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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rest in Peace Levi

The Rainbow Bridge

If you call me today don't be surprised if I answer the phone in tears. Levi, the puppy a bunch of friends and I helped to rescue from a high kill shelter in Kansas, the one I had asked for prayers for a few weeks ago is not going to make it.  Despite top notch veterinary care the past few weeks and prayers coming at him from every part of the country he's just too sick and this morning my friend posted that "the light has left his eyes." Her other dogs all spent time with him this morning. She said she could tell they were saying goodbye. Since then they've backed off and left him on his own. She's taking him to her vet later today to let him go. 

The diagnosis was Intestinal Lymphangectasia or IL for short. It's such a rare disease in dogs that many vets can practice their entire careers without ever seeing a case of it. Basically there is a defect in the intestines that causes them to become inflamed. This makes it impossible for the body to absorb proteins and other nutrients. The intestines then begin to "leak" fluid into the surrounding body areas. One of the specialists just told her the other day that Levi's intestinal tissue is changing and is showing signs of becoming cancerous. Levi has been through numerous medications and diet changes in the past few weeks to prevent this but to no avail.

So at just a few years old my friend has recognized it's time to let him go, which of course is breaking our hearts. Taking on the responsibility of a pet means taking on the responsibility of caring for them and making the right decisions about their health and peace of mind during good times and bad. I know that often the temptation is to keep them around longer because we can't bear to imagine our lives without them. But, imo, the kindest thing to do is to let them go when that light has left their eyes and if they are in pain, to end their suffering. It's not an easy decision to make. It will tear your heart out and break it into a million little pieces.

I've seen that look, the look of "I'm ready" and "It's ok to let me go" when my last dog Kotaro was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor that had filled his lung cavity and had already metastasized to numerous parts of his body before we found it. To this day I cry just thinking about the day I had to let him go. But his legacy is that a life was saved: Enter Kitai. When Kitai's time comes his legacy will be saving another life as I will go to the shelter and find another fuzz-a-lumpa to bring home.

This was me giving Levi scritchy scratches last August when I got to meet him in the fur.

His mom says with one exception it's been weeks since he's smiled like this :(

In about an hour Levi will take his last car ride. His mom is going to take him by McDonalds to see if he wants some Chicken Nuggets, then a trip to his vet's office where he's always been happy to go visit and he's beloved by the staff. Please keep him in your thoughts today and send him good wishes for the journey he's about to embark upon. And thanks to all who had prayed for him these past few weeks.

People say that when dogs die they go to a place like heaven called The Rainbow Bridge. The thought that Levi will be there, restored to health with other doggie friends to greet him is comforting our rescue group today :( That and knowing that as a group we were able to save him and our friend who adopted him gave him, without a doubt, the most wonderful life experience a dog could hope for being part of her family, part of a pack with her other dogs and just being loved. When I met him you could tell he knew he was loved.

If Kitai is the cutest dog ever then Levi is the sweetest dog ever just wanting to be close to you and be petted on. I think it's all he ever wanted out of life and thankfully he got plenty of it for the past year and a half. All dogs should be so lucky.

I think I'll go get Kitai some Chicken Nuggets for lunch today. Normally he doesn't get fast food but today is special. Today is for Levi.


  1. My heart breaks for your loss. May you find some comfort in the coming days.

  2. Levi was such a sweet dog, so loving and trusting, and he certainly didn't have to be with the early life that he had. Today I'm honoring Levi by thinking about how I can be a little more like him. Hugs to his mom and his fur brothers and fur sisters.

  3. Stacie, this is a beatiful tribute to Levi. He will always be in our hearts. I love Levi as if he were my dog and in a way he is. No dog deserves what he has been through but he especially didn't. He had such a hard beginning at life and deserved to have a long peaceful rest of his life. I don't always understand the meaning behind what happens but I know Levi is at the bridge and healthy and happy now just like he deserves.

  4. I think a little bit of all our hearts went with Levi to the bridge.
    RIP Levi, you are loved.

  5. Thank you all for your remembrances and condolences. So far I've gone through one box of kleenex and a package of chocolate cookies with no end in sight. This has been a very, very long day. I'm so glad that Levi's mom explored every opportunity to save him but then let him go before he really had to suffer physically. He had a rough start in life but in the end he was one lucky pup. He couldn't have been more loved.

  6. Thank you Stacie, beautiful tribute to our beloved Levi.

  7. Putting an animal down is by far the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life, and the most difficult decision that I have ever made... we just went through that in November 2007 and I still remember that day. But ultimately we all want what's best for our furbabies and even though Levi has left us, his spirit remains and he is no longer suffering. Hopefully he's up in doggie heaven playing with my parents' 3 other doggies! Thank you for this tribute, Stacie!

  8. Stacie, this is such a beautifully written tribute to Levi. My eyes filled with tears reading it and my heart was touched. I know how heartwrenching it is to have to let go of a beloved pup. My heart goes out to you and Levi. He was blessed to have been loved by you.


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