Last Tuesday our older dog, ZuZu, had to be put to sleep. Which is another way of saying, euthanized. Tearfully, I was able to write about her last days on my HinesSight blog in It was a good day for our dog to die.
Of course, it wasn't a good day. Not really. I wanted ZuZu to live much longer. What I meant was explained in the first part of the blog post.
Don't get me wrong. I didn't want our beloved older dog, ZuZu, to die. But she did last night, put out of her misery by a dose of morphine at Salem's emergency vet clinic.
What made it a good day -- and now the tears are coming, as I figured they would when I set out to compose this blog post -- was how ZuZu and I got to have a pleasant day together yesterday, since she went downhill really fast, as I'll describe later on.
Monday ZuZu and I had come back from central Oregon a day before my wife and other dog, Mooka. So on Tuesday I didn't want to leave her alone when I went to exercise at the River Road Courthouse athletic club.
In the morning we'd had our usual walk through our rural property, across a creek, and along a community trail here in Spring Lake Estates. ZuZu seemed pretty normal at that point.
She was walking a bit less energetically than usual, which likely was a sign of what was to come. But when she spotted a squirrel, the old ZuZu came to life. Zoom! She raced ahead and excitedly stared into the branches of a tree the squirrel had escaped to.
I'm so happy that ZuZu was able to chase a squirrel on her last day alive. It was one of her favorite things to do. We also ran into some neighbors walking their dogs, so she got to greet them a final time. Nice.
What I'm most glad about is deciding to take ZuZu to the Minto Brown Dog Park after exercising. It was starting to drizzle. I thought about going straight home. But I thought, "ZuZu enjoys the dog park. I've got time. Let's do it."
Yeah, it's a cliche. Live every day as if it were your last. And usually it isn't practical, since we need to plan for future days.
However, it's also true that we never know. When we will die. When a loved one will die. When a pet will die. I had no idea when I drove the short distance from our athletic club to the dog park that ZuZu would be dead in less than eight hours.
It's been tough. Really tough. I miss ZuZu a lot. That's the price of love: pain, when a loved one departs, or suffers, or otherwise tears at our heart. But it's a price well worth paying.
The day after ZuZu died, I opened the rear hatch of my VW GTI. What I saw brought more tears to my eyes, along with a bit of an inner smile.
The dog park I'd taken ZuZu to on the afternoon of her last day alive has an unpaved parking lot. When I picked ZuZu up to put her in the back of the car, her paws were dusty. This was the last time she rode in my car, since she was taken to the emergency vet clinic that night in my wife's car.
My first thought was, "I never want to wash off the paw prints." Yes, I know that will be necessary. Eventually. For now, I enjoy looking at the paw prints, because they remind me of ZuZu and of the good times we shared.
This is the reason I took her dog bowl and put it on a shelf in my office, along with a photo of ZuZu with our older dog at the time, Serena. A vase that was on the shelf graces the inside of the dog bowl. I did this after realizing that I had a couple of choices about how to deal with ZuZu's death.
Try to forget about it, or embrace it -- feeling the pain of love as acutely as possible.
I decided to go the embrace route. The first few days after ZuZu died I could barely bring myself to look at the dog bowl and the photo. I wondered if maybe it would be better to do the forget thing. But I can't forget ZuZu. I don't want to forget ZuZu.
Yes, love hurts. But a life without love isn't worth living. The death of a loved one hurts tremendously. Yet I'm glad that it does. The pain of love is also its pleasure.
Would you still love her if she bites someone? I think you would. Cause you love her. Would you be hurt if someone talked bad about her? You would cause you love her.
Thats how i love Gurinder!
But i don't hate you cause i love him.
Posted by: 🙏💕 | October 20, 2019 at 11:20 PM
Sorry to hear of your loss Brian. I remember as a younger man when my dog passed as being hugely emotional and not so qualitatively different from loss of a 'human'.
With kind regards and maximum respect
Posted by: Nick B UK | October 21, 2019 at 01:38 AM
The biggest loss, of course, is the unconditional love that they give us and which we have earned over their lifetimes. We probably have no relationships — especially not human ones — with such high levels of trust and respect as those that we develop with our dogs, so the loss of that connection can be especially devastating.
