A trip to the vet confirmed Niels's worst fears. Spunky had hemangiosarcoma - a type of cancer - and was bleeding internally. Chemotherapy and surgery wouldn't help.
The vet "told me how sorry she was and that since we didn't want him to suffer, we should schedule an appointment to have him put to sleep," Niels says.
Niels scheduled the appointment for the next evening - and then suddenly remembered she'd once promised her thick-coated, winter-loving dog, who has lived in Texas for years, that he would get to see snow again.
"The prospect of breaking that promise to him sent me into a panic," Niels says.