Monday, November 30, 2009


Been looking forward to writing a little- the Convention was a great experience. Homecoming wasn't.

An average dog knows more about loyalty than the most extraordinary human. Got home to see our beautiful airedale listless and stumbling. He came to me. We brought him inside. I lay down and he lay down next to me, just happy to be near his human.

He was cold. Listless, stumbling... but he was cold. Everything I could think of that would cause his symptoms came with a fever, or involved a slow deterioration. I guessed hypothermia. Beast wasn't a bright dog in a lot of ways and had brought himself to near-hypothermia several times by getting stuck under the porch. It wasn't that cold out... but it was all I could think of.

I didn't think shock. He wasn't dehydrated. He wasn't bleeding. His abdomen wasn't swollen or tender or rigid. He wasn't sweating (I know, dogs don't sweat, just used to humans). His breath wasn't shallow or rapid, it alternated between normal and very deep.

I couldn't figure it out and decided that it could wait for morning, for our regular vet. If it was hypothermia, he would be fine in the morning. Other than shock, there isn't a lot of intersection between "Things that will kill you quick" and "things the vet can do something about".

Then Beast collapsed. We made the run in to the 24-hour clinic late on a Sunday after an exhausting weekend. He didn't survive surgery. I called it wrong. It was shock. Cancer on the spleen, bleeding into the abdominal cavity. Bringing him in immediately might have changed nothing, but I'll never know. So I own this one, this death. A good, loyal, brave friend. Not that smart. And four legged, but I didn't mind.

Cold and wet digging a grave this morning. Didn't notice at the time. Digging gives you some time to think.


Kai Jones said...

I'm sorry for your loss.

VC said...

Sheelah and I will throw the ball and think of you both.

Unknown said...

It's not your fault, Rory...some things just happen. Second guessing yourself doesn't do any good. I'm sorry that you lost Beast, he was a good dog. I'll mis him.

Mark Jones said...

Sorry to hear about Beast.

jks9199 said...

My condolences.

All I can say is that, often, with dogs, there is no warning for this sort of thing until it's too late to do anything other than spare the animal's suffering. My wife lost a dog to some sort of cancer a few years ago; the only warning was an experience much like yours.

Again -- my condolences.

Molly said...

He may have been just hanging on until you got home. You did. He died, knowing his human was well,that seems to be what a dog like beasts lives for. He will be missed. Condolences from our family to yours.

Steve Perry said...

Oh, man. I grieve with you.

Anonymous said...

Very sorry for your loss. Reminds me of a quote I heard somewhere, "I'm just trying to be half the man my dog thinks I am."

I think I'll go home for lunch today and share it with my dogs.

Ann T. said...

Dear Rory,
I actually agree with everyone but especially with Molly. It fits right in with what you said about your dog's loyalty. He was glad to have you.

I am very sorry for your loss.

Ann T.

Anonymous said...

sorry for your loss, Rory. I'll echo Molly's thoughts.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Really sorry to ear about your loss. My sincere condolences to you and the rest of the dog's family.


Unknown said...

There's a poem "They called him Rags" by Edmund Vance Cooke. You'll like it.

Irene said...

Very sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

I think my dog ate some rat poison I'd left where she could get it. We had a big mice problem- smell of mice pee everywhere. She never looked interested in the stuff- litle green rice-looking things.

One day I came home and she was crapping black stuff, couldn't move- took her to the vet, they said a stomach ulcer. I didn't say different. I got her injected.

I expect someone will leave something shiny and tasty where I won't know better someday.


Mike171 said...

something we can never understand is the look that they give you when they see you for the first time that day. Ears back, butt wagging, almost as if they could speak your name. Sorry for your loss, Rory.

RIP Kilo