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This is going to be long since I just had to make the decision for Kaizer and I drove myself crazy trying to figure out what the right thing to do was.

I went back and forth for the past YEAR on when it was time for Kaizer. He kept getting more symptoms, kept getting put on more medication, and we just could not find a cause. I mean I probably would’ve been weirdly happy if someone told me he had cancer because it would’ve given me prognosis and options.

Regardless, that didn’t happen and I kept wondering how much more one dog could take. He had been dealing with pretty bad environmental allergies for the bulk of his life, then was diagnosed with IBD (April 2021), had this episodic inability to urinate issue (June 2021), had his first stroke/TIA event (July 2021), simultaneously diagnosed with lymphoma and then “un-diagnosed” with lymphoma in the same month (August 2021) and had another stroke/TIA event (September 2021). Then he started having possible focal seizures/seizure activity (March 2022), then bloated and required GDV surgery (April 2022). Had another reoccurrence of that urinary issue, was put on meds, + started with back pain (May 2022). In June 2022, he started having this weird Horners-esque eye issue. He became incontinent (July 2022), started having collapse episodes that were potentially more stroke/TIA events + worsening incontinence + diagnosed with reflex dyssynergia (August 2022). By the end of August, I knew our time was running out. His inability to urinate had gotten much worse, his overflow incontinence was bad. The Saturday (September 3) before he passed, we drained 1500mL of urine from his bladder. I let him go the day he could no longer stand, walk, and had no interest in eating.

It sounds like a lot but I can tell you with 98% certainty that he was not suffering up until that last day. He was still happy and interactive and present - the day he bloated, he had legitimately been bloated for hours before I took him in (he did not present like a normal GDV bc he was Kaizer so I had been going back and forth about if he actually needed to go to emergency). When I went to say bye to him before he went into surgery, he was jumping on the door to stand up and watch me. He was happy and wagging his tail (which typically is not how GDV dogs look!). I said I wouldn’t put him through a bloat surgery if it happened due to all his comorbidities, but I could not euthanize a dog who looked like he did that day. The Friday before he passed, incontinent as he was, he demo-dogged with me and was SO happy to do it. He did all his stupid tricks that made people laugh, he wagged his tail. He got his lovings from people. We went to the pet store that night to get his belly bands and he stole himself a buffalo horn (I have it in my car) and stole one of his favorite cookies - I’m so glad I didn’t stop him.

Most of my struggle truthfully was knowing how/when to make a decision for a dog who did not have a diagnosis. We went to UPenn two weeks before he passed, I did a couple thousand in diagnostics. I asked very specifically if they saw any cancer, and I was told no. I was told that I may never get a diagnosis for his various issues and my best chance would be supportive treatment. I didn’t (and truthfully still don’t) know what to do with that lol.

The day before he passed, I knew we were running out of time. Monday night, he started having difficulties standing up. He seemed painful for no apparent reason, started with some mild inappetence. I laid in my car with him for an hour, he couldn’t get up and I knew I’d have to lift him. As crazy as it sounds, as I laid with him, I told him that he’d have to let me know when he was done. I told him that I’d keep trying as long as he kept trying, so if he was done he’d have to stop eating. Told him dinner tonight or breakfast tomorrow. He didn’t eat breakfast the next day.

This is the last happy picture of him I took - Monday, Sept 5. He was gone 36 hours later.
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My poor Luke looked so old by the time he was eight. I used to wonder why people were always asking me his age because in my mind all I saw was beautiful Luke. I can see it now clearly looking back at photos. He was still beautiful, but I hated he seemed to age so much before his time.
We always said it was like Kaizer aged in fast forward once he got sick. People used to ask me all the time if he was a puppy lol. Then he got sick and really crusty looking (see pics) and people stopped asking if he was a puppy :(. He didn’t look quite as rough when he passed lol

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