Posted by: La Madrugada | October 21, 2019 at 03:03 AM
Sorry for your loss Brian
Posted by: JS | October 21, 2019 at 05:25 AM
Hi Brian Ji
My Psychology college professor, when I was grieving the pain of a lost romance and seeking support, said words to me I shall never forget.
"Be happy you can grieve. So many people can't feel anything. Be happy for your pain. It means you are alive. It means you are experiencing life. It means you are connected to reality. Not everyone can do that."
Mira: "Take everything from me, but not my pain over the loss of my beloved. Don't take that from me."
Posted by: Spence Tepper | October 21, 2019 at 06:26 AM
So sorry for your loss
Always Cherish the beautiful memories in a happy way
Posted by: Daljit | October 21, 2019 at 06:56 AM
Every 12 years or so a dog dies. I miss them for a long time. Often I imagine one of them sitting by my chair. I reach over and pet their head. It's almost like they were there for a little bit. Tangible in a way. We had an exceptional budgerigar (budgie parakeet). It was very friendly and would gently chatter things we taught it to say while sitting on your shoulder and would nuzzle your neck and groom you. I also had a cockatiel and an amazon parrot that were the same way. They would show up on my shoulder for years after they died. I try not to imagine what the Amazon parrot left on my shoulder when alive, but there I am petting an imaginary dog on each side of my chair with imaginary birds on each shoulder. Then I go outside and imaginary horses are standing at the fence waiting for a rub on the neck and around the ears. I am thankful for all these animals I have known and been friends with and that our relationships were so good that their memories linger. Now, with two live dogs and some young grandchildren that need supervision I can't linger with my old friends for too long or very often but I never forget them.
Posted by: tucson | October 21, 2019 at 12:08 PM
>Yes, love hurts.
But a life without love isn't worth living.
The death of a loved one hurts tremendously.
Yet I'm glad that it does. The pain of love is also its pleasure.<<
Brian, I never had these feelings etc
Should i end this worthless life of mine??
Posted by: Um | October 21, 2019 at 03:38 PM
I had a couple of dogs, but am a Cat person. I traveled a lot, and could never walk my dogs, but Cats that stay indoors only need food, water and litter box, and they are almost self sufficient. I had 6 Cats I loved, and who all loved me more than even my wife or mother loved me, and surely, more that my Kids! I still don’t like to talk about them, because I still choke up. Each one was totally unique and had different personalities. My last one was 16-1/2, and was a long haired Multi- Colored Male Rag Doll, with gorgeous Blue Eyes that looked In to my soul. I rescued him when he was 2, and he became the Bud to my Blue Point Himalayan, who was 18 years and 3 months when I helped him cross over. These last 2 were the only Cats I ever put down, because CHARAN Singh said we should never kill our pets and should let them die on their own. I let my others die on their own, and watched them suffer , while I should have merciful helped them cross over. But I could no longer let my last two suffer , so I had the Vet put them down ,while Crying , holding them in my arms, crying with my wife also crying beside me. I watched their eyes close for the last time, and felt them go limp after Dr. Death injected the last needle that stopped their hearts. My Rag Doll peaked at 30 lbs in weight, and was down to 6 lbs, when I had him put down. His back legs were gone, and he could not get in to his litter box, and he had been vomiting blood, and had quit eating for 5 days. He had Kidney failure. He was my Meditation Buddy, as he knew the exact times, twice a day, and would be waiting for me 5 minutes before. Any one that has never loved a Dog or a Cat and been loved back by them, will never know what real love is!! I think God uses Animal Pets to love us humans, thru them. I now have 6 holes in my heart, and will not get any more, as nearing 78, I do not want to chance loosing another. I won’t even make eye contact with stray cats! No way I’m getting hooked again. I emptied Litter boxes every morning for the last 4o years, until my last one passed Jan. 2, this year. The Himalayan passed 3 years ago. I had them both cremated, and have their remains on my Organ in my Living Room. I think of both of them, daily, and have been visited by both of them once each, during meditation. The heart ache still remains and hurts , and really, I even still grieve fir each one that died, in their own unique ways, years ago. I remember experiences with every one of them, I never lost my Dogs. Others adopted them, when I could no longer care for them. But putting a Fur Baby down, watching it die, is most likely, an emotional event unmatched by any other. I felt like The Executioner fir my two Fur Babies, and still argue with my self in guilt, thinking,....if only, I had done this, or that, or dozens of other things, they might have not died so soon! Our minds never set us free, until we set them free, in Meditation!
