February 23, 2016 – We are sad to announce that the end has come for our feisty Gredda. Here is a wonderful tribute written by Gredda’s foster mom. She and Gredda were soulmates, BFFs, sisters.
February 22 at 5:07 p.m. Gredda lost her battle with cancer. There is such a fine line for when “you know” the end has come for your companion. The things that made her Gredda were no longer there. She had lost most of her ability to potty outside which naturally embarrassed her, and her energy disappeared in all but a flash. She still had the spark in her eye, yet could no longer muster that zest for life. It’s such a human reaction to try and keep them with you as long as you can, but being fair to her was more important. It was her time to go. I think she was hanging on for us.
We spent the day together, we ate a huge breakfast, had a soak in the Jacuzzi, watched a movie, cuddled on the couch and went for a sleigh ride. I let her tease the other dogs (she loves being the lead dog) and gave her the world’s biggest chewy. Then the vet arrived. Gredda lay comfortably in her bed as we petted her and she drifted peacefully away.
It was late when we took her to the crematorium. (If you ever have to use that option, Atim Creek Crematorium is a very nice, thoughtful well run business that can provide you with a service that ultimately helps your heart begin to heal). Anyway, we were driving back in the SCARS van which has this huge window in the front. Through my water filled eyes, the biggest full moon shone at us. I couldn’t help but laugh. I’m not much into spiritual meanings or signs, but Gredda was the wildest chick I ever met and it made total sense she would come or go on a full moon.
Obviously, we are going to miss Gredda terribly as anyone would with the passing of their pet/best friend/companion. But I learned so much from her. Her antics and her drive and her ability to look at everything like a good time brightened the very darkest of days.
I know many of you will send your condolences and heartfelt wishes which are definitely appreciated. If you donate to SCARS be proud that you support such a great organization that prides itself on letting each and every dog be whatever they are—even if it’s a bit of a bad ass.
I would like to ask you for one final favour in honour of Gredda’s wild spirit. If you have one, please share one of your stories about a pet doing something crazy on our Faceook page. It can be anything from a wild escape of hounds, to cats being saved from trees, to goldfish antics. Gredda wouldn’t want us to be sad. Gredda would want us all to grab the next moment and make the best of it.
Thank you to Global TV Edmonton for posting a story about Gredda’s passing.
In case you are wondering if Gredda completed her bucket list. The answer is YES!! The overwhelming support our supporters provided her was amazing. She had a toy to rip apart, or try to, every day and she went swimming with the kids and LOVED it. Because her energy was so hit or miss, we didn’t get to do any official “herding” (although we had many offers). However on a day in December at my home she managed to fulfill this item on her own:
I opened the door to find one of our pot-bellied pigs standing in the driveway, much to Gredda’s delight. So in order to explain the following, I need to give you a brief rundown of the lay out. Our property is built on a hill, the house being at the top and the barn and barn animals being at the bottom. The hill is roughly 30 to 60 feet down, varying in spots and is fairly steep. There are stairs on one side, a steep hill on the other, and on the far back of the property by the kennels is a slow gradation more drivable for Gredda’s wheels.
Gredda had a very high prey drive. It took me weeks to months to convince her not to eat the cats and small dogs when when she first came to us. Hence, she didn’t get to chill at the barn too often. So in our collection of barn pets are 2 tiny pot-bellied pigs, 4 goats (1 very of them a mean dog-aggressive goat), 4 ducks, 15 chickens, 3 roosters (which have agreed to get along) and 3 horses. Gredda would happily have killed most of the smaller animals so we didn’t let her down there often. But on one fine morning at about 10 a.m. I opened the door and began to escort Gredda outside. There are three stairs to navigate and she was feeling good that day. While I was focused on navigating the stairs and trying to get to the bottom in my slippers, Gredda looked ahead eagerly, barked and took off. Only then did I looked up to see one of our pigs standing there. Gredda was already in chase and the pig, who likes our other dogs, looked slightly confused about what was happening. I started yelling and trying to run after Gredda. The pig caught on that he had better haul bacon outta there. He headed toward the steepest part of the hill (back towards the barn) with Gredda in hot pursuit, and me in my slippers with one falling off, not far behind.
The pig made it through the wire horse fence at the top and then over the top of the hill and that’s where Gredda’s wheels got stuck. I thought, ‘phew, crisis averted.’ But how wrong I was. Gredda pulled as hard as she could trying to free her wheels and I could visualize what was about to happen. Her wheel not only came unstuck, but her power gave her wheelchair somewhat of a slingshot effect, shooting her wheelchair forward, giving her a fast start. She quickly disappeared over the crest of the hill and was now in the vicinity of all the barn animals. Meanwhile, I was running through the snow in slippers. What an exciting adventure! I jumped the fence and to my surprise I saw Gredda still cruising on one wheel at a time as her cart bounced from side-to-side in wild throws. The pig made it to the bottom but Gredda was in close chase and gaining ground. I have a bad knee so my descent of the hill started off slow, then I sped up and I landed face first in the snow. All I could think of was, ‘if she gets that pig she is going to take a chunk out of him.’ It was at about that moment that I began wondering about the location of the dog-aggressive goat.
