I just found this forum, too late I guess, as we just had to put our 7-year old Lab, Ranger, to sleep this past Saturday.
I have lived virtually my whole life with dogs, so when my kids got old enough and were pressuring their mom and I for a dog, we went ahead and got them a black lab. We named him Ranger, and he grew into the best dog I ever knew. Not just owned, KNEW.
I grew up with labs, newfoundlands, even had a mixed collie. Other than the newfs, we never had any real medical complications, so when our beloved Ranger was discovered to have hemangiosarcoma, it hit us all like a ton of bricks.
Saturday morning started like any other Saturday. Except Ranger wouldn't eat his breakfast, which was highly unusual, as was his lethargic mopiness around the house, and general disinterest in anything that morning.
A noontime vet appointment to have him looked at discovered internal bleeding, and a subsequent sonogram revealed 2 fist sized tumors; one in his spleen and one in his adjacent lymph nodes. Further testing showed abnormalities in his liver, and a chest x-ray would have likely turned up tumors in his lungs as well, according to the vet.
This was all happening way too quickly. The statistics were flying at us. 67% of these tumors would be malignant. 90% chance that he wouldn't make it long past the surgery. Additional abnormalities in his liver indicated even greater odds of impending doom for him. Operate to remove the tumor on his spleen and he'd soon succomb to one of the others....what to do?
Either way, Saturday had to be the day we made a decision. My kids were scattered around the county at various activities, and only my wife, oldest daughter, and myself were at the vets. I left to pick up my youngest daughter. A friend was called to bring my youngest son to the animal hospital, and my oldest son was re-directed from an activity to meet us all at the hospital. We collected ourselves and reviewed the information.
As a group we decided that the best option was to put our friend down. It was the hardest thing any of us have ever had to do, by far. Gathering around him that afternoon, hugging him, kissing him, talking to him as the veterinarian made the injection was just surreal. He fell into sleep and passed on with us all holding him and comforting him. We were, quite frankly, a big mess.
It has been just 2 days, and we are still weeping and remembering our best friend. The one who always greeted us at the front door with his tail wagging, the one who would jump up on our bed in the morning to let us know the day needed to start, the one who loved us unconditionally.
Ranger was one phenomenal animal, and the very best friend and companion anyone could ever ask for. I wish everyone here would have had the chance to have met him.
Our hearts are broken. We miss him greatly, and I know we always will.