This has stuck in my mind: something I read years ago about a hiker running down a wilderness trail, distraught, calling for help because his dog was hurt. Not just hurt, either, but badly hurt, unable to walk and too heavy to carry -- and left alone on the mountain while the hiker went to seek assistance. That article scared the bejeezus out of me. The older I get, the more hesitant I am about taking responsibility for a dog I can't pick up and carry in case of emergency.
I learned the hard way, decades ago, that an ill or injured dog can be an absolute bear to lift. After my Airedale suffered a seizure, I couldn't pick her up to save my life. I was a good deal stronger then than I am now, and at 50 lb she was usually easy for me to lift. But a frightened, flailing animal with no sense of balance is worse than dead weight, and there was no one I could call for help. Getting her downstairs and into the car was a nightmare.
My good boy weighed a solid 55 lb, which isn't the same as a pallet of cinder blocks but is still pretty heavy. As his health declined, my biggest fear was that I wouldn't be able to lift him into the back seat of the truck if he took a sudden turn for the worse. I've made a new rule for myself: no dogs over 35 lb or so from now on. We'll see if it sticks.
The photo above [click for big] was taken up at the cabin: he was maybe ten months old and working on his Lion King face. The house is very empty and still without him.