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  • Writer's pictureDr. Dara

Dear anyone that thought something would turn out different than it did,

So, we decided to take a trip. It felt silly to go on vacation when it feels like we live on vacation in Asheville! And weird to take time off to have spring break when the kids were only physically in school for 3 weeks full-time! The original plan was for us to travel to the Dominican Republic to see my husband’s family for his retirement. We scratched that idea because we didn’t feel safe or comfortable to travel out of the country yet because of COVID. We improvised, and went on a familiar, secluded, simple, beach trip to Upper Captiva Island. We have been there several times and it never disappoints. On our journey we stopped to see my dad, who is sick, and family we have not seen due to the seclusion and separation of the pandemic.

We arrived on Upper Captiva Island, Florida. The beaches are white, there are shells everywhere, our house was literally on the ocean. I walked out the back door and the waves hit my legs. It was like being on a cruise ship! Seeing miles across the horizon and hearing the waves without the rocking! The sunsets are piercing and magical like a rainbow illuminating the sky and filling your soul with peace. After a couple days I was able to disconnect from what was not of value and deepen my connection to what is, my kids, my husband, nature, nurturance, and the sanctity of our family (furry members included). Literal long walks on the beaches and fresh air wider than a pandemic. We roamed barefoot and maskless with no concept of time.

Wednesday I shortened my shoreside run blaming it on Breaker, our Greyhound, who seemed tired. Thursday, meh, I think I will just lay here. Rest felt more important and something pulled me still. I sat on the deck cuddled with Elyah and Nevin. Both dogs right below my feet sunbathing in their glory. Breaker followed my every move and did not let me out of his sight. We all ate together, a lovely lunch,on the deck right before our afternoon stroll to the sandbar. Breaker seemed a bit sluggish. It made sense, we have been in the sea air, warmth, and strolling constantly. When we came back around 4pm, Breaker vomited (no different than his average monthly full moon belly ache). But this time it was different…

I don’t know how to put this in writing. Our big gentle giant greyhound Breaker got sick Thursday night and he declined quickly. We tried everything we could think of to help him. We tried to get off the island to get to a vet but unfortunately–he didn’t make it. Breaker died Friday morning.

The vet said Breaker was killed by rat poison. Breaker wasn’t the type of dog that ate off the ground or rolled in yucky smells. He was like an old man with grace and dignity who minded his business as he pierced you with his humble softness. Never did we imagine this could happen.

He is the 5th dog to come off the island poisoned. We couldn’t have done anything to prevent this, but the negligent person who left poison for Breaker or any animal to consume could have.

This was not the night we planned. How was he lethargic and throwing up Thursday and then dead Friday morning?

Thursday evening the vomiting intensified. By night he was dehydrated. I called the fire department on the island at 11pm. Maybe they had some suggestions or could help us diagnose him. Did he have heat exhaustion? Is it Rip Tide? Did he get an illness or a bacteria from the ocean? I googled, speculated and conceptualized. We were determined to figure out what to do. I called emergency vets and consulted with anyone that would listen or give answers. At 1:45 am I suddenly woke up lured to check on Breaker. He got up and walked outside gleaming and nodding his head into the wind. It was like he knew. He barely could walk back into the house. By 5:30am, he wasn’t moving and his breathing was labored. He started having seizures. He became unresponsive. We desperately sought any way to get off the island. Even if we got off the island to a vet, he was too far gone. Breaker died waiting on the ferry to get to the vet with us holding him in our arms.

He is now with all the doggie angels and magical furry loves.

The island was no longer a place for us. We abruptly left to go home. This was not the vacation we thought it would be. Things don’t always turn out the way we plan, but in spite of us, the universe has its own plans.

With broken hearts and gratitude, Breaker chose us as his forever home. Thank you Breaker for adopting us and sharing your light.

Our time with Breaker was not how we thought it would be, but what he gave us was even better than we ever imagined.

Broken heartedly,

Your no bull-shiFt, advice giving, shame-abolishing, health advocating, Mom, Psychologist and wife,

Dr. Dara

P.S. These beach pictures of Breaker were taken Wednesday and Thursday this week, hours before he died....

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