When you really think about it, it is pretty odd that people have pets at all. We invite them into our homes and treat them as members of our family and in return the most that they can ever offer is a bit of companionship. When we adopt pets, we do so knowing that there will eventually come a time when we have to lay them to rest. We place such value on their friendship that we take them in knowing that there will eventually be a hefty emotional price to pay for it.
Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to bear when the time comes.
That is Zelda there on the right. She wandered under our gate about two years ago and we just fell in love with her. She was a tiny puppy when we got her, with barely any teeth to speak of. She was able to eat dry dog food, but only if she took it one piece at a time and spent a while chewing on it. Our other dog, Warlock, aided us in our effort to potty train her, and within a couple of days she was sleeping in our bedroom along with him. As you can probably guess from the photo, she was a pit bull, and much like all pit bulls I have ever come into contact with, she was extremely friendly and just loved children -especially if she got close enough to them to lick them. She was so happy all the time that we were never able to break her of her licking habit, nor of her habit of jumping onto people’s laps (but only her front paws; she knew she wasn’t allowed on the furniture).
Not long after we got Zelda, she suffered from what would turn out to be a very minor injury in her stifle joint. While the injury was minor and healed quickly, it also opened our eyes to a very real problem that she had, which I think was hip dysplasia. We never actually took her to a vet to confirm our assessment of her, but I am relatively sure that she was suffering from it. Her hips just didn’t work like the hips of a normal dog. Here are a couple of examples of what I mean, taken when I was trying to figure out what may be wrong with her hips:
Whatever the condition actually was (it was also possible that she had suffered from a broken pelvis very early on -possibly during birth), Zelda seemed unaffected by it. Aside from laying kind of funny, running in a bunny-hop fashion, she didn’t seem to notice it at all. I have to admit that it killed me to think about it though, since all the information that I was able to gather about either condition talked of excruciating pain the older they got, and it is just horrible to think about your pet suffering so.
Unfortunately, I returned home today to find Zelda lying limp on the floor. My attmepts at resuscitation were useless, but did dislodge a piece of something (possibly fabric) from her throat, which she apparently choked on.
I spent the better part of the morning digging a grave for her, all the while fighting back tears of loss. I am trying to content myself in the thought that she won’t have to suffer the pain of her condition later in life, but I really wish she could have stayed with us at least a couple more years.
I took her tags and put them on the old purple collar that she wore for all but the last month or so and put them on my desk. They made a familiar jingle as I carried them through the house. Perhaps later that familiar sound will make me smile, for now it makes the house seem empty.
Rest in peace, Zelda.