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Kenneth A. Larson has a quarter century of experience in design and construction of scenery for the Entertainment Industry and Theme Parks using Computer Aided and Traditional approaches to Design. Also experience in other areas of Design.
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Andrea Doria

This is a tribute to Andrea Doria, the best dog I have had.


Andrea Watch - full story
Andrea Watch - most recent update
Andrea Watch - progression graph
Andrea Gallery
Andrea's Story - As Andrea approached her last days with us on Earth, she completed the writing of her memoirs.

Andrea Doria: 4-21-87 to 4-25-01

October 5, 2003. It's now been almost two and a half years since Andrea took her last walk. She was such a smart and well behaved dog, that I haven't attempted to replace her. I still miss Andrea. I still have my two cats and my wife got a kitten a few weeks after we lost Andrea, so we still do have three four-footed children. Andrea live on in our memories.

Andrea Doria, 1987
1987 - helping me to stake out the water garden.
Andrea Dorea, 1999
1999 - practicing her bowling.

Anrea's Last Eight Months

9-1-00, For a little over a year, Andrea had been treated for thyroid cancer. The following are log entries from the last eight months that she was with us.

9-1-00, In July, she was hit by Geriatric Vestibular Disease (GVD), which effects the nerve located near the inner ear, thus it effects balance. She didn't eat for almost a week and her head was tilted about 45 degrees left. She is now eating again, but I have to mix her dog food with cooked hamburger (filled with cancer preventing herbs). She now shows no sign of the GVD.

9-6-00, She enjoys our walks which average about 2 miles each, about five times a week. Her breathing is steadily becoming more difficult, but so far, she manages to find the energy for her walks and she seems happy. Monday morning, she messed up her leg a little while walking, barking at another dog and pulling hard on the leash. By afternoon, for a family get -together, she was limping around the yard with the kids and other dogs and having a great time. We are still walking, but keeping it short as she still has a slight limp. Her breathing continues to deteriorate.

9-12-00, Saturday morning and Sunday evening, we took 2 miles walks. Today, her breathing was such, that we only walked one and a half miles. Because the radiation treatment had destroyed much of her thyroid gland, we have been giving her thyroid supplements since November. Because the thyroid gland has grown back and her thyroid level seems high, I've decided to discontinue the supplements. She is starting to loose interest in food again. She is repeating her decline of the month before her first treatment in mid-August 1999. Had it not been for the hope that the radiation treatment would be a cure, we probably would have ended her suffering then, so it looks like she has only a few weeks left.

9-13-00, We just returned from a one and a half mile walk. I think the days of two mile walks are over. Andrea just can't breath enough to walk far without stopping to breath. Still, she pulled on the leash most of the way.

9-14-00, Andrea's breathing is now degrading quickly. We had a 1.75 mile walk today and her breathing continued to be difficult.

9-23-00, Andrea is still having breathing trouble, but has stabilized at this new, lower level. Our walks are shorter, but she still enjoys them. We discontinued her thyroid pills as few weeks ago and this seems to have helped. Unlike a year ago, her weight is good if not a bit high. A year ago, her weight had dropped from her normal of 70 pounds to 55 and she was quite week. Now she is strong and only limited by the tumor restricting her breathing. She no longer shows and sign of the GVD from last July.

9-25-00, Andrea seems to be doing better now that we have discontinued her thyroid supplements. It seems her own thyroid is again over active.

9-30-00, Today, I took Andrea and Binky to the blessing of the animals. I wanted her doggy soul clear for Dog Heaven but she tried to eat a poodle. She still has a lot of fire in her and won't play second to any other dog. Still, they blessed her so she's ready. Then, a year ago, while preparing for her second radiation treatment, she was blessed and she's still alive so maybe...
blessing certificate

10-14-00, Andrea's breathing took another slight downturn but she is holding up. We still take a walk almost every day and although she has trouble breathing, she still pulls hard on the leash, especially when I try to turn her back toward home. Unfortunately, she has lost interest in chasing squirrels. Today, I had to push her out the door and point out the half dozen squirrels in the back yard. When I herded one her way, she did give a little chase, but she has given up on catching one.

10-21-00, Still walking almost every day, but getting shorter. Recently, our walks are one to one and a half miles. Her thyroid level is high, but there is nothing we can do to lower it. She still seems happy.

10-28-00, We took two short walks today totaling about 2 miles. She continues her slow decline. She isn't very active any more, but does concentrate her activities into several periods a day.

11-5-00, Andrea is having more trouble breathing. It's a matter of determining when she is suffering too much. It won't be long now. She is still happy and dragging me on our walks.

11-11-00 Today while walking, Andrea and I stopped at the vet's office and put her on the scale. She weighs 72.7 pounds which is a bit high, but better than the 55 pounds last year when I thought she would die. I am trying to reduce her weight a little in hopes that she can breath more easily. She is still strong and happy when walking.

11-23-00 Andrea's breathing got worse last weekend, but we just returned from a walk which she enjoyed. She even ran a little. She is about where she was just before her first treatment, so we've gained about 15 months. I am still hopeful that she will make it to 2001.

11-26-00 Today I took both Andrea nd my brother's youngest dog for a walk. They got along fine and didn't tangle the leashes. Andrea can't breath, but won't slow down, she loves walking so.

12-2-00 Andrea and I took a walk to see the local community parade today. After twice being attacked by dogs sitting in the audience, we moved away from the parade route. Her thyroid is overactive again and she is showing preference to being outside where it is cooler. I still have hopes of her seeing the new year.

12-9-00 I think Andrea is better than she was a few weeks ago. It's been a bit warmer and I think the cold of a few weeks ago were hard for her breathing. We had a good walk today and stopped by the Vet's office. Her weight is 72.7 pounds. She was a bit higher a few weeks ago and I am trying to drop her weight to the mid sixties where I hope she will breath easier. Most of her life she was in the high sixties, so 65 would be good.

