Requiem for a Dog

We have been raising and breeding and showing golden retrievers since we brought our first mother/son pair back from the UK in 1973. They spent 18hrs in their crate, and were very happy to get out.

But that’s a story for another day. Since then, we have bred dozens and raised 12 or 15 of our own. As we slowed down from breeding and showing, the number of dogs dropped, and the links in the chain fell away. Last summer we lost the last dog that was descended from our UK line. Now, it looks like we are about to lose the last dog that knew our other dogs in Virginia.

Amelia is 9 years old, reddish for a golden, and getting an early set of specticals (greying around the eyes). Two days ago (Thursday), she started out the usual happy golden life. That afternoon, she refused a treat. For golden’s, that’s unheard of. That evening she became listless, refused all food, had white gums, no urine (but no bloating). She laid down, and really didn’t want to get up.

My wife is a retired licensed vet tech (rated #2 in the nation in 2000). We have seen this sort of thing before, and it’s usually end stage cancer. Our previous dog, Clara, was fine one day, standing hunchbacked the next. No abnormalities on spine xrays. Pain meds helped, then stopped helping. Two days later she started having problems breathing, so we did a chest xray — heavy duty cancer in both lungs. The vet did an exploratory surgery, and she died on the table – one week from onset of symptoms.

We weren’t sure Amelia make it through the night to Friday, but she did, and actually seemed brighter. We took her in for a sonogram, and it showed a suspicious mass on the spleen, plus numerous dark spots on the liver. We’re not sure, but it doesn’t look good. My wife has an AKC judging assignment this weekend and Monday is a holiday. Tuesday, Amelia goes on the table for exploratory surgery. The last time we did this for a dog it cost $2500, and gained her three months, and that time we had a big male to act as a blood doner.

She’s resting comfortably at home now, and seems fine this morning (meaning that whatever organ was bleeding has stopped). I’ll update this through the weekend, and close it out one way or another on Tuesday.

Tuesday Update

I am updating the entry, rather than putting in a new one, so that you, dear reader, can find everything in one place. It is 9:46 PM on 8 September.

Amelia is a happy camper. But there’s still that mass that the sonogram showed on her spleen, and a worrisome cough. We had the operation scheduled for midmorning today. MJ asked the vet to do a chest x-ray. Turns out, that Amelias lungs are full of tumors. No use pulling the spleen, or any other major operation.

So, we brought her home, and will simply keep her comfortable until the spleen or the lungs does her in.

More anon

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