Thursday, June 29, 2006
Dogs and Cancer
One agility friend has a Bernese Mountain Dog named Kintla, who is just barely 8 years old. Kintla is a lovely, agile, fast dog for a breed that looks so large and solid. They've done very well together in agility, earning both the USDAA championship (ADCH) and the AKC championship (MACH), which are beyond the reach of many, many dogs. But Katie told me last year that she knew that Kintla was living on borrowed time, because cancer is rife in this breed, that both her parents died young (6 years old, I think), and that the average life expectancy of the breed is only 8 years or so anyway.
I found out a week ago that Kintla's fate has caught up to her and she does, indeed, have cancer--very aggressive, and in her bloodstream, and metastasized to at least one vital organ. Today I found out that Kintla will be put to sleep tomorrow, while she's still bright-eyed and beautiful. She was more than happy to relieve us of our extra dog treats and cheese. But she apparently has trouble even walking and keeping food down, so her quality of life has deteriorated rapidly.
It's always heartbreaking to lose a dog, especially a special one like this one. And it brings back painful memories for all of us who've lost a dog to cancer. Boost's sister's mom and I were alternately fawning over Kintla and crying for our cancer-taken Remington (9 years old) and Morey (a Golden who died at 7).