Well, friends, the unthinkable has happened again to our dear, wonderful, amazing, courageous, loving, and fragile Wounded Warrior, Daniel. I don’t know if you remember, but his beloved SD, Ivan, a beautiful pitbull who was trained to perfection and enabled Daniel to live a somewhat normal life again, had to be euthanized at less than 3 years old due to a lethal heart murmur and a 32% enlarged heart. Ivan was showing signs of labored breathing, white gums, coughing, and lethargy, and Daniel finally made the agonizing decision when our friends at St. Francis of Assisi told Daniel if they believed Ivan was suffering. It was a grueling experience.
Well, Daniel was understandably devastated by losing his Battle Buddy – especially at such a young age (in fact, I had just recently seen them and Ivan seemed so happy). Daniel became housebound with grief for awhile, but managed to pull himself up by his bootstraps and start the SD training again – this time, with Ivan’s brother, Stubby. Stubby was 3. Stubby always developed a cough during the winter, but Daniel attributed it to allergies, since Stubby never exhibited other symptoms. Little did Daniel know – Stubby had inherited the same genetic mutation for cardiomegaly as his littermate, Ivan.
They had only had one training session when Daniel started noticing the cough becoming worse. Then, two mornings ago, Stubby threw up blood and his gums were white. The wonderful Dr. Bauml at St. Francis agreed to see Stubby on his lunchbreak – and the news was bad – very bad. Ultrasounds and x-rays revealed that Stubby’s heart was 82% larger than it should have been. I completely encompassed his chest cavity, compressing his lungs and making it almost impossible to breath.
We all spoke, and Daniel, in shock, finally understood the severity of the condition and the amount of suffering Stubby was experiencing. Dr. Bauml even stayed after hours to consult with a veterinary cardiologist to see if there was anything that could be done.
Last night, at approximately 8:30 pm, Stubby’s throat became so swollen, he was almost lifeless. Daniel took him to the ER, and made the grueling but humane decision once again to put Stubby to rest.
I’m sure many of you cannot even fathom losing two Service Dogs within 6 months. But I knew Daniel, and those dogs had all the love they could ever have wanted during their time on earth.
Please, please say prayers for Daniel’s healing. He will surely need it. For more on causes and signs of cardiomegaly in your dog, please read the post above this one. And not that this is ANY fault of Daniel’s – but both Ivan and Stubby were purchased by a roadside seller. While this is not always a recipe for failure, please be wary of these people. Not only is it illegal (but the police don’t care), there is usually a great deal of inbreeding involved with these home-bred dogs. Inbreeding most usually causes genetic abnormalities in dogs.
If you wish to personally express your condolences to Daniel, his FB page is Daniel Robert Stroud. Also, I am personally asking if anyone might consider sending the family any amount of money to help with the incredible expenses they have spent trying to save their dogs.
Rest in eternal peace, Stubby. Go and run with your brother, Ivan