Philip, Hawkins, and Chelsea

Philip Adler is from Hawaii and this is his story about his love for his whippet "Hawkins".

Mine is a simple story about man and dog.

When we got Hawkins he was already six years old. He had already been with another family that could no longer have him and so he was back with his breeder. We had wanted to get another dog as our other whippet Chelsea desperately needed a playmate and had been told by whippet rescue that he might be available. My wife and I jumped in the car and drove the two hours to where Hawkin's breederıs house was. My first recollection of Hawkins was how very sad his eyes were. He had a way of tilting his head toward the ground while looking at you very expressively. Although it was explained to us the challenges of adopting an older dog we simply couldn't resist having him in our lives. It was an absolute connection. We would soon find out just how deep and meaningful the connection was. Our lives would never be the same.

We had two years of wonderful bliss after adopting Hawkins. My wife and I lived at the beach where we would take our dogs and our infant son for marathon play sessions. Hawkins was beauty in motion as he was such a wonderful athlete.

"Hawkins and Griffin"

It was on Motherıs day while at this same beach that time suddenly stopped. While running after a ball, I saw my dog go down with such a ferocity that I thought he had been shot. He legs gave out and he lay in the backwash of the ocean writhing in pain. Everything was in a fog. It seemed unreal. While the beach was filled with other dog owners, nobody, to my dismay, came to my assistance. After what seemed like forever, I finally had made my way down the beach and gently knelt beside Hawkins. I ever so lightly touched him and he immediately bit my hand. He was in a pain beyond pain.

I remember it being hard to think clearly. As my wife ran to get the car, my instinct took over. I quickly borrowed a blanket to keep him warm. I then curled him in my arms and walked the nearly 300 yards across the sand to get to where my wife had the car waiting for us. We rushed him to a nearby emergency vet clinic.

At first the news wasnıt that bad. They told us that while the injury was severe, there was an 80 to 90 percent chance of full recovery. The next day he was rushed to a specialist in back injuries. The news became more dim. Hawkins had blown a hole in his back the size of a quarter. Although it was reparable, we were given a 50 percent chance of Hawkins ever walking again. We decided to go ahead with the surgery and went home to wait as the surgery was a very long and arduous process. A few hours later, we received a call that broke our hearts. It was the surgeon. He was calling from the operating room and he had grave news. The injury was much more severe than anticipated and he was now giving Hawkins a 10 percent chance of walking again. It was his recommendation that we put Hawkins down.

To this day I can remember what my wife said at that moment verbatim. With tears streaming down her face and a determination I had never seen before she said, "you tell that doctor that if there is even a one percent chance of that dog walking again, that we want him to do the surgery". The doctor said he would do what he could and proceeded with the surgery.

After spending a mostly sleepless night, we were told that we could come and get Hawkins. We arrived at the clinic totally shell shocked from the last 24 hours. It was very hard to see this magnificent animal reduced to this. The nurses had brought him in with a towel wrapped underneath his torso to help him walk. While his front legs were working hard, his hind legs were dragging behind motionless.

Our life was now different. Tending to and caring for Hawkins was a 24-hour a day job. I moved my office home so that I could assist with what seemed like an endless amount of physical therapy and care. For the next six months, we would do everything for Hawkins that he couldnıt do for himself.

It was about this time that I began to notice significant changes in our thinking. We had surrounded ourselves in a materialistic reality. It was a very "me, myself and I" type of existence. But, somehow, through this horrible situation, we had been transformed into a more giving and more service oriented family. When a person commits himself or herself to providing like we had committed to Hawkins, it changes you on the inside. You see things differently. Words donıt do it justice but it is a very expansive and enlightening experience.

Much to everyoneıs surprise, Hawkins began slowly moving his legs again almost six months to the day after his surgery. The vet called him the miracle dog. Was it a miracle? To me, it was just a testament to what love can do. It can move mountains and it can get a paralyzed dog to walk again. Our dog. Our Hawkins who we loved so very very much.

Hawkins lived almost another five years after that. He had moved with us down to Hawaii where we had met an incredible man named Dr. Ihor Basko who was a holistic vet from the island of Kauai . Through his wonderful mixture of eastern and western medicine, he extended Hawkinsı life and made sure he was pain free.

I take great solace now that he is gone. I know that we did everything we could to make his life worthy of being lived and in return he taught us what life is all about. For that, I am so very grateful.

I thank you for this opportunity to share. For those who may have questions regarding some of the therapies and holistic medications, please do not hesitate to contact me. Aloha, Philip Adler

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