Sneak Peek

Chapter 1: The Trouble Begins

I awakened to a glorious day in late July of 2000 without a cloud in the sky. Cory, our yellow Labrador Retriever, was then 3 years old, and we were camping in southern Washington, in the shadow of the majestic Mt. Adams. To my delight, the lake was a sparkling emerald green; a detail we couldn’t tell the night before, as we had arrived after dark. Cory lifted his head and thumped his tail a few times, looking at me intently as if to say, “I’m ready when you are!”

Careful to get out of bed without waking Jay, who was still sleeping peacefully, Cory and I stepped outside to prepare for our morning walk. The pristine summer air in the cool morning breeze made me wonder if it was possible to feel any freer of the problems and worries that come with every day life in the city, which we left at home. I took a deep breath, tilted my head back and let the sun warm my face.

Camping is, without any doubt, Cory’s favorite activity, too. Eager to get the day started, Cory let out a little “woof” to snap me out of my early reveries and to remind me that I’d better get him fed before what was sure to be a big, fun day of swimming in the lake. I poured his kibble into his bowl, and opened a can of Alpo to make it tasty, trying to be as quiet as possible so as not to disturb my husband, Jay, or Jayson, our son, who was sleeping in a nearby tent. Cory gobbled it up and looked at me with dancing eyes, as if to urge me to drink my hot cocoa faster so he could go swimming. I gulped the rest of it down, grabbed the tennis ball and headed towards the lake with Cory bouncing like a dog on a pogo-stick beside me.

I threw the tennis ball for Cory into the lake to fetch for a good hour, and we returned to the motor home to find Jay and Jayson up for the day and getting ready for breakfast. Jay prepared breakfast and suggested that we all go out on the lake in our rubber Sevylor 6 person raft. I wanted to go, but there was something about Cory that gave me pause. I told them to go on and that I’d do the breakfast clean up. As I went about my chores, Cory started to appear worried and clingy. I had never seen him that way before. I was sitting in a lawn chair just outside our motor home with a book which I was trying to read, with Cory laying at my feet, but I couldn’t get into the book because I was becoming more and more aware that Cory was out of sorts. I wondered if Cory’s mood could be related to something in the water that made the color of the lake so emerald green? My internal alarm bells started ringing louder and louder as Cory’s discomfort increased.

Suddenly Cory looked into my eyes with an expression that was at once pleading and desperate. I watched in horror as his eyes rolled back into his head and he stood up on his hind legs. Before his body fell backwards to the ground I had my arms around him, to brace the fall. I had no idea what was going on. I screamed for help and kept my arms around Cory. His body convulsed violently to and fro. Thinking that he was having a heart attack, I did my best to apply CPR to his chest. I kept calling out and crying, and Cory’s body kept twisting and writhing, and finally our fellow campers started to circle around me, summoned by my screams for help. They saw me and Cory wrestling there in the dirt, me trying to give a seizing dog CPR. One person said that my dog was obviously very old and at the end of his life. Through tears and clenched teeth, as I held Cory’s body on the ground I said he had just turned 3 years old, 2 months before. The “uh oh squad”, which consisted of about 10 fellow campers, then offered up the collective opinion that Cory was having a seizure. I pleaded that someone go see if they could find my husband and son. Jay recalls that he was getting the raft and fishing poles ready to enter the lake when he heard someone calling his name. He paid no attention at first, thinking that the call was not intended for him. When he heard the words “your wife needs you because your dog is having a heart attack” he and Jayson bolted up the hill.

They found me still on the ground, holding Cory in my arms with tears streaming down my face. The seizing had ended, but Cory was laying in my lap unable to move a muscle. Jay picked Cory up and put him into the motor home. With no time to pack, we asked our camping neighbors to guard our belongings and we took off for the nearest town. I was actually somewhat heartened that someone had suggested Cory was having a seizure instead of a heart attack, because I knew that there were drugs available to manage seizures. I held Cory for the entire bumpy ride, praying that he would not die before we could get help. I could feel a slow heartbeat but Cory’s eyes were closed and his body seemed to be otherwise lifeless. Saliva drooled out of his mouth and drenched my hands, face and clothing and I wondered silently if he could choke on it. At times I could not even detect if he was still breathing.

With desperation and determination Jay drove our motor home way too fast down the 18 mile washboard logging road that led to the nearest town, about an hour’s drive from our camp ground. We did not care about the substantial damage which was done to our motor home on that drive; our only focus was on saving Cory’s life. From time to time Jay’s eyes would meet mine in the rear view mirror. Without speaking, we exchanged “is he still alive?” — “yes, just barely.” I could not bring myself to turn and look behind me at Jayson, who was absolutely silent.

Ready to read the rest of Cory’s Story?

