Sad day in a joyous week

In the crazy hustle bustle hurly burly of getting ready for one of the happiest days of our year, HowlOWeenie, we’ve had a sad day at DREAM. Our sweet foster Dupre, who came to us 4 months ago with a severe heartworm infestation, died last night.
Dupre was about 9 years old. He had lived a life of neglect, kept outside in a pen in the Georgia heat and cold, all of his life. He had never received vaccinations or heartworm preventative. When he came to DREAM, he didn’t know what a pillow was for. (Although it must be said that he figured that out quickly.)
Dupre weathered his 3 months of painful heartworm treatment, and the necessary crate rest, bravely and with aplomb. (This is where he figured out the pillow part – he had lots of time in the crate!) He had one scary episode in the last month of treatment, in which he vomited blood and was hemorrhaging. With quick action by his vigilant foster parents, he survived. A month later, he was given a clean bill of health and pronounced ready for his much-needed dental cleaning and neuter. In the days before his surgery, he felt great and spent his time playing in the yard with his foster brothers and sisters for the first time.
He lost 10 teeth in his dental procedure, severely rotted because he had been on poor quality food and, of course, had never had his teeth brushed.
Two days later he began having seizures. Although we do not know what exactly happened, the best guess is that he had a history of seizures, and one had just not come up before now. (Many dogs with seizure disorders, including one of my own, have only 1-2 seizures a year.) Perhaps the stress of the surgery, or the anesthesia, or the dental, brought it on. The seizures would not stop, no matter what the vet tried. In desperation we decided that injected phenobarbital might allow Dupre to sleep and get enough rest to heal. We tried it, and indeed he did better and was able to sleep peacefully. In the middle of this needed rest, though, his heart stopped in the night and he died in his sleep.

I truly believe that Dupre died knowing he was loved for the first time in his life. That evening, before he had the injection, his foster mom held him and talked to him and made sure that he knew he was not alone, and that we were doing everything we could for him. I saw his eyes clear, and he did not look afraid.
We are very grateful for our foster homes, the heart of this organization.
This is why we do what we do — because sometimes no one else will take care of these dogs, and their hearts are pure.

We look forward to seeing all of you on Saturday at HowlOWeenie. Our hearts will be a little heavier than usual.

Another little black and tan guy begins his heartworm treatment tomorrow. It never ends.


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