The Keeper
A Memorial For Lexi

Lexi, a 10 month old, 103 pound gorgeous puppy, died Tuesday morning, May, 18, 2004. She is mourned by a family of dog lovers who had fallen in love with her the moment she arrived by plane from Canada.

Lexi was an adorable puppy. However, some time before she was scheduled to leave for her adopting family, the breeder noticed she was having difficulty walking. She called and advised me strongly to take a different puppy. I decided to delay that decision, until got up there, and after she had seen the vet. I flew up to Canada to get her.

There was something very special about this little girl. She had been checked out numerous times, by different vets, in Canada and in New York, and no one was able to find anything wrong. All her brothers and sisters were happy and healthy puppies. It wasn't until she had her first series of Grand Mal seizures, that it was recommended that she see a neurological specialist. Again, the breeder begged me to take a different puppy. But, by this time my family and I had fallen in love with our adoptee, despite her handicap.

After numerous hospitalizations, Lexi was diagnosed with Dandy Walker Syndrome, this is a disability characterized by seizures and difficulty walking owing to a congenital malformation in the cerebellum. Despite the diagnosis, my family was resolved to keep Lexi, to care for her and to love her. Her seizures were finally under control with the help of medication, and Lexi became lively and spirited and getting more beautiful every day.

The vet was optimistic. He advised that with proper medication and physical therapy (and possibly a central nervous system shunt later on in life), Lexi could live a fairly normal life. I was so looking forward to taking Lexi out to my parent's summer house for hydrotherapy sessions in the near-by bay or their pool. Even though I knew Lexi would never be able to participate in agility trials, I thought she might excel in water rescue. Unfortunately, this was not meant to be.
On May 4th, Lexi suddenly ran a very high fever, and went into seizures. I rushed her to the Emergency Animal Hospital, where she was stabilized, and then was moved to her neurologist's hospital. I visited her every day, and read her letters from dozens of wonderful people from the Leonberger community, whom she didn't even know. Even though the doctor tried everything, up until the very last minute, he was not able to save her this time, as he did so many times before.
She died without pain. The initial autopsy showed that her brain was so damaged, that she was unable to reset her brain to regulate her body temperature.

Lexi had a way of making everyone she met feel as though they were very special to her, and they were. She would lay her head on my mother's shoulder, and look up at her while giving gentle kisses. She would try to climb into my father's lap every time she saw him, so she could kiss his face. Lexi was a favorite, and had a very special relationship with my brother. My brother is a disabled person, and I believe that there was something about his disability that made him supersensitive to hers.

I and my family and friends are moved by the warm support of so many from the Leonberger community. We mourn our loss of this lovely, beautiful baby. She will always be remembered as a happy, playful, ever growing bundle of joy.

Letters from Lexi's Friends
Letter from Genevieve
More Photos

Contact Lexi's Mom

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© 2004