It snows in Southern Nevada about once every five years and when it does it’s usually just some flurries or a light dusting. However, in December of 2009, Southern Nevada was walloped with 8-12 inches of snow, the largest snowfall in 50 years.
We were lucky to have our five year old Ridgeback mix Buddy to play in the snow. For us the snow was beautiful and fun to play with Buddy in. We never thought there would be those that may not enjoy it as much as we did.
Puppies that Weren’t as Lucky
Three little puppies from Searchlight weren’t so lucky to be able to play in the snow. Just six or seven weeks old, their owner had left them in a cardboard box outside of a mobile home in the snowstorm. Thankfully, someone passed by, heard them and called Amber at Happy Home Animal Sanctuary.
She took all three in, two boys and one little girl, the runt. The boys seemed fine but the little girl seemed to have a severe infection. Not only did she sneeze and cough non-stop, but she had discharge that flowed from her nose without any way of turning it off.
Sure, We’ll Foster Her!
We had been helping Amber with adoptions at the PetSmart in Henderson for months. A few weeks after the snowstorm, Amber brought the three puppies in. The two boys could be adopted as they were healthy. The little girl, no such luck. She needed more medical attention and help. Barely five pounds, we fell in love immediately and said we’d help and foster her. After all, Buddy needed a playmate for a little while as we nursed her back to health. We named her Kona after one of our favorite vacation spots.
Kona, Age eight weeks
Fostering lasted about two hours. When we brought her home with a sweater to keep her warm, she snuggled up to Kelly and sneezed boogers all over her sweatshirt. She knew exactly who to sneeze, cough and work the sad doggie look on. She was ours to keep. Buddy now had a permanent playmate he could boss around.
Buddy telling Kona who’s boss
A Bundle of Energy but She Just Wouldn’t Shake the Cold
Despite her cold, Kona was a bundle of energy. She would run, jump and chase Buddy around the house. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get her cold to go away. Countless visits to vets, medications, nebulizer treatments, very little sleep and it just wouldn’t go away.
We finally determined that she had a bacterial infection that was resistant to all forms of medication. Unfortunately, the doctors could not find a medication that would kill the bacteria. We were resigned to the fact she would never be completely healed. We found a medication that seemed to keep the bacterial infection from getting worse and we hoped for the best.
The Sunbeam Doggie
Living in Las Vegas, Kona and Buddy had plenty of sunshine. We knew that made her feel better so we let her lounge in the sun as much as possible. Whether it was sleeping in the backyard or following the sunbeam around the house, the sun was her magic potion. She would follow the sun room to room, chasing Buddy away so it was all hers.
Buddy & Kona
Hip Hop Kona
Because of the constant visits to the vet and for a six week span, a four shot a day routine of anti-biotics, Kona started to develop an attitude. Since she was sick for so long, we never really had a chance to socialize her with other dogs. She and Buddy got along pretty well most of the time but other dogs, no chance. This was just another little challenge in the life of Kona. As loveable and nurturing as Kona could be, she always had a way to let you know she was in charge.
Kona keeping watch making sure no dogs invaded her yard
Kona Being Kona
Talk about a love of toys. This girl had it. Whether it was her orange rope toy, her squeaky monkey or a pile of other toys, she was non-stop. From the moment she woke up in the morning to the moment she collapsed in her pen at night, it was all about the toys. She loved the orange rope toy that she learned how to swing above her head. She learned if she had the blue part hit the ground and turned her head, the rope would act like a lasso. She was a smart little girl. But her biggest attachment was to her beloved monkey, she wouldn’t go to bed without it. In the mornings, panic would set in if she couldn’t find her monkey. She would run up and down the stairs, room to room whining until she found it. It was the first toy she would take out of her bed and take with her as she searched for the nearest sunbeam. There were many days when going to work was delayed while we helped search under furniture and in strange rooms to find her monkey so she could have a relaxing day.
Kona and monkey, a peaceful nap after a long day of play
Kona and her favorite orange rope toy
The Bacteria Finally Caught up to Her
We always knew the day would come, but hoped and prayed it would be a long time away. Unfortunately, Kona couldn’t keep fighting off the bacterial infection. Her energy level started to go down and she could only play for a few minutes before having to stop and rest. She started to get more moody (imagine what a person would feel like if they’d had the flu for two years). She went from a dog who loved to be the center of attention to a dog that just wanted to be left alone. Her last day was spent running around the beach on the coast of Oregon. Something she never had a chance to do before. She didn’t catch any seagulls that day, but we could tell by the excitement on her face that it was a special day for her.
She is in a better place now, with healthy lungs and non-stop sunshine. We miss her dearly but were thrilled to be able to make sure her short time with us was happy and fun. She brought as much enjoyment to our lives as we like to think we brought to hers. Kona will forever have a special place in our hearts. As for monkey, Kelly is keeping it safe, just as Kona would want.