Dear Karen,

Whatever happens to our poor dogs we will sometimes feel despair and then mentally shake ourselves and carry on, because we love them and our heart gives us no other choice.

I once bred a cavalier that had a terrible puppy murmur and it turned out he had a hole in the heart. He should have been blue and unable to exercise but he was full of energy. The Cardiologist came to the conclusion that he had a second defect that compensated for the first fault but said he would die by the time he was two years old.

Snoopy collapsed and died suddenly when he was five. He had never shown any symptoms and was always the liveliest of my dogs.

Our dogs do not know of the shadows hanging over them. As long as we can keep them pain free and make sure they truly have a good enough quality of life then we really have been loving and responsible owners.

I think we are all sometimes scared that we may not be able to keep them from suffering, and I would imagine that is a fear that haunts us all. It certainly does me.