Friday, 24 July 2015, Cefalu
Xavi, my beloved dog my companion for 13 years, died of heart failure on 10.30pm.
We came home at around 7.30pm I signaled him for his daily walk but he refused to come to the door. I thus carried him downstairs but even at the main door on ground floor he did not want to go out. That was very strange I thought. “What’s wrong, xav?” I asked. Despite his reluctance, since he did not pee or poo the whole day, I insisted that he goes out. He had his slowest walk ever and even with 2 other dogs at fairly close proximity in front of him he did not seem to be interested. He stopped and peed on the street without even doing his usual sniffing or to the side, not even lifting his leg. His pee was fairly dark in color (dark yellow) but I thought it was because he didn't drink much water. After stepping away from the pee, he just refused to walk any further. I thought that was really strange and decided to walk back. That was barely 10 meters from the house. Even walking back, he did not want to move so I carried him back down the street and up the stairs.
When back at home, he lied on the floor and started breathing very fast and heavily, all doing with his mouth closed. I pat him and asked him what was wrong. We tried to calm him down but I started to get quite worried and checked my phone for the opening hours of the vet, the only vet in this town or that we know of. It was 7.40pm and the vet has just closed. She closed at 7.30pm. Should we call the emergency number of the vet, I asked Yota. She said that xavi was probably just over-heated. It was incredibly hot and humid these days in Cefalu. The weird thing was that his body felt colder than his usual temperature and the weather has just turned less hot the day before so that would be strange – the over heating. We pat him a little more, brought him the fan and he seemed slightly better. I decided to go for a shower.
When I came out of the shower he was at the door waiting for me. Oh xavi, what’s up, I said, and realized that he was still breathing heavily. We got more worried so I asked again should we call the emergency number. I began to google to check for advice and possible treatment. Yota called her Sicilian friend, who has a couple of pets himself and good experience with dogs, for advice. He too, said that xavi was probably over-heating and he suggested to try to cool him down by giving him a shower. So we took him, he seemed weak and had no strength on his legs. We put him into the bathtub and showered him gently. He looked at us with his soulful eyes letting us ran the water on his body for a while as we spoke to him constantly to reassure him. When we took him out of the bathtub his legs were already wobbly with no strength. He made a sudden shiver but managed to do his usual body shake to shake off the water. We wiped him dry and put him down on the living room floor next to the fan. We also tried to massage him thinking it may help with his blood circulation. Meanwhile I was very worried and at the same time continued to google on my phone on the possible cause, all while massaging and patting him. One website that I have read, they talked about heart failure and the person that asked for help eventually wrote that her dog died. I became more worried and asked again maybe we should call the emergency number. We hesitated and decided to monitor him further to see if things could improve.
We tried to feed him water, basically forced it open a little and poured some water into his mouth. He drank a little in the beginning but refused to drink anymore. Maybe he needed some glucose I thought so I had Yota bring some honey to feed him. We put some honey on his tongue but he wasn't eating it at all. He tried to stand up once and opened his mouth to pant. We thought it was a good sign of recovery but he dropped back on the floor quite immediately and continued breathing fast and heavy. I could see his lungs moving in his ribs as he breathed heavily. At that moment I thought his rib cage looked bigger than usual and seeing it move was unusual. But I wasn't sure.
The second time he struggled to stand up and opened his mouth to pant but almost immediately collapsed hard back onto the floor and this time, stopped breathing completely. I remembered shouting at Yota, ‘Call the emergency number NOW!!’ His eyes did not move a bit. No no no no no, I screamed and I kept hitting my palm hard on the floor next to his face to wake him up. Wake up xavi boy, wake up xav, I kept repeating. I shook his body, tears started rolling down my cheek and I kept telling him to wake up. His eyes became a blank stare and I couldn't see or feel any breathing from his nose and his body and he did not move a bit. Wake up xavi, I continued calling, please wake up. After a while, I said, ‘He…he is dead, is he?’ and burst into tears.
Xavier Lim has died of heart failure at age 12 years, 11 months and 3 weeks.