On December 8th I had to make the decision to have Polar put to sleep. He was our family’s six year old Bernese Mountain Dog, and my traveling companion. I don’t normally talk about non VW stuff here, but he was a part of this world of mine.
I don’t get sad very often but I am now. All I can do is tell you the details…
We started seeing a drop in energy with Polar two weeks before Thanksgiving, and he developed a hot spot. Xrays produced no evidence, and blood tests were normal. After the Thanksgiving weekend his appetite dropped, and we didn’t notice that Oscar (our other Berner) was stealing his food. By mid week last week, he stopped eating, lost 6 pounds, and by Saturday we were forcing fluids with a baster waiting for our Monday appointment in GR Vet with Randy Carpenter.
Monday was an exhausting day. 7:45 we went to our vet for a liter of fluid, Noon we were in Grand Rapids getting Xrays and Ultra sounds, 3:30 we were at a Cardiologist, and by 5:30 Polar and I were on our way to MSU.
When we arrived, he had developed spontaneous pneumothorax, and
couldn’t breath, then when they found bleeding, the decision became
clear. He went with that staunch dignified look that held back the
obvious pain. I sat there balling and comforting him.
Polar with with us almost exactly 6 years, he was my dog, going to work with me most days and traveling to 21 states and Canada. We were preparing to do the Shore to Shore trail next summer; Empire to Oscoda. We had worked up to 20 miles a day. We hiked in Colorado to the continental divide, and most of the Sleeping Bear Dunes. He was the best trail dog I have ever had, staying out 20 feet and coming back to “check in” every so often.
We also lost Mrs Sage’s 19 year old cat in August, it’s been a tough year. We are lucky to have our rescue Oscar, but it’s sad to see him look out the window for Polar. Eventually we will start wanting the activity level in our house back to normal, but it will be a while for me to be ready.
MSU has not yet determined the cause, prelim results showed unusual activity in the lungs, but no conclusions. I will post here when I get results.
EDIT It was determined to be Carcinoma in the Lung and Adrenal Gland. Polar had a highly malignant epithelial neoplasm, first on the Adrenal Gland then into the Lungs. There was no more specific diagnosis at this time, but they could pursue this if necessary.
He also suffered Pneomothorax when the staff punctured his lung while attempting to drain the chest of air build up.
Thank you for all the kind words, reality is settling in, every time I speak to him and he’s not there. It’s just a sad time for us, but all my VW friends have made it more comforting.