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In Loving Memory of


Maine's Jultomte Alpenbjorn

December 25th 2002 to April 23rd 2010

Loved and so deeply missed by Joye and Bill Neff

Nicky passed away this morning around 5 a.m. on the way to the emergency vet hospital. On April 1st he was diagnosed with disseminated histiocytic sarcoma (malignant histiocytosis) in his skin, lung, kidney and spleen, and possible pneumonia. He had started to cough, was lethargic and refused food on March 31st, so we took him to our vet. His heart rate was a bit fast, so they did an x-ray to see if his heart was enlarged. In that x-ray, they discovered a good size tumor in his right lung. I knew it was histio so we weren't shocked when the blood work came back showing malignant histiocytosis the next day. We decided to try the CCNU (Lomustine) protocol to hopefully buy some quality time for Nicky, since there is no cure for histio. He had his first treatment on April 8th, and was prescribed an anti-nausea medication, Cipro (antibiotic) and prednisone. For the first six days, his appetite was not good, so they prescribed an appetite stimulant, Mirtazipine. That made a big difference, and he regained his appetite and his energy level increased. He wagged his tail and enjoyed riding in the car with me when I ran errands and he enjoyed visiting with family.

When we lost our Berner, Winston, to histio in 2003, he only lived four days after his diagnosis of histio. We are grateful for the 22 days that we got to spend with Nicky after his diagnosis. We spent time going for rides in the car, his most favorite activity, and he truly did have some good days. We gave him lots of "lovins" and had time to enjoy each day with him. We cooked his favorite things, like roast chicken and salmon, which he ate with gusto. Nicky was definitely a heart dog and followed me all around the house, and stayed by my side. This morning, he awoke at 3:30, then laid down in our bedroom. We could not get him back up to go outside, then discovered that he couldn't get up on his own. He did get up with our help and I helped him downstairs, but he collapsed on the kitchen floor and his breathing went from panting to shallow breathing. Will was very agitated during all of this, like he knew that Nicky was passing away. We removed the middle seat from our van, then rolled Nicky on to a heavy wool blanket and Bill and I carried him out to the car. We drove to the emergency vet office, but Nicky's breathing became more shallow and he died on the way to the vets. His oncologist will do a necropsy today. I am sending them the instructions for collecting and sending tissue to our Berner-Garde Repository, to the Elaine Ostrander Lab and have also sent a note to histio researcher, Matthew Breen to see if there is anything he needs, besides the blood samples we sent last week and what they can get from the Berner-Garde Repository, for their research, too.

Our hearts are broken...we miss him so much already......

Love, Joye and Bill Neff and Will - GSP

Winston's Tribute on Histio Roll Call

For the story of Nicky's fight with Histio

More pics of Nicky in earlier happy days

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