Goodbye To A Great Friend - Kodi

Unfortunately, saying goodbye to a loved one is a part of life that we all experience at one time or another.  It is never easy.  Whether it happens naturally, or whether we choose to assist them, we are very saddened by the loss.  We had to say goodbye to a very special gentle giant this week, Kodi.

Kodi had a rare disease called Uveodermatologic Syndrome (Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome in humans), in which his own body attacked pigmented cells, such as the skin and retina.  He was a deep gray-black color in his younger days, but in recent pictures, he is almost stark white.  Early on, we had to remove one of his eyes due to pain and inflammation.  He did well for a long while on immune suppressant drugs, and was able to meet a new baby (human) addition to the family, Lucas!!  

Within a couple of days of Lucas' birth, Kodi was fighting for his life.  He had eaten a foreign object which had perforated through his intestines leading to peritonitis (and he was still on immune suppressants at the time!).  His prognosis was very poor for survival.  He made it through a long surgery to repair all the damage and we had to transport him to the emergency vet overnight for aggressive treatment.  I remember trying to figure out a way to fit a 90 lb dog in a back seat of a car with a newborn baby in a car seat!!!

After the GI surgery, he has been through more battles - another enucleation (now both eyes are removed and he is completely blind), and another GI obstruction, which he was able to pass medically.  Despite all odds, Kodi survived.  He is one of the most stoic dogs I have ever met.  He shows no pain, is sweet as can be, and is so tolerant.  He lets baby Lucas climb all over him!!!  He has the most amazing spirit.

His last battle was suspected bone cancer.  He was painful, wouldn't eat, wouldn't get up and it came on very fast.  He has always been such a strong boy, and this time, he couldn't fight.  We were able to come to his house, and make our last visit with him comfortable, surrounded by his family, laying in bed.

There are certain people and pets that come into our life that make a huge impact on us as veterinarians.  Kodi and his family are very special to me and I am honored to have been a part of their family.  I will never forget Kodi and I hope that all families get to experience that extra special something that Kodi was able to add to their lives.

Sincerely, Dr. Leah Wulforst.