Thanks Lynne and Lisa for your thoughts and prayers. In a way, Lynne, it was a quick and simple solution in the end. Before the vet even checked out Greybeard's leg he did a quick check of his mouth and found a very aggressive oral tumor under his tongue in a place I had never noticed before. That combined with the fact that he had a broken shoulder made the decision pretty fast. Apparently, the break severed nerves in his leg so he was not in any pain. The only alternative would have been to amputate, which the vet said, even considering his age (he estimated Greybeard to be around 15) could be doable. But considering the cancerous tumor, my vet said it would probably be a matter of months before that claimed Greybeard's life.
I was so shocked that his leg was broken. Greybeard NEVER even would go near the street, not even the sidewalk next to the street. He was always either on the porch or on the sidewalk that was on the side of the house, or on the back deck. The vet said there didn't appear to be any other trauma that would indicate he was hit by a car so he thinks just his advanced age and the cancer contributed to brittle bones and he could have just lost his balance and fell from the deck. Update: I noticed on Monday morning that my big beautiful hosta that was just getting ready to bloom had all its blooms bit off. Deer have been reported across the street in the woods but I guess they have come across the street into my yard. I'm thinking now, more and more that Greybeard could have been either stepped on or kicked by a deer sometime late Sunday night or early Monday morning.
I came home from work to get Greybeard and just had a feeling about how things would go, so I gave him an entire jar of turkey baby food before we left. I always split a jar of baby food among the 3 indoor cats as a treat every evening. If Greybeard is in the house, he gets to lick out the jar. He absolutely adored baby food. If you could have seen his face when I put down the bowl in front of him filled with an entire jar! His eyes just lit up. He was about half way through when he stopped to lick his chops, purring the entire time and looking at me with such love.
I was so apprehensive taking him in as I had no idea how he would react at the vets. He was a cantankerous old thing. The drive over was hard with him howling the entire way. But, when he was let out of the carrier he was surprisingly calm and the vet was able to handle him easily. When I put my face down to his he immediately starting purring and that is how he went to sleep.
So, Goodnight and Goodbye Greybeard. I only knew you for three years yet it was an honor and a privilege to know you and love you. How scary and hard your life was before you found your way to my house, I'll never know. It must have been pretty bad since it took you an entire year to let your guard down and let me pet you. But once you trusted me you gave me your heart and soul, no questions asked. You can read the history about how Greybeard came to my house here
Be free old man.
Last photo of Greybeard taken a few minutes before I took him to the vets this afternoon.