Dylan's Brindle Explosion: "Dylan"
03/06/2003 — 11/27/2010
DenGayle N Loranne Sure Shot x Rafina City Snow
Bred by Melody Joyce and Barbara Wheat
Loved and remembered by Bruce Donley and family of Jenison, MI

In 2003, Dylan was placed as a pet with the Donley family of Jenison, MI.
Dylan and Jim, 2003Dylan and Jim, 2003Dylan and Jim, 2003
On Wednesday, 19 November 2003, Joyce Donley wrote:
"Today, Dylan threw his rope tugger behind the curtain of the living room window. He later saw the shadow and performed quite a few jumps, crouches and growls. I think he forgot it was his toy and assumed it was a "still" squirrel. I finally moved it after the barking and growling reached a peak (crazy puppy). Jim sleeps on the sofa with dog on the weekends. I make Jim use the bed on school nights and Dylan respectively uses his crate."
Bruce Donley dropped in with Dylan to visit us once at our former Dowagiac, MI home, sometime before 2007. Then on Monday, November 29, 2010 we received this heartbreaking, tragic message from Bruce:
Hi Melody,

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart I have to inform you of Dylan's sudden demise.

Dylan in happier timesEarly Friday morning I was awakened by Dylan in the kitchen. I am very used to hearing him patter across the hardwood floor to have a snack of his dry food or a drink of water at night. His gait always had a quick and regular rhythm but on that morning he sounded more like he was prancing or dancing around.

When I found him in the kitchen he was trying to stand upright, but kept falling to his left and recovering. I removed him to the carpeted living room, but it was the same thing, he could not stand up no matter how hard he tried, and I could see the panic and fright in his eyes. He wouldn't lay down and fought to get up every time I tried to get him to lay. When I put him in his crate, he lay on his side kicking and I was afraid he would injure himself, so I took him out.

Had to awaken son Jim to restrain him while I dressed and phoned his DVM. They open at 07:00 but because of the holiday no vets would be in before 10:00. We ended up taking him to the Animal Emergency Hospital, in Grand Rapids on the far north side. Poor Dylan, he fought and had to be restrained all the way there. Once there he was given morphine to calm him and to counter any possible pain he may be having. All the time the little guy looked so fraught and terrified. I felt so helpless to do anything for him while his blood-work was being run.

DylanDVM came back with a really negative report. His kidneys were not functioning well and she believed he had the dog equivalent of a stroke due to blood clots in his brain. There were other possibilities too, a cancerous tumor, or some type of trauma to his head that induced bleeding on the brain. He had no signs of any head injury, and tumors usually manifest symptoms slowly over time, this was a very sudden onset. I had let Dylan out to relieve himself at a quarter to five and he was 100% normal, jumping from the sidewalk to the deck in one leap(a 3 step jump) going back inside. An hour later he was unable to stand. This led the DVM to conclude he most likely had a severe brain incident. She also injected the possibility of an inner ear infection, but his blood work didn't support any infection in his body.

By now his regular DVM (Dr. Bennett who is the DVM for small animals at the John Ball Park Zoo in Grand Rapids) was in his office and we removed Dylan to his office for further observation and evaluation. That lasted for the rest of Friday afternoon. Since Dr. Bennett's office closed at 8:00 and Dylan needed to be monitored for the night, we decided to take him to the Small Animal Clinic at MSU in East Lansing. They have one of the top clinics in the nation for small animals, and they have an MRI available also.

Dylan in happier timesSo, Dylan spent Friday night at the MSU clinic and Saturday around noon I returned to hear a very sad prognosis. Dylan's kidneys were taking too much of a protein from his blood. The protein's function is to control clotting, and without enough of it, the likelihood of blood clots is pretty certain. His kidneys were not functioning properly, and the condition with the kidneys is not reversible. He had by now already begun to lose vision as well, so it appeared the damage to his brain was ongoing. We had the option of confirming the diagnosis with an MRI scan, but an MRI would cost $2,000 minimum, and possibly as much as $4,000, because it was the weekend and it takes at least three people to run a scan, a DVM, an MRI tech, and an anesthesiologist, also someone to interpret the scan results would be necessary. I opted out of having a scan because all it would do is confirm a severe brain problem, and there would be nothing they could do to reverse the damage done, regardless of what the cause may have been.

I made the decision to take Dylan home. He had suffered enough over the last day and a half, what with having multiple IV's in his legs and a catheter in his bladder, and being in extreme fright from being away from his people, very disoriented, and being kept in a metal cage. I could not stand the thought of letting him be euthenized in such a cold, institutional, atmosphere. The DVM gave him one last injection of Valium and removed his IV's and catheter and Dylan came home to spend a little time in a familiar place in our living room with his people and then he was put out of his misery here in his own home, by the person who loved him the most. I have had to put down two other dogs in my life before Dylan, but this absolutely was the hardest thing I have ever done. Dylan was like my very own child. Now, a day later, I still am having trouble accepting what happened and knowing he no longer exists.

Dylan in happier timesI want to thank you for having made this little guy available to us back in 2003. I remember he more or less picked me the day we came down and viewed the litter that he was part of. He seemed to want to interact with me way so more than the rest and I think a bond started with him right away. I have had a number of dogs over the years and this guy has been the most loving and enjoyable of any of them by a long shot. I doubt that I will ever stop missing him, and when I get another dog, it could not be anything other than a Whippet.

Well, thanks again for making Dylan available to me. He was a totally loving and beautiful experience for everyone he was around for the last seven and a half years. Sorry the news about Dylan has been so sad and tragic.

Best Regards,

Bruce Donley
Jenison, MI
Bruce wrote again on January 18, 2011:
Hi Melody,

While visiting your website I noticed the pics you had up of Dylan are some of his early puppy pics so I'm sending you a few of his adult dog shots. Dylan had personality, much more than mere "dog" personality. He loved to go boating on Silver Lake and Lake Michigan and couldn't seem to get enough of it, so I included a few shots of him on the boat. DylanThe lady with him in one of those pics is my future bride Cheryl. We are in the process of building a retirement home up at Silver Lake and Dylan loved the woods and the lake, it seemed to be one of his favorite places(that is also his final resting place). He loved to travel, and he accompanied us everywhere on vacation with his typical Whippet enthusiasm and curiosity. I still remember pulling tics off his belly in West Virginia because his curiosity took him off the trail and into the brush one too many times. He has hiked with us up Kennesaw Mountain in Georgia, and on trails in Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky. We would like to get over to Benton Harbor and visit your kennel in the not too distant future. However, I still had a bit of a problem just looking at and reviewing Dylan's many photos, even after nearly two months, so I may need a bit more recovery time. Dylan was so much like one of my kids. Well take care, hope the pics transfer O.K.

Best Regards,

Bruce Donley
Our hearts go out to you, Bruce, Cheryl and Jim. Yet, as sorry as we are for your unexpected and tragic loss of your beloved Dylan, we are also thankful to God for blessing us with exemplary owners like you for one of our puppies. May God bless you and comfort all of you as only He can, with His peace and with good memories of Dylan.