August 25, 2016
Rossi (Cap’n Ross, Rosster)
ROSSI….our big man…Cap’n Ross….lost today to cancer.
It has come as a huge shock, and to say we are devastated is an understatement.
We had been backward and forward to the vet several times over the last few months, as there were subtle, and not so subtle changes.
The vet thought he had renal failure, so we expected a gradual decline, some weight loss, etc. He went onto a very bland renal orientated diet.
He continued to enjoy life in typical Rossi fashion-sunbathing, rambling, car rides and days out, chilling with his human ‘besties’, and of course food.
He lost weight this last week.
Yesterday he wasn’t right. He was tired, quiet, drooling excessively, reluctant to get out of bed, his breathing was laboured and noisy. He didn’t want to eat. He wasn’t himself.
We booked an appointment with the vet, struggling to get him in the car. He could barely walk, there was no strength left in him.
X rays revealed a huge mass above the bladder, changes in the lungs, and an enlarged heart as it struggled to co ordinate with his inefficient lung function.
We were left reeling. Not just a primary mass, but secondary in the lungs. The vet didn’t think he would last the night.
We took our boy home, completely shell shocked and struggling to comprehend what was happening.
Dedicated volunteer Debbie stayed with Rossi in his comfy cabin, both wrapped in a huge, cosy duvet.
By this morning he had rallied. Ross was still very much here!
He enjoyed steak for breakfast, with a Yorkshire pud, but didn’t fancy the chicken or roast potatoes.
With help, he made it to the deep cover field, where he inspected every clump, marked it, and gazed around him, as if trying to memorise every last detail of his field-his patch.
We let him call the shots, helping him back to his cabin when he wanted to leave the field. He laid outside on his duvet, enjoying the warm sunshine, surrounded by his friends.
The effort of going to the field and back had exhausted him.
He was peaceful, content, and smiling. The pain came in waves-he would frown, his breathing more laboured, his now sunken eyes closed.
It started to rain-a summer shower, and he was up and heading into his cabin, where he laid down so he could see out of the door. We followed. He looked pleased with himself, happy and contented.
The vet arrived soon after, and Rossi being Rossi, and hating the vet with a vengeance, we expected a battle, yet he almost welcomed her.
As the vet entered, he lay his great head down, closed his eyes and sighed, as if preparing to go to sleep after a satisfying day. And that is exactly what he did as he slipped peacefully away. It was a relief for him. He was ready to go.
It is a measure of this huge, strong and determined dog that he was able to keep going so long, given what was happening inside him. Never, ever have I experienced such a huge character, such huge spirit, such determination as I found in Rossi. I have experienced the full force of a Johnson’s American Bulldog. This wonderful, amazing, courageous and very brave boy has my heart forever. And quite a few more, I know for sure.