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Rest in Peace, Foster Puppy Dream

Devastated to report the unexpected / sudden death of our most recent foster puppy Dream. Feel like I jinxed things by writing about our preparations for her arrival in real time and by writing about that anesthesia-related deaths study. Her heart stopped during emergency surgery September 27. It appears that whatever caused her broken leg also caused an internal injury that went undetected until her chest and lungs began filling with fluid. She only lived with us for 19 days, but we love her like our very own. The pain of the loss is as bad (or maybe even a little worse due to the shock) as losing our Lilly in 2013. A few of my fav pix and a short tribute video at the bottom of the page. 

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Dream

July ? - September 27, 2022

Dream - brown and white puppy in a purple harness

Now we know why foster puppy Dream was so perfect. She was an angel in a puppy's body — not meant for our world. We're devastated but also thankful we got to spend 19 days loving her. 

Dream understood all the basics from day one. With near-perfect housetraining and leash manners, she felt like an old soul. She was funny and sweet and incredibly snuggly. She loved playing with our 3 dogs. Bitey face, her fav game. 

dream playing bitey face with clover

While she recovered from an infected sore on her foot, caused by her original rear leg cast, we learned she loved waffles. We joked that her breed must be the rare Rocky Mountain Waffle Weasel because her head and neck looked super sleek as she reached for the little sections of waffles we gave her. Wish we'd taken photos or video of that, but we assumed we had more time together. 

She enjoyed coming into our "big bed" in the mornings before breakfast. We kissed and snuggled and laughed to start our days. 

Dream quietly hung out under my desk while I worked, either sleeping or playing with toys. She collected big piles of them. 

We worked up to walking 1/3 mile on the loops through our pastures since weight-bearing exercise helps bones heal. Dream made an exceptional walking buddy and loved sniffing around and watching the birds and such. 

Because we believed Dream would stay with us potentially as long as 6 weeks or more, we did a DNA test. Those results still pending.

dream on a dog bed with a pile of toys

Timeline of Decline

A week earlier, Dream experienced high heartrate and respiration rate that we later attributed to pain from the infected sore on her foot. The new cast and 3 new meds helped, and she bounced back quickly. 

The shelter's medical team checked her again Friday, Sept 23. She seemed perfect.

Saturday, however, she started to cough a little, so I assumed maybe kennel cough. 

However, Dream's breathing got worse Sunday morning. She wouldn't eat either, so I sent an urgent message to our foster bosses and medical team at the shelter about it at 6 a.m. before making a trek to volunteer all day at a nosework trial. My hubs gave up a motocross race to stay home with Dream and take care of her. 

He traded messages with the foster team several times and kept them abreast. In the warmth of the day, Dream seemed a little better and enjoyed a day mostly outside with my hubs and our 3 dogs. 

But, then by the time I got home from volunteering around 7 p.m., her breathing was much worse. We already had plans for the shelter's veterinary team to examine her Monday morning, so we propped her up on pillows to help her breath.

Dream propped up on a pillow

I regret not being with her all day Sunday and not taking her to the ER Sunday evening.

At that point, I assumed she had pneumonia or something like that, so I was not really surprised that the shelter team chose to hospitalize her there Monday morning. We truly thought she'd stay there a day or two and come back to us. The initial x-rays showed fluid in her lungs/chest, so at this point, everyone was thinking pneumonia too. I guess I should have known it was more serious when like 4-5 shelter people rushed her for those x-rays. 

I wish I'd said a better goodbye to her.

However, they drained a ton of fluid out of her chest/lungs and did more x-rays and an ultrasound and found the other internal injury. That's when the shelter warned us to prepare for the worst. 

A local specialist confirmed the diagnosis. The shelter transferred Dream to the specialty hospital Monday afternoon. A specialist there attempted the emergency surgery Tuesday morning. Dream didn't survive. Her heart stopped during surgery. The specialist's team did CPR for 20 minutes, but they couldn't save her. We got the news of her death around 11 am.

Commence scream-sobbing. 

The shelter agreed to let us keep her ashes, so Dream joins our pantheon of dogs. As I recommend in my book on pet loss, we will set up a little memorial area for her. I need to get some photos printed and find a cute frame. 

While Dream wasn't officially ours-ours, we took care of her and loved her 24/7 for 19 days before her death. So, in our hearts, she counts as one of ours. 

Memorial Donations, If You're So Inclined

Because of the devastating outcome, the shelter will NOT do a fundraiser to cover the costs of Dream's emergency surgery (about $4,500). However, I can try to raise some $$. Here is a link for making a Memorial Donation in Dream's honor.

Dream Memorial Video

Here's the tribute video I tossed together in the hours after Dream's death.

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

Terri A. - September 29, 2022

I am so, so sorry. This must have been devastating. I do not think you jinxed anything. Sometimes we know things without knowing them and seem to predict the future (I hope that makes sense to you).

Nora Hensley - September 29, 2022

Dream was a wonderful dream of a pup. She had gorgeous eyes. Depending on her life before the rescue I’m so glad she had you guys for her loving family. Huge hugs all of you.

Sharon Liveten - September 29, 2022

It’s not the amount of time they spend with us, but the quality. (Which is really hard to accept, since it is never long enough.) She had the best 19 days of her life with you. She was loved. Take care of yourself. This hurts.

Anne - September 29, 2022

Sweet little Dream. What an innocent face she had. Lucky to be part of your family for her short time on earth. We love that you foster the little ones.

Susan - September 29, 2022

This is heartbreaking news; I’m so sorry (but also glad you shared Dream with us).

katie waterman - September 29, 2022

It was heartbreaking to hear the news about DREAM. I know you and your husband are devastated. My heart goes out to y’all.

Hilary - September 28, 2022

What a tender and special tribute to Dream. She is most definitely an angel now, as she was in life. Thank you for sharing her with us, and caring for her. She had such a happy life when she got to your house. RIP little one.

PAULA - September 28, 2022

Feeling broken hearted for you Roxanne. Rescue occasionally has sad endings like Dream but it’s so rewarding we continue to do it in memory of those we lose. Your book has helped me with all losses, animals and people, in turn I try to help others. THANK YOU!

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