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Stevie

Stevie, is Karen McFarlane's much loved one year old Bernese Boy. On January 22nd this year, there was a tragic accident and he was struck unconscious when a large limb from a tree broke and fell on him when they were out walking in the woods. Against all odds, and much down to Karen's strength of will, he has survived! Continued prayers for Stevie's full recovery and biggest Bernese Hugs for this brave Berner and his even braver owner.

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for updates on Stevie's progress

Bernese Mountain Dog, Stevie
Karen's favourite picture of Baby BMD, Stevie.

Bernese Mountain Dog, Stevie, in the snow
Bernese Mountain Dogs love the funny white stuff!

Bernese Stevie in the snow
Stevie in the snow.

Bernese snow time
Hey, look at me, Mom! I'm a snowdog!

BMD Birthday

Berner Stevie and Karen
Stevie and Karen

Peek-a-boo Berner
....taken down at the seaside while we were playing with my friend's Great Dane puppy. Stevie and Tanner are best mates. Stevie was 6months old at that time.

Karen's post to the Bernese Mountain Dog Mailing List 23rd Jan. '03
"I am writing to ask the list for moral support, as well as advice. My beautiful one year old Berner boy, Stevie, had a dreadful accident yesterday. We were in a wooded area, it is very very cold here and extremely windy, when a large limb from a large tree crashed to the ground, striking Stevie on the head. Stevie was immediately unconscious but without any apparent external injuries. I removed my coat and rolled him onto it and attempted to drag him out to the nearest inhabited house I could find. The snow was deep and Stevie weighs 107 pounds, dead weight. I could not drag him out the full way and had to leave him and run for assistance. We managed to get him loaded onto an ATV and to a vet. Stevie remains in a coma or really a semi-conscious state at this time. He has had multiple system problems since this accident. His intra-cranial pressure shot up but has since this morning decreased somewhat. He is being monitored very closely. At one point this morning, the initial vets, suggested euthanasia, but I could just not accept that. So we persevered and transported him to a larger professional centre. At that point he was given a 50/50 chance. Which is much better odds than we had first thing this morning. He has also had some seizure activity since and one of the vets felt that he was deaf. I think otherwise. I have been an absolute shattered mess ever since. Many people do not understand the love that a person can have for their dog. Stevie, right now is my life. I have been recently separated, so very much alone and unsure of myself and he has been by my side through thick and through thin. He is my heart. And right now my heart hurts so very badly. I am hoping, purely selfishly, to be able to gain some moral strength from the list. Please, if you can, say a wee prayer for my beloved boy. I have gained some very much needed support from a beautiful new friend in Florida, who has been my saving grace, especially in the last 36 hours, and for that I am so truly grateful. I will keep you posted on any further development, but in the meantime, please pray for him.
Thank you Karen McFarlane"

Since then Karen has received around 700 mails of encouragement and support. Berner Listers all over the world have offered prayers and miraculously Stevie is slowly pulling through. This page is dedicated to a very special Bernese Owner and her very brave boy, and to all you Listers out there.

Berner-L the Bernese Mountain Dog Mailing List

Just some of the many mails that Karen received.

"Dearest Karen, Just wanted to send hope, love and support to you and Stevie from Cecilia and Griffin in Stockholm, Sweden. Griffin came into my life 3 ½ years ago after a ten year relationship had ended, and he is my heart as Stevie is yours. Your courage in the forest touched me deeply, Karen, you were very brave. Please know that the entire list is praying for you and Stevie. Berner hugs from Cecilia and Griffin in Stockholm Sweden"

"Karen, I was horrified and saddened to read your note. Your situation brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes because I too have experienced the depth of despair and sorrow that you described yourself going through. Those types of feelings can only be experienced by a pet owner that has a "special relationship" with their pet. In my book, this is when unparallel love and devotion between dog owner and pet is mutually given and received to such an extent that the spiritual and love experienced in this type of relationship goes exponentially deeper and wider than the average owner/pet relationship. It is apparent you and Stevie have been blessed with and shared this type of relationship. All we can do at this point is hope and pray that God will look over your precious Stevie and be merciful to the two of you. You have been blessed to have had Stevie for the past year and the love in your heart for him will give you the wisdom you need to make the right medical decisions for Stevie and the strength for both of you to get through this. You have my prayers and heart felt sympathy. Please keep us updated on both your and Stevie's progress through this ordeal. Sincerely, Diane Metzler NJ"

