Monday morning, 128 minutes changed our lives.

Julie and I adopted Casey in mid-November of 2016. He was eight weeks old. Until now, we'd seldom been apart and the pain is impossible to explain.

About a year ago, Casey developed blood in his stool. All the simple tests came back that he was fine. We tried a variety of things to remedy the situation to no avail. When the problem continued to worsen, our veterinarian did an exam and told us she believed there was a polyp/tumor near Casey's rectum. We would end up following a number of recommendations to take him to the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine in Madison.

Early this spring, Casey underwent an ultrasound in Madison that confirmed the polyp but showed no other problems. Later in the spring, he had a colonoscopy that, other than the polyp, showed his colon looked great.

We were advised the polyp would likely worsen and lead to Casey having problems defecating. In an effort to extend his life in the future, we decided to have surgery done on his colon last Thursday. Unfortunately, the tumor was larger than expected and more of his colon had to be removed than anticipated.

At first, everything seemed to go ok. We visited Casey Friday and again on Saturday and he was doing well. But Sunday morning's phone update indicated he had a fever overnight but had been put on meds and it had subsided. We visited him again and he acted just like the dog that we had so dearly loved for nearly six years. I fully believed we were going to take him home the following day, if not on Tuesday. What I wouldn't give for that to have been the outcome.

When the call came Monday morning at 9:21 the news couldn't have been more awful. Despite being on a high-powered medication, Casey's fever had returned. A rectal exam confirmed the sutures in his colon had begun to come apart. We needed to go.

After a lengthy meeting with one of the veterinarians that had been part of Casey's 2 1/2 hour surgery four days earlier, Julie and I had to make an unthinkable decision. Realizing that, even if he went through another surgery, his chances of long-term survival and a good quality of life were quite low, we cried, hugged him, repeatedly told him we loved him, kissed him, and said goodbye to what no one will ever convince me wasn't the best dog in world.

It all happened in 128 minutes. The worst of my life. We have so many wonderful memories with Casey. I know he's running with our first Sheltie, Codie and perhaps he's found Cooper up there, too.

Casey was always mistaken for being a female dog because he was so darn beautiful... handsome.

The day we met him for the first time.

Julie James
Julie James
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Holding him as he experienced his first snowfall.

Julie James
Julie James
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Dressed for Halloween.

Julie James
Julie James
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He was everyone's favorite Christmas elf.

Julie James
Julie James
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Celebrating his birthday.

Julie James
Julie James
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He loved to chase bubbles.

Julie James
Julie James
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With his three brothers Chance, Cole, and Charlie.

Julie James
Julie James
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Where we went, he went. He loved "going for a ride" in our pickup.

Julie James
Julie James
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At a local baseball game at Ellis Park.

Julie James
Julie James
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Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

Julie James
Julie James
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On Grandma and Grandpa's golf cart.

Julie James
Julie James
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A fall trip to the area around Hazleton, Iowa.

Julie James
Julie James
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Visiting the Field of Dreams.

Julie James
Julie James
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On his last adventure, at the overlook of Mount Trashmore.

Julie James
Julie James
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Posing in front of some of Julie's flowers.

Casey with Julie's flowers
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We will never forget you, Casey. We will hold all of these precious memories and a million more tightly until we see you again. The pain of your loss is unimaginable.

Julie James
Julie James
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