All good things come to an end, don’t they? We’ve known for five months that our 10 year old Springer Spaniel Rider, had cancer…. specifically Hemangiosarcoma, a deadly cancer that arrises in the spleen and gradually becomes more and more engorged with blood finally rupturing causing the dog to bleed to death. Because of his age and the uncertain prognosis for successful surgery we decided not to subject Rider to surgery to remove the tumor. Feeding into the decision is the fact that even with successful surgery, many dogs die quite soon, sometimes within a couple of weeks and we simply didn’t want Rider to live his last days in recovery from major surgery. Hence the decision.
Canines usually die within a few weeks of diagnosis anyway, but Rider lived just past five months. And for that five months we’re very grateful. He wasn’t in pain, had a good appetite, was generally happy and full of pep. His only symptom an enlarged abdomen.
On Tuesday night, November 3rd Rider suddenly quit eating and later in the evening vomited a couple of times. He began to weaken and didn’t want to move around much, and his breathing started to be more labored. We knew then that the end was near.
Throughout the night I stayed with Rider, petting him and talking softly to him. He seemed quite comfortable and even wagged his tail several times. About 6:30 Ed awoke and wanted to spell me so I could get some rest, but before I even dozed off Rider collapsed and in short order died. Both Ed and I were there with him as he went to sleep for the last time. We cried together.
Ed buried Rider with his favorite toy out in the forested part of our property called “The Island.” He’s right next to Muffin, our old cat who died a couple of weeks ago. We lost a great friend when Rider crossed the Rainbow Bridge… but we just know he must be frolicking with his canine buddies now. His journey is over.
Susan Edminster, Granite Falls Washington, November 5, 2009, All Rights Reserved.