A GRIEVING family in South Tyneside are devastated after their beloved pet died, just hours after the Great North Dog Walk.
Austin, a Springer Spaniel, took part in Sunday’s three-and-a-half-mile trek along the Leas in South Shields.
He was accompanied by owners Tess Bushell and Ashleigh Wade, along with their children Ethan, nine, and Lily, six.
However, the 13-year-old dog took a turn for the worse at the end of the walk – which saw 20,247 pooches take part.
Mr Bushell, from Ede Avenue in Marsden, South Shields, said: “Austin completed the walk, but then took ill at the end.
“Some of the vets who were present had a look at him, but we were advised to get him to the emergency vet’s right away.”
The family dashed to the emergency out-of-hours vet’s at Heworth, Gateshead, and after several tests and scans it was discovered Austin had cancer.
Mr Bushell said: “Basically, his liver was riddled with tumours and there was some serious internal bleeding .
“The options were to operate, with a very small chance of survival. On a 13-year-old dog it was not advised.”
Sadly, the decision was made for Austin to be put to sleep.
Mr Bushell added: “We are all devastated by what’s happened, but we would like to thank Pets At Home and Vets For Pets for all of their help on Sunday. It was appreciated.”
Walk organiser Tony Carlisle expressed his sympathy to the family.
The 56-year-old, from South Shields, renamed the event the Travis Memorial Walk in honour of his own dog Travis, who died suddenly a fortnight ago.
He said: “Losing any animal is a very emotional time for everyone concerned. Pets are part of the family.
“My heartfelt condolences go out to the family.”