Vivace Whippets and Debbie La-Monica-Anderson. I have been in Whippets only a very short time. Karma (Wegner's Positive Energy, JC, CGC) was my first Whippet. She is two years old. Winnie (Wegner's Autumn Windfall) is just a year old. I was ready for another dog and wanted to get a puppy to course, show, and to do obedience and agility.. When my plan to get a greyhound puppy fell through, I started to investigate whippets. It was the smartest decision I ever made.

I read on one of the Whippet lists about Karma's litter. I had also read about the breeding in an ad in The Whippet News. I contacted the Wegners via e-mail. We spoke on the telephone for a very long time. I obtained letters of reference from my veterinarian as well as from friends. The Wegners must have believed these people that we were OK! I am so grateful to them for believing in us. Karma came to live with us when she was 12 weeks old. Our lives haven't been the same since! Winnie (Wegner's Autumn Windfall) joined us a year later.

Karma & Winnie on left
Karma & Greyhound Laser on right

"The Girls" fill our days with warmth, laughter, and humor. They have turned our very opinionated "no patience for puppies" greyhound, "Laser" into a goofy mushy boy. He loves his girls. The other dogs readily accepted them as well. They fit right into our home and our hearts. We couldn't be happier.

There are many people, old and new in the fancy, who have given us great advice and who continue to support us... Beth Levine, Mary Downing, The Wegners, The Arthurs, Linda Bucholz, Carol Chittum, to name a few. I learn more and more every day. People have been very kind to us, as neophytes to the breed. I have gotten (and continue to get) some wonderful, helpful advice on exhibiting, which is something I had never done before.

"Winnie" Wegner's Autumn Windfall

I love this breed with the very depths of my soul. They touch a part of my heart hat I didn't even know was there. In my mind's eye, when I picture my perfect Whippet, it is a whippet that is capable of doing all things. Athleticism, Intelligence, Fabulous Temperament, and Breed Type all weigh equally on my scale. This diversity is something that I hope to see in the breed for the long haul.

When I told my husband that I would like to get a Whippet, he made a funny face. He said that it would not be the breed that he picked. Now? Well, he loves them with all of his heart. He calls them "my girls". No matter what I am doing, he often calls me into the room to "see how cute they are"

It is in the 90 degree temperatures here today. This is hotter than we are used to in the Pacific Northwest. If anyone is capable of explaining to me WHY the whippets insist on being under the covers , even in this heat, I would love to know! It is these little quirks that make them so special to me. Nothing does my heart more good than to come home to their fabulous greeting (though we DO wish that Winnie would tone it down a bit!). When I see them together tied up in knots so that I can't tell whose legs are whose... it turns me to mush. Their ability to think for themselves and to learn difficult obedience exercises with ease astounds me. When I see them run, it is the same as when I watch my greyhound run. I hold my mouth open in sheer awe.

The resilience of this breed was certainly evidenced when Karma was injured. You learn more about a dog's temperament in these instances too. Rock Solid is the best way that I can put it. Our veterinarian was amazed that she was so even tempered during that horrible situation. Where do we go from here? Look for Winnie on the coursing field, at races, in the breed ring, and, eventually in the obedience and agility rings. Look for Karma in the obedience and agility rings, and perhaps, some day, on the coursing field again.. We may try racing as well. Time will tell. I look forward to being a part of this wonderful breed for the rest of my life. I look forward to continuing to get to know the wonderful people that this breed has introduced me to... and I look forward to the weather cooling off so that I can sleep again at night!

"Karma" Wegner's Positive Energy, JC, CGC

I wanted to share this story with all whippet people on this special day, the 4th of July. Thanks to Debbie La Monica-Anderson for sharing this wonderful story of the courage, strength, and devotion of her young whippet Karma. Debbie's story shares her love and dedication to Karma and is a tribute to our whippet breed: Karma (Wegner's Positive Energy, JC, CGC) had a lifetime of promise ahead of her in January of this year. She had obtained her JC down in Lompoc in July, and had started her ASFA lure oursing career. She placed first in her stake at the Region 1 Invitational, over 13 other Open dogs. In her short lure coursing career she had obtained 67 ASFA points and both of the first placements necessary toward her ASFA Field Championship. At the time of the injury we were training at the Utility level in obedience. We were coming close to being ready to start Karma's official obedience career. She showed great promise.

