After having worked loyally for the last 12 years protecting CCF’s livestock and training the up-and-coming young livestock guarding dogs, we had to say goodbye to Shades, our male "senior citizen" dog, this Sunday. Over the past ten days Shades' health started to deteriorate. We retired him from guarding his stock and moved him up to our clinic so that he could be monitored constantly. We increased his food intake as he had lost some condition and gave him antibiotics as, following x-rays, he was diagnosed with bronchitis. While he would have most likely recovered from his bronchitis, we were up against a rapidly aging body. Shades was also struggling with his back legs, which was likely caused by compression of the spine and did not improve despite the administration of corticoids.
He remained upbeat and started to gain weight but, unfortunately, although his heart was willing, his body was very tired. He was determined to get back to the kraal to be with his goats, and was brought daily to the kraal in the morning to allow him to spend the warmer hours of the day with his goats. However, on Saturday his strength did not allow him to walk back all the way on his own and he had to be carried part of the way.
On Sunday, following a further deterioration in his health, the hard decision was made to euthanise him. Shades was surrounded by the care team and he was first injected with an anaesthetic so that he gently went to sleep, before the final euthanasia drug was administered. After 12 years of loyal service, he went peacefully and quickly. Later, during a necropsy, a growth of the size of a tennis ball was discovered on his spleen and we are awaiting results from the histopathology to identify the nature of this growth.
He will be greatly missed and remembered by all at CCF.
If you would like to make a donation in his honour, please visit this link.
Livestock Guarding Dog Programme Coordinator
Cheetah Conservation Fund
All photos copyright (c) Cheetah Conservation Fund 2012