The pig escaped around the barn. Gredda cornered on one wheel at which point she saw the flock of birds and she was just game for some of that action. Expressions like “sitting ducks” suddenly come to mind. Ducks and chickens went flying like a really bizarre bowling game, some escaping by only a feather (literally). Screams of all kinds were heard. Barks of joy were coming out of Gredda as she tried to chase up the hill by the stairs (the steepest point). But that’s where she flipped her cart and I manage to catch up with her. Limping with one slipper on and one frozen foot, I collapsed down beside her. I was exhausted and barely able to move. I pulled her on top of me. That’s where we stayed for the next few minutes catching our breath. I continued to wonder where the goat might be (it turned out he was in the barn). Next I had to figure out how to get Gredda back up the hill. So I’m going to say that adventure covered the herding portion of the bucket list. Pig herding at its finest!
January 29, 2016 – It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Gredda’s foster mom. Here is a very happy update for your Friday afternoon: Gredda continues to improve, since the surgery on Dec 12, Gredda has gotten better every day. She still struggles somewhat with on going bladder infections and she is slightly anemic which gets her more meat in her food diet (she’s thrilled). But her spirits and energy levels continue to rise. The vet has prewarned us we are not sure how long this will last. She has several inoperable tumors but for the time being she has gone back to being that feisty crazy Gredda we all know and love, (the cats and small house dogs are less thrilled Gredda is back to her old self). This delightful weather has enabled her to get outside more, which is her favorite thing to do. We have booked another swimming day for her thanks to the kindness of Wendy and Drew.
December 20 update from Gredda’s foster mom, Terra: So far Gredda has accomplished many things off her bucket list, but her energy level and exuberance had started to fade. One of the tumours on Gredda was on the right side of her abdomen. It had grown extremely fast in a short amount of time. It was the size of a small grapefruit and obviously uncomfortable. We spoke with the vet team and decided to operate. Like any mom, I was worried sick for various reasons. Mostly I was worried that I wasn’t doing the right thing. Maybe putting her through an operation was too much. What if she only has a few weeks or months left. Was it fair to put her through surgery? What if something went wrong and we lost her sooner. But her other, more serious tumours were not progressing and this one was obviously uncomfortable so we decided to go ahead. On Monday, December 14 Gredda had surgery. I waited on pins and needles and was allowed to take her home the same day. Expecting a recovery period and lots of quiet healing time I prepped all sorts stuff for her. To my sheer and utter surprise, Gredda once again amazed us all. She was bright and wild from the moment she got through the door, demanding food and LOTS of it. She shredded two toys, got up and then scooched herself over to steal another. At first we thought it was the pain killers or the meds. But no! Day by day Gredda has returned to her tenacious self. Wrestling with the resident foster pup Jake, stealing Christmas presents and decorations, and wanting to eat as much as we’ll feed her. She took off in her wheelchair when we went for a walk and is back to playfully chasing the cats in the house (I’m not sure they are quite as thrilled she’s back to her old self). Merry Christmas from Gredda!
Update from Gredda’s foster mom, Terra MacLean: Gredda is one of the most amazing dogs. Her spirit and her personality are hard to describe in mere words. She has come from the most horrific conditions and background. She takes her disability and makes it work to her advantage. You know she wants your attention when you’ve been Achilles’ tendon raked by her wheel chair. She slows down for no one — man, beast or obstacle. It’s been a true pleasure and inspiration to get to know Gredda. As we know, all good things come to an end. Recently Gredda was diagnosed with cancer. She has both operable lumps and inoperable. Working with the vets to decide what’s best for her and fair to put her through is gut wrenching and the worst part of rescue, or life in general to be honest. But neither Gredda nor I are ones to wallow in self pity. So after a few days of crying, we decided to make her last weeks to months as amazing as possible. She gets a new toy every day. I cook her an omelette every day. We go for walks in the river valley and we are going to make her a ball pool. But I sat with my kids and we all agreed that’s not enough, not for Gredda. So we made a bucket list.
- Toys. If you’d like to donate a toy, she’s needs durable squeakers. She is a master de-squeaker so if you donate, please give her a challenge. No treats. Gredda has a sensitive tummy and as much as I don’t mind cleaning poo out of the cracks of my hardwood, we are going to say no to treats. (update: donations have been pouring in, we are very grateful!)
- Herding. Gredda loves to chase. If you have or know someone that has sheep, Gredda would love to help herd them. Herding would be accomplished with Gredda under full CONTROL. We don’t want anyone getting hurt. But she loves to bark and have things run from her, and I can keep her close to me.
