Fellow dog owners will understand

Fair to say, it’s not been the best of starts to the year. Following on from our spate of fox attacks on the hens, the biggest shock of all was losing our gorgeous Golden Retriever ‘Libby.’ She was fine, loving her food, enjoying walks and having fun, just that that night, when she was asleep on her side, I noticed her breathing was a little shallow. Rang the vet the following morning and got her in, he did all the usual checks, listened to her heart – fine. Lungs – fine. Body – fine. Temperature was a little high so thought maybe an infection, and because she wasn’t spayed, wanted to rule out Pymetra so took a blood sample and we left. Couple of hours later, phone rang and yes her bloods had a high white cell count so took her back in at 2pm as he wanted to do an X ray before surgery, still going with Pymetra theory. At 2.45pm he rang and I knew that was way too soon. He’d opened her up and there was a massive tumour situated between her liver and spleen, something he had never seen before in all his 30 plus years. There was nothing he could do, the x ray also revealed fluid build up around the lungs, the kindest thing was to let her go, and that’s what we did. At 7 years old, we lost the most beautiful girl – the kindest, sweetest, loyal soul that was Libby. We loved her to bits and have been in bits with her sudden passing, but what a privilege it was to be able to share such unconditional love and she knew we loved her just as much as she loved us.

Who’d have thought we’d lose Libby before dear old Tess at 14 and a half. It certainly knocked her for six too which resulted in a bacterial infection brought on by stress – for those that think animals don’t feel – they’re wrong.

I’ve always had Golden Retrievers, even bred 2 generations and all my girls bar the last two lived well into their teens but reading the statistics on the breed now, they reveal that 60% of them will develop cancer – twice the average for other breeds – how on earth has that been allowed to happen – that’s dreadful.

I know on both the occasions I chose to breed, my girls had their eyes tested and their hips scored and if at any stage they didn’t pass, I wouldn’t have let them continue. As it was, they were good and with the help of a local breeder, I then researched the stud dog, paying close attention to his offspring. Looking back, cancer wasn’t even thought about as it wasn’t an issue, but it obviously is now and just hope something is being done about it. Just like us humans, the cancer gene must run in canine famililes too and if it is known to be in either the bitch or sire, then those animals should not be breeding.

I know Libby didn’t suffer, she was playing right up to the day she died, but she shouldn’t have died – she was too bl**dy young. I really don’t know if I’ll have another Golden, if I do, I’ll be wanting to know alot more than eyes and hips, that’s for sure.

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