Our expert says:
So sorry to hear aboput your grief, Sam. One can't say that bad things may not have happened to him, but there could be other explanations. Sometimes, dogs, especially old ones, get the idea of wandering off, maybe when they're sickly, and just go off into the nearest veld or bushes, and sit down calmly and die. And sometimes, like old people, they go off for a walk, with some sensible idea in mind, forget why they went out, lose track of where they are, and get lost.
Frankly, in a similar situation where two of our cats were beaten to death by a neighbourhood gardener who was bragging that he'd kill every cat in the area, we found the SPCA to be titally and utterly useless, and happy to be so, so we made sure they will never receive any donations from ourselves, family or friends. Their "inspector" actively sided with the cat-killer, and encouraged him. But there was a happier ending to the story. Some months later, that same gardener, who was very fond of wandering off as soon as nobody was looking, to the nearest shebeen to get drunk, one morning, very drunk indeed, picked a fight in the shebeen, which spilled outside, and he slipped and fell under a passing bus, breaking both legs, and permanently ending his career as the neighbourhood sadist. A fitting end, and all his own doing.
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