My friend Chris Laseter is a runner! He was one of the mentors the year I was training for my 1/2 marathon to raise awareness and money for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. He is an inspiration to everyone who meets him. BTW…I am not a runner! If a pack of wolves were chasing me I could not run – it’s just a fact!
I’m so very proud of Chris and the adventure he will be embarking on in January 2013. He is a dog trainer and he is a dog lover. The love he shows to animals is undeniable. And today I’d like to share his story with you…
Chris Laseter – firstname.lastname@example.org
RUNNING FOR THE DOGS
To chase away k9 cancer
To summarize my Run (www.runningforthedogs.com):
I will be running from Atlanta to Portland, OR beginning in Jan. of 2013.
A journey of 2800 miles!!!
I am doing this in honor/memory of my six year old Yellow Lab, Zeke, who I lost to canine cancer on April 21, 2011. I am running to raise awareness to the prevalence of canine cancer (1 in 3 dogs develop cancer), to teach people across the country how to check their pets to detect any unusual lumps or bumps early and to raise money for Chase Away K9 Cancer (www.chaseawayk9cancer.org). That money will be used only to fund canine cancer research grants through the National Canine Cancer Foundation (www.wearethecure.org).
I will be running in honor/memory of all those “best friends” across the country that were taken too early because of canine cancer, for those fighting the battle with cancer now, and for those that don’t yet see it coming.
Why I am running across the country…..
There are several dates and times that stick out in one’s memories of their life; birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, and other memorable events. However, an unfortunate memory has now been etched in mine. On February 8, 2011, four days before his 6th birthday, my yellow Labrador, Zeke, was diagnosed with Canine Lymphoma. My heart sank!
The day of the diagnosis, I brought Zeke home and sank into the darkness of my bedroom and spent several hours mourning his prognosis. I let him rest in the bed beside me the rest of the evening. His doctor, Dr. Leathers, gave me several treatment options, none of them seemed to give him a good chance for a longer, more comfortable life. Based on everything she told me and what I researched, I could not make the decision for him to endure chemo for six months with the chance he may not even make it through treatment. I had to consider and ask myself who was I trying to prolonging his life for…him or me?
It was at that moment that I decided to make the best of what time we had left. I needed to have faith that he would be strong enough, with the help of a drug called Prednisone, to enjoy what time we had left. His energy and happy spirit returned to normal as soon as we started the Prednisone just like Dr. Leathers said it would. She surgically removed his swollen Lymph node to be sent off to the lab at The University of Georgia for further testing and confirmation that Canine Lymphoma was indeed the enemy.
All was back to normal until April, 21, 2011. I got up that morning to let the dogs out and Zeke couldn’t even get off the floor. I coaxed him up and helped him outside. I could see he needed to get to the veterinary office. He was lethargic and limping on a swollen front right leg. With in 20 minutes we were at Dr. Leathers’ office and one of her technicians took his temperature. It was 106. When I was told 101.5 was normal, I realized he was in trouble. The technicians rushed him into the back, wrapped him in cold, wet towel, and put fans on him in hopes of bringing his temperature down. A large dose of antibiotics and pain medications were given in hopes of treating a possible infection. Blood work was done and proved the worst, the Lymphoma was flaring up and even with extreme treatment (and expense) there was no guarantee that he would survive any more than a few days. The time had come for me to make the decision I had tried to put off as long as I could.
The day had a good note, Dr. Leathers and her team, were able to stabilize him by bringing his temperature down closer to normal and I was able to take Zeke home. I knew it was temporary so he and I spent the day together doing all the things he loved to do. We rode the four-wheeler and played a short game of fetch. We went into the swamp where we had spent endless hours hunting and watched the remaining Wood Ducks and Canada Geese fly around (I am sure he was wondering why I didn’t shoot anything). Then we sat in the grass overlooking the property and he just rested his head on my leg.
I wanted to be selfish and keep him at home with me that night. His fever was down and he seemed to be feeling better, but if anything had happened to him during the night that I could not manage, I would have never forgiven myself. Once back at the veterinarian’s office, I asked Dr. Leathers if she thought I could take him home for one more night, but I did not get the answer that I wanted to hear. So Zeke and I went for our last walk. I called several friends to help me through this difficult decision. I just did NOT want to let him go. With the help of some good friends, advice from Dr. Leathers, and my own knowledge, the decision was made to let him go and end his pain. I sat in the field behind the vet’s office, held him in my lap and stared into his eyes. I could tell he didn’t feel good. As Dr. Leathers gave him an injection to sedate him, I repeated WHAT A GOOD BOY until the sedative took effect. Before I knew it, he was asleep and his pain was gone.
A very good friend told me that “I took the hurt and pain so he didn’t have to.”
I truly miss my Zeke!!!
The death of Zeke took the wind out of my sails. I was having a terrible time and I had to do something to bring myself out of this grief. One night, while at dinner with Mona Landry, a good friend and former running coach, I asked her if she had any ideas. She knew I was reading a book, “Running on Empty” by Marshall Ulrich (about his attempted world record run across America) so she suggested organizing a run in Zeke’s honor with the funds going to canine cancer research. So I blurted out “How about a run across the US for Chase Away Canine Cancer?” “That’s it,” she said and the idea stuck. So I started researching and planning.
In late January or early February of 2013 I will set out from Atlanta Georgia on a 2800 mile journey to Portland Oregon. I will run an average of 28 miles a day.
My goal is not just to run the distance but to raise awareness to the prevalence of canine cancer. I hope to raise money for funding to enhance diagnosis and treatments options for other pets like Zeke. I want to help educate people how to assess their dog from snout to tail to check for unusual lumps and bumps so that a diagnosis can be made early which can lead to a better prognosis for their pet. I know that none of this will ever bring Zeke back, but maybe through this run, Zeke’s memory will have a positive impact on the lives of many other people and their pets.
I need sponsors, help spreading the word (media, social media, etc.), donations and support (come out and run with me with the dog) to make this happen and to get this VERY important information out there.
I want people from across the country to tell me their dog’s story and send me pictures of their dogs. All of the pictures will be part of the artwork on the RV that supports me on the run and all the stories will also make the journey in the RV.
This run is for them!!!
How can you look at Zeke’s face and not want to help??