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Today was one of those days when the best interests of a puppy took precedence and it was necessary to euthanize this little soul.

We had brought him in 6 weeks ago from our vet because he had contracted parvovirus and needed round the clock one-on-one care and support to maintain his will to survive. He appeared to recover from the gastric distress with re-hydration by IV, amoxicillin by injection every 6 hours and subsequently administration of vitamins and minerals to combat anemia.

During this time we were at the vet with this little guy approximately every 3rd day for weighing and general observation.

Sadly, last weekend he started to exhibit signs of bloat and ascites, fluid in his stomach and the possibility of gastric torsion was imminent. He looked like a small furry volley ball with feet and was unable to get comfortable so we did a stomach drain and took out what amounted to 1 1/2 pounds of fluid from his 6 pound body and administered a diuretic. We ran tests to check on enzyme levels and CK levels and the results were not good: normal CK is no higher than 210, this little guy was over 400. His heart was compromised. On Friday the decision was made to put him to sleep. We stayed up with him all night letting him eat, cuddle and generally to say good-bye. We even had a surprise visit from our towns police officers who have been working with us during breakfast meetings to institute neighborhood watch in our rural location. And Saturday morning, with the staff at the vet all coming to give him goodbye kisses -- the techs, cashier/front desk girl, the bathers, the kennel staff, and all who have been a part of this saga -- made their farewells. Then because his veins had so collapsed that looking for one would be painful and traumatic, a subcutaneous injection of anesthesia was given while my co-rescuer held him in her arms and he drifted off to sleep. A number of stabs had to be made to find a workable vein but this lil guy was undisturbed. He crossed the rainbow bridge at 10:30 am. Then we cried.

We had a necropsy performed to learn what his underlying condition was: his heart muscle was enlarged and there was copius amount of fluid in the endocardial tissue, his liver was enlarged and in hindsight we were assured that the decision was in fact the only correct and human one to make. This little angel never had a chance.

But his life and death taught so many so much. You see this all took place in what many think of as a "third world country" located in South America: Ecuador. Cultural norms and ideas about pets and dogs in general are not what are usual in North America and the concept of dog rescue and re-homing is only just becoming a reality thanks to things such as Animal Planet. the internet and of course nose-y "gringas" like my friend and myself demonstrating by our actions rather than merely words how rescue and re-homing can succeed.

This little rotti male's life story allowed us to show the dangers of removing an animal from its litter prior to 8 weeks, a common occurrence here to make a sale and save money by backyard breeders. It also underlined the need for good breeding practices; monitoring dam and stud for underlying conditions of the breed and choosing not to mate them for the benefit of the fitness of the breed. He was left at the vet because the family who ordered a "rotti" never showed up to claim him and -- this point cannot be stressed enough -- he was left in an open cage within reach of the many visitors passing through the clinic -- most with ill animals themselves. Hand-washing or use of sterilizing liquids was not strictly observed before interacting with the puppy.

And that was the biggest mistake.

Whether this puppy had a pre-existing genetic condition will never be known but we do know this puppy contracted parvovirus and that it evolved into the cardiac form of the virus. Without care he would have died a painful and extended death.

Through rescue he was allowed a chance and was cared for so that he did not suffer. He died peacefully and without pain. And his life, for the short time he was with us all here, touched us, educated us and allowed us to set in motion preparedness by everyone at that clinic to prevent this from occurring in the future to another vulnerable puppy dog.

Not a bad obituary for 6 pounds of fluff with a tail.

His memory is a blessing to all who knew him -- rest in peace lil' guy and we'll see each other across the bridge.

Susan
The Ocean Hideaway B&B
barrio Las Conchas, sector la Diablica
Puerto Anconcito, canton de Salinas
Provincia Santa Elena
Ecuador, S.A.
 

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What a heart felt story. May he RIP.

This story gave me goosebumps. The little furry volleyball with legs reminded me of my little Leeo the day before I helped him to The Rainbow Bridge. I am sure they met. :)
 
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