When Dogs Die – The Long Good-bye

[gplus count=”true” size=”Medium” ]In that first year of living with Comanche, our 3 year old ex-racing greyhound,  we were always on the alert for public fenced in areas where we could run him.  We’d pair up with at least one other family that had their own ex-racing greyhound so we could run the dogs together.

One ex-racing greyhound standing around with nothing to do has almost no reason to run. Give him a running buddy and they become speed merchants, thundering down a grassy field like Olympic sprinters.

Think race track where a typical clocked speed is under 30 seconds for a 5/16th’s of a mile run.

Back in those days, when we walked him anywhere, we could literally stop traffic.  We were constantly answering questions about the type of breed he was, how we got him, what it was like to live with him.

I would tell people that living with greyhounds was like living with large cats.  Most of them take up residence as the self-appointed “coach potato,” of their home.  More times than not, people who adopted one would come back for another one which is how the phrase “just like potato chips – you can’t have just one,” came into being.

We were no different and as we ran the adoption program, you could say that we had the inside track on getting our pick with our second greyhound.

One year after we adopted Comanche, we added a female greyhound.  She was white with a blue-brindle patch on one side and she had beautiful blue-brindle markings on her face.  We named her Giza.

Time flew by and before I knew it, both dogs were six years old.  By that time, we’d added a third dog: Suzy, our shepherd-mix. So I guess you could say that our lives had literally gone to the dogs!

We were quite the sight when we walked the neighborhood.

One spring afternoon, while doing just that,  I suddenly noticed that Comanche was lagging a bit behind.  Normally, his “spot” was right alongside my heel.  At the time, I didn’t think too much about it.

Two weeks later, he was definitely favoring his right front leg.  When I looked carefully between his toes to see if he’d stepped on something sharp or (somehow) picked up a stone, there was nothing to see.  Another week and that limp was more pronounced and I made an appointment with our vet.

The last thing I expected to hear was that my healthy-looking, 6 year old greyhound had bone cancer. But, that was the chilling diagnosis.

My vet looked shocked as he showed me the x-rays.  Comanche’s right shoulder was riddled with cancer.

There’s no cure for bone cancer.  That was the first hurdle we had to get over.  What you can have is time; how much time is anyone’s guess. And, how much quality time is the wild card.

The diagnosis was done on May 13, 1994.  Thirty-eight days later, he was dead.  Six days after that, we found out that Giza had bone cancer.  [gplus count=”true” size=”Medium” ]




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