Get it instantly with the eBook or order the hardcover (allow 3-5 days for shipping) and follow Cory’s amazing journey through canine epilepsy. Cory’s Story will teach you:

  • Ways you can reduce the severity and duration of your dog’s seizures (or even eliminate them completely)

  • How to feed your dog a proper, species-appropriate diet that will improve his health, energy level, and happiness

  • Important things you need to know about caring for an epileptic dog. For example, did you know that other dogs commonly attack dogs having a seizure? This can be especially dangerous when a seizure strikes at a public place such as an off-leash park

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Hi Sandy, I ordered “Cory’s Story” from your site on Thursday, received it in the mail today (thanks for the prompt shipping!) and I am already finished reading it. Lucky for me I had some free time because as soon as I opened the envelope all I wanted to do was read it! As an owner of an epi dog myself (Jack 3 1/2 year old Weimaraner), I felt you did an awesome job describing the emotional aspect of canine epilepsy, as well as the disease itself. The thing I loved the most though was that the book was about Cory’s life, not his disease, and it encourages me to live each day with Jack to the fullest. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, it was well written, entertaining, touching and informative (I love your website too). I think Cory would be so proud.Kris S.

Read more reviews

  • I know how u must have felt – MissyBlue my whippett/Jackrussell had her first fit at a year old – all the signs – the pacing, the pleading eyes but she had three seizures in ten minutes – I was alone, I cried – I screamed – I felt so helpless! But oh I was so lucky with my lovely vet – he was so calm – explaining each stage – suggested changing her diet (Chicken has too much protein) – she has them less and less now – because I am more aware and stick to her diet. She has a check up regularly but it will always be there in the back of my mind – she could have a fit any time .

    Love to U all and thank you for sharing your story


  • Crissie :I know how u must have felt – MissyBlue my whippett/Jackrussell had her first fit at a year old – all the signs – the pacing, the pleading eyes but she had three seizures in ten minutes – I was alone, I cried – I screamed – I felt so helpless! But oh I was so lucky with my lovely vet – he was so calm – explaining each stage – suggested changing her diet (Chicken has too much protein) – she has them less and less now – because I am more aware and stick to her diet. She has a check up regularly but it will always be there in the back of my mind – she could have a fit any time .
    Love to U all and thank you for sharing your story

  • Kathy

    It is the most frightening feeling seeing your dear canine go through his first seizure. I, too, thought my Murphy was having a heart attack. It happened in the early hours of morning while I was still up and I raced into my husband and told him just that. We both stayed with him thru the seizure and until he came back to some semblance of normality. I only hope we have success with the homeopathic medication we have ordered. I have read some awful stories about the conventional meds prescribed and dont want to use them unless absolutely necessary. Poor Murphy has had an awful day today after 7 seizures yesterday, he is stressed, anxious, falling over and twitching and whining. Terrible for him and so difficult for us as well. Thanks for you story, its nice to know that you would understand what we are going through. Hope you and Cory are doing well. Regards Kathy

  • I would have been so scared. I can’t wait for more writings about Corey.
    I pray for him that he is doing okay.
    Thank you for sending this chapter 1 information about him. What a wonderful dog! ♥

  • J’Marie

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. My little Gus is a pekechi. He is just 2 yrs young. He’ll be 3 in dec. I’ve been searching for more guidance than pheneo. I’ve tried holistic, I chart. I give him honey. He so small 5 lbs so I pick him up with one hand get honeys, Bachs, easeasure…ANYTHING!!
    He looks for me with his big big brown pleading eyes right before it starts.
    They only last a minute or so, but 3 weeks ago it was bad. We ended up in ER on pheno. 🙁
    he has just had a mild one. I’m a wreck.
    I’m sure he is sick of me staring at him and rubbing his little head and kissing him
    Thanks for letting me vent. Scared Mommie.
    Ps: I look forward to your information and experience.

  • Kris

    You did a great job capturing the total, blinding fear that occurs when experiencing a beloved pets first seizure. I can’t imagine being so far from a vet with that happening! When Jack (my 3 year old Weimaraner) had his first grand mal seizure this year I kind of knew it was a seizure, but it was still the most terrifying 2 minutes of my life. We are still trying to get a handle on it, he is having more than 2 episodes a month and now when he has a grand mal he has a cluster of at least 2 with several partial seizures. I look forward to hearing more of Cory’s story, thank you for giving us hope.

  • Alisha

    My poor 2 year old German Shephard mix just had his first seizure yesterday at 6 am and 6 more throughout the day, my husband and I felt helpless. After the first one we went to the vet and they sent us home saying he had epilepsy and put him on phenobarbitol. I thought the horrible part was over but 2 hours later he had another one and the vet assured us this happens and to give more medication. Nothing helped and after the 5th one I needed to do something and I took him to the emergency vet, they put him on 24 hr siezure watch and gave him fluids and as of midnight he has been seizure free. Thank you for the hope I hope for the best for Rocky and all the other dogs who this happens too. Me my husband and four kids are hoping for the best for our beloved Rocks:)

  • Kate

    I cant wait to read the rest.
    I have been following this story for a few months now and have read the latest news..I’m sorry so so sorry i know the pain you are feeling and going thru. Cant wait to read this book when it comes out.

