Sunday, October 5, 2008
Baxter and Otis
Today was a very sad day. Baxter, my son Jon's golden retriever, has been living with us since August because Jon and his family were trying to sell their house. (Anyone who has owned a Golden knows how much hair they shed.) So Bax was here for a few months while the house was on the market. Otis, our Black Lab puppy, was thrilled. A new playmate!
This week Baxter began behaving oddly--not wanting to come when we called, uninterested in treats, etc. We thought he was pining for his family, so Larry took him for a ride and bought him a Slim Jim, one of his favorite treats. He perked up and we thought he was okay again. Yesterday he was in fine form, jumping into bed with us, balancing dog biscuits on his nose then flipping them in the air and catching them, and hanging out by the firepit all evening and almost catching his big wavy tail on fire. Just his usual happy self.
But today he would not come out from under the porch when we called him. We finally coaxed him out and put him in the truck to go with Larry and some of the grandkids to lay block again. But Bax did not seem to be feeling well, and when they got to Jordan's he disappeared under the house and would not come out. Jordan called Jon, her Dad, and they decided that Jordan would take the dog to the vet the next day.
When I arrived at Jordan's, Larry was very concerned. He said Bax wouldn't drink any water, and would not come out from under the house. He and Jared finally pulled Baxter out and immediately we loaded him in my car, called the emergency vet number and took off for the office, over an hour away.
It was too late for Baxter. Apparently he'd had a large tumor for some time, and it had ruptured overnight. There was nothing the vet could do. We brought him home and laid him to rest in our pet graveyard.
The vet told us that Golden Retrievers are prone to tumors (we lost our dear pet Pup, who was 14, to the same thing), especially of the stomach and spleen. So if you own a Golden, be warned. There were no visible signs; Baxter usually slept a lot; he'd lost weight but we thought that was because he was living in the country with us and was more active.
We got attached to Baxter. There was nothing we could have done to change what happened, according to the vet--the tumor had been there a long time. But telling my son and his family was a terrible thing to have to do. They loved that dog. What is not to love about a big Golden who can balance a dog biscuit on his nose, wait until told, then flip it in the air and catch it?
He was one good dog, and we miss him already. It's been a very sad, sad day.