My family and I are absolutely heartbroken, crushed, shocked, and all of the other words that can describe grief and sadness.
Nero, our best friend of 9yrs has died.
Wednesday, Nero was perfectly fine and was playing ball with me and the boys as Hurricane Ian started to send winds and rain into our area. He was his usual self, happy, energetic, and wanting to play ... then, the past 48 hours he took a dramatic and unexpected turn for the worst.
NERO LITERALLY CHANGED MY LIFE.
When I say he changed my life, that is not an exaggeration, having him made things possible for me and my family I never knew I could accomplish.
As most of you know Nero is my actual dog and not just a product name out of thin air of some fictional character. He is our real Czech line GSD that lives and travels with us wherever we go, he is family, just like your dogs.
I created our product while learning Schutzhund and being introduced to reward toys by my mentors, he was never into food rewards, and other than the sleeve, he always preferred a ball over a tug. Out of trial and error, we created a strong dog ball on a rope that was fun to play with, easy to find in the grass, easier to carry around than a ball launcher, and irresistible to ball-driven dogs.
I couldn't think of a cool name for the product and honestly was never trying to build it into a business I just wanted something good for me and the club to use but it became popular and the name Nero Ball stuck. The friends and relationships that have been built out of our "little dog ball business” have been something I cherish and continue to build. Thank you to every one of you that have supported us from day one. There are way too many to list but you all know who you are, the #NEROBALLSQUAD
Having some success in our business helped bring me out of a very low point in my life where I felt stuck. After a few years of hard work and support from you all, Nero Ball eventually became a real business and allowed us to be somewhat financially stable. The business and community gave me the confidence I needed to pursue and succeed at greater things.
Personally, Nero meant so much to me and was genuinely the best dog I have ever owned, it’s so hard for me to put into words how much he impacted our lives.
He was our friend, protector, and play partner. He was there for us when we were sick, sad, or tired, and always there we needed some extra love. I thought losing both my parents and grandfather within 2 yrs would have made me stronger to deal with his death, but I am grieving as hard as I did with my parents. It's a different type of grief and sadness but it's been tough.
On Wednesday as we prepped for a possible direct hit from Hurricane Ian, Nero was by my side and was his usual self. While I was out working the storm my wife cared for Nero and noticed he wasn't normal. At first, we thought it was the storm giving him anxiety but something was off with him. When I came home we took him to the vet to and they said he had a form of dog pneumonia and was prescribed meds and sent home. He was lethargic and not like himself but we thought the meds would work. Yesterday Nero was deteriorating, he wasn't eating or drinking, peed in the house (which he never does), and could barely walk without losing his balance, so we rushed him to the emergency vet and they immediately tried to stabilize him. The Vet said that he was in critical condition and his prognosis wasn't good. He was septic, had low BP, low sugar, 106 fever, and bleeding from his mouth likely his lungs. A dramatic deterioration in just 24hrs that we couldn't believe or explain. He was on IV fluids and oxygen but he was barely hanging in there. The vet said his chances of surviving would be slim and he probably wouldn’t make it 24hrs as his lungs looked diseased and likely had some sort of longer term lung issue that was never detected and finally developed into pneumonia and sepsis.
So we made the hard decision to stop his suffering and put him down while he was surrounded by our family.
I always knew I would be with him until the end and never leave his side, I even brought his favorite ball, a Nero Ball Ultra with him which he tried to grab even though he could barely breathe. Even on his last breathe he still wanted to play. That broke my heart.