’t know. we’re anxious to hear what it is. but hope Kodi feels better soon. this is just too shocking and our paws are crossed for kodi and the entire herd…

  55. siku marie on October 1, 2011 at 2:19 am

    Nervous White Dogs await updates. Sending powerful White Dog Army healing energy and woos of comfort to the entire Herd. Feel our paws and arms around you.

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