We conditioned her through the winter, looking forward to Spring coursing. At the end of January 2000, Tragedy struck. Karma was free running in a large field reserved just for this purpose (an off lead dog training area). She was running full speed and ran into the stump of a recently cut tree, which was sticking about 10 inches out of the ground, but hidden in clumps of grass. She flew into the air and collapsed to the ground screaming. By the time I got to her (I was about 100 feet away) she was in severe shock and bleeding badly.

With the help of the few other people in the park at the time I was able to get her stabilized, into my car and to a veterinarian. (Just as an aside, I learned a great deal about people right then and there. A man I didn't even know gave me the shirt off of his back to help control the bleeding. Another man took my keys and drove my car onto the field so that I could use my first aid kit and get Karma in the car. Someone handed me their cell phone and said I shouldn't worry about the blood. A woman I didn't know got into my drivers seat and drove us to the nearest veterinarian. I regained faith in humanity that day.) Karma was given blood and treated for shock and pain at that vet, and we transferred her to our regular veterinarian. He sutured her wounds under anesthesia and took X-rays. Nothing was broken, but her shoulder had withstood a great deal of force. He thought that it may have dislocated and then popped back in on its own. We spent a day and night in Intensive care, and then came home.

We started gentle range of motion that day and over the next few weeks started massage. Her whole body was bruised and she had hematomas hanging off of her chest and sides (under the skin). We continued massage to keep her skin and muscles from scarring down. I searched high and low and found a Spa business just for dogs. Karma started swimming the day after her sutures were removed.

Karma's wounds, bruises, and hematomas healed, but it became obvious that she had more going on. She was not able, even weeks after the initial injury, to use her front leg properly. The muscle had atrophied so badly that you could see every ridge of her scapula and humerus. Her shoulder and forearm were skin over bone. Karma was then diagnosed with damage to the nerves of her brachial plexus from the blunt trauma of the injury. In a horse, her injury would have been called a "Sweeny".

We were told that we should never expect her to run or to have any type of working career again. We were devastated. Refusing to give up, though, we continued rehabilitation. Karma was put on a number of supplements to protect her joints and help the nerves heal. We started to see slow improvement and even return of some of the muscle. I did research and decided to stimulate the muscles electrically so that if the nerves ever did recover, the muscle cells would still be alive. We continued swimming and Karma continued to visit with a woman who did massage and muscle work once a week. I did massage and range of motion and isometric work with her every day. I made her walk and found ways to make her bear weight on that leg. We started taking her for acupuncture.

We are now six months out. Our miracle girl has a divot of the muscles in her shoulder (which is still improving as I write this). You can't tell that she has any lameness. She was always a bit loose in the front and that is slightly accentuated. She flips the pastern on that leg as well. She is still on the upswing and is improving monthly. She can run on the lure (straights only), and is able to free run and chase her sister Winnie. She still feels a bit insecure being chased. She has, of course, become a Royal Princess with all of the attention that the injury garnered. We're working on toning that down a bit!

She is sound enough that she will be able to compete at all levels of obedience (IF we can tone down the Royal Princess attitude!). We, at this point, are not certain that she will ever run competitively again. My heart says no... but we will re-evaluate that next year. She just turned 2, so we have plenty of time. She can free run to her heart's content, though. It is great to see that wild look on her face again. She is at her happiest when she is running, as is any whippet.

Most important is that she is alive and well. This could have turned out much worse than it did. We could have lost her that day on the field.

Karma in 2001 as a New Field Champion (NEW)

Here are the lessons I learned:

Plan in your head for a disaster and what you would do.

If you run in an area frequently, know who the closest veterinarian is. This saved Karma's life.

Ask for help when you need it. People may want to help, but may not want to intrude. They are very relieved to help when asked.

Carry a good first aid kit in your car. Karma is alive today because I had the means to stop the bleeding, immobilize her and stabilize her enough to move her to the vet.

Start range of motion as soon as your vet says it is safe.

Believe in the possibilities, not the impossibilities.

Use all of the therapies at your disposal traditional and non-traditional. The real therapy starts when the open wounds are closed (if not before).

Never give up hope...

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