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Charlotte : Gracie

Published on February 1, 2024.

Story from Charlotte : Gracie

The 21st of March 2023 marks what we now recognise as one of the most heartbreaking days of our lives.

It was around 7pm and I had just embarked on the beginning of my IVF journey. My body was full of hormones, and I was due for a daily IVF injection at 7pm that night. I was upstairs, sterilising my injection sight, preparing to do my very first injection on my own.

Before I could, I heard a bloody curdling scream.

Anyone who has owned an Italian Greyhound would be familiar with the Iggy Scream of Death.

Gracie, our 3 year old Italian Greyhound, was playing with her younger Italian Greyhound sister, Ghost.

I ran out to find Gracie with both of her front legs, pointing in directions that they definitely were not meant to.

I was beside myself. This is the moment every single Italian Greyhound owner prays will never happen. A fractured leg. Only Gracie had managed to break both the radius and ulnar in both front legs.

My fiancé, Matt, and I put Ghost in her dog seat. Matt held Gracie and we drove straight to SASH North Ryde. Thankfully, we only lived about 10 minutes away.

On our way, we called to let them know what had happened. I was distraught and the call-taker at SASH calmed me down, told me to drive safely, and gave very clear instructions on how to get to the hospital and where to park.

We rushed Gracie into emergency and immediately Gracie was seen to.

Emergency vet nurse Lisa came and spoke to Matt and I in a consultation room to get as much information as possible. I noticed a serotonin molecule tattoo on Lisa’s wrist. I happen to have the exact same tattoo on my wrist and instantly knew she could understand me.

Honestly, that night was a bit of a blur. I was kept informed on Gracie’s condition throughout the night and they kept her as comfortable as possible. The next morning the x-rays confirmed what we already knew and surgery was booked to repair the fractures.

I should mention that when we brought Gracie in, she was dressed in a fleece outfit which she was wearing before the accident. It had branding on it, Gracehound&Co. Lisa didn’t know this at the time, but Gracehound&Co. is my business and I make dog clothes for a living. I woke up to a message on my Gracehound&Co. Instagram page from Lisa. Lisa had contacted the brand because she wanted to replace the outfit that had to be cut off Gracie when she came through emergency. Lisa wanted to do this with her own money, despite me having told her on the night I didn’t mind if it was cut off her. I couldn’t believe the care and compassion I was receiving from, who was only 12 hours prior, a complete stranger.

Anyway.. that morning, I was contacted by Dr Sarah Leber, who soon became my greatest source of comfort during this ordeal. Dr Sarah explained what the surgery would entail and also that in Gracie’s pre-surgery work up, they’d found she has a heart murmur. Further testing would be required prior to surgery to see the extent of her murmur but we were soon informed that it was minor enough for surgery to go ahead.

After surgery, we were able to visit Gracie. I was in tears and Gracie was licking my tears and trying to tell me she was okay. Dr Sarah came to see us while we were visiting Gracie, introduced herself, spent time answering all of our questions, and told us she was a fellow sighthound lover. The biggest surprise of all was that Gracie, our anxious, timid, standoffish little girl, indicated she wanted to go back to Dr Sarah for cuddles. This was something we never expected. Gracie was so comfortable with Dr Sarah. Sarah told us about all of the cuddles they had together and I could see the love and trust Gracie had for Sarah.

This was truly the most comforting thing I could’ve ever seen. I knew Gracie was okay and in safe hands.

Just when we thought we were in the clear and able to take Gracie home after a day or two of recovery, we got another heartbreaking call.

I was on my way to the hospital for my own procedure which required a general anaesthetic and was informed that unfortunately, Gracie had broken through the surgical repairs on one of her arms during the night. The fracture was worse than before and required further surgery.

Dr Vaughan and Dr Sarah again gave all the comfort and information they could. They told me they would take care of Gracie and that I needed to look after myself. I was comforted knowing that Gracie could stay in recovery at SASH after her second operation and was being looked after. While the financial burden of this was obviously on our mind, we just wanted to fix our little girl. Dr Vaughan and Dr Sarah advised us that we wouldn’t be charged for the second surgery – another act of compassion and kindness that didn’t go unnoticed.

Jodie from client services spoke to us briefly to confirm the surgery and also that we wanted to resuscitate should it come to that. I cried on the phone to Jodie and so Jodie sent me a beautiful photo of Gracie and Sarah having a cuddle to show me Gracie was in good hands and doing okay.

Gracie made it through that second surgery and was in SASH for close to a week in the end. She came home and there was a long road ahead. Matt and I had my mum move in to help with Gracie’s round the clock care. Matt took 3 weeks off work, I took multiple months off work, and we followed an extensive rehabilitation regime to get our little girl as strong as she was before.

Gracie has had numerous visits, checkups, physio appointments, and hydrotherapy sessions since. I can confidently say without SASH, we wouldn’t have our happy girl back to wagging her tail. Nearly a year later, she is stronger and happier than ever. Gracie’s success and resilience in her recovery has aided my own success in fertility journey. I am now 8 months pregnant and Gracie is eagerly awaiting the arrival of her human baby brother. I don’t know how I could ever thank everyone at SASH. You didn’t just save Gracie’s legs. You saved me. Gracie is my everything and I truly didn’t think we’d make it to where we are today.

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