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Kinaskan Lake on the Cassiar Highway to ...

17 September 2010 - Friday

This morning we knew we had to make miles; lots of them. Tazz's spirit was diminished. No food or water again. Without water her health would quickly decline further. Our dear little girl was slipping away from us. The vet said a neurological issue, yet this seemed more serious. Tazz had always been a robust, spirited dog, and now she was not interested in anything, nothing at all.

After securely tucking Tazz in the truck again, we were on the road at 9 a.m. We weren't sure how far we'd go or where we'd be this night. We knew we had to make miles. There is no cellular service along the Cassiar Highway; I wanted to phone a vet or something, but couldn't. We just had to do what we had to heart wasn't into taking pictures even though the day was beautiful.

Cassiar Highway, British Columbia
Stikine Plateau & Tahltan Highland to the west - N57 23.509 W130 14.191

Cassiar Highway, British Columbia
Near Snowbank Creek with Coast Mountains & Boundary Ranges - N56 47.656 W129 56.910

Steve filled the truck at Bell II. I asked the clerk where I would first get cell service southbound. She told me around New Hazelton on Highway 97. I asked for the phone book and checked for vets in the Smithers area. Then we hit the road again.

Cassiar Highway, British Columbia
Looking south towards Mt. Bell-Irving near the Bell-Irving rest area - N56 20.848 W129 16.964

South of the Meziadin Junction we stopped for lunch just after the noon hour. Tazz was not interested in anything. Even so, we took her out so she could pee. But not having any water today meant she didn't need to pee. She couldn't support herself at all. Previously she could hold her weight but not balance it. Now, she had no ability to steady herself or keep herself upright.

After snuggling Tazz into the truck again, I took the last photos of the day. 

Overlooking Meziadin, Cassiar Highway, B.C.
View from our lunch stop above Meziadin Lake - N56 04.669 W129 16.465

By 2:30 p.m. we were heading east on Hwy 16 towards Prince George. I wanted to get to a vet in Smithers to have Tazz checked so was urging Steve to push the speed limit a bit.

I was watching the cell phone to see when it had service. At 2:45 it beeped that there was a phone message. The message was from the vet in Whitehorse; she had called just 20 minutes ago! The test results were in ... Tazz tested positive for Cryptococcal Disease. My heart sunk deep. I didn't want to believe it. Prognosis is not good for dogs with this disease.

I told Steve. His reaction was a bit different; he was relieved to know WHAT it was. But I hadn't told him yet that Crypto was NOT good news. As we drove, I let him know that dogs don't often survive this fungal infection. We decided to deadhead to Vancouver.

In New Hazelton we stopped so I could call ahead to vets in Smithers. I wanted more painkillers for Tazz and also wanted her hydrated. As well, I was hoping they could contact the specialist in Vancouver so Tazz could immediately be started on the anti-fungal medications. I wonder what the vet offices thought about this wacky lady phoning late on a Friday afternoon wanting to make an emergency stop? The first couple of offices gave me the brush off.  The Bulkley Valley Veterinary Clinic did not. The clerk listened to my story, told me to stop at the clinic and also said she would contact the vet hospital in Vancouver. The Vancouver hospital had been advised by the Whitehorse vet that we were on the way, plus I had talked with them before leaving the Yukon to let them know we were working our way down on the highways.

Dr. Callie Lancaster saw Tazz at about 5 p.m. She had been in touch with the vet hospital in Vancouver and was doing everything possible to help us. She knew we planned to drive through the night and she also wanted Tazz to be as comfortable as possible. The clinic phoned the pharmacy to arrange the medications, and after getting those anti-fungals we were on the way out of Smithers at 6:30 p.m. after getting fuel.

At about 8 p.m. Steve was exhausted so I took the driver's seat. When I pulled into the gas station at Burns Lake Steve woke up to fill the truck while I checked Tazz.

At about 11 p.m. I turned the truck southward at Prince George, onto Hwy 97.

The GPS continued to record our progress ... at midnight, I stopped at the Woodpecker Rest Area on Hwy 97 to check Tazz again. This woke Steve and we lifted her out of the truck to see if she needed to pee. I thought maybe the hydration from the Smithers vet might mean Tazz would need to pee. But nothing.

After getting some snacks out of the fifth wheel, I was in the driver's seat again, headed southward on Hwy 97. My eyes strained to see into the night ...

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