On November 2nd, I had to make the agonizing decision to let my Nikko go. He was a beautiful white fluff ball. He was an American Eskimo. I got him in June of 2005 and he was my world. He was a happy dog. I believe he even used to smile. Then on March 23, 2005 he was diagnosed with a tumor in his nasal cavity. I was devastated. I asked what could be done, but I was advised against surgery, because it is a very traumatic procedure for a dog. One option was to do 5 weeks of radiation in with the knowledge that the tumor would most likely return. The other option was to put him on a medication called Piroxicam. I opted for the medication. I just wanted to have as much time with him as I could. The doctor told me that most dogs might live a year after being diagnosed.

Since Nikko had been having nose bleeds for about a year, I figured my time with him was short. But thankfully I was wrong. I ended up having another 2 ½ years with him. Except for some pretty violent nose bleeds and sneezing some, it didn’t seem to bother him much. Then on September 11, 2007, he had a seizure. We rushed him to the emergency vet, not knowing for sure that’s what it was. The doctor kept him over night and ran several tests. He confirmed our suspicions and we found out he had Diabetes Insipidus. I’m not sure if you are familiar with this type, but it mainly consists of him thinking he needs to drink all the time and his body stopped making a hormone that concentrates his urine. This meant he was drinking constantly and urinating on the floor. This told us that the tumor was growing and had started pushing on his brain.

We tried putting him on Phenobarbital to help control the seizures and to help with the Diabetes, but he didn’t respond well to it. It knocked him for a loop and he would just lie there all the time. We couldn’t get him to eat and he wouldn’t get up to go outside. We had to change his medication and we were able to find one that he could tolerate. The drops we were using to try and control the Diabetes, wasn’t working. So he was still drinking a lot. He wasn’t the same Nikko we knew and loved, but he was still with us. Over the next couple of months we noticed he was loosing his sight in one eye and was partially deaf. We did everything we could to make him comfortable, but Tuesday October 30, we noticed he was getting worse. He had been having a hard time eating because the tumor had gotten bigger and had deformed the roof of his mouth. But now he didn’t want to eat and the light in his eyes was going out. We started having an even harder time getting him to get up to go outside.

On November 1st, I knew the day had come to make a decision. It was the hardest one I have ever had to make. I talked it over with several people and I knew it was time. On November 2nd, we had to let him go. I took off from work that day to be with him. His breathing just got worse and I could tell he wasn’t comfortable any more. The drive to the vet was too short, I wanted to turn around and take him back home. But we had to do what was right for him. We had to let him go. I think my heart was actually breaking. I found the strength to stay with him during the procedure, for which I am glad. It seemed like everything I did or looked at reminded me of him. I still don’t like to go into the kitchen, that’s where he spent most of his time the last two months. I had him cremated and his ashes are sitting on the mantle with my boyfriend’s dog, we lost her 6 years ago. My mom heard about your book on the radio and had a copy sent to me. I read it cover to cover this past weekend. Although I am sorry for your loss, it is nice to know we aren’t the only ones who love our dogs so much. Like your daughter, scrapbooking Nikko’s life, has helped me get through the first week. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

Connie from GA