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What to take on a cruise is a no brainer for me because we go every year, especially in winter to the Caribbean. Just open the ‘summer’ drawer and pack most of it.

But what happens when suddenly, packing is the last thing on your mind?

Even my cruise planner didn’t help in this case.

It’s almost 4 years now that something happened in our lives and we had to decide if we were going to stay home or still go on our cruise.

It all started 11 months before, the day we came home from our previous cruise.

We had just gone to bed and all of a sudden we heard this loud noise. We hurried to the kitchen and found one our dogs, Niko, having an epileptic seizure. He was only 2 years old.

Niko, 2014

We went to the vet the next day and he was prescribed pills. They worked for 9 1/2 months.

Then he started having more and more seizures. Stronger pills were prescribed. Still he was having them on a regular basis. Once he had 8 seizures in one day!

Every time he would come out of the seizure, he was not himself. He wanted food, badly, like a human on marijuana craving junk food.

The other 2 dogs didn’t recognized him or his behaviour. One time there was a fight in a small area because Niko went after the other dog’s food.

I slept on the sofa for the next 4 months to be close by in case.

One night, after a seizure, he howled like a wolf for hours and would not settle down. He kept pacing and pacing all night.

By then it was the beginning of January 2016 and we were flying to Fort Lauderdale at the end of the month.

We debated whether to cancel our cruise

At that time, our 3 dogs would go to the babysitter’s house. But he was still having many seizures and was on 3 kinds of medications.

But I went to see the babysitter and explained what was happening. She was amazing. She went online and read all about seizures. I explained to her what to do if it happened. And she told us not to worry she would take good care of him, and the other 2.

The only time ever I forgot to bring or pack something!

I was so stressed as I packed my suitcases. We’ve been going on vacation every year for almost 30 years. Packing for a cruise is second nature for me.

The day before our flight, we took the dogs to the babysitter.

The next morning, about 15 minutes into our drive to the airport, I reached down to get my cell phone from my purse. OMG! no purse. I had left it at home on my bed. Luckily we had plenty of time to go back and get it. Phew!

But wait, there’s more!

We arrived at our hotel in Fort Lauderdale, and after dinner, I get ready for bed. I’m exhausted. I search for my pyjamas, and I can’t find them. I borrowed a t-shirt from my husband.

Next day, after boarding the ship, I start unpacking my carry-on and I can’t find my hat. When I get my suitcase, look for my hat there too and nope. No hat and we’re going to the Caribbean.

So the next day on the ship there was a t-shirt sale and I bought 2 man’s XXL to use as pyjamas for the next 14 days plus a hat.

Niko, March 2016

We stayed in touch with the babysitter during our cruise by email and all was well.

He never had a seizure while we were gone.

But they started again a few days after we came home and you could see they were affecting his behaviour.

He wasn’t as active and his eyes weren’t as bright.

Sadly in March 2016, we made the difficult decision to send him to Rainbow Bridge.

He was only 3 years old.

We still miss him very much.