As you might have seen if you follow me on social media: my dog Zappo is no longer with us.
He passed on May 26th and I just didn’t feel like writing about it before.
What happened was I noticed some lumps on his neck that seemed to be swollen lymph nodes, so I took him to the vet. I hoped it was just an infection or something, but they ran some tests that came back positive for cancer. We also found it had spread down into his chest. It wasn’t long before it was decided the best option was to just let him go.
The days between deciding and it actually happening were long and heartbreaking. Everything was “the last”. The last night, the last day, the last walk, the last meal, the last everything.
And I kept feeling like I should do something. You know, something special. I’ve seen many sweet posts online about people doing “last days” with their dogs. But with Zappo that didn’t seem right.
He was old and sick and mostly just wanted to sleep. And he hated car rides, so taking him anywhere just seemed mean. I figured the best last day I could give him would be a calm, peaceful day. No stress, no tiresome activities, just a calm normal day – albeit slightly nicer than usual.
We took slow walks and I let him sniff everything for as long as he liked. I let him eat whatever he wanted. I even let him sleep on the bed, which confused him a lot. He hasn’t been allowed on the bed since he was young so he kept side-eyeing me like he was waiting for me to tell him to get down. :)
The actual euthanasia was quick and smooth, it was over before either of us even had time to react. In hindsight, it went the best possible way it could have. They had lit a candle in the room too, which I thought was a sweet touch.
The hardened country girl in me keeps reminding me that he was “just” an animal and I always knew this day would come. Humans have relatively long lifespans and this is perfectly in line with the natural order of things. It’s not the end of the world and I’ll probably have more dogs in the future.
And well, it isn’t the end of the world, but I’m still grieving. And it’s definitely an end of an era, so to speak.
I got him when I was 22, and I had him for 12 years. That is almost my entire adult life up until this point. And he was a huge part of my life too.
As I posted when he turned 10, he was been my best friend and the one true constant in an otherwise ever changing world. And like I’ve written on my pets page, he was always way more than just some pet to me. He was also my first own dog that I got and raised by myself. Guess all life’s firsts tend to be the most difficult.
But I know it was the right decision, and it was at the right time, before he started to really suffer.
He was weird and beautiful and funny, and I’m going to miss him. Thank you, Zappo ❤