The Journey’s End

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.

Rider and toy

Susan Edminster, Granite Falls Washington, November 5, 2009, All Rights Reserved.

This entry was posted in Around Echo Hill Farm, The Four Dog Blog. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Journey’s End

  1. Harold Edminster says:

    So sorry to hear about Rider. We lost a dog not long ago, was like losing a child.

  2. susaned1 says:

    Thanks Harold. We’ve been surprised at how much pain we’re feeling. Those guys occupy a special place in our hearts. Sue

  3. Stacey says:

    first and foremost -So sorry read of your loss of Rider,
    I came across this the day I came home from getting the horrible news of our springer’s Codie having this horrible disease on 17th of December 2009 (his is the spleen).
    My furry son Codie is almost 15 yrs old. I am terrified that every time I leave the house that I will come home and he will have crossed the rainbow bridge w/out me home.
    I have currently had to put a Depend’s on him as he is starting to dribble urine, did your Rider do this?
    Besides lots of loving, feeding him whatever he will eat that is safe for him, and taking lots of pictures to remember him by do you have any suggestings or things you noticed before the end?
    I feel so alone and hate the thought of loosing my son. I have had him since he was 3 weeks old-fed him with a bottle.

  4. susaned1 says:

    Dear Stacey,
    My heart is aching for you right now. As you say Hemangiosarcoma is such a terrible disease .. Rider’s was in or on the spleen also and his main symptom along the way was that his abdomen began to grow very large, and yes he started dribbling urine. He also started getting a little short of breath at the last. But at least it was not a painful disease and his appetite was fine until the night before he died, and then he stopped eating and became quiet and didn’t want to move around much. There was no pain in Rider’s passing, it was quite peaceful.
    I think what you’re doing is perfect for Codie. Just spend as much time as you can petting and cuddling and giving attention to Codie, and yes, giving him special treats too.
    Stacey, I hope you’ll keep in touch with me and let me know how things are going. It’s a lonely road to travel and you feel so helpless along the way. Take care, and give Codie a special hug from me.

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