I remember this - I don't think he died at the end but he did leave his glasses behind which really upset the mother in the story. She used to stroke his fur to relieve her migraines. It was a very strange book and the ending, even though he didn't die, was very sad.
Hi i also loved this book as a child and i am also trying to find a copy. If i remember rightly the cover was orange. If anyone has any luck in finding this please let me know who it is by. I have now found it, its by Agnes Sligh Turnball and i have managed to get a copy from Abe books. Hope this helps.