Hi everyone. I have read several topics on this site, just never posted before. I can't believe I am here today to post for the first time under such horrible circumstances.
The day before Thanksgiving, I let our 5 year old GSD out to chase a squirrel out of the bird feeder, like I've done so many times in the past. This was one of his "jobs" he took very seriously and he knew just by eye contact that was the mission and would race me to the door most times. In the usual fashion, I let him out the front door without uttering a word as if I said "SQUIRREL!!!" my recently adopted American Eskimo would start barking, which would alert the squirrel to then run from the feeder, not giving Gunnar a fair chance to catch the dastardy rodent. For some strange reason, Gunnar always insists that I have to point the direction he needs to run in order to complete the mission. I have no idea why, as the run for the squirrel has only been one direction in all the times this weird game has played out. So, as was customary, he bolts through the barely opened door, starts running in the direction, which is at the back of the house but always looks back at me for my hand to point in what direction to run. Funny, now that I think about it. Always so eager to please, my boy. Anyways, also customary to this game was I would let him out the front door, he would bolt, look back, I would point, shut the front door, then run to the back of the house where our big picture window overlooks the birdfeeder where the dastardly squirrel eats and eats and eats. If he didnt' catch the squirrel(which only happened once if truth be known)you would hear "WOO WOO WOOOOOF!!!!" and his hackles would be up and he would stop, point towards wherever the squirrel fleed and look back towards the house as if asking, "Did you see THAT, Mom?!"
*WARNING* This may be too sad for most to go on reading.
Only, this day, as I looked out the picture window, he was laying on his right side right in front of the birdfeeder. I have to admit, for a fraction of a second I truly thought he had slid and fell and just couldn't right himself. I was thinking, "what a goof!" My smile quickly changed to a frown as I saw his big legs kick a few times, as if he was trying to get up, but his head and neck weren't moving at all. Next what I saw, I truly wish would leave my mind as it was no doubt his last few seconds on earth. Suddenly his neck hyperextended backward and he was still. This all happened so, so fast! I was rooted there, watching from the window as my emotions went to almost giggling at his goofy antics of falling and not getting up to wondering if he was having a seizure, to just knowing, it was not. I sprinted out the front door and this part is a blur but I think I was clapping my hands together, like I would do when I wanted him to run toward me. I remember hollering his name, I think I started to slow down as I approached him and what I'm truly having trouble recalling is whether there was any noise coming from him. I can't say for sure. I think I was in utter shock. This was such a magnificent, healthy, muscular, vibrant dog!!! This couldn't be happening! I crouched down, calling his name, there was no movement. I could tell he was gone. His eyes were fixated, he tongue was out and already turning bluish. I tried giving CPR, he was limp. He was gone. That quick. I was bawling my eyes out. I ran inside, grabbed a coat and my slippers as I had run out in the freezing temps with nothing but my PJ's on. I ran downstairs and woke my son who joined me outside in utter disbelief. Neither of us could believe this. Gunnar was the epitome of health. He had eaten a great breakfast. He hadn't been acting ill. The only medical problem he had prior to this was being diagnosed with Pannus and occassional stress diarrhea. Totally healthy. No coughing, limping, distress of any kind. No warning.
I have been reading much on here since then and I am under the belief that this must have been hemangiosarcoma, although it seems he was a bit young. He just turned 5!
I did not opt for a necropsy. It's hard to justify when your dog is lying there dead. It seems pointless. I would have had to haul him to the vet, we wouldn't have been able to bury him until after we got the body back, and it's Minnesota, freezing temps were prevailing and who knows how much time we had to get him into the ground before it's too late. I am somewhat doubting that decision now as I'll never know for sure what it was that killed him.
He was such a great dog! I've had tons of great dogs in my life and for that I am truly grateful but Gunnar was extraordinary! From the first day we brought him home, he was just so level headed, so smart, so beautiful! I am so sick with grief over this! It truly feels like a nightmare I can't wake up from. I have never had a loss equal this. I should be grateful for that too. But I'm still in so much disbelief, almost angry! This is so unfair! We have 2 other dogs and the void that has been left behind without our Gunnar is so depressing!
If you've read this in it's entirety, I thank you. I just needed an outlet to pour this out and I figured only other dog lovers would get this.
This picture is the last picture I ever took of Gunnar. I actually had to go an retrieve it from my recently deleted photo file as I looked at it and thought, I have so many picture of him, this one really doesn't do him justice. Now it will forever be kept close to my heart because it was the last picture I took of him.
My precious boy. Until we meet again.