THE IRISH Wolfhound from Belgium who won the hound group at Crufts this year has died.
Gary Janssens’ Ger/Bel/Dutch/Lux Ch Just In Time of First Avenue (James) was found collapsed in the garden and died the same day.
He was three years old.
A post-mortem examination showed that he had four litres of blood inside his abdomen, and poisoning was suspected when no bloat or spleen problems were found. But a second examination revealed a large bruise on his ribcage near his liver, and it is now believed the bleeding was caused by trauma.
He was with other dogs in their exercise area at Mr Janssens’ home in Turnhout at the time, and it is thought he suffered a trauma to his side while playing with the Wolfhounds. One of the large blood vessels had ruptured and he had slowly bled to death.
James was discovered by his breeder, Regine Vandamme, a vet, who was looking after the dogs while Mr Janssens and his family were away.
“I got to Gary’s home and found James in the garden lying down,” she said. “At first I thought he was sleeping in the grass, but when I went up to him there was no reaction. Normally when he saw me he would jump up and lick me.
“When I got closer I saw there was something terribly wrong. He just lifted his head, and I saw immediately there was a big problem. I would say he was 80 per cent dead at this point.”
It was almost impossible to get James on his feet, but Ms Vandamme managed to get him into her car where she attempted to give him emergency treatment.
“But after ten minutes he died in my arms,” she said.
“It was a terrible nightmare. James was in super condition and all the dogs are heart checked at the university regularly.
“We are devastated. We will never know for sure exactly what happened. Did he play too roughly with the others? Did they collide or did James hit something in the playground? Gary has made sure it is completely safe there, with no trees or anything that could hurt them. But James was very playful.
“We are left with very much pain in our hearts. James was so much more than a show dog. He was perfect at home with Gary, Sandra and the children. To me he was the most strong and loving dog – the kind you have only once in a lifetime.”
James, who won his first CC at Crufts on the first occasion Gary had shown there, was best Irish Wolfhound male in Belgium in 2011.
James and Gary Janssens are pictured at Crufts with (L to R) judge Michael Quinney and Windsor ch show secretary Irene Terry who presented the trophy. photo Walker