This story starts back in May 2006 with the arrival of our first Weimaraner, Zeus, I had been without a dog for a couple of years due to circumstances out of my control and had never had an HPR before so this was all new ground for me. Now Zeus was a pleasure from the start, clean in the house, little destruction and keen to learn, soon leading the way in the beating line up on the two shoots I worked on. At 18 months old and being such a pleasure I decided to get another, Leto, born January 2008. What a different story, she tore the house apart and was so dirty, disobedient and headstrong it was unbelievable. By the age of 18 months old I just wanted to give her away, I'd had enough, but the wife stopped me. Zeus & myself would be out twice a week on shoot days, rough shooting etc & Leto would be left at home.
When she reached 2 years old, I can only describe it as a switch in her head being turned on, she over night calmed down and wanted to learn, she started to be clean in the house and stopped causing damage. I started to work with her again and she quickly took over from Zeus, she seemed to find more birds, retrieved faster, would swim (Zeus didn't like water) and retrieve geese, she started tracking deer for me and there seemed to be no limit to her ability. A bond started to form which I underestimated the strength of to the point of possibly risking my life for her. On a very cold, frozen January shoot day she ran onto and fell through the ice on a large flight pond and could not get out. I stripped to my boxer shorts and smashed my way through the ice as I had to swim out to her, taking hold of her and dragging her back to the banking. Another occasion she was bitten by a adder in Scotland so I ended up driving like a lunatic to get her to the vets (I'll try to add some photos) Leto and myself became inseparable, she seemed to know if I had the shotgun she worked ahead pointing and flushing game, if I had the rifle she walked slowly behind me stopping when I did or stepping forward wind scenting to alert me of deer presence. I once had the misfortune of wounding a red stag, bad shot as it moved just as I squeezed the trigger, Leto when sent forward chased it down within 500 yards and held it at bey until I got there to dispatch it. It was a 10 pointer, 17 stone larder weight and the first red she had ever seen. As I got more into stalking and less into rough & game shooting, the two shoots I beat on folded, Zeus started to take more of a back seat as he just wanted to quarter the ground at 100mph flushing game. In January 2013 Leto became very ill within 24 hours she became lethargic, breathless and bloated. I rushed her to the vets and she was diagnosed as having a pericardium effusion, fluid build up around the heart. She had an emergency operation and was referred to Liverpool vet hospital for further tests. She was diagnosed as having a minor heart murmur but not serious. There was no explanation for the fluid build up and she went back to normal.
On January 8th 2014 Zeus seemed a bit off colour, just not himself. He was a very fit dog and had never missed a beat, living life at 100 mph for the past 7 1/2 years. The morning after he struggled to get off his bed and I rushed him to the vets. He was kept in for assessment and it was discovered he had a tumor on his spleen that had ruptured, a desision to operate was made but the tumor had spread over his liver and other organs. The desision was made to let him pass away while under the anaesthetic. RIP Zeus.
That night Leto was very unsettled again lethargic and coughing up lots of white foamy flem while struggling to breath. Off to the over night vets where she had some fluid drained from her lungs. The following morning I took her to my own vet who referred her straight back to Liverpool. She had now gone into heart failure, was given a bucket full of medication & about 6 months to live.
This news knocked me for 6, I'd just lost Zeus, Leto was my inseparable shooting companion, best friend and baby all rolled into one. She was now on monthly visits to Liverpool vet hospital, each time her medication was increased, and her condition deteriorated she could not exercise much and needed to urinate about every 3 hours, due to her medication, I was now sleeping on the sofa with her so I could keep letting her out.
Slow stalking now was all she was capable of and I had the pleasure of taking 3 nice bucks with her since April. In June she had a litre of fluid drained from her chest cavity. This fluid showed signs of cancer cells.
At the beginning of July I had to rush her back to Liverpool vet hospital where 1.8 litres of fluid was drained, I should have let her go but couldn't.
She recovered again each time she was with me wagging her tail and not wanting to be separated. Lying on her bed not wanting anything to do with the wife or daughter while I was at work.
Then on 15th July she showed signs of fluid build up again so on the 16th I did the right thing and took her for her last ride in the pickup, front seat as always, at the vets clinging tightly to me as she went to sleep for the last time. She was only 6 1/2 but I hope she had the best life possible.
RIP Leto. Missed very much