I get to break all the rules of blogging today, except perhaps the most important one. Be yourself. My family had to say goodbye to a beloved pet, Zach.
Why It's OK To Break The Rules
Last week I talked about the importance and value of an editorial calendar. This week, I'm going to tell you why it's OK to change your plans. Life happens. Just like when I wrote a post about getting engaged, when my family came home, and getting married. Unfortunately, today's post is about a loss.
I have a different post ready to go, but I wanted to share this story today because it's important to me. Since it's my name on the blog, I get to do that from time to time.
Saying Goodbye to Zach
My wife and I took our dog Zach to the vet last Tuesday. We learned he had a large tumor on his spleen and liver. By Friday, he was gone.
It still seems very sudden. A week before, he was running on his walks. always eager to go outside. He wanted to charge after birds like those obnoxious Sand Hill Cranes that are always in the neighborhood. Basically, he seemed full of life.
Then we noticed he suddenly started slowing down. Zach stopped eating. All he wanted to do was curl up in a ball and be still.
We couldn't coax him with the kinds of food or treats that usually had him leaping off his feet. We grilled some chicken breast and he turned his nose at it. Clearly, we needed to take him to the vet.
After an exam and some X-Rays, the doctor came back to give us the bad news. We could see the tumor and I was stunned at the size of it. We talked about the options, including surgery.
Our vet estimated that his lifespan, even if the surgery were completely successful, would only be about three months. If we didn't have the surgery, she said there was a likely possibility that the tumor could burst and put him in even greater pain.
We made the painful decision to end his life on Friday.
The next few days were rough. It was basically hospice care for Zach, trying to keep him comfortable. He still didn't want to move or eat.
Fortunately, we found something that triggered him to get up. Ice cubes. He's always loved eating ice cubes. I could never get a drink from the fridge without him coming up for his share of the ice cubes.
On Wednesday, he seemed a bit more lively. We got him to eat a little food and he spent some time playing with the other dogs outside. He also spent time barking toward an ornery neighbor. Good boy.
When Friday came around, he was shivering and curled up. However, he got up when I brought the leash around to take him on the ride to see the vet. While we were in the waiting room, Zach smiled at both of us as we waited.
Then it was time. I've been through this before. The last thing I want my dogs to see at this moment is a loving face. For Zach, my wife and I both got down and he looked at us both before the sedative took effect. We like to think he died knowing that he was as loved by us as he loved us.
I'm a Dog Guy
Zach was my third Golden Retriever. I love the breed. They're wonderful family pets. Great disposition, easily trainable, and full of the joy of life. Even when he was eating up my house during his teething days, you still had to love the little guy.
This is a snapshot of him trying to eat my fireplace. You have to give him credit for tenacity.
Fortunately, he grew out of his chewing phase. I had some toys for him that he preferred to chew so my home and possessions were reasonably safe.
He wasn't alone during his life. When he arrived, I had a dog named Max who was used to another Golden Retriever, Floyd. Max was a Pomeranian I got when a former girlfriend realized her landlord wouldn't let her keep him. He stayed with me for 18 years. Floyd used to pick him up by the scruff of his neck and swing him back and forth. Max loved it.
There are a few traits that Zach carried with him from being a puppy to an old dog. He always wanted to be around me and he always smiled.
Zach and Max got along great and had a few years together. After my father passed, his dog came to live with me and taught Zach a new hobby.
So much for that beautiful back lawn of mine. Now I had a field of little ankle-breaking holes out there. I'm convinced he was smiling as he dug up my yard.
Fortunately, he loved to play. The surest way to get his attention was with a ball. If I wouldn't throw it enough for him, he'd bring it to me and remind me that the ball isn't going to throw itself.
Thanks For The Memories and Goodbye Zach
As you can imagine, we're quite broken up in our house. Zach was with me for almost eleven years and I loved him very much. He was the first of my dogs to go up and welcome my wife on her first time in the house, and they bonded right away.
He was a sneaky little thing, too. Lee likes to slice up apples for part of her breakfast. Zach was curious as to what she was doing and got a slice for his effort. Well, that sealed the deal. He was right by her side every morning for his slice of apple, at least up until a week ago.
We're all coming to grips with life in the house without Zach, including our other dogs. He was the big dog in the house and everyone feels his loss. It's amazing how his gentle soul was able to creep into our hearts.
He had a great life and we loved him. Goodbye, Zach