Goodbye to the best first dog that anyone could ever have asked for. Goodbye to the dog that introduced me to the breed I love and to the sport I love. It's because of Summit's patient, willing, but slightly training challenged self that Kili and Kenna have been able to become the successful agility dogs that they are today, and the reason that I will always own greyhounds.
We adopted Summit while I was in vet school. He was 5 years old and the easiest dog you'll ever meet. He walked into our home and accepted the rabbits, the first time dog owners, all the dog festivals that I could now gleefully attend because I had a dog of my own, and so much more. He let me clip his nails, brush his teeth, sign him up as a blood donor, drag him around to ultimate games, collect blood and give vaccines on my own... even stitch and remove lumps without sedation or restraint.
And when I decided that maybe I actually could train a greyhound to do agility, he went right along with it. Although we never mastered the teeter or the weave poles, and he never trialed, he taught me so much... including that if I wanted an agility greyhound... I could have an agility greyhound. And so instead of getting a border collie when we were ready for dog number two, we got Kili.
I said this fall that I didn't think Summit would make it through the winter, but as the months passed I started to think maybe he would. Maybe he'd make it to his next birthday. But then about 2 weeks ago he started to be a little slow getting up for dinner. I thought his arthritis was progressing and increased his pain medication, but that didn't help. A few days later he refused to eat until I mixed in some canned food, and I felt the first twinge of anxiety - this dog had never refused food in his life. Then a few days after that he refused to eat even after adding canned food and cheese - and then I knew something was very wrong. Despite his bloodwork being normal, his continued picky appetite made me ultrasound him last week. There were some concerns about his liver and one segment of small intestine but no concrete answers. His appetite picked up over the weekend and I started to hope maybe he'd rally for a little longer.
Today I took Summit to work for another ultrasound, but an hour before, he suddenly couldn't sit up or stand, he seemed uncomfortable and anxious. He had to be carried to the ultrasound room for his scan, where Cam determined that he had a mass in his intestines and fluid in his chest, likely metastatic GI lymphoma or adenocarcinoma (x-rays of his chest last week were normal). Since he progressively seemed more and more disoriented (almost seemed like he was having an old dog vestibular event, wanting to turn/roll to one side) we made the decision to let him go right away. He never asked anything of us in all the time we had him, we certainly could not deny him a quick goodbye while he was suffering.