Because I grew up with a dog, I always wanted to have my own one. Early on I wanted a Labrador, a brown one and a real guy. After long time planning and thinking the topic 'my own Labrador' became more and more concrete and so I started looking for the right breeder. It was clear that it would be one from the LCD. I visited several breeders but found the kennel of 'Of Daydreams Delight' as the best fitting one. The puppies were brought up with much love and socialization. We visited the small guy regularly and took him home when he was 8 weeks old.
As a child I grew up with dachshunds and knew Labradors only from friends, thus I was quite inexperienced since it was my first own dog. For me it was clear that I will educate and train the dog species-appropriate. I wanted to do a lot of things with Kimi, like swimming in the ocean. Kimi was prone to colds, eye inflammation and in general very vulnerable. During the first weeks we visited the vet quite often. Our breeders informed us that Kimis sister (Krissy of Daydreams Delight) has a heart failure and that the vet should check on Kimi with extra care. The vet did that but ensured me that there was nothing to worry about. At that point, I was quite relieved that Kimi was not affected by that disease! A few weeks later an antibiosis followed one another, injections, unary tract infection, 'green cold'... somehow I wondered that this could not be normal that a puppy was so vulnerable, but I never wanted to see the truth and only thought "It´ll buff out.". Afterwards it was also noticeable that Kimi never liked to go into water, which is quite the opposite to what is usual for a Labrador. He was always very calm and relaxed in the dog grooming school so the mistress was very proud to have such a well trained and obedient dog. Doing strolls, I always was annoyed that he walked so slowly through the woods.
Kimi was roughly 8 months old. We were together at the North Sea and I tried several times to train him to go into the water with me. But he never wanted to. Once he forced himself and after that he layed on the beach, totally exhausted. Long strolls were impossible and Kimi started to ate very badly. I thought his eating habits were part of a rebellion, to get something better. If I compare his eating habits to those of a normal hoggish Labrador today, it is striking that something wasn´t right. At that time, there was a lot I did not see or understood. If I look at the pictured with Kimi today, I think he really looks ill.
Shortly after the vacation Kimi had a 'big belly'. Again, we went to the vet and he made the suspicion of a worm attack. So we had to deworm Kimi. Soon after they took a blood sample, the results were without any medical findings. When they checked the heart, the vet became suspicious and sent us to an echo-examination to an animal-hospital. Now it became clear to me, Kimi is sick and probably also with a heart failure. Retrospectively, so much maked sense now!
The following day we went to the hospital and got the devastating diagnosis of TVD. The vet became very quiet while he examined Kimi. He already said something like "if there are any operations possible...". Kimis stomach was full of water (ascites), the heartbeat wasn´t even hearable anymore when they made the echo-examination. I was absolutely done, speechless and could only cry. My dream of a Labbi burst right away. Kimi got a Diureticum right away, later also ACE-inhibitor and had to take many pills each day. It was such a pain to fill him with medicaments, which he refused so relentlessly. Kimi could not be alone any more, since he had to go out so often to pass water. He was always thirsty and would have drunk by the liter if possible. I also had to shorten this a bit. Strolls became impossible at all. Kimi could only walk a few meters. Also my family and I were really restricted. It was self-evident that we all would support Kimi and be with him! In November 2011 we had to leave him go. His condition worsened rapidly and he collapsed more often when he was very happy (when someone rang the bell).
It was a really hard time and I still get sad while writing this report and thinking back. Still, I like to write this report because I really want to support the initiative. I became aware of it during a seminar in Dortmund for new breeders. Before, I did not even know that this disease appeared more often. I wish that with help of this initiative TVD gets more attention and that other first-time dog-owners will wake up earlier.
After Kimi had to leave us, I knew that I still want to and had to have another Labrador. This time not a brown one.
Again I contacted the Kennel 'Of Daydreams Delight', since I felt in good hands with Uta and Michael Schnitker. Two weeks later, my future Labbi Milow was born and now I got a real guy and the greatest slob of the kennel. A great challenge for me, but luckily a touch guy, healthy, active and water-addicted.
But the fear of another TVD is still a constant companion...
(Nina Janßen, owner of Kimi)