I hope everyone had a very blessed Thanksgiving. Sadly, during the week of Thanksgiving, one of our special dogs passed away. Big River crossed over The Rainbow Bridge and took a big part of our hearts with him. There is never a good day to post a dog's passing. Every day I tried but could not do it. The day before River passed, I wrote a post for donations to cover all of his bills we have accumulated. I was going to send it on Monday once I had determined what else he needed. That post was never sent. Instead, I am posting the most heart-breaking news of all.
To say River was doing amazing is an understatement. He had regained most of his eyesight; his weight was in the normal range, and he had completed the final round of his Heartworm Treatment. Life was incredible for this beautiful boy. We had so many beautiful plans for Big River. He was happy, loving, and finally beginning to trust his eyesight and people.
In the past month, every time River had a limp or any issue, we rushed him to the Vet to make sure we had not missed anything. In our hearts, we felt he was a little bit neurologically impaired from his head injury. It wasn't any one thing but small things. River was happy, loved, and healthy, and that is all we cared about. He had come back from a terrible injury and was ready for a Family to call his own.
Early Monday morning, the Staff came to me saying they thought River was not acting normal. He got up, went outside, ate, and then went for a short walk. Everything was normal until it wasn't. River did not want to get up and had started drooling excessively. I went outside to check on him, and in the course of the next five minutes, it became alarmingly apparent what was happening. Our beautiful majestic boy was BLOATING. He had Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV), which is critical. You have no more than an hour to get the animal to an ER for surgery, or he will die.
GDV occurs when a dog's stomach fills with gas, food, or fluid and subsequently twists. GDV develops without warning and can progress quickly. It is always an emergency. The problem is Owners do not realize what is happening until it is too late. Surgery is only possible if you get the animal to the ER in time. I had experienced enough of these to know what was happening, but none of my Staff that day had.
River had gone from normal to critical in a very short time. He was now swollen and did not want to get up. I had the Staff get the van and pull it around back, where I proceeded to beg this poor dog to get up. I had tears running down my face begging him to get up. He finally got up and walked to the van, where he was rushed to the Vet. He collapsed after arriving and was carried inside on a stretcher. I was so glad he survived the short trip to the Vet and was now in the hands of Vets that I burst into tears.
My Joy was short-lived. River was now comfortable and out of pain, but he was no longer a candidate for surgery. His stomach had twisted, and his chances of surviving the surgery were about 20%. I spoke to the Surgeon and asked her to hold him in her arms as he crossed over The Rainbow Bridge. Our beautiful Big River was out of pain and on his final Journey. Everyone at Noah's Arks Rescue was devastated. The Staff had never seen this before and were heart-broken.
Everything that could have been done to prevent bloating was done. Certain dogs have a predisposition to bloating, which is why you use raised feeders and do everything to slow down their eating. If you have a big dog and are not familiar with GDV, please do your research so you can take preventative measures. You may not prevent it but can be prepared if it happens. I have enclosed a link below that explains it in great detail.
No one could have predicted what happened to River. Of all the scenarios, bloating was not one that concerned me. We loved this beautiful dog and relished every day he was in it. We always think we have more time, but in the end, Life Happens, and we have to accept it. No amount of money could save a dog when they have reached the state River was. I sit back and play the day over and over in my mind, and the result is always the same. The only good news is we got him to the hospital, so he did not suffer.
River had a tough Life before we rescued him. From the moment he came to us until his final breath, he knew unconditional Love. When it was just River and me begging for him to move, he knew this would be his final Journey. When he looked back before getting in the van, my heart broke for this special dog that no one wanted but me. River will forever be part of the Noah's Arks Rescue Family. He will always have a very special place in our hearts.
Tonight when you look up into the Winter Sky, think of Big River meandering through the Heavens without a care in the World. Please, Donate whatever you can in honor of Big River. The dog no one wanted, but each of us loved completely.