submitted by Ann Brandon
Back in February 2005 we were running a Greyhound Sanctuary in Bury St Edmunds when the phone rang and the RGT asked if I could take 2 greyhounds that were a cruelty case. We immediately said yes and they arrived. When Nigel arrived and opened the doors of the van there stood two of the most sad looking little dogs you had ever seen in your life.
They were both suffering from Mange and malnutrition. One of the dogs especially broke my heart - he was a great big tall boy who was all skin and bone and he had the most soulful eyes I had ever seen. Immediately I called him Buttons as his eyes were like two big gooey chocolate buttons.
We got them off the van and into the warm kennel and gave them a big bowl of food which they scoffed. The girl that came with Butty we called Chelsea and she stayed with us for years until she found her forever home where she still is and very happy. Whilst we were feeding them we noticed that Buttons was such a gent - he was letting Chelsea eat all his food hence why he weighed just 25 kilos.
Buttons had terrible sores all over his body and had a bandage on the end of his tail. We had to book them a visit to the vets the next day to have them examined and to have photos took as they were a cruelty case and the man was going to be prosecuted. He also had a dent in his head where someone had tried to kill him with a hammer at some point in his life which resulted in him having a sleepy eye.
The next day when we went into the kennel in the morning the plaster and the end of Butty’s tail had fallen off, so off to the vets we went and by midday the vets were on the phone saying that while Butty was being castrated they had had a look at his tail and he had lost all of his tail apart from 1” that was left as the mange had actually eaten all of his bone away in his tail. So Butty spent the next seven years with a little fleshy stump instead of a tail but we loved it just the same.
Buttons was diagnosed with sarcoptic mange at the vets so had to be bathed every day in special stuff to help get rid of the mites. He never moaned once during all the stuff he endured - he was such a big brave man. Gradually he began to get better. It was a long slow process of bathing, cleaning, washing and feeding little meals three times a day as he was so skinny.
In April 2005 Butty was well enough to come with me to the Mildenhall Show. He was so funny. He was so big and so full of life he bounced everywhere and looked really weird as his fur was all tufty where it was beginning to grow back. We had bonded beyond imagination by this time and Butty would not leave my side. He even had to come to the ladies with me. There was a Scurry at the show and he got all excited so I decided to let him have a go which he did and won in style - not bad for a dog that had only had 2 races in his life and came 5th and 6th and then was tossed away like a dirty sock.
At the end of 2005 we moved to Lincolnshire and Butty obviously came with us. In the beginning we lived in a mobile home as my Mum was with us and she had the house. In late 2007 Buttons was messing around outside the caravan and was playing when he hit his leg on a concrete block. He cried, as all greyhounds do, and then promptly forgot about it. The joint on the top of his hock started to swell so we started him on MSM and Glucomasine. This seemed to be doing no good so off to the vets we trundled. Butty went to the vets. When we got there they were really rude to us and told us that they were double booked.
As you can imagine I went mad and told them to fit Butty in. Well that was the worse thing I had ever done - when I went to get Butty he was covered in his own urine and excrement where they had left him all day. Anyway the vet assured me that after the xrays and biopsy that he definitely did not have cancer !!! Now where to go from here - Butty still could not put his foot to the ground so we carried on with the MSM and Glucomasine but still no better.
I then remembered that I had read an article on a vet called Alexandro Piras that had operated on a racing greyhound and put a smashed hock back together ( as I had now decided that Butty must had broken his hock) so we set about finding him. We found that he had a surgery every now and then in Belfast so we made an appointment and off we went we left here at 7.00p.m. caught the boat at Holyhead and were in Belfast for 8.00 next morning. Still Butty had not complained once.
We waited till 10.00 for Alexandro to arrive. He took one look at Buttons leg and said that is the worse case of Osteosarcoma he had ever seen but to wait and xray him. Alexandro took Butty upstairs and took some x-rays then called me up stairs to hear the verdict. He said that Buttons leg was so bad that I should to take him home and have him put to sleep. As you can imagine I was totally devastated so back home we came with not a dry eye all the way back. We got back home at 7.00 the next night with no sleep and still not a cry from Butty.
When I got home there was a message on the phone from Bronwen Catton from Kerry Greyhound Connection re a lost dog. After about 2 days we caught up with each other and I burst out crying and told her about Butty. She said ‘no worries’, we can help and with that her and her partner Derek were here with magical medical supplies for Butty. Bronwen and Derek had been using a thing called DCA and B17 on their own dog with a tumour for 4 years anything was worth a try to save my Butty.
Derek worked out the dosage and the additional pills for Buttons and we started his treatment. For the first two weeks I thought that we had actually killed him as he was having hallucinations and was not at all right but slowly he began to get better and was able to rely totally on just his B17. Then we had to face the dilemma that at some point Butty’s leg would snap as the cancer had now eaten through the bone. I managed to find a lovely vet Julia at the Riverside Practice in Spalding and we took Butty there which he now hated because of the other vets leaving him in his own mess. She looked at him and agreed with Alexandro and also agreed that when his leg snapped she would amputate.
The horrid day came and we had to rush Butty to the vets where she amputated his leg and he came home straight away so I could sit with him. Still on his B17 and Essiac Tea every day Butty made a full recovery and was a very happy dog even on his three legs.
This went on for another four years until one day just in the last few weeks he fell in the garden and banged his stump so bad that we think he started the cancer off again. We tried antibiotics and pain killers for another month but to no avail and we finally lost our Miracle Man on Saturday 21st January, 5 years from when he was diagnosed with the worse osteosarcoma anyone had ever seen.
That is why Buttons was my Brave Miracle Man and I hope that his story goes on to give other people and dogs the hope and courage to carry on when there seems no hope left.