Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Nuka vs. The Land Walrus Mourns

     I must interrupt the saga of the Easter trip, I will post the final part this coming weekend.  In the meantime, I regret to inform you that I must tell a very sad story.
     On May 19, I took Nivek to the vet.  Originally, this appointment was scheduled for his yearly check up and vaccinations, but the closer it came, the more I realized that his vaccinations were the least of my concerns.  The weekend before, a large hygroma on his elbow burst in a big, bloody mess.  This has happened to Nivek before, but this time seemed especially unpleasant.  I cleaned it up and wrapped it, but he fought me every step of the way.  That entire week he began to fail, he didn't eat like usual, and all of the sudden he could no longer get into the car to come to work with me as he has every day for the past four years.
     By Thursday, the hygroma was in pretty good shape, but Nivek was not.  Even with his air conditioner blasting, his breathing was laboured more then usual.  He stopped going for walks with Nuka, Duke and I so I started walking him alone for a few days, very short distances, but then that stopped too.  He needed a boost to stand up most of the time.
     Unfortunately, the news Dr. H had for me was not helpful.  Nivek had an enlarged heart, hence the breathing troubles, and his arthritis had continued to progress, as arthritis tends to do.  I did not go into the office with any false hopes, I only wanted to know what I could do for my oldest and most wonderful friend.  The answer, it breaks my heart to say, was nothing.
     Dr. H put Nivek on Meloxicam for pain and Benazepril for his heart.  These would not cure Nivek, but might help him along a little.  He told me to take Nivek home and keep him happy and comfortable, so that's what I did.
     Nivek's world shrank down basically to the kitchen and living room floors.  With help, he would still go outside to go to the bathroom, but this more and more became me carrying him, not that I minded lugging his 86 pounds around, but it wasn't much of a life.  On Monday, May 23, I painfully put him in the back seat of my car and drove to my parents for a holiday BBQ, Nuka and Duke went to doggie day care.  Nivek spent the day snoozing in the grass in the shade, surrounded by all of the people that have loved him so much since 1998 when he came barreling into out lives.  I think he had a good day.
     On Sunday, May 29, Nivek did not get up in the morning, nor would he with any amount of physical help or coaxing.  He did not eat.  That evening, Jeremy and I were able to carry him outside where he finally went pee.  That night I sat up with him on the kitchen floor until one am.  I cried a lot and we had a good, solid look at each other.
     On Monday, May 30, Nivek did not get up again.  He also did not eat again.  Home alone, I was unable to carry him outside without him helping me.  Dr. H said one of two things would happen, he would stop eating or he would stop moving, Nivek had stopped doing both.  We had another good, long look at each other and another big cry.
     I called Jeremy at work and told him to come home.  He did, and we carried our big, hairy baby to the back of the Volvo and drove to our vet.  Very, very slowly, Nivek was able to walk in with help.  He stopped in the middle of the lobby, breathing very heavily, surrounded by the doctors and vet techs who have taken such good care of him for the last eight years, when we moved to southern Ontario.  Dr. H was waiting in the door to the examination room and I said, "sorry, he does things in his own time."
Dr. H replied. "I think he's earned that right."  Nivek walked into the exam room by himself.
     On Monday, May 30, at 2:37pm, Nivek went to sleep and never woke up.  Jeremy and I were with him.  It was quiet and peaceful.  I might have more to say about this at a later time, but right now I can't type anymore through the tears.

Last picture taken of Nivek, April 24, 2011 with his buddy, Mortimer.


  1. I am so sorry for you loss. Thank you for sharing.

  2. My heart goes out to you. Loosing a pet is one of the hardest things.

  3. Erin, I'm so sorry. I know how much it hurts when a wonderful friend dies. Please believe he is waiting for you on the Other Side.

  4. Thanks, everyone, I truly appreciate it. I am glad that he is free from a rapidly failing body, but that doesn't help me miss him any less.