A little more than three years ago a stray dog crawled under the bushes in our front yard to die. Today he did.
When he found us, he was emaciated, missing about half of his fur, and had multiple large open sores where he had chewed himself raw from itching. He could barely stand or walk. I've never seen an animal that close to death come back, but he did. With the help of numerous vets and some very generous friends, he got a new lease on life with us. We named him Phoenix (rising from the ashes and all), but he usually went by the name of Fuzz. According to DNA testing, he was pretty much purebred Akita, although a lot skinnier than any I've seen. He was our "special needs" child. He was deaf, had a chronic skin condition that caused him to itch like mad sometimes, he had immunity deficiencies that made him very susceptible to infections, his joints were underdeveloped (the vets guess he was malnourished as a puppy), plus hip dysplasia and arthritis, so he walked with a goofy gait. He got more medications in a month than I've taken in the last 5 years. He also didn't understand "dog language", so he didn't abide by typical "pack rules", much to the dismay of our other dogs. (We had to keep them separated when we're not home.) Despite being weak and slow-moving, his Akita genes would kick in when he'd see a strange dog, and he often wanted to fight. He was usually off in a little world of his own. If I had to pick a human condition to compare to, I'd say he was autistic. But he was LOML's baby, and she smothered him with love.
A month or so ago he was diagnosed with bone cancer in his leg. Any of the treatment options would have only prolonged the pain, not cured it, so he'd been receiving the equivalent of hospice care here at home, with enough pain medication to keep him reasonably comfortable. Not surprisingly, his health continued to decline. This morning it was time. We woke up to find blood in his water dish and on his feet where he'd been licking them. It appeared he was bleeding internally, either from the medications affecting his stomach or the cancer itself causing hemorrhaging. So we made that last trip to the vet today. Kinda put a damper on the holiday weekend.
Here's a progression of pics showing some of the changes. The last one was taken yesterday.
Couldn't resist one of the "after a bath" shots...
RIP Little Man.