Losing Zappo

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.

Imaginary Karin - my whippet Zaphod
Zaphod (22-03-2005 – 26-05-2017)

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 ❤

Comments

  1. Mindy
    15 July 2017

    They are never “just animals” and it’s so heartbreaking because they love unconditionally. I still feel sad about a dog I lost many years ago but eventually the sadness doesn’t hurt so much and you get that fondness when you think about them. Sending you lots of love!!

    • 5 August 2017

      Thank you Mindy ❤ And you’re right, they’re never “just” animals, they’re friends and family members and it does hurt to lose them.

  2. 15 July 2017

    I lost my dog, aged 15, at the beginning of May this year. Everything you wrote here sounds familiar in some way. Like you, I haven’t shared anything online so far. I think the need to share everything online all the time is ridiculous. For some people it may be nice, but I want to process my grieve alone, first.

    Big hugs to you. You have some beautiful photos and memories of Zappo up on the blog. In time, they’ll make you think back off him with fondness.

    • 5 August 2017

      Grieving is such a personal process and it does feel weird to air it online. At the same time, when you’re a blogger and/or active on social media it would at the same time be weird NOT to write about it. I figured I would have to bring it up eventually, and felt I might as well get it over with.

      I’m so sorry about your dog Ravanel. Big hugs to you as well.

  3. 16 July 2017

    I’m so sorry for your loss. To me it’s often harder losing a pet than a human being. Time will help you heal always remember the wonderful memories you had with him. *Hugs*

    • 5 August 2017

      Thank you. The difference with pets is, I think, that they are completely innocent and completely at our mercy. Losing them is so personal. You literally have their life in your hands and are often the one making the final decision. It’s (most often) not like that when losing a human.

  4. 17 July 2017

    It’s never easy to lose someone, especially when they’ve been with you so long. I’m sorry for your loss

    • 5 August 2017

      Thank you. It’s not easy, but it gets better with time.

  5. 19 July 2017

    I’m so sorry for your loss Karin.
    R.I.P. Zaphod

    • 5 August 2017

      Thank you, Kim.

  6. 19 July 2017

    I’m so so sorry to hear about Zappo :( Pets become family, and he was with you for so long. That must have been really hard. I think it’s sweet that you gave him a calm, stress-free day where he could do whatever he wanted. I hope you’re doing ok after such a sad loss <3

    • 5 August 2017

      Thank you, Cat ❤ Pets really are family, especially when you’ve had them for a long time. And even if you know from the start that you will eventually see them pass away, it’s still difficult… Life goes on though, and with time it gets easier.

  7. 27 August 2017

    Aw this brought a tear to my eye. I loved seeing photos of Zappo and reading about him on your blog. I’m really sad that it came to letting him go but I’m glad you gave him the greatest last days to end what was a really great life for him.

    It’s interesting you mention your thought about him being “just” an animal. I kind of have the same general thoughts myself when I think about pets (I have not had many in my lifetime, and when I have, I haven’t owned them for long enough to feel really connected to them). I think that even if you thought “ah, he won’t live as long as me” and knew one day he would pass, it must have encouraged or made you want to make a great companion out of him, and also give him all that you could.

    Huge hugs and I’m sure Zappo will never be forgotten 💖

  8. Nancy T.
    16 September 2017

    I’m sorry for the loss of your Zappo, I know you miss him terribly. I found your blog by accident and love it. I have a female whippet who is 12 years old right now, and still looks like a puppy. Sadly, I just lost my 18 year old whippet lab mix, Scooby, in June of this year, also to cancer. I had to make the tough decision that you had to, so I can truly say I know what you are going through, and I feel your pain. I still miss all of the dogs that I’ve had in my life, and remember them often, as I’m sure you will. Take care,

    Nancy

    • 30 September 2017

      Thank you for your kind words! I’m sorry about your dog as well. ❤ 18 years is a respectable age. I consider myself both lucky that I got 12 years with my dog and unlucky that I lost him so soon. I mean, the whippet is a healthy breed and 12 isn’t that old. But you probably have many good years left with your female, I wish you both all the best :)