Ninja, The Million Dollar Bionic Legged Dog posted

I don't even really know how to start this... But as I'm sure you all have heard, our dog Ninja died this morning at just over 5 years old.

He'd been battling what we think was Addison's disease for the past couple weeks. Addison's disease is a disorder in which his adrenal glands don't produce enough steroid hormones. This basically sent his electrolytes out of wack, causing him to lose his appetite, become very weak, etc. It all came on super fast the monday before last. He was lethargic, unresponsive, and as what I can only describe as doggy-emo. So we took him into the vet, they hooked him up to some IVs, gave him a couple shots and he bounced back to his regular self - literally overnight. We then began weaning him off of his medicine again so that we could do the official Addison's test tomorrow. Needless to say, he didn't quite make it that far...

Last night he started to slow down again. He got pretty weak and wasn't really walking a whole lot, however he was extremely responsive and as happy as he always is - snuggling, wagging his tail. My only thought was, we have to get him through til Friday so we can get this testing done and begin treating his disease. He seemed fine aside from the walking thing, so we gave him more medicine... it didn't seem to help.

This morning, he wasn't walking at all. However, he was still the same, happy Ninja - showing no sign of pain... Just wagging his tail, happy to be by my side. Even so, I knew something was up, and I was going to take him to the animal hospital to fix it.

So I carried him up to the couch and hung out with him for a bit... he was happy. The first thing I noticed, was that Kari took her car - no big deal, I'd just take the passenger seat out of my truck and lay him in there.

I hung out with him for a bit more on the couch; he was playful, happy, but completely helpless. I asked God at that point, "please. fix this," and carried him upstairs to bed while I got ready to take him to the vet. As I started to get ready I looked over at him and his happiness was gone. He was laying on his side with his tail straight down, breathing super heavily. I put my arms around him, he started trembling, shaking. I started screaming his name while shaking him. Completely unresponsive. I splashed cold water in his face - I didn't know wtf that would do, but I was panicking. I held him and called his name some more - he went limp right there in front of me. I watched the life go right out of his eyes.... I lost it. Yelling at myself for not fixing it in time, at the dog for not waiting for me to get it taken care of. I lost it.

Watching Ninja go and then having to take care of him afterwards was without a doubt the hardest thing I have ever done.

But that dog was an ultimate fighter. He showed absolutely no sign of pain right up until his death. I mean, we cut his thumbs off as a puppy, he didn't care. He was diagnosed with hip dysplasia, he didn't care. He tore both of his ACLs, had his tibia's sawed off, and reattached with metal plates... he didn't care. He even had allergies so bad he'd rub the fur right off his face and gnaw his feet til they were raw. The dog was basically a lemon... but he didn't care. And last week when his legs began to randomly stop working... he still didn't care. He was happy to be alive, happy to be by our side. He was literally wagging his tail right up until his last breaths.

Some of you probably think this is a little ridiculous. It's just a dog, right? Nah. He was a part of our family. Try to look at these photos and tell me otherwise... I mean... we had a freaking dog birthday party for him.

I don't really know what else to say at this point. I loved that dog.
Tags: Ninja


  • So sad. I'm having a hard time believing it actually happened. He was a great dog.

    Cedric posted

  • Hi Derek and Kari, First of all, I love you both so much and with all my heart. When I just read what you wrote Derek, I cried my eyes out because I know what you're going through. Ninja was truely a part of the family. I can't even imagine coming over and Ninja not being there to greet me. Time will help heal this but you still need to go through your grief over Ninja. My heart is sooo with you both. If either of you need anything, talk or whatever I am always there for you. I, at this point can't look at Ninja's pictures on your blog. I will later though. With all my love always, Dad

    Craig Brooks posted

  • There are no words for this. I felt the same way when we lost joey last year. How can you get so emotionally invested in these 'things' people wonder. That's because they have never truly experinced unconditional love. I am so very sad for you guys, I know exactly what you feel and the only thing that will time. There isn't a day that goes by where I don't think about 'little man'. You'll feel that way with Ninja...that and the strange times you'll find yourself in tears cause you saw something that reminded you of them...that still kills me.

    Take care, know that Mary and I are thinking of you. We will need to pour one out for Ninja when you feel like it. He was the best of the best.

