Rest in Peace, Foster Puppy Dream

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



July ? – 09/27/2022

Dream - brown and white puppy in a purple harness

Now we know why foster pup Dream was so perfect. She was an angel in a puppy’s body – not meant for our world. We are devastated but also grateful that we got to spend 19 days loving her.

Dream understood all the basics from day one. With a near-perfect household and linen manners, she felt like an old soul. She was funny and sweet and incredibly cuddly. She loved playing with our 3 dogs. Biting Face, her favorite game.

Dream to play biting face with clover

While recovering from an infected wound on her foot caused by her original hind 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 smooth as she reached for the little waffle pieces we gave her. I wish we had taken photos or video of it, but we figured we’d have more time together.

She enjoyed getting into our “big bed” in the morning before breakfast. We kissed and cuddled and laughed to start our days.

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

We prepared to walk 1/3 mile on the loops through our pastures as weight bearing aids bone healing. Dream was an exceptional running buddy and loved sniffing around and watching the birds and such.

Because we thought Dream might stay with us for 6 weeks or more, we did a DNA test. These results are pending.

Dream away on a dog bed with a bunch of toys

Timeline of Decline

A week earlier, Dream had a high heart rate and breathing rate, which we later attributed to pain from the infected wound on her foot. The new cast and 3 new medications helped and she recovered quickly.

She was re-examined by the shelter’s medical team on Friday, September 23. She seemed perfect.

On Saturday, however, she started coughing a bit, so I suspected kennel cough.

However, on Sunday morning, Dream’s breathing got worse. She didn’t want to eat either, so I sent an urgent message to our foster parents and the medical team at the shelter at 6am before heading out to volunteer in an all day nose work trial. My hubs gave up a motocross race to stay home and take care of Dream.

He exchanged messages with the nursing team on several occasions and kept them informed. In the warmth of the day, Dream seemed a little better enjoying a day mostly outside with my hubbies and our 3 dogs.

But when I got home from my volunteer work around 7pm, her breathing was much worse. We already had plans for the shelter’s vet team to examine her on Monday morning, so we propped her up on pillows to help her breathe.

Dream propped up on a pillow

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

At that point I assumed she had pneumonia or something, so I wasn’t really surprised that the shelter team rushed her to the hospital on Monday morning. We really thought she would stay there for a day or two and come back to us. The first x-rays showed fluid in her lungs/chest, so by that point everyone thought pneumonia as well. I guess I should have known it was more serious when 4-5 people from the shelter rushed her to those x-rays.

I wish I had said goodbye to her better.

However, they drained a ton of fluid from her chest/lungs, 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 specialist on site confirmed the diagnosis. The shelter transferred Dream to the specialty hospital Monday afternoon. A specialist there tried the emergency operation on Tuesday morning. The dream did not survive. Her heart stopped during the operation. The specialist’s team performed CPR for 20 minutes but could not save her. News of her death reached us around 11 a.m.

Start screaming and sobbing.

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

Although Dream was not officially ours, we cared for and loved her 24/7 for 19 days prior to her death. So she counts in our hearts as one of us.

Memorial donations, if you’re so inclined

Due to the devastating outcome, the shelter will NOT be conducting a fundraiser to help cover the cost of Dream’s emergency surgery (approximately $4,500). I can try to snag some $$ though. Here is a link to create a Commemorative donation in honor of Dream.

dream memorial video

Here is the tribute video I put together in the hours after Dream’s death.

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