The Keeper
             A Memorial For Lexi

          Lexi, my 10 month old, 103 pound gorgeous puppy, died Tuesday morning, May, 18, 2004. She is mourned not only by me and my family who had fallen in love with her the moment she arrived by plane from Canada, but by dozens and dozens of others who had grown to know and love her through her illness.

          Lexi was an adorable puppy. However, some time before she was scheduled to leave for her new life with me, my breeder contacted us to say the puppy was having difficulty walking. She strongly advised me to take a different puppy. I decided to delay that decision until we got there, and after she had been seen by 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.  Gen, her breeder, said all of her brothers and sisters were happy and healthy puppies. It wasnít until she had her first series of Grand Mal seizures 24 hours after we arrived at home that I was advised to take her to see a neurological specialist. I called the breeder and she again 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 neurological disability characterized by seizures and difficulty walking due to a congenital malformation in the cerebellum of the brain. Despite the diagnosis, my family resolved to keep Lexi, to care for her and to love her. With the dedicated efforts of her regular vets, Dr. Popolow and Dr. Henes in Croton, and Dr. Berg, her neurologist, her seizures were finally under control with medication. Lexi became lively and spirited and was getting more beautiful every day.

          The vets were optimistic. 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 parentís 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 Dr. Bergís hospital. I visited her every day, and read her letters from dozens of wonderful people from the Leonberger community, whom she didnít even know, but who I came to know and love. Even though the doctor tried everything, up until the very last minute, this time he was not able to save her, as he had 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 motherís shoulder, and look up at her while giving gentle kisses. She would try to climb into my fatherís 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. I feel as though every one of them have become a part of my family. We all mourn our loss of this lovely, beautiful baby. She will always be remembered as a happy, playful, ever growing bundle of joy.




Last updated 08/01/2017 .
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