Our Beautiful Radley

by Karen
(Lincolnshire, England)

Ammy and Radley in the woods

Ammy and Radley in the woods

September 8th 2014 was a day that changed my life. We took our beautiful boy Radley to the vet for x-rays and we never brought him home. He was only eight years old.

We had taken him out to walk nice and early because he was going to have a general anaesthetic so he couldn’t have breakfast.

I hated the idea of him hanging round the house wondering why we hadn’t fed him.

He loved that last walk. We took him round a playing field close to the vet’s surgery while we waited for it to open.

He sniffed and he rooted in the hedge bottoms and he barely limped at all. He was happy, and we were so excited to see him enjoying himself so much.

We fully expected to be bringing him home. I’d even planned a delicious treat for him for when he came round from the anaesthetic. But it was not to be.

We took him to the vets, stayed with him while he had his premed, and then came home to wait for the phone call saying we could pick him up.

When the call finally came I had to make the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. What we were hoping was a bit of arthritis was osteosarcoma. The vet said it was an aggressive tumour and that there had already been changes to the bone.

He said he would probably have two months at the most and that we must decide what quality of life he would have during that time. He warned me about the possibility of a pathological fracture which could occur just walking down the steps to the garden.

He also talked me through the possible treatment – an amputation, followed by chemotherapy. I’d half tuned him out by the time he started talking about secondary tumours in the lungs. I knew I couldn’t possibly put him through surgery and chemo, and I knew his quality of life would be vastly reduced if we let him come home. No walking at all and the possibility of a spontaneous fracture just getting up from his bed.

I couldn’t bear the thought of him breaking a leg and having to be rushed to the vet in agony, but could I bear to let him go without saying goodbye?

In the end I knew I had no choice. He loved his walks and he would have been so unhappy spending his last days stuck indoors lying on his bed. I told the vet not to wake him up from the anaesthetic but I’ve questioned that decision every day since I made it.

My heart tells me I did the right thing. There were so many signs that he was ready to go. He almost broke the door down to get into the vets and as soon as it opened he barged past the poor receptionist and tried to get straight into the treatment room. That’s something he’s never done before.

He also walked off, as happy as can be, with the male vet and, other than his dad and his grandad, Radley never really liked men. There were other signs too, but in the end, I just knew it was time.

It doesn’t make it hurt any less, but I can take comfort in the fact that the last image I have of him was his wagging tail and smiling face looking back at me as he walked away with the vet.

We will always love you, my beautiful boy xxxx

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