Moorfields Torque (Russet)

22nd March 1998 - 19th March 2008

Rest In Peace, Russie

Russie sitting in the sun waiting to go to the Vet on his last day...
decorative musical note  An Irish Blessing [play / stop]

Russie had suffered from a heart murmur for several years, but it had never troubled him until recently when he suddenly took a turn for the worse: both his heart valves were failing, and his hugely enlarged heart was no longer beating properly.

However, with careful care from our vet and a great enthusiasm for life, he cheerfully soldiered on, but steadily deteriorated further. He was put on a course of digitalis which helped regulate his heart; frequent gentle exercise seemed help to inprove his heartbeat too, and definitely improved his circulation.

Sadly nothing seemed to help in prevent the buildup of fluids in his body cavities though, and his Vet had to drain these for him weekly. He was becoming more uncomfortable as the days went on, and finally the fluid was building up too fast, and causing him great distress and discomfort; he had accumulated over 2 kilos in the five days since his last session. At this point we finally decided the kindest thing would be to help him out of his misery, and this his much loved Vet did for him at 11.30am on March 19th 2008, four days before his tenth birthday.

Because I've had two other Cavaliers with MVD, over the last ten years I have raised thousands of pounds for the UK Cavalier Club in order that we could sponsor research in this area. We finally were able to sponsor a research student, Richard Han, who worked with Dr Brendan Corcoran at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, The University of Edinburgh Hospital for Small Animals. However, there is a continuing need for donations of Cavalier heart valves for research purposes, and as it was my wish that Russie's sufferings could have a positive outcome, we decided that a fitting memorial to him would be to contribute his heart valves for research. My thanks go to Margaret Carter of the Cavalier Club, Sue Gorman and Peter Woolley of the Falklands Veterinary Clinic, and Dr Brendan Corcoran of the University of Edinburgh Hospital for Small Animals for making this possible.

Peter Woolley performed Russie's autopsy; his body came back to us the same afternoon, and his heart valves travelled north in the hope that they will aid researchers in finding the cause, and eventually a cure, for MVD.

We buried Russie next to Rufus at the bottom of our garden late this afternoon - Saturday 22nd March - on what should have been his tenth birthday. Magically as we did so, it began to snow, and the flakes continued to fall until we had finished our task and had finally put him to rest.

Russie arriving to live with us June 1998

Old Dog

When you were a young pup
Snuggled safe within my arms
I made a promise to you
That I'd keep you safe from harm...

When you were a young pup
Could I ever see the day
When you'd be an old dog
With muzzle grizzled grey?

When you were a young pup
With eyes so shiny bright
Did I know I'd look into them
And see day turn into night?

When you were a young pup
Could I have then foretold
One day you'd be an old dog
Growing frail and cold?

When you were a young pup
With such a loving heart
Did I know that one day
It would tear us both apart?

When you were an old dog
I did my promise keep
And held you safe within my arms
As you took your final sleep.

Return to Cavalier Attitudes