Celebrating our Berner Veterans
In Loving Memory of
Casmor's Storm Chaser V VonEngel
April 24th 2001 to July 6th 2011
Owned, loved and so sadly missed by Nell and John Ward
Long Shots 2008 - looking pensive
This is the picture Nell carried in the 2011 Veterans parade in Del Mar.
We have commissioned a portrait painted by Tina M. Morgan using this picture
Chase's completed portrait
Chase came to us at 6.5 years old. I was worried about getting such an old dog. Sherry said you want THIS dog. She was right. Chase filled the hole left by Pilgrim's departure and became a great sister for CJ, and later, Summer.
Southerners use two names. She is now Chase Marie. It also helps to tell that she is a girl.
Chase has amazing manners with both dogs and people. She raised several litters; she was not above telling juvenile males to cool their jets, yet we have seen her flirt. She has been friends to both infants and seniors.
We live in New Bern, NC. Our dogs are New Berners. Shortly after Chase joined our family, we bought the small camper, "New Berners Unleashed". Chase has camped with us in 46 of the lower 48 states. We planned to add Utah and Colorado this spring, but time has run out for her. She has walked beside the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, most of the Great Lakes, the Gulf, and been to the headwaters of the Mississippi. She has been to the Grand Canyon and Palo Duro. Also to the Cadillac Ranch and the Corn Palace. And don't forget walking inside old buses at the Greyhound Museum.
Once in a campground, a man while petting Chase, said - "I don't like dogs, but THIS is a good dog." That sums it up.
Chase has B-cell lymphoma which is now in remission. She was DM negative by the DNA test, but we thought for a while she might have DM - degenerative myelopathy. However, using treatment as diagnosis, the oncologist concluded that her spinal problems were caused by lymphoma.
'You can't do anything yesterday, only today, and if you are lucky, tomorrow." That's how we have lived and are living with our princess, Chase Marie.'
It has been heart-breaking to watch Chase melt away since January. This is a brief look at her disease and treatment and then the much more fun part of wonderful memories of her life with us.
Diagnosis - B Cell Lymphoma
Treatment (initial) - prednisone plus Vincristine, cytoxan, vincristine, adriamycin, rest - treated for 2 cycles - lymph nodules went quickly and permanently into remission
BUT, Chase still had continuing problems with her rear gait. She eventually walked crab-like and wore through the skin beside her pads. presumptive diagnosis of lymphoma in her spinal column - not found by MRI or spinal tap -
Treatment (secondary) - Elspar (which passes the brain/blood barrier) and lomustine.
Treatment with Elspar made her gail better, so presumptive diagnosis of lymphoma. However the improvement was not long-lived even with multiple rounds.
We stopped chemo at the end of May. We discontinued all trips out of the house, but continued with palliative care (prednisone and massage). Her ability to walk declined until we euthanized her July 6. Until the end, she was eating great, had bright eyes, and was alert and engaged. She had some issues with diarrhea.
I'm glad to share more details if you are interested.
We smudged her with sage using this beautiful smudge fan made by Brenda Broome.
One of my Wise Women friends taught me to memorize my dogs and I have taught others. Of course, we know what she looked like, but here are some other things I memorized
-- the feel of the softest fur imaginable on top of her head, velvet ears - the last thing I did when we left her empty body was to stroke those ears again.
-- the sound of methodical slow lapping and eating.
-- When she had trouble eating (with chemo), she would sometimes eat out of the palm of my hand when she wouldn't eat out of her dish. Then I learned the feel of her tongue, oh so soft.
-- the feel of the weight of her head in my lap or hands. This was her - hello, I'm here.
-- her absolute joy jumping for bones.
Chase was only with us for 3 3/4 years, but we packed in the memories.
She retired from her breeding career with Sherry Von Engel and came here. Sherry described Chase as the dog that did no wrong. She was the easiest dog we have been around. She made friends everywhere.
We thought she would be our first 12 year old. She made it to 10 years and 2.5 months, our oldest Berner to date. Here are the new stories.
At a Blue Ridge event, the dogs were lined up getting treats. Chase pushed herself in at the beginning of the line. Once she had the treat, she moved to the middle of the line and again to the end of the line.
She was not above causing a commotion to get her sister up and then taking the preferred sleeping spot.
She always slept by the door - to our house, in motel rooms, visiting in homes. It was her job.
Another job was going with me to get the newspaper and mail off-lead almost from when she came here. As her body failed her, her range was reduced. The first morning she did not go to the paper box with me was a time for tears. Then in time she didn't even come to the door to watch. Summer started going with me on lead before Chase died. She slept by the door the first day after Chase died.
We were determined to hike and go on adventures as long as Chase could. I could never see how she was walking because she would not walk in front of me. It was her job to be at the end or at least behind me - hikers call that walking "sweep".
After we stopped chemo, I was determined that Chase would live her final days as a dog not a patient. She got a bone every day.
The Help 'em Up Harness was so important. It made lifting her more comfortable and easier for her and the lifter.
Chase was strong and determined. As her body deteriorated, she would not take any special favors. "Don't feed me first. Summer and I eat at the same time according to our family ritual." "Don't bring me dish to me. I eat in the kitchen." And so it went until the end when she couldn't move herself where she wanted.
This has been a more difficult loss than others. Mary Ann, thanks for sharing your web-site http://helpwithgrief.org It has been helpful. I was also comforted by The Legacy of Beezer and Boomer which I first learned about when CJ died - http://www.b-naturals.com/newsletter/pets-terminal-illness/
We were honored to have Chase remembered on both Berner-L and BARC-L home pages when she died.
Over the years, we stayed in many of your driveways in our little camper, named New Berners Unleashed. Chase has camped with us in 46 states. Now our sweet "Little One, Chase Marie" is Unleashed, but her spirit will go with us as we travel and her ashes just might make it to Utah and Colorado.
Here are a few more pictures from Chase's 10th birthday story ----
her MaMa's favorite picture
Our dogs have tolerated costumes for Howl-o-ween.
One year, she was a hula dancer.
Another year, Summer was a Fairy Queen with a pink tutu and wings.
Chase was NC Ferry (boat) QUEEN.
Dinner time at the camper at Camp Deering.
A bath in our drive. The camper's outside shower has warm water.
That's Pilgrim's picture on the tire.
Chase and her personal flag.
We call her "The Little One" - 65-70 lbs and sturdy.
Our dogs have posed by roses, azaleas, lantana, daffodils, and forsythia.
Here by laurel pedlum. Summer was recovering from 8th cranial nerve paralysis.
And sometimes it has snowed in New Bern.
Note that I no longer own boots or a winter coat.
Chase recently with her Daddy.
The whole family at 2011 Berner Beach Weekend.
For more pics of Summer on the Friends Gallery
Born July 10th 2009
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