Today another of our sweet angels crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

We bid our beautiful Hazel goodbye with heavy hearts.

Hazel came to us such a short time ago. In early December, an acquaintance called us to say that she had rescued a “Lab” in terrible condition and needed help. The photos she sent broke our hearts. This poor dog was in such appalling condition… We posted the dog hoping that someone would step up and offer to foster or adopt her. A wonderful family who previously adopted one of our puppies in the Bay Area immediately responded and asked to adopt Hazel.

Based on this, we brought this sweet senior up to the mountain at the beginning of December.

She was in really terrible condition, but began to improve almost immediately. Our original plan was to send her to San Francisco before Christmas, but a combination of complications prevented it.

Hazel was such a sweet, loving little bull-dozer of a dog. Her body was a mess. She was NOT a looker. But her delightful “Hazelness” made everyone who met her fall instantly in love. We were all immediately smitten with her. But we worried about her swollen, bloated belly, her dry, dead hair and delicate skin, and her muscle atrophy. She drank more water than seemed physically possible. We had multiple tests done on Hazel with inconclusive results. Two of her liver values were high. Her thyroid was low. We treated what we could, while her adoptive family worried. In a moment of heartfelt generosity, they had committed to adopting a dog with evident medical issues…

We wanted to wait to see if we could get a handle on Hazel’s problems before sending her to the US in adoption, and it seemed we were doing okay with her treatments. She improved slowly.

Hazel grew stronger, started to go for off-leash walks in the coffee farm, and started to grow new hair to cover all her bald spots. Although she improved greatly, we still didn’t have a definitive reason for why Hazel was so unhealthy in appearance. We waffled on sending her to San Francisco-veterinary treatment is so expensive there.

Last week Hazel very suddenly presented with difficulty in getting up and standing. She began to fall over and seemed very disoriented. She bit through her tongue. We took her to Vet Pro and x-rays were taken. These showed significant impingement of her vertebral spaces in her lower back. She stayed at Vet Pro for several days, and was treated with anti-inflammatory drugs and pain control. She continued to decline in an alarming way during her stay at the vet.

It was very clear to us when we saw her that there was something more going on than arthritis. There was something metabolic affecting her, and although her sweet tail never stopped wagging, her eyes were confused and seemed to be asking for help. She could hardly support herself and tipped over every few steps. She was shockingly thin. We don’t know what was affecting her, but we do know that there was too much wrong to cure. There comes a time when all the medical intervention in the world ceases to stop preserving life and begins to prolong death.

Last night we took her home from the veterinary clinic. She came home with us to have a quiet night on a soft, cushy bed. We slept beside her, stroking her soft and silky ears. She had a steak dinner and a huge bully stick (which she loved). We let her drink gallons of water, and we carried her out to pee whenever she needed it.

This morning she had a steak breakfast and Dr. Calderon of Vet Pro came to the house to release her spirit from her poor sick body. Thank you JP.

Hazel, we will never know your full story. We cannot imagine how anyone could have dumped you on the street to try to fend for yourself. We only knew you for three short months, but you had us at “Woof”. We love you, sweet Hazel, and we won’t stop loving you. We are sorry we couldn’t heal your body, but we hope that somehow you knew how much you were loved. You touched so many hearts in your short time with us.

Fly free, sweet girl. RIP Hazel.

We are a small organization dedicated to helping dogs and cats in Antigua. We sterilize, rehabilite and find homes, and work with other rescue groups.