This is Faith, our scared of guns gun dog, a Gordon Setter with an attitude and zero tolerance of squeaky toys. We have climbed many mountains together, her zest for life ensuring that she ran to the point of collapse almost every day.
For a while now we have watched her weight, no matter what she ate she seemed to lose it. Both Tracey and I have been giving her extras and treats, turned a blind eye to the egg thefts and hoped that the poor physique was down to hyperactivity. Around a week ago while she was having a wash and brush up Tracey felt Faith's stomach and it was rock solid. Worried it might be bloat, a twist in the gut, we kept Faith on light duties and under close observation. In herself she was normal, running everywhere, jumping everything, scoffing her food but perhaps a little slower and she was drinking lots and lots. The hardness of her abdomen did not ease. She needed the vet.
The vet confirmed our worst fears today, after a quick examination and a blood test the vet was amazed that Faith was upright yet alone running over the Bonsai Mountainside trying to get the squeakers out of rabbits. Faith has an aggressive cancer, it seems that to see this autumn would be an achievement for her, and while we played ball this evening, it was hard to cope with the emotion of it all. She did her usual running after the ball even when it was still in my hand, she has never learned the secret of the dummy throw. She happily tore another squeaker out of the ball before a light snack of chicken and egg (the vet says we will never be able to get enough calories into her) with her steroid tablets cunningly hidden within. Faith has crammed a lot into her five and a half years and hopefully there are some more adventures ahead before she joins Anthony Beagle, Paddy Setter and our other old timers who have joined in the great celestial rabbit hunt.