We lost our dog today to a mystery illness. He started wincing out in pain about six weeks ago. We visited four different vets in Los Angeles who diagnosed it as a cognitive illness. It wasn't. We took him back to Iowa and he went downhill really quickly. A vet in Sioux Falls identified a lump in his throat and scheduled a surgery to remove it. In the next couple days, he declined quickly and he went into kidney failure. We hospitalized him at Best Care Pet Hospital, an amazing place run by caring people. Dr. Lamp and his staff, a wonderful and talented vet, cared for Ollie for a week and it seemed like he was getting better. His kidney and liver values were improving and we checked him out of the hospital. In the next few days, he declined quickly, to the point of not wanting to eat or drink. He had already gone about nine days without food but was still drinking. When he stopped drinking, we knew he was leaving us. Ollie had gone through a lot and was giving up. He couldn't fight any more so we made the decision to help him leave us compassionately. The kids were able to be there and give him lots of love. We used to have a tradition of "Ollie love time" where he would jump on one of the kids beds and we would smother him in love. He was a smart dog and would jump on the bed proactively, roll on his back and wait for "Ollie love time".
What a great dog. He was so sweet and gentle with Ayden who could run across the room and tackle him without him fighting back. He was also a fierce protector and would not hesitate to defend himself or his people when pushed. He has been a mystery since he joined us as we adopted him from a shelter in April 2020 without much of a background. We think he was about 10 years old, lived on a ranch, and had a brother. That's about all we got. His personality started coming out after a month of living with us. He loved food and gained a few pounds, which the vet always chastised us for. He and I would take long walks, touring the neighborhood, chasing squirrels, and saying "hi" to other dogs. When he didn't want to go somewhere, he would just lay down on the sidewalk and refuse to go and there was no way of getting him to move until you turned around and went home. Stubborn, smart, kind, and tough.
Ollie loved going to our cabin and would lay under his favorite tree and observe all things. He liked to be able to keep an eye on us, while simultaneously napping.
Ollie and the chickens achieved a stalemate. He knew that he would get in trouble if he went after them. They knew they could go right in his face without him going after them. He chose to sneak glances at them but mostly pretended they didn't exist.
He was such a good dog. He brought so much love and compassion into our lives in such a short period of time (15 months). I wish we could have been with him longer and maybe that is the lesson. Rest in peace, Ollie.
Eric is a traveller, hacker, and experimenter who is currently researching how to become a happier, calmer, and more compassionate human being.