  • Your writing is so beautifully descriptive that I feel as if I’m in the midst of all that’s happening. I feel your panic!

    When you wrote this, you didn’t know what you’d be dealing with at this moment. I know the pain is so deep but the tribute that you have given to Cory just by sharing his story is so touching.
    You will be deep in the heart of many animal lovers. I can’t wait for your book!

  • kim

    Thank you for sharing – I can’t wait to read your book. Our beloved Casey (6yr old black lab) has been having seizures since November 2008. At first sporadically and now almost every week.

    The helplessness is the worst for me – I feel like I’m going out of my mind when she has her seizure (last night she had 5 in a period of 2hrs) I find myself looking for all kinds of signs of when the seizure is going to hit, but it always catches me when I’m least expecting it.

    Thankyou for sharing your story makes me realise we are not alone.

  • Lorie

    I heart goes out to all of you, I too had a dog with epilepsy. Blaze was not even 2 years when it all started, in the early morning while sleeping in my bed I woke to a grand mal seizure, I had never seen anything like it and I was sure my baby boy was dying in front of me. That was the first of many grand mal seizures, Blaze is my heart soul and my child, I miss him everyday of my life, it was four years ago Nov 4 2006 that Blaze passed away in my arms, his epilepsy took over his life and the seizures caused so much brain damage he could no longer function. With great sadness with the advice of Blaze’s wonderful Dr, we choice to let him go and be free of pain, fear and to remain in our hearts forever.

    My Golden Retriever Blaze is the reason for a law suit from his breeder, I’ve been on court for years and will be back in court Jan 6 2011, I spoke about my Blaze and the breeder sued me. If anyone is interested in learning more about my case or my beloved Blaze, feel free to contact me by email

  • Teresa

    I undertand. My dog Malibu started seizing at the age of 10. We put her on medication but they continued. She waited for me to get home on a friday night and went into a grand Mal siezure and died in my arms. The only comfort that I have is that I was her comfort in the end. I have a dog now that had 3 siezures in a 3 months span but has never had another onen and she is almost 8. Watching your dog go through this is devastating because there is nothing you can do to help them. I am going to purchase your book so I can read the wonderful life of Cory! thank you for sharing your story.

  • Sabra

    I honestly feel the horror and fear you were going through during that first seizure. My baby girl (8 years old, but still my baby) Scarlett has epilepsy and just had 2 grand mal seizures (first one lasted 15 minutes, the second 10 minutes) two days ago. She has been started on Phenobarb, but I know they will return at some time. The pain and panic that an owner goes through watching their baby suffer a seizure can only be understood by someone who has been through it themselves. The sheer helplessness is excruciating, and all you can do is try to comfort them until it is over. I worked for vets for many years and saw many dogs having seizures, but all of that changes when it is your baby. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. I can’t wait to purchase your book and read about the great adventures of your Cory!

  • You did a brilliant job capturing the sheer panic you were feeling at the moment. You also did an exceptional job displaying the importance and status of Cory as a member of your family. (Non dog people tend not to “Get it”)

    As a dog care provider, I’ve held and comforted a few different canines during seizures, it is scary. Fortunately, I knew of these dogs history well in advance and didn’t have to diagnose it on the fly.

    My brothers little terrier mix looked at me with such a confused and terrified look in his eyes, that I immediately scooped him up in my arms and held him tightly as his body first went stiff and then trembled all over. All I could do was talk to him in soothing tones and let him know that I wouldn’t leave his side until he felt better.

    Thank you for sharing your story with the world. I look forward to reading the rest of it.

  • Meri Wilbourn

    I Have a 5 and a half yr. old german sheperd named Tadpole who had her first seizure in january of 08 . I remember my first thought was that she was chokeing on somthing. he seizure’s have increased drastically since then . when they start now she will have 2 or 3 back to back and then every hour or two for a total of 4 day’s before they finally stop. I can’t wait to read your book to see how Cory finally beat this horriable diease. thank you very much for sharing your story.

  • Brenda philo

    Iam so sorry to hear this as i too have two labs and one of my babies Lexie has been having them for about a year first one was mild and 6 months later another one and 3 months later they were getting progressively worse and today she had two with minutes…Can i purchase your book only on line..??

    • Hi Brenda,

      Thanks for your comment, and I’m so sorry to hear about Lexie. We hope Cory’s Story can help other dogs suffering from canine epilepsy to live normal, happy, seizure-free lives. The book is only available for purchase online right now. Please let me know if you have any questions!