We were blessed to know him for nearly 3 years. He roamed into our front yard on an extremely cold December day, a bit thin and slow moving. It was obvious he was not well. If only he could have told us where he lived, but instead he fixed his weary eyes upon ours. Throughout the day, we noticed him making a hole in the ground to lie in, never roaming away. I guess we thought he may find his way home. Even though we already had 3 dogs, we knew we could not leave him out in the cold... we brought him in. I promptly put out signs in our large neighborhood, hoping to get a quick response from a worried owner. After a few weeks, we had one call looking for another dog.
In the first week we had taken him to a vet, only to find that his heart was heavily infested with heart worms and he had a severe case of hip dysplasia. They guessed his age to be about 10 years or so. We started treatment and fed him a special diet. He gained weight, gradually improving. It was not an easy time, as his health was compromised and other issues developed. He had tumors, and one in particular began to grow with amazing speed. We had it removed along with a few others about 8 months ago. He recovered well, and seemed to gain a new energy, but within these last few months, he had days where he just did not want to get up. A few days ago was one of those days, and with each day after, he did not improve.
I had that sick feeling knowing what the vet would probably say. After it was clear that his liver was failing, we decided to put him down. Such a dear friend... so sweet and lovable. I will miss you.