Guardian, Companian and Friend - You Will Never Be Forgotten! [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Guardian, Companian and Friend - You Will Never Be Forgotten!


IronMike
09-19-2004, 04:45 PM
Last night we rushed home from southern Jersey after getting a call from our pet sitter that our dog Zeus couldn't stand - that his almost 15 year old body was finally giving out. It was so sudden, but expected, after all, German Shepherds don't usually live that long - the oldest of all my Shepherds was 12. Still, it was a quiet and anxious 4 hours in the car through the remnants of Ivan with thankfully little traffic. I knew all of us were quietly thinking the same thing to ourselves - please let us get there in time.

That was last night and we were so glad we were able to be home with him, in time. To feed him by hand, bring him water and to show him how much the whole family loves him - how much we appreciated his protection all these years and to let him know how we truly considered him as a member of our family.

When the kids gave him a 14th birthday party, he never once tried to paw off the hat they put on this head and I firmly believe that was his choice.

http://webpages.charter.net/mikemahler/images/zeusparty.jpg

We played ball as recently as Friday, though his retrieve was much slower than you'd expect looking at him. He was starting to hurt more, the Rymadil wasn't working as well as it had been. But there he was "bunny hopping" his hind quarters to get the ball - still growling when I went to take it from his mouth, as he always did - it was his way.

He didn't do much better through the night and before falling asleep he licked my face once and rested his head. We knew it was time, and I think he did as well.

This morning, at 4am, I comforted my family's best friend and guardian as he was finally rested. He went very peacefully and quickly - he never suffered and I'm very thankful for that.

Zeus had a very long life: we competed together in Schutzhund, both learning the sport together, both making mistakes, but excited when it was time to possibly make more. He exceled at tracking and his bite work was very promising. When he wasn't biting my hand during healing work, his obedience was excellent as well.

His only faults were an owner with not enough time to help him realize his full potential and skin allergies that led him me to neuter him (doubly sad considering he was rated OFA Excellent for hips - which only 2% of German Shepherds get). It was after the neutering that he was relegated to the status of "family pet and protector" - a role for which, I quickly learned, I could not have found a better dog.

When he was 11, he had a tumor on a rear toe which the vet said is probably cancerous due to the enlarged lymph node in his hock. He recommended putting him down due to his age - that the surgery would be tough for him, only to find out the inevitable. He was 11 years old after all - very old for most large breeds. But I couldn't do it - he was so full of life, I had to give him a chance. We let them operate and his recovery was very slow, he laid still for 2 days but eventually DID recover - and THEN SOME! He ran around like he was 5 years old again. The biopsy came back as a granuloma - non-malignant. Little did we know only a few short months later Sam would be diagnosed and how fortunate that his dog didn't have to die around the same time. How incredible that he would live 3.5 years more - to see Sam have three more birthdays, to be there for him when he came home from surgeries and follow-ups. To lay in his room when he had nightmares, to climb into his bed when there was thunder.

We were truly blessed with a spirit that was never broken and who lived life everyday as if he was forever young.

http://webpages.charter.net/mikemahler/images/zeus1sm.jpg

http://webpages.charter.net/mikemahler/images/5_3_2003%209_32%20AM_0001.jpg
Zeus (Boss vom der Feldhafen), March 27th 1990 - September 19th, 2004

You Will Be Missed

Dble Haul
09-19-2004, 05:04 PM
Sorry for your loss....I've owned many dogs in my life, and although I didn't know your dog personally I can truly say that I have an understanding of what you and your family are going through.

Hold on to the memories.

alcmaeon
09-20-2004, 04:58 PM
You have my condolances, there is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog. They always give so much more than they expect in return. I'll be giving my boxer an extra belly rub tonight.

IronMike
09-22-2004, 05:03 AM
Rub a little extra for me buddy!

THANKS GUYS, good to know so many "dog people" out there...