My heart is breaking.
Yesterday, our beloved greyhound, Laddie, who had been steadily losing weight this week despite eating well, collapsed, gasping for breath.
We rushed him to the vets, where we made the decision to have him put to sleep. The vet did offer to do tests, but none of us wanted to put him through all that only to find that whatever he had was untreatable, we wanted the best quality of life for him and he has been steadily going down hill since Christmas. He had problems with his back legs, and struggled to move them in order to lay down, recently not wanted to go for a walk, which was so unlike him. Over the last week, he had a few times where he made an awful sound, like he was trying to get his breath. It was like listening to someone having an asthma attack, yet, as quickly as it started, it would go. Although we were concerned by this, he would then act like a puppy, throwing his toys around and run in the garden, so no we weren't unduly concerned.
Then, at the beginning of the week, I noticed that he was losing weight. Never being a 'fat' dog, he was losing his muscular definition, his ribs were showing, making him look as though he hadn't eaten in weeks. Then on Friday he went off his food, a dog that will eat as though it is going out of fashion.
We hoped, on Friday, that if this was it, he would go quietly, surrounded by his family, yet Saturday morning, he gobbled up his breakfast, ran round the garden, and was his sprightly self again, until around 4pm, my eldest son let him out and watched him as he collapsed, making that dreadful gasping noise.
The vet, after listening to his heart, did say it was going far too fast and that she was 90% certain he had heart disease. She offered to do tests, but as difficult as the decision was, we declined and asked that he should be put to sleep. She agreed that we were making the right decision as there was no guarantee he would survive the myriad of tests that they would have to do, and greyhounds metabolisms tend not to cope with the anaesthetic that would be required to enable to do those tests. We didn't think it would be fair to put him through all that.
Yet I feel this huge sense of guilt today. His brother, Baron, is looking as lost as we feel. We allowed him to sniff his brother and to say goodbye before we buried him with his favourite toy, his pillow and some chew sticks to take with him to Rainbow bridge, where no doubt, he is running around with our other dog, Gazza, while he waits for us to join him.
RIP Laddie, you were always a faithful friend.