12-18-00 We continue to walk. She still seems happy. I've cut her food back hoping that it will slow her metabolism, which might slow the growth of the tumor, and reduce her weight, which might make breathing easier. It's not a problem feeding her now.

12-25-00 Andrea has just enjoyed her second "last Christmas." A year ago, I expected her to be gone with a month or two, now I think the same thing, as I have for the last year. It was too windy to walk today but hope to get one or two in tomorrow. She has shown a preference for being outside where it's cooler but did enjoy her Christmas and all the family and food. Sunday, we took a walk that may have been a bit too long, but even then, she kept pulling me further from home. She does enjoy walking. Saturday we put her on the scale and she weighed 65.7, so her diet is working and we're feeding her just a little more.

1-1-01 When Andrea was diagnosed with cancer in July 1999, I was hoping she would make it to the "New Millennium." As January 1, 200 approached, much was made of the fact that the millennium didn't start until 2001. I was never going to keep her alive another year. Well, it is January 1, 2001 and we just finished our 2-mile walk. She is happy.

1-3-01 I took Andrea to the vet today for a check-up and for the vaccinations I didn't give her last summer because I didn't think she would live much longer. The vet was very pleased with her condition and confirmed that Andrea definitely isn't ready to check out. I am still having trouble regulating her weight which varies between the mid 60s and low 70s. Remember, it's been almost exactly a year and a half since we were told she had terminal cancer and would die.

1-29-01 I took Andrea to work with me Saturday. Once she settled into the strange surroundings, she was a very good girl. She got her exercise running around the office and snooping. Her condition hasn't changed much recently. Her 14th birthday is less than 3 months away. Maybe she will make it.

2-11-01 Andrea and I are still taking longs walks almost every day. She is starting to stop to catch her breath more often. She has also taken a preference to being outside where it is cool. This is because her thyroid is becoming more active as it continues to grow. I still have hope she will reach 14 in two and a half months.

2-25-01 Andrea's breathing has taken another downturn. She has started to cough on even shorter walks. Still, she seems happy and enjoys her walks.

3-18-01 Andrea's breathing took a downturn today. She is coughing and having trouble breathing on even shorter walks. Still, she seems happy and enjoys her walks. It is now five weeks to her birthday and I am hoping she will last.

4-6-01 Andrea's breathing continues to degrade slowly. She is coughing and having trouble breathing on even shorter walks and we are startign to stop for breathing breaks. Still, she seems happy and enjoys her walks. It is now just over two weeks to her birthday and I am hoping she will last.

4-8-01 Andrea's weight is very low, 61.6 pounds where it should be in the high 60s. Her metabolism is very high. I hope she lasts the two weeks till her 14th birthday.

4-16-01 Saturday, Andrea's weight was better, 66.7 pounds, but Sunday, her breathing got much worse. Within the last week, her breathing started to deteriorate rapidly and we have now discontinued our walks. I am fearful that she will not last the remaining five days to her 14th birthday. I have made two appointments to have her life humanly terminated, one for each of the next two Wednesdays. I will cancel one or the other, depending how she's doing this Wednesday. It is extremely unlikely that she will last till the end of April.

4-21-01 Well, it's Andrea's birthday today. She made it to 14 years. She's doing OK under the circumstances. She's happy and still full of fight. Her breathing is bad and we've stopped walking. I hope to weigh her later today to keep her weight where it belongs. We aren't having a party this year, but hope to make it a good day for her.

4-21-01, Andrea Doria is now 14 years old. She has been suffering from Thyroid Cancer for over two years and her condition continues to deteriorate. She benefitted somewhat from two radiation treatments in August and November of 1999 but there is nothing more we can do. We are endeavoring to make her final months as happy as possible - her final months have now exceeded a year.

4-25-01 Andrea's breathing became worse. Andrea was humanly euthanized April 25, 2001, about 6:45 PM. She was comforted by her Father, Grand Father, and Uncle.

Treatment Scans
First scan
This is the first scan, 8-4-99. The large red area is the thyroid tumor. The thyroid gland should be two objects smaller than the size of the hole in the 'R' in the image above.
First and second scans
This compares the first (8-4-99) and second (9-22-99) scans. You can see that there was some success.
All three scans
This compares all three scans. The third scan, 12-29-99 shows that the tumor has grown back.
Planar Thyroid Seintigraphy.

This is a non-scientific graph of Andrea's progression, based on observation and perception. When the curve reached the bottom, we ended her suffering.


At 2 Months
July 5, 1987.
Happy dog
July 17, 1987.
"Is this where we are planting the palm?"
Bottomless pit
"Hello down there." 1987
Two of a kind
Binky and Andrea. 1992
Andrea resting
Andrea in a quiet mood.
The collar
After getting shampoo in her eye.
I love to run, May 29, 1988.
Happy Dog
September 18, 1987.
Foot warmer
Foot warmer.
Two of a kind
Andrea and Binky. 1992
Guarding the fire place.
Wan'a Play
Hey little squirrel, wan'a play?
"Is that Daddy's favorite video tape?"
Squirrel watch
Squirrel watch.
Last summer
Enjoying her last summer.
That lump on the right side of her neck is the tumor.
Taken on 9-18-00

Weeding, 11-25-00
Resting, 12-1-00
Binky, 12-1-00
Cinder, 12-1-00
Last Birthday
Last Birthday, 4-21-01.
Last Birthday
Last Birthday, 4-21-01.
Last Day
Last day, 4-25-01.
Last Day
Last day, 4-25-01.

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This page last updated: Sunday, 11-Aug-2013 22:05:33 PDT

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