Last night around 5pm Kilo was at the lake swimming and having fun when he suddenly collapsed. Pale gums and all, I rushed him back home- we luckily only live minutes away from the beach. He couldn't get out of the car. I got an emergency red bill (yunnan baiyao) into him and the colour started returning to his gums but he was so weak. He spent up to two hours in the back of the car. We parked in the shade and waited with him until he regained enough strength to come inside. He had no appetite but was able to rest all evening. I knew what to expect. We just saw our vet and spoke to a holistic vet last week about his hemangiosarcoma. My vet said he might suddenly lie down and pass away. He was still conscious just lethargic and weak. Had he been in distress I would have gone straight to the vet.
I settled down to sleep on the floor with him last night but he seemed restless, despite barely able to keep his head up. I realized he kept looking to my bed, where he has been sleeping every night but it's so high. He kept getting up and seemed lost until I managed to pick him up and put him on my bed, where he went to sleep immediately. He weighs 85lbs and I'm only about 115lbs so I've never been able to pick him up like that before. Guess when times are dire enough that can change.
This morning he was very weak and had to be carried upstairs. Despite this, he still mentally seemed normal like he was trying to return to his regular routine. I had to zip over across the road to feed a friend's animals and he heard the keys jingle and tried to get up (he always came with me; I'd either walk over or drive with him chilling in the backseat). Then when I got back and was digging bones out of the freezer to make bone broth, he managed to get up and was waiting for me at the top of the stairs. He just had no appetite.
The hour before he passed he seemed a bit restless. Getting up and drinking lots of water, which he vomited back up. He finally laid down in my room where I laid in bed watching him breathing. I heard my family get home and started getting up when I heard him take a big breath and his head was sitting awkwardly so I sat with him. His gums and tongue had suddenly gone pale. I had been monitoring the colour of his gums constantly and it happened very fast. He started taking awkward, delayed breaths and then he was gone. I was lucky to be able to call the rest of my family to come sit with us. But it seemed to happen so suddenly, especially when he'd been up and walking around and seemed to be getting stronger.
We took him in to be cremated. I made sure to save some of his hair. It's just so shocking even though I've known since May 1 he had this cancer. For him to suddenly just be gone. The past week he was back to himself, alert playful and happy. He only had maybe 3 days where he seemed lethargic. I wish I had restricted his swimming last night; I'm pretty sure it triggered the bleed. But he was having so much fun, and I know I'd rather he had a good quality of life rather than just living every day on his bed not able to do the things he loved.
It still doesn't seem real. I was trying to prepare for this, but he'd been doing so well I thought we'd have more time. He has always been at my side. Everywhere I'd go, he'd go. I don't know if I'll ever connect with another dog like I did with him. He always seemed to understand more than he should have, and was so in tune with me I often didn't need to say things to him he'd just do them. I've taken so many photos of him over the years. Without him I would have lost interest in photography. We could go for a hike and I would suddenly tell him to stop, and he would stand there patiently, or 'modeling' as I took photos at different angles, etc. He was so patient that way.
I don't really know what to do now. Lola was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma last year, but with how she hasn't changed I wonder if it wasn't malignant. We didn't do further testing with the symptoms she was showing but she seems ok. I've just always prepared to lose her at any time as well. She was only supposed to be a temporary foster as her owner passed away last year but I didn't think she had long to live either so I've been treating her palliative. I never thought Lola would've outlived him.
It's so frustrating. I fed Kilo the best whole foods, his bloodwork was always excellent, no signs of masses. This cancer came up so fast. He would've only just been turning 8 this month but he seemed to be coming into his prime. He didn't show his age. I did so much work with him and he'd finally settled into the dog I always wanted. We fixed his leash aggression/reactive issues. I could take him anywhere and he would be so good. I learned so much with him I just wish we could have had more time. For years I rarely took him anywhere and it was always muzzled and on a short leash. This past year after working with a trainer he was like a different dog. So much more relaxed, confident. He was in such fantastic shape. Just in March, I was taking him out on the trails when I'd run my horses up the hill. We'd go out every day, often on 2-3 different rides while I got my horses in shape. He never seemed to tire, even running through snow the whole time. This time last year we were hiking 10km+ a day when I worked at an off leash hiking kennel.
I just don't know what to do now. Kilo was my life. Everything I did was for him or to include him. With Lola she could also go at any time. She is a sweet dog but I don't have the same connection there. The thought of having no dogs, and missing that companionship disturbs me. But the thought of starting over with a puppy is overwhelming and exhausting to me. Especially when it took years for Kilo to mature into the dog he was. I don't even think I will bond with another dog like him again