- Swimming. Gredda loves swimming! We are grateful to Wendy and Drew Watson for letting Gredda swim in their pool during November. She had a blast.
Gredda deserves soooo much more than any list that we can come up with, but she’s only been with us a year and I wish I could give her more. Please keep her in your thoughts and if you would like to help with Gredda’s bucket list, please email to email@example.com.
Click here to see Gredda of the Saturday, Nov. 14 edition of Global Edmonton TV News.
See more photos of Gredda taken at the first annual Gredda Classic Golf Tournament for SCARS which took place on September 4, 2015.
Gredda’s story By Terra MacLean
Gredda came to SCARS the same way we get many dogs. We received a phone call about an injured dog that needed help. It was quickly discovered Gredda was more than injured, her emaciated state and paralyzed condition were a horror. Yet Gredda was a happy, sweet, dog that readily approached people dragging both her back legs.
She was found by our friends at the Canine Action Project (CAP) in mid-November. CAP focuses on community outreach through education and spay/neuter programs. They partner with animal rescues like SCARS when they come across dogs like Gredda that are in need of veterinary care and rehoming.
Gredda was rushed to the closest veterinary clinic where it was confirmed that she had previously suffered a severe trauma, likely hit by a car. The impact broke her back, leaving her paralyzed. The healing to the injury was at least 2.5 months old. That meant Gredda had endured the pain of the injury while living outdoors with very little food and shelter, all the while dragging her back legs. The strength of animals—both physically and spiritually—never ceases to amaze us. The horrors some of them endure before they come into care is beyond comprehension. Sadly, we know that many do not make into our care and there is no one to tell their stories. In a way, Gredda symbolizes the suffering of every abandoned pet in Alberta. She is one of thousands of pets that need help. Because she was eventually discovered by a caring volunteer, she is one of the lucky ones.
Sadly, it was determined there was no surgery that could repair Gredda’s injuries. Miraculously she maintained the ability to potty (bowel and bladder control) which meant essentially Gredda was a cheerful dog that was extremely underweight and couldn’t use her back legs.
SCARS takes each and every injury case seriously and we wanted to ensure we weren’t prolonging Gredda’s suffering in any way. So Gredda made a second road trip to meet another veterinarian. More x-rays and a few bags of treats later it was agreed by a second vet that Gredda was indeed happy and healthy minus two functioning back legs. We were donated a wheel chair and when we placed her in it, she literally took off running. She was so happy to be mobile, which only further demonstrated her amazing personality and strength of character.
I took Gredda home to foster her shortly after her Global TV debut on November 26, 2014. It took about a week for us to notice that, due to the paralysis, her back legs not only got in the way, they caused her to get stuck on things. It was also very difficult getting her in and out of the wheel chair. After consultation with her vet, we determined for Gredda to be comfortable and mobile, it was best to remove her back legs.
This decision was not made lightly, but within a week of the surgery it was obvious it was the right choice. The surgery took place the week of December 8 and Gredda is doing great. She is very mobile around the house, including playfully chasing the cats, and she no longer gets stuck when trying to maneuver herself. She is also much more manageable to get in and out of her wheel chair and walking harness.
I decided to foster Gredda and went into it thinking how much extra work a two legged dog might be, but now I’m convinced that who ever adopts Gredda will be lucky to have her.
I have a kennel at my acreage where I foster many SCARS dogs. I also have many dogs of my own. I am NOT a morning person, I slowly drag my behind out of bed, open the door and my pack of beasts stroll outside, almost as lazy as me. Then I drag myself to the kennels and tell all the dogs not to talk to me until my second cup of coffee.
But with Gredda it’s not so easy, I still drag my sorry behind out of bed, but I immediately get dressed and get her in her chair and navigate the snow bank to the driveway and we are off. Our morning stroll under way, she is happy and lively and LOVES to talk, regardless of my coffee intake. I practically have to force her to come back home, as I don’t want her to get too tired. But coincidentally enough I’m now wide awake and functioning, weird how little things make a difference in your life.
Gredda is an amazing dog, and caring for her is truly only a little “extra” work. She is one of the happiest dogs I have ever seen and her spirit and how she embraces life is magical. Gredda works all kinds of magic if she can make me a morning person.
We ask that you share Gredda’s story, and consider what you can do to help the countless other animals like Gredda who are in need. There are endless ways to help – foster, adopt, lobby for change, fundraise, volunteer, donate! SCARS is committed to making a difference, please join us.
Thank you to Global TV Edmonton for covering Gredda’s story on November 26, 2014. Click here to see the story and video.
Thank you also to SCARS volunteer, Rhonda McDougall, for writing a story about her experience as part of the team that transported Gredda to the Westlock Veterinary Centre.