Thursday, December 8, 2011

Good Old Dave - A Farewell

David J. Dog, or as we like to call him, just "Dave"

A month ago we had two hounds in our home, old Katie (age 15) and the younger pup Dave (age 11). As you may recall, we had to put Katie down less than 4 weeks ago. There was some comfort in the fact that we had Dave to keep us company. But Life had other plans for Dave - we discovered that he has bone cancer in his front left leg. So in the span of one month, we face losing both of our beloved hounds.

Dave had developed a limp during the summer and the initial diagnosis was arthritis in his knees. Anti-inflammatories seemed to be working and the limping subsided. Then, about a week before Katie passed away, Dave's limp returned, even more pronounced. Another vet visit and the same diagnosis. However, Dave did not improve. So Anne took him back to the vet one more time this past monday, and new x-rays revealed the presence of tumors in his legs.

We were told that either the leg would have to be amputated, or if the cancer had spread to his torso, then he would have to be put down. On wednesday, a visit to a Vet Oncologist gave us a prognosis of 1 to 3 months if we did nothing, maybe 6 to 9 months if Dave had radiation therapy, and several other "in between" options.

I can't see Dave having a very good life with only three legs, and we don't want to take "heroic measures" to prolong his life. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy might add several months to his life, but at a prohibitive financial cost. So now we are monitoring him, administering pain killers, and sort of figuring out when to put Dave down. The greatest concern is that the bone cancer weakens his leg bone and it could easily fracture if there is too much activity. That would result in putting him down immediately if he breaks his leg.

For now, Dave seems rather happy and cheerful and he is able to walk around the house without too much strain. It seems too early to put him down now. I don't want to wait too long, nor do I want to have it done before it is necessary. We will probably try one round of chemotherapy and see how that affects him. If he could handle it, then we would do this for several more weeks. If the chemo makes him too sick, then that would be the end of that.

We hope that Dave will be with us at least through Christmas and we are gradually entering the 'acceptance' phase of the grief cycle. We expected Katie's demise, but we really did not see this curve ball coming. That is what makes it so shocking and painful. The oncologist said that Dave is in pain, but that Goldens want to please their humans so much that they will hang on longer than most breeds.

As long as Dave is bright eyed and bushy tailed, we will cherish his remaining days. He is such a good fellow. These are sad times, but we are taking great joy from Dave's presence each and every day. Day by day until the time is right. I guess that we will know when that is.

Tomorrow's posting will undoubtedly be more upbeat and less of a downer. We shall persevere. Coincidentally, we had scheduled a visit to a Golden Retreiver breeder this weekend to find a replacement for Katie. The plan for now is to hold off on a new dog until Spring.


  1. Like a great many of us (of a certain age) I've had to say goodbye to a number of dear faithful canine friends . . . family really . . . and it is never easy.

    -- Jeff

  2. No one knows how long we are here for so enjoy each day as a blessing. As long as Dave is happy and not in pain enjoy the time you have.

  3. I feel for you. I've seen more than my fair share of pets pass from my life and each one was as painful as the one before it. You do what you can, enjoy the time you have, and keep the memory of your dear friend alive after he's gone. It's all you can do. Dave knows you are doing your best.

  4. I understand what you're going through, I think. We had to put our older dog down this past summer because of cancer of the jaw. But now my wife is looking into fostering dogs for a rescue organization.
    None of us want to have a house without our animals.
    Hang in there.
    (John G from Ontario)

  5. Poor Dave, we may have the same problem with our dog Jock, he's not been well now for a couple of months and may have to make a horrible decision soon.

  6. That's sad news.
    I feel with you and dave...

  7. This is really sad news and I wish you all well. Pets really do become part of the family.

  8. This is a very sad entry to read especially after the sadness of your other dog.

    In an attempt to slightly cheer you up, I was fortunate to be invited to a private party in Windsor Castle the other evening (not the Queen's bit I should say!). The apartment belonged to a retired senior officer and on the walls were a number of the original David Morier paintings of mid 18th century cavalry, 2 large panels of infantry going through their firearms drill and at the top of the stairwell, a large painting of Frederick the Great on horseback. I tried to start a conversation with the host about these but he wasn't really interested so I can only presume that they are from the Royal collection and go with the apartment rather than the person. Regretfully I didn't have a camera so I can't send you a photo. The Morier paintings especially were fantastic and if there were not policemen everywhere, I would have been mighty tempted!


  9. You have been very fortunate to have such wonderful dogs in your life. It won't feel like it now but it is better to have loved and lost....

    By the way my beagle is Dave too.

  10. Hello Mr. Fritz and family. Have enjoyed your website for some time now but felt compelled to add a comment regarding your latest sad news. I find it amazing the important life lessons so called "dumb" animals teach us humans. We feed and care for them but they give us much more in return. All the best to you and your family.

    Mike from Canada

  11. Herr Fritz,
    I've enjoyed looking at your painted soldiers for several years without making any comments. I'm very sorry to hear about Katie and Dave.

    My Westie, Susie, died after a short battle with cancer. She had a lump which the vet said was almost certainly nothing to worry about (and I still feel guilty that I didn't insist on having more tests done as I can't help feeling that if it had been dealt with straightaway Susie might have been with us a little longer). Booking her final appointment at the vet was one of the hardest things I've done.

    If I hadn't had a second dog, Toby (now an eleven year old), the flat would have seemed very empty. I'd suggest looking at a new dog ASAP - you'll never replace Katie and Dave but having another furry friend definately fills a gap.

  12. Hi Jim,

    I'm really sorry to hear of your loss. Our pets really do become part of the family. It's a tough thing to go through. You're in my family's thoughts.


  13. Aw, that's sad that it's coming so close on the heels of losing your other dog, too. It's never an easy decision when it comes to deciding when is the right time.

  14. My condolences Jim,

    I would go with the amputation, I had a working cattle dog for a few years that only had three legs and he seemed just as happy after he lost his leg (in a vehicle accident) two cents