    Anonymous posted

  • Oh, that was me...rico...haha

    rico posted

  • Ah man, sorry to hear about Ninja. I love that dog.

    Ru posted

  • I am so so sorry, Derek and Kari. My heart aches for you :(

    Maria T. posted

  • Dude, that is awful news. I'm so sorry for your loss. God knows that's exactly how I'm going to react when my cat passes away; I can't even begin to imagine how much you're hurting. At least you know he lead the happiest of lives right up until he died; you gave him that happiness and that must surely be something you can be proud of

    Mart posted

  • Derek and Kari,

    We love you guys so much and our hearts ache for you. I still cannot believe it happened. He was such a sweet, happy dog and just too darn too young to be gone. I'll never forget how funny he was - from thinking he could sit his 85 lb. booty into any guest's lap (and thinking THEY enjoyed it as much as him), to the classic picture of Derek carrying him home from running away and those precious first pictures I remember seeing of him as a puppy. I cannot imagine coming to your house and not having him there to do his little dance at the front door. I hate to even think about you guys having to come home from work and not be greeted by his big, wagging tail. We will be praying for you guys and thinking of you often as you go through the hard process of grieving this great loss.

    We love you guys,

    Chris, Bre'anna, Daniel and David (and cousin Cowboy)

    Breanna Emmitt posted

  • Really sorry you guys Cassie and I both feel really bad and we both understand how hard what you are going through is. Ninja was an awesome pup and it's really nice that you have so many pictures to remember him by.

    Turbo posted

  • Derek and Kari,

    I'm so sorry to hear about Ninja. He was by far one of the coolest dogs ever. No matter how big he got, he never stopped thinking he was a puppy. And you're right, he was part of your family.

    He will be missed by everyone who ever got to meet him.

    Kevin Switzer posted

  • man.

    Hiromi and I are thinking about you guys. We will miss ninja.

    harper posted

  • Derek- so sorry you had to experience this. I'm in tears reading your blog. Your love for him shows in your words. I looked through your pictures of Ninja earlier today and he was a pretty handsome pup- each picture he looked absolutely thrilled. I know Ninja was basically like your baby- BUT WAY MORE AWESOME. I'm thinking of you and Kari and hoping that you can find peace when thinking about all the great times you had with him.

    tia posted

  • Derek and Kari,

    I'm sorry you are having to go through this. I only really met Ninja a few times but i remember thinking how big his personality was for such a little puppy when you first got him. You both are in my thoughts.

    Mira posted

  • One of my dogs just puked on my brand new basement carpet...why can't they take the bad ones...

    I will certainly miss that dog. Trips to DSM with no Ninja will make that house SUPER empty while I'm there in the middle of the day for some unknown reason.

    ben posted

  • Kari and Derek,

    I am so sorry to hear about Ninja. Losing a dog is just as bad as losing a person, they are a part of our families, like you said. Ninja was so young, and looking at his pictures and reading about him, he had so much life and happiness left. I am thinking about you both, and pray you both find the strength in each other to get through this.

    Jamie posted

  • Kari & Derek,

    I am very sorry about Ninja. I hope you find comfort in knowing you gave the Ninja the best life a "puppy" could ever have.. he was always happy because you both were i his life and always loved and took great care of him. This blog is a very nice tribute to Ninja.


    Rhonda Brooks posted

  • Dogs are family regardless of what anyone says. Those were some solid years with him. I'll always remember how you guys babied the crap out of him. He'll be missed for sure

    Nathan posted

  • OMG I'm bawling after reading your blog about sweet ninja boy. I'm so sorry and I know how much you guys love that little dog. I was the same way when Sassy died. And I will be the same when we lose our dogs we have now. It is way harder than you would think to lose a pet because you are their whole world and they love you so much. I hope you guys know that you guys were great parents to ninja and even though you only had 5 years with him they were awesome.. I will be praying and thinking about you during this hard time.. :(

    Juliet Thomas posted

  • Derek & Kari, i love you guys and have been thinking of you since we heard THIS. Soooo sorry and I understand this is this is harder for you then I can know. But my thoughts and prayers are with you - and Ninja rocked.

    Mathew posted