FERN HILL OMEGA MAN SN127594/04
(Sanders Mighty Major Max SF477696 x Annie Sasso SM973509/09)
Dark golden Golden Retriever, 10/21/93 - 4/23/02
In December of 1993, I was walking by the bulletin board in the building where I worked, and my eye
was caught by a very appealing picture of 12 Golden Retriever puppies and two small children all
sitting around a Christmas tree. I stopped to look, and learned that the puppies were for sale.
When I was in my early twenties, I had kept a Golden Retriever for a year for a friend, and had been
very impressed by her happy, friendly disposition. When I went back to the office, I thought about
that picture all afternoon, and just before quitting time, I called the co-worker who owned the puppies.
Over the phone, we arranged that she would bring me one of the puppies -- her favorite, the one her kids
had kept hidden when people came to look -- she called him Omega Man.
She brought him to the office Christmas Eve morning, and I went over to get him. He was already
a big puppy, with the most wonderful expression, and I instantly fell in love. He came home with me,
surprising my husband and children, and it was a wonderful Christmas.
Omega Man as a 9 week old puppy, Christmas 1993
Omega Man was a super dog. He only had one accident in the house and was unusually good even as a puppy.
He grew up to be happy, friendly, cooperative, companionable, extremely smart and trainable -- everything
you could ever want in a dog. He was a very large dog -- 85 pounds and 26" at the shoulders
-- but he stayed off the furniture, didn't jump up on people, and did his best to not be in the way.
Omega was my constant companion. He helped with the farm work, stayed with me in the office
while I worked, and loved to go for rides to the feed store or the school to pick up the kids.
He never met a stranger and was always unfailingly polite. At the same time, he had a
quiet dignity and sense of humor that made him a delight to be around.
In October 2001, I noticed that he was limping on his right front leg. I assumed that he had hurt it somehow
on the farm or playing with Lucky, our Australian Shepherd. When it didn't get any better in a week, I took him
to the vet's. X-rays didn't show anything, so she prescribed a 2-week course of anti-inflammatories. At the end
of the medicine, it wasn't any better. She prescribed another type of anti-inflammatory, but he had an
immediate reaction to it so I discontinued it.
Omega and Lucky, fall 2001 -- in pain
My vet suggested it was time to take Omega to the University of Tennessee veterinary clinic, and made an
appointment. At UT, Omega was X-rayed, joint-tapped, and finally biopsied. It took a long time to get the
diagnosis, but in early December they called with some terrible news -- Omega had cancer in his right elbow.
It was a rare type known as histiocytic sarcoma, and they recommended immediate amputation. Chemotherapy
was not useful against this type of cancer, but fortunately it did not spread easily, and there was hope
that with the amputation he would be able to live out his normal life.
Omega came through the operation like a champion and immediately was back on his three remaining feet. He felt
better than he had for several months, and quickly resumed our daily farm routines. By the end of March,
however, it became apparent that he was not feeling well. Bloodwork and examination turned up a huge
tumor on his spleen, and the vets did not recommend further surgery given his condition. We put him to sleep
on April 23, 2002, at eight years and 6 months.