"Karen, You give him all the chances to fight that you can, and when he's ready to let go, you let him know that it's all right, and you'll be all right without him here with him physically. He's always going to be a part of you, whether he needs to leave now, or much later. Stevie is not the only thing keeping you going, your own strength is what does that. Stevie just helps a great deal. Let his strength in fighting to survive now help you as well. Life is a struggle, and Stevie is teaching you how worthwhile it is to fight to do it. But if it becomes too much for him, you will need to find the strength to let him end the battle. I pray that you are not called upon to do it, but I know you will find it within yourself if you have to. Praying you won't need to, Pat"

"Karen, it will be good for you and Stevie both if you can rest and sleep for awhile. He will sense if you are physically weak or ill. I am very glad that his ICP is decreasing and his kidney function is improving. He will have less seizure activity and more recovery. it is great that your vet will call and update you even though it is way past office hours. I am also sorry that you lost a little son 18 yrs. ago. You are correct about the amazing attachment between people and their dogs. We will pray for you all through the night. I am a mom of teenagers, but i am 51 years old and between those 2 facts, i awaken several times in the night :) i will also pray for your poor little fingers. I am so glad you feel so much support from your friend in Florida, and i hope you feel that you have two friends in Utah, also. would you please tell us what state you live in? i have a son in Oklahoma, and we live about one hour east of Salt Lake City. You will have folks all over the world praying and pulling for Stevie, as Berner Lovers everywhere read the List. God Bless and i hope you are already asleep. love and best wishes from maurice and karlie the berner"

"Dearest Karen, My prayers are with you and Stevie. Although it may sound weird to some, I have talked with Thor (my berner) and I believe with all my heart that he understands, if there is any way that animals can say prayers I know he is talking up a storm for Stevie Love and Light Karen and Thor"

"You are in my heart, in my hopes. I will tell everyone I know to pray for Stevie. I know he hears you. I can hear the love you have for him all the way through this computer. No matter what happens know that Stevie loves you as only a Berner can. Marjie"

"Dear Karen, my thoughts have been with and Stevie all day. The tragedy of this accident haunts me and reminds me how fragile the gift of life really is. I pray that your sleeping giant awakes and that the nightmare of this cold week in January is put to rest. Peace Robert"


Continuing prayers for Stevie and Karen from us all at Longlease

Updates:

26th March '03:Dear List, I just had to write and let you all know that I have been steadily washing up tons and tons of very muddy paw prints off of my kitchen floor and back porch floor. Stevie has been going outside (on leash of course, and certainly not without me!!) and doing alot of walking. He has gained so much confidence in the last week it is uncanny. A Guardian Angel from across the pond mercifully sent us some boots with fabulous traction, and almost immediately he started to progress. There is still a significant amount of ice and snow around and I really believe that this was a big part of Stevie's problem. He did not feel safe and was unsure of his footing. These boots, which are the same kind that Search and Rescue dogs use whilst going through debris and rubble, were a God send and we are so grateful to my dear friend Cecilia Staal. (Love you Cecilia, but you knew that already!!) We started out slowly at first and it did take a few tries to get Stevie used to the boots, but after much praise and lots of treats, he settled into them like they had been always on his feet. The last couple of days has been warmer and the snow and ice are finally beginning to melt. We have been out so much for little walks, Stevie tires very easily and pants a tremendous amount but we will build that up soon I am sure. Now this is for my dear friend down south, Stevie actually trotted and ran a few steps today after a large bird that was in his back yard!! I was so excited that I tripped and fell into a very wet and muddy spot, I was laughing and crying at the same time. Stevie just looked at me curiously, because I am sure after all this drama and emotion lately, he has come to the conclusion that his Mum is just a few sandwiches short of a picnic!! I am so happy and grateful and truly feel now that Stevie will be ok. We saw his neurologist last Wednesday and we don't have to go back unless there are problems. He is very pleased with his remarkable progress and he does not feel that there is any permanent neurological or mental deficits. He has gained almost all the weight that he lost except for approx. 4 pounds. The vets are equally as amazed as I am and said that Stevie definitely had an angel with him, back that cold, grey day in January. I am so proud of Stevie and my heart is just so full, I could just burst. Even though my own personal life is still somewhat of a mess, these milestones that we make with my beloved boy seem to make everything alright and it definitely gives me purpose. I will never complain about the black tumbleweeds of berner hair that I find under and in furniture, I gladly and lovingly wash up the mud and crud and corruption that this time of year brings when you have a gentle giant who is now slowly becoming more and more active outside!!!! I scrub and clean that floor actually with a big grin on my face, can you imagine!! Thank you all so much for the continued love and support, it is so important to us and we appreciate it deeply. Love from Karen and Stevie NB, Canada

