Dear friends, I'm very sad to inform you all that Piccolo, one of the truly great dogs, left us on January 20.
She had been in declining health since the end of last year. In early January, she began to lose her appetite, and I took her in (again) to see a vet. This time she was diagnosed with kidney failure, and the prognosis was very poor -- I was advised that there was nothing to be done except euthanasia.
Rather than make a hasty decision, I went to Falls Road Animal Hospital for a second opinion. Piccolo spent a week in intensive care there, and while her urea, creatinine, and phosphorus levels came down (though still not to normal levels), she did not regain her appetite. She was apparently feeling nauseous, possibly due to ulcers. She was put on stomach protectants, but still didn't start eating.
I brought her home on Saturday, and while I continued to care for her, administering subcutaneous fluids and the stomach meds and trying to tempt her with old favorite foods and many new options, she didn't improve. While she was not in pain, because she was weakening and lethargic, and apparently dizzy and confused, and still not eating or showing signs of recovery, I made the very difficult decision that rather than let nature take its course, I would choose euthanasia on her behalf. She passed peacefully here at home while I was with her.
I'm very glad that Saturday, the day I brought her home, was also the day of my 40th birthday party. I'm grateful that this meant that many friends were able to come and say farewells to this wonderful dog in the final days of her life.
A memorial web page has been set up at http://infamous.net/piccolo.php