1/6/15

Saying Goodbye


This is a post that I dreaded writing and though I typically think these types of situations are best left off of social media, I feel as though I want to acknowledge the event. Although I am writing this with tears streaming down my face, it is therapeutic. I want to celebrate life, not live quietly in sorrow at the loss of it.

Our beloved dog, Zorro, is now in puppy heaven.

It is the single most heart-wrenching decision we have ever had to make. We started noticing that Zorro was having difficulty with his left hind leg last year. Although he still loved going for walks up until this Fall, our walks became shorter and shorter as his leg struggled more and more. This is a common problem for German Shepherds and his approximate age of 13 certainly impacted his overall strength, or loss of it, this past year as well.

In late November, he quickly declined. He was sleeping more and more, had lost his sense of hearing completely and some of his eye sight, we believe. In his final days, Justin was having to pick him up and carry him up and down the stairs, outside and back in. He wouldn't get out of bed. His appetite grew less and less. He stopped eating his regular dog food altogether and would only eat bites of chicken or ground beef with rice, if we sat it next to him on his bed. His once strong, muscular frame became very thin and frail.

Our other dog, Charlie, sensed the transition as well and seemingly stood guard next to Zorro's bed. It's as if they had switched places. Typically Zorro, with his old 100-pound frame, would serve as the big brother protector over Charlie. More recently, it was Charlie that seemed to be serving that role of protector over his big brother.

Thanks to fellow dog-loving friends, we were given many recommendations to use a mobile vet. I  never knew this option existed, and I am so grateful to have found out about it. When we knew that the end was near, that Zorro was uncomfortable, not eating and beginning to fade away, we contacted Compassionate Care Mobile Vet Services and made an appointment.

The vet came to our home and explained the process to us. He was very calming and took his time with us. Justin and I were so upset we could barely speak. This was the hardest decision we have had to make, and being able to spend Zorro's last day and last moments in the comfort and privacy of our own home was the only saving grace of a terribly sad day.

We set Zorro on his bed, in front of the fireplace with his favorite stuffed animals around him and just laid with him the majority of the day. We told him about puppy heaven and how much we loved him until he drifted off to sleep forever more.

We miss him terribly and have shed many tears. Charlie spent the first few days wondering around the house looking for him. I understand that people without pets may not understand, but for us, he was a member of our family. One of our children.  As with any loss of a loved one, I think it is important to remain grateful for the good times, the memories and remember their unconditional love. We will always remember him for the gentle giant he was. With paws and teeth so big, they could have easily crushed a grown man, but with a sweet nature that wouldn't hurt a fly. We'll miss his big, soft ears, how he looked with his head out the window during car rides (his favorite) and how we couldn't pass a stranger on our neighborhood walks or park outings without them asking about Zorro and commenting what a beautiful dog he was. Beautiful inside and out.

Zorro led an eventful life. My grandmother rescued him from a shelter and he lived with her until her death 6 years ago. He then made the journey from Phoenix, AZ to Kansas City. He stayed with my father for about a year until my dad moved and couldn't have a dog at his new place. He then spent the remainder of his years with us. We spoiled him as much as possible and hope he finally felt at home. His favorite days were the ones with snow falling down. He would roll around in the cold, wet snow with the excitement of a child on Christmas morning. It is true what they say, shelter dogs really are the best. He would look at us with eyes filled with gratitude every time we petted him or grabbed his leash, a signal that it was walk time. Even in his final hours, he was staring deep into our eyes as if saying, 'I love you and goodbye'.

We are so appreciative of the support and love from our family and friends. I never expected the amount of phone calls, messages, cards and sympathy wishes we have received. A very special thank you to our family friend, Jane, for the donation to the Humane Society in Zorro's name. The world needs more people like you. 

Our Dearest Zorro,

We are going to miss you forever more. If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. Til we meet again...


yours, Justin & Suzanne, a.k.a .Mom and Dad






3 comments:

  1. Tears...lots of tears as I read this post. What an awesome tribute to Zorro. I totally understand the feeling of a dog being like a child. They're just part of the family!

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  2. I'm so sorry for your loss. These wonderful creatures really take hold of our hearts.

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