Posted by: Jim Sutherland | October 21, 2019 at 03:48 PM
Jim, thank you for your poignant, touching remarks. Your
mention of a "Meditation Buddy" reminded me of my 5-lb
Pomeranian-Poodle mix who loved to "meditate" with me.
I never asked her to relate any inner experiences but she
always looked blissed out when the session (nap?) ended.
My little friend's presence always seemed to help me too.
What could be better than a loving presence beside you...
Posted by: Dungeness | October 21, 2019 at 07:11 PM
Its the love which is reciprocated in equal measure by animals - without posturing. Why not all human race do the same and be worthy of each other as also God.
Posted by: Meditator | October 23, 2019 at 09:42 AM
"Why not all human race do the same and be worthy of each other as also God."
Because people have expectations of life. People have desires of life.
And hopes for life.
Poor life is kept very busy. She is a slave, really.
But hope and desire can pull you through disaster.
Or into it...
It's a mixed blessing.
Posted by: Spence Tepper | October 23, 2019 at 01:57 PM
I don't own people of any kind. I used to have dogs. And a marriage. But they both went away. I adore dogs and cats. It's not true that cats are aloof or don't care. The opposite. They are incredibly sensitive. They know what's going on just by the vibration of your footsteps. They can tell a lot about you, but mostly behind your back when you aren't looking. They track you from other things, your scent, the tone of your voice. They could help police track criminals, or detect lies. They'll listen to a lie just so long, then they have no patience for it. I can understand why they find any Satsang repugnant.
And once they decide to intruduce themselves, they so affectionate. Very forward.
I fall in love so easily. And their lives rarely end well.
I can't handle it.
So I love other people's dogs and cats. At a party they are the first people I go to. And we have great conversations. Vibes are high with a party where a dog or cat are attending.
But cats aren't into crowds. When I visit a friend on a quiet day, then their cat and I can commune. If they accept me for initiation.
Posted by: Spence Tepper | October 23, 2019 at 02:17 PM
I rescued the Himalayan when he was 4. My wife and I both loved him at first sight. He was a Blue Point with gorgeous Big Blue Eyes. We got him home, and found he was to be a real challenge. He was a BITER! He would lay on my chest in bed, and if I moved my hands, he’d bite me, Hard! The first time, he bit my artery in my arm, and blood sprayed a foot high! He could not help him self. He obviously had been abused, and had been hit and kicked. My wife got bit on her ankles, as he hated feet. He always thought he would be kicked. It took a couple of years to break him of the bitting habit, which we broke, by carrying water bottles and spraying him every time he looked at our feet, and I had one on my night stand in bed! Also, he had been taken from his mother at 8 weeks old, and isolated from other cats and was the lone Cat until I got him. I had 2 other Cats at that time, and he would attack one like he wanted to kill it. So, I ended up locking him in our bed room, and isolating him from the other cats. He would get out occasionally, and attack the other cat right away. This went on for a full 20 months, until we finally trained him to accept the other cats. He immediately bonded with my Rag Doll when I brought him home. After all the challenges with my Biter Cat, he became the absolute most affectionate Cat I ever had, and loved me until his very last breath. He trusted me enough to help him cross over to the Rainbow Bridge. He always came on my chest, and first, gave me the head bump, then big slurpy kisses. He only did that to me, and never to my wife. She was jealous, but she loved him. The difference between human love, and pet love, Pets, once they bond, love us unconditionally, for ever, whereas, humans only give love to expect some thing in return. Human love is temporary. The perfect example is right here, looking at the comments of Gurinder Singh’s Ex Lovers. As for marriages, the Honey Moon love eventually morphs in to Companionship, and toleration. Not so with animal loves. I have a friend who has a Pet White Cockatu, who sits on his shoulder and communicates with him telepathically, telling him what to write as he taps the iPad Keys!
Posted by: Jim Sutherland | October 23, 2019 at 04:13 PM
Yes, Mr Spence,
But. Desires are unavoidable burden to sustain life on earth. Keep us drowned in thoughts and actions of world till last moments, Are necessary evil. These provide energies to run life and progress.
Posted by: Meditator | October 24, 2019 at 06:57 AM