A Farewell to Laevatein

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Cancer & the Fight
happiest little Doberman on earth in this shot

happiest little Doberman on earth in this shot

I wanted to write a new post for the new year. This wasn’t what I wanted to write.

Today, I lost Laevatein. She had a great morning of playing in the snow as I unloaded dog food and running about the house kill-shaking her toy dinosaur. She jumped in the car I was unloading, ready to travel even though lately we’ve been going only to her chemotherapy, and was generally happy and enthusiastic. I left her out to enjoy the yard in the comparatively warmer temperatures, but when she didn’t return I went out to check on her. I walked over the entire fenced yard, looking see if a drift had made a ramp over the fence or anything, but when I returned to the porch by a different angle, I found her lying on it.

My best guess is some sort of cardiac arrest. She’d never had any cardio symptoms and her lines are good, but it’s always a risk and at least one of her chemo drugs is cardio-toxic — it just seemed a better risk than the cancer which would have killed her already. I asked about a necropsy, but Purdue is the best option, and I don’t want to drive her hours over reportedly-still-bad roads for something that won’t change anything.


she loved tracking

On the one hand, I am very happy that her last day was clearly one of fun and enthusiasm and no signs of distress or pain. On the other… Well, there’s a lot on the other hand. She had achieved remission with the extended chemo, and last night I was reflecting happily that I couldn’t feel her lymph nodes as I petted her.

Someone on Facebook dubbed 2013 the year of losing good dogs, because so many of us in the training community lost an excellent dog. Laev just made it to 2014. She would have been 9 next month, but most observers guessed her age at 2 or 3. Far, far too young.

from a "naughty dog" photoshoot

from a “naughty dog” photoshoot

An old training buddy was texting me and so was one of the first to hear the news. “We were just bragging on her last month at the club,” he said, even though she hasn’t been to Schutzhund in a couple of years. (She was playing Ringsport, and I’d been looking forward to taking her back.) When I announced her death online a little bit ago, a friend commented, “Laev was simply amazing.” And that’s exactly how I’ll remember her. She, like Shakespeare, taught me so much about training and behavior. And others; the vet staff said she was great to work with, using all her trained behavior to make blood draws and chemo drips straightforward and less-stressful.

She was a good dog.

Laura on ground laughing as Laev rolls on back


Update: It was suggested by another vet, and Laev’s oncologist thinks it most likely, that Laev suffered a blood clot which broke free. Blood clot risk is elevated by some types of cancers and perhaps also by frequent IV use, which of course she had with chemo. So that’s certainly not an answer, but it’s a likely possibility. Still very sad.

About Laura VanArendonk Baugh CPDT-KA KPACTP

Laura was born at a very young age and started playing with animals immediately after. She never grew out of it, and it looks to be incurable. She is the author of the bestselling FIRED UP, FRANTIC, AND FREAKED OUT. She owns Canines In Action, Inc. in Indianapolis, speaks at workshops and seminars, and is also a Karen Pryor Academy faculty member.

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  1. Nichole Heilbron

    She was one of my favorite dogs. I will never forget watching her learn random new “tricks” on the fly and how inspired I was to teach my own dogs. We will miss you Laev.

  2. Laura,
    I am soooo sorry for your losses over the past few months. It breaks my heart and I remember how I felt when my Dakota passed away from cancer. My thoughts and sympathies are with you!

  3. So very sorry to hear about the loss of your precious companion.

  4. Oh Laura,
    I’m so saddened to hear that Laev passed away today. Please take comfort in know that you gave Laev a wonderful life and as you described above, her last morning was spent frolicking in the snow. My thoughts are with you as you grieve for the loss of your faithful companions.
    Rita and Abby

  5. So very sorry to hear the sad news of Leav passing. She was a good dog and she will be missed by many. My prayers for you during this time of grief.

  6. She will continue to give to the world as you share what she has taught you. I’m so sorry for your pain.

  7. I was out for a couple weeks, and was completely taken aback when I came back and read this. So, so sad. All our thoughts are with you, Laura, for having to deal with these two losses so close to each other. I felt like I knew Laev somehow, having followed your stories through all these years. I’m very sorry.

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