For those few who have been visiting since 2003 when our yellow lab named after the Eastern Hemlock, Tsuga (“sooga), joined us, you have come full circle. Tsuga died by euthanasia Monday night.
I will perhaps allow myself to work out my grief by eulogizing him here over the coming weeks.
He died from GDV–gastric dilatation and volvulus, from eating or drinking too much too fast. It is, unfortunately, not all that uncommon in larger breeds. It is described in some places as “the second leading cause of death among dogs after cancer” and yet many people are not aware of it.
Tsuga had some episodes of profuse drooling a year or so ago, which is one of the symptoms of GDV, though his condition never became of concern before Monday night. So when he began showing the inability to vomit, obvious discomfort, panting and whining, I reviewed the condition and it seemed apparent that this is what was going on.
The good thing is that over his 8 and a half years, he did not suffer but his final two hours.
I rushed him to the emergency vet clinic in Christiansburg but even that quickly, his symptoms were such that the odds of a normal life after the extensive and risky surgery were too low to allow. He was in great pain, and we made the immensely difficult decision to send him on.
We will be processing our loss and talking about our choices for adding another dog, knowing we can never replace Tsuga.
It is amazing how insinuated he had become in every move we make around here. I look for him right behind me when I turn my chair to get up. I look for him in the doorways to decide to step over or go around him, and he is not there. I search for a place to put my feet when I get out of bed in the morning, knowing he is right there beside me, but the floor is cold and empty.
This is very, very hard, and there is no way around it. So we do the next thing, and I have never felt quite so alone. And it all happened so fast it makes my head swim.
Anybody have a lead on a Labrador Retriever breeder within a couple of hours of Floyd, let us know. We don’t want to go very long without the blessed aggravation of our next dog.