This afternoon our pack numbers just half as many dogs as it did a few years ago. At our highest number, 26 dogs called this place home. This morning there were 14; this afternoon just 13 remain.
This morning began like any other, with Reggae yelling at me from his pen! This happened every morning as soon as Tehya came outside. He wanted Tehya in his pen right now! After a little while of listening to his complaints, I went to put Tehya in with him. Reggae didn't come to the gate to greet her. I found him a short distance away, laying in a patch of fireweed, alert & yelling but unable to move on his own. The yelling stopped as soon as I got to him; he wasn't yelling for his girlfriend this time, he was yelling for help.
He was less responsive and much quieter by the time we got to the vet clinic. His gums were grey and his breathing was ragged. An x-ray showed a large tumour in his chest cavity, pushing on his vagus nerve and likely his heart and lungs too. Reggae had a senior check up about a couple months ago. He had recently gone blind in one eye, but other than that, he had no serious health issues. He turned 14 in May and seemed to be doing quite well. The location of the mass in his chest meant it caused no symptoms until it caused major symptoms. There was no choice but to release Reggae from a body that had suddenly and dramatically failed him.
Just last night he was yelling at me through the fence when I was too slow bringing him a bone. Today it is oppressively quiet here. My neighbours likely won't miss his racket, but I will miss my noisy, happy boy.