15th Mar. '03: My Dear Berner Buddies, I am sorry for my lack of updates lately, and thanks to all who have enquired about Sweet Stevie. Stevie is doing quite well. Today is the last day for any and all of his meds. Wooohoooo. He is steadily progressing and has good days and some not so good days. He is much steadier on his feet, but still has a bit of a problem when we are outside and not on flat ground. There is still so much ice and snow and bitter temperatures here, which of course, does add to the problem. We are patiently awaiting some traction boots that have been sent by Stevie's Guardian Angel, I am sure once he gets some confidence back, it will be very beneficial. His "displaced" eyes are slowing moving their way back to proper alignment but are still off somewhat. His eating habits have greatly improved but he now has different "tastes" than before the accident. His favourite new treat, (I think I met have mentioned it before) is peeled baby carrots with Three Cheese Ranch Dressing. He just loves them and "smiles" when he smells me take it out of the fridge. His muscle tone and strength have a long way to go but once his exercise is able to be increased I am positive that this will improve dramatically. He is still having acupuncture, therapeutic touch and massage, but just once a week now. Stevie has an appointment with the Neurologist next Wednesday, just for a follow up and to test his mental acuity. Stevie has been under some rather intense emotional duress here at home. My personal life is in tatters, but this is not the forum for that and those of you who have kept in contact with me personally know some of what is going on. In any event the stress is very large for me and of course this reflects ultimately on Stevie. I try to protect him as much as possible, but cannot completely. And on those days that have been particularly bad for me, Stevie seems to be depressed and very sad. This breaks my heart to see him this way as well, but then I will receive some warm wishes and kind thoughts from my Berner friends all over the world and it helps to put things in perspective for me. Then I am able to pass this on to my precious boy. I know that I continue to do some fairly heavy leaning on many shoulders just now and believe me I am not used to being the one doing the leaning, but I thank each and every one of you. I try to stimulate Stevie with little games to keep him happy and bright! This seems to alleviate some of his stress. But I think that just as much as I worry about him, he reciprocates and worries about me and now that he is somewhat physically better he is able to demonstrate this more. How did these gentle giants get the insight and intellect that they so readily demonstrate? Stevie and I share a bond and a love that normally would take fellow bipeds years to develop, if ever. From the posts here lately and the tragic turn of events for so many, it becomes more and more apparent to me that these big, black, hairy "children" of ours serve a much higher purpose than the non-berner owner can only imagine, and of course not fully understand, I don't fully understand it myself. Unfortunately all of this love and devotion comes with a price. I can only sum it up as simply as "I could have missed the pain, but I would have had to miss the Dance" This line of Garth Brooks song has become a very poignant focal point in my life as well as others and I truly believe it to be true. It is obvious that Stevie was sent to me for a reason, just the same as all of you out there and all your Beloved Berners. Yes we have experienced some huge highs and devastating lows, but the joy and the love that I feel when I look deep into those beautiful brown eyes and that soulful face makes everything worthwhile and it helps to get me through the day. Sorry that this is lengthy, and kind of heavy for a Saturday Morning but I feel that I am among friends and able to share. This too shall pass. Perhaps with Spring (hopefully on its way sometime soon!!) and the rebirth of the earth, so too will we be!! Thank you to all for your concerns and inquiries and your continued support and prayers. Berner Hugs and Gentle Kisses from Karen and Stevie xoxo


9th Feb.'03:Stevie continues to do well, and actually tried to chase his kitty (George) yesterday, but alas gave up after a few rapid steps, but he was panting and "smiling", you could just tell. He also made his way outside with very little assistance to pee, I was so proud just like when your children take those first steps all alone.

8th Feb.'03: Stevie is doing ok, he is steadier on his feet, for sure. Not shaking his head so much either. He still sleeps a tremendous amount but I know that it is necessary for healing. I had him to the vet today for a follow up and they were very pleased with his progress. We have even reduced the amount of medications today as well. We are still doing ROM exercises and he is receiving Therapeutic Touch and acupuncture treatments and lots of massage.

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