January 5th 2007 4:51 am
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Denali died unexpectedly at 11:20pm on December 22, 2006. Amy and I were in Aspen the morning of 12/22. Denali was staying next door with our friends Naomi and Ned - who are surrogate parents to him when we travel. Naomi woke up around 3am and noticed that Denali was distressed - breathing hard and throwing up. She called us first thing in the morning to tell us and see what we wanted to do. Unfortunately, it had snowed 48" at our house in the previous 48 hours so it was non-trivial to get him to the vet - in addition most of the roads in Boulder and Denver were still getting dug out from the huge storm.
Amy's assistant Kelli (another of Denali's surrogate parents) drove out to our house and helped Ned and Naomi dig out. Kelli then took Denali to the vet. We were in constant contact throughout the day. The vet determined that Denali's heart was beating wildly but he wasn't getting blood to his extremities so he was concerned something serious was going on. He didn't have the equipment to do an ultrasound so Kelli drove to Wheat Ridge in Denver (no small feat given the snow on the roads) with Denali to take him to the animal hospital. Before they left for the hospital, the vet gave Denali some lidocaine which calmed him down. He's always loved driving in the car so he and Kelli had a good time sloshing through the snow.
The wonderful doctor at the animal hospital determined that Denali had internal bleading. We authorized surgery over the phone to take a look and see if they could both stop it and figure out what was going on. When the doctor opened Denali up, they found a huge inoperable liver tumor. While it was heart breaking, at 11:20pm we asked the doctor not to wake him back up. The doctor told us this was absolutely the right decision, as if we had woken him back up, he would have been miserable for the balance of his life - which would have been short.
While we weren't with Denali when he died, Kelli was with him all day. He was happy just before surgery - she sat and played with him for about two hours. While we will miss Denali dearly, we are glad that the last half of his last day was like almost all of his other days - filled with love, happiness, smiles, and tail wagging.
Denali - enjoy the great treat yard in the sky.
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