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Sergei the Bandit

Date of Birth Unknown - Date of Death 11/05/2019

Sergei was rescued in Andong, South Korea in August 2016. When I saw him on the NBRF website, his intense eyes spoke to me. He was not cat friendly, and my husband had 2 cats, so that was that. But I kept going back to look at Sergei's eyes...and he was still available...

Pictured here getting his first bath in South Korea: He arrived to me in the USA on December 9, 2016 and fit right in with Mishca, Nikolai and Vladimir, our other NBRF Borzoi. He ignored the cats. Unfortunately he was heartworm positive, which many of the dogs coming from South Korea are, but NBRF was there to help cure him. My husband nicknamed him "The Bandit" because of his dramatic black mask.

Sergei was quite smart and eager to please. He knew how to sit, lie down, and give his paw when asked. He was quite skilled at catching things in his mouth. When Nikolai started to howl, Sergei joined in with a deep baritone. He had a funny habit of lying on his side, putting his paw up by his ear, moving it back and forth over his eyes, wriggling and grumbling loudly - as though to say "I don't want to hear about that!". His deep soulful eyes followed me everywhere. His perky ears stood up high at the slightest sound. He drank a lot of water, leaving a slobbery ring of drool in the bowl. At 8:30 pm daily he would lobby me for his evening walk. He always led. Little dogs, cats, squirrels, bicyclists, joggers and motorcycles triggered his strong prey drive.

By late 2017 he was heartworm-free. We celebrated by giving him a small porterhouse steak. Life was blissful. In early 2019 Sergei began having weakness in his left rear leg. I laid down a network of yoga mats, runners and rugs for him to walk on safely in doors. An MRI in July revealed several issues with his discs, spinal degeneration and spinal nerve degeneration. There were no ready cures. I started him on laser therapy, acupuncture, underwater treadmill therapy and physical therapy, putting him on a strict died. At his August visit, the neurologist said he had improved.

In October 2019 Sergei began falling indoors more often. Be he walked well outside. We sent video's to Dr. Roger Clemmons, a canine degenerative myleopathy authority. He recommended more testing. Sergei walked strongly for 6 blocks on 10/21/19. We returned to the neurologist the next day. After the tests, Sergei screamed in pain when getting up and could not walk without assistance. He was hospitalized for 2 nights. Unknown to me, he was unable to get up 36 hours after his procedures. A few hours later, he was given a second dexamethasone shot and discharged on the 24th. The neurologist assured me that 95% of dogs return to normal. His lumbar area had 14 punctures from the procedures. Over the next 12 days, Sergei's condition worsened. He still needed help getting up, and had pain in his back end. His therapist came by to give him physical therapy. She expressed his bladder too. He had to go to the emergency room twice. He developed a powerful staph urinary tract infection. Through it all, Sergei remained bright, full of himself, and always ate and drank well. But his quality of life was diminishing. On November 5, 2019 my vibrant boy wouldn't eat his breakfast. He was weak and uncomfortable. We saw no light at the end of the runnel for him, and released him from his pain that afternoon. The dog who loved everyone was gone. I emailed the neurologist for answers. She stated that during his exam she has seen "5 big red flags" telling her that Sergei would not be walking much longer. She did not tell me this at the time of his exam. Instead, she subjected him to 4 hours of anesthesia as though he were an expendable test animal.

Run free, beloved boy. Your time with us was far too short. Mischa and Vladimir await you in heaven.

With Love,

Donna and Joe Joyce

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