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The End

Saturday 9 Oct 2010 we went for our normal 45 min walk and Kaiser motored around the route like a like the little Trooper he was. I went out for a burger that evening and as always, I got a double burger and the pub has known for all these years to bring the second patty to me wrapped in tin foil for Kaiser & Nina, who were eagerly waiting to share it in the Jeep or Beetle and they loved it like always. After snarking back their half burger we went home and did their absolute favourite thing; we played in the Imperial display room. Kaiser was flying around chasing his red ball with Nina chasing the hated laser-dot. Even at 13 Kaiser was an athlete like aways, leaping several feet in the air to snatch the ball out of the air as it ricocheted off the wall. Even though I knew his eyes were going, he could still grab that little red ball out of the air like a champion.

The last photo taken of Kaiser at The Field of Dreams
4 AM Sunday morning I woke up to Kaiser coughing a bit. I had never heard him cough before, but it did not seem that bad. Sunday we went for the normal 45 min walk and he seemed fine except for the cough, but by Monday he was coughing and looking very tired. I thought that was because he could not get comfortable and was not sleeping. I suspected that he might have caught kennel-cough when he was at the Vets a few weeks before and planned to get him into see Dr. Amy Tues, as of course, Monday was a holiday and I could not get him in. Antibiotics on Tuesday and he would be fine. I just did not think it was serious. Sadly, I did not know that coughing in a canine is a sign of heart failure. I just didn't know.

Monday night I knew he would be squirming all night and I had to work, so I put him in the kitchen in his den and took a sleeping pill. I could hear him pacing upstairs but knew I would get him to see Dr. Amy in the morning. Before 6 AM I heard him running down the steps, somehow he had broken out of the kitchen and got downstairs. He ran right up on the bed and laid down beside me. I know now that he used all he had to get down to be with me. We stayed for only 5 min together (which I now regret deeply) then I had to get ready for work. I went upstairs and was shocked to see the kitchen floor was covered in foamy blood that he had coughed up, so I called the Vet answering service and said it was an emergency.

I put him in the Jeep and he seemed to be okay except for the constant cough. But then suddenly he was looking very weak and could barely raise his head so I was driving with one hand and reaching around behind me with the other so I could have my hand on his chest to reassure him, but at 7 AM he let out a yawn that ended in a little yelp.... his head flopped back and he was gone. I stopped the Jeep and ran into the back to pick him up, and he was limp; his soul had left.
The only thing I could do was wrap him up in his brown blanket, hold him on my lap and drive to the Vet Clinic holding back the tears. I sat there at the Vet Clinic in the parking lot for almost an hour waiting for them to open, knowing they could do nothing. I held him close to my chest, crying, as I knew I had lost him. I could not believe it; just two days ago running and jumping, now he was gone.

Here is a photo taken with my cell phone with my little Kaiser resting in my arms at the Vet Clinic. He looks so peaceful and almost happy. But in the photo he is gone. He was getting cold, so I held him close and kept kissing his nose and head, but I could not stop crying and his little face was wet with my tears.
I cannot keep second-guessing myself that if I had gotten him to the Dr. Amy he would have lived. She told me as I sat their clutching his little body, that if they had diagnosed it as heart failure there would have been no way to stop it, the damage was done. If he had been admitted, he would have died in the kennel, alone and frightened. At least he knew I was with him, he could feel my hand and I know that gave him comfort as he knew how much I loved him. He loved being in the Jeep, so to him, it was the same as being home. I can gain some comfort that for his last weekend on this earth he did everything he loved; he went to the park and chased his tennis ball, he went for long walks, he slept in my bed, he laid in the sun for hours each day, he had a half burger, he had a half a steak, he had cookies and chewies and chased the ball in my Imperial display room. He could not have had a better last few days.