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In Memoriam: Nausicca

By Andrea Hockey, published on August 2nd, 2022
"I honestly don't remember who I spoke with during that initial phone call. I was pretty distraught and that day is a bit blurry. But I know they were kind and gently led me through the process. Dr. Ham arrived at our home to perform the procedure and he was so kind and gentle and explained everything that would be happening. He spoke to Naussica and allowed us to take our time with her. We never felt rushed. We are so grateful for the services you provide. To not have to transport Naussica in the car was a blessing for us. She couldn't walk and the thought of putting her in the car in this uncomfortable state was unbearable. Knowing she was at home, in her beloved back yard, surrounded by her family was so comforting to our family. I can't say enough about how amazing Dr. Ham is. Thank you so much for your kindness and empathy during a very difficult time. "

We rescued Naussica as a puppy and our family immediately fell in love with her. I was scared to adopt another dog because a few years prior I had to say good bye to my 13 year old shepherd mix and it was one of the hardest days of my life. But once Naussica was home, I knew the love we would share would fill my heart again. And of course, she ended up rescuing us!! She grew from this tiny little pup to our 106 pound beast. Frisbee was her game and she was amazing at it! She loved our vegetable garden and would select carrots, beets and green beans to graze on while we worked in the yard. She loved to follow my daughter everywhere and once my daughter was a teenager and the bedroom door started closing more often, Nausicca would lay outside her door for any opportunity to make contact with my daughter! If she wasn’t looking for my daughter, she was my shadow. Everywhere I went, she was with me and if she couldn’t see me, she was in a panic! When Nausicca was about 6 years old she was diagnosed with kidney disease. We monitored her condition and she took medication 2 x per day for the last 6 years. A few years later, she started having trouble with her back legs. She loved to walk and we would walk a few miles every night, even in the winter. She loved to make snow angels too! Eventually, our pace got a bit slower and we would stop more often because her legs would give out. 2 years ago we adopted another dog, Kostas. He was about 1 1/2 years old at the time and had come to Michigan from Texas, where he was found alone with his sister living on the street. We wanted another dog in the home to keep Nausicca active and have companionship, she was 10 at the time. Though Kostas ended up being a typical little brother, driving Nausicca crazy at times, he did keep her active and she was instigating play right up until her last few days with us.  She taught Kostas how to be a social dog, how to behave and use his manners, and they were a team. In December 2021, Nausicca started to have digestive issues. She was having severe diarrhea multiple times per day. We tried antibiotics, a strict diet and vitamin b injections, but they didn’t help. She was still happy and silly but losing weight fast. The vet suggested an ultra sound and probably a biopsy because she believed Naussica had pancreatic or intestinal cancer. I couldn’t afford these tests and I didn’t want to put Naussica through a biopsy for fear she wouldn’t make it through. We treated her for a few months as if she probably did have cancer, without the actual diagnosis. Last week I called the vet to start a steroid as that was the next step in the treatment plan for the diarrhea. Naussica never got to take the steroid. She and Kostas were playing and she fell to the ground pretty hard. She wasn’t the same after that. That night she couldn’t walk straight, she couldn’t get comfortable. I took her to the vet the next day and they thought she may have vertigo, again without opting for the ultra sound and diagnostic testing, they couldn’t know for sure. They treated her for vertigo and we went home. Once we were home, she never walked again. She quit eating the day before, quit walking, and quit drinking water all within 3 days. On the 3rd day her gums were pale, her paws were ice cold and she still couldn’t get up to walk. The vet said she may rebound in a few days, or she may not. Our family decided that it was time, we believed her body was shutting down and we didn’t want her to suffer any longer or be in pain. My daughter who now lives in Chicago, happened to be an hour away from home. I felt like Naussica knew we were all available to be there that day when she passed. I made the hard phone call to Heaven at Home and Dr. Ham arrived a few hours later. Before Dr. Ham’s arrival, we set up an area in the back yard with cushions, blankets and towels to lay Naussica on. Her dad and I carried her in a towel outside and we surrounded her and loved on her for hours. We sang to her, hugged her, kissed her and reminisced on fun, silly stories about her. When Dr. Ham arrived we held Naussica, stroked her face and told her it was ok to go and how much we loved her and would miss her. We told her that all her dog friends and family members that have passed are waiting for her. Our hearts are shattered and empty right now. Kostas is grieving too as well as our cat, Gigi. But we were lucky that we were able to help facilitate her goodbye and be with Naussica right until the end. Our faces and voices were the last she experienced, I just hope she knows how much love and joy she gave us the last 12 years. Until we see you again, baby girl Naussica. We love you and miss you so much. Mom, Ava, Papa, Kostas and Gigi