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(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.

Best Friends, April 1995   Omega in snow, 1997

Fun and Games with Lucky, 1996

Omega and friends, 1998

Omega Sleeping, 1999

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 & Lucky
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.

I'll always miss him.

254 Babbs Road, Lenoir City, TN 37771
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Revised March 25, 2009