Then on the morning of Monday 22nd July, my little boy Chihuahua, Choco, (kennel name Baudouin) woke up a bit under the weather. He was desperate to get outside where he started to vomit. This in itself is not unusual, dogs often eat grass and other stuff that causes them to throw up, but it was very unusual for Choco. Choco was the youngest of our five dogs, and only 7 years old. We've had him since he was just 7 weeks old and he has never been unwell in all this time. He was full of energy, and full of life. He loved to 'strut' around with his ears held high and his tail curled proudly over his back.
But on this particular morning, things just weren't right with him. When the other dogs had their breakfast he just stayed away from them, he didn't want to eat anything and I thought that was fine, as long as he was drinking.
By lunchtime he seemed quiet and a bit lethargic, we had to pop out for an hour but thought that if he was any worse when we got back, then we'd take him to the vet later when they reopened at 5pm after the siesta.
When we came back Choco was quiet and a little more lethargic, he didn't run to greet us but just looked at us from his position sitting on the sofa. He then retreated to his bed and was sleeping there for a while before we went to the vet.
By the time we reached the vet's surgery, Choco was floppy and really not showing any interest in anything. I knew things were not good when other dogs in the waiting room came to sniff him and he didn't even react. When the vet saw him she said "he really doesn't look good" and immediately took his temperature and put him on a drip. His temperature was 2 degrees lower than it should be and he was not responding to anything, even his eyes were glazed over. She felt that he'd had some sort of brain injury. She said that we had to leave him with her overnight and she'd be in touch later that evening.
We were really worried about him but I was convinced that by the time she called us, she'd be asking us to come and collect him as he'd probably be barking his head off at being separated from us. How little I knew.
At 11pm that night, our vet rang and gave us the bad news, things were not looking good for Chocs. He'd not responded to any stimuli and was in a really poor state. She warned me "Sharon, Choco is really very sick" but still I thought that by the morning all would be well, I mean not Choco, he couldn't be sick, he was NEVER sick.
Sadly in the morning we got the call that I have always dreaded. Choco had passed away during the night. He hadn't been in any pain, they'd had him dosed up on all sorts of things in the hope that they could fight whatever it was that was making him so sick. But no, the poor little fellow lost his very quick battle and had left us, running over the Rainbow Bridge to play, free of illness.
Brian and I went to see him to say goodbye. It was just so incredibly sad, he looked so peaceful but naturally his eyes were blank, his little paws felt cold...my natural instinct was to rub them to warm him up. But he was gone.
The vet asked if she could do a post mortem because she had no explanation for what had happened to him. The x-rays that she'd done the previous night had shown nothing untoward, his organs looked exactly as they should be, except that he seemed to have full bowels. She kept asking "has he had an injury, did he fall, could he have been poisoned or eaten a snail" all things that we were able to reply to the best of our knowledge in the negative.
We agreed to the post mortem and she called us a little later that same morning. Choco had what I think she called a 'colonic torsion'. Part of his colon or bowel had twisted and caused a blockage. The space was very narrow and nothing could get through and as a result the part had begun to break down, and toxins released from this had traveled straight to his brain and his organs had started to shut down. Basically my little lad was being poisoned by his own body. Our vet had only seen three cases of this in her working life and never had she seen it happen so quickly.
To say we are sad is an understatement, we are heartbroken. I never for one moment thought that Choco would be the first of our five dogs to leave us, so the shock was immense.
We are just so glad that his suffering was minimal, he never showed any signs of being unwell beforehand, it was just all so very quick. And he was gone.
I shall always miss him, he was such a mummy's boy, following me around if not physically, then with his eyes. He's sit on the back of my sofa and lick my neck or he'd actually try to sit on my shoulder! He was a bundle of energy and we'll never forget him.
Rest in Peace little Choco ...... 9th December 2011 - 23rd July 2019