Over the past nine years, a lot of animals have passed through the doors of The Zoo. People call us “The Zoo” for a reason. While many came and went, three family members that have remained the same are; Aries the Cat, Phoenix the Dog and Reina the Dog.
And so it was until January 2014, when suddenly, Aries went into full renal failure and passed away. Even though Aries was in her 18th year of life, I thought that she would live forever. Seriously. I wasn’t prepared for her passing in the least. Not that you can be anyways.
As for Phoenix, since we first set eyes on him in November 2006, he has been in poor health. Neglected, malnourished, neurological issues due to abuse, cataracts, two torn knee ligaments (cruciates), hip displasia and colitis. There’s probably more. Even with all of that, he was in excellent health and you wouldn’t know anything of his past from the smile on his face. Yes, the guy smiled.
When he had his first grand mal seizure in October 2013 we were concerned. We had him checked out and did blood tests but nothing was found to be a miss. Within 24 hours he recovered to close to 100%. We didn’t think anything of it. Life continued on.
This past September, almost a year later, he suffered his second seizure and this one was not like the first. While he survived it, he almost didn’t as I’d made an appointment to have him put to rest. But it wasn’t his time as The Phoenix Rose Again!
Even though he only recovered to about 50%, he could still get around, wag his tail, get underfoot and his Vet was impressed with his test results (given his history). Most importantly, she didn’t believe him to be in any pain. Life didn’t continue on the same this time.
Before we left for Mexico, we knew that he wouldn’t be coming home. Or, depending upon how you look at things, he WAS going home. So, when he started to cough constantly and lose weight rapidly even though he was eating normally we knew that our time was limited. Xrays confirmed an enlarged heart and we knew that it was time. On Friday, January 23, while gazing into my eyes, he took his last breath.
Today, he rests alongside Aries in our backyard. The Kids chat with them daily and are excited to mark his grave with a plant so it too may flourish like Aries has. He will not be forgotten.
Just thinking about it now has me in a puddle of tears. And even though I wasn’t prepared for his death, I knew that he was ill. I was expecting it sooner rather than later. What I didn’t expect was to see how Reina has dealt with his loss.
Loss is Difficult for Pets Too
This picture of Reina was taken last February, for a post on American Staffordshire Bull Terriers, however, it could have been taken any time in the past week.
When we were putting Phoenix in the van for his last trip, she wanted to come with us so badly and even knocked down the gate to get to us. Very uncharacteristic of her. It’s like she knew. Since that day, she’s not the same dog that she was. She’s hardly lifted her head, occasionally wags her tail when given a bone and sleeps in her cage all.day.long.
In dealing with our loss, we forgot that Reina and Phoenix spent every single minute together over the past (almost) nine years. Sure Phoenix drove us crazy with his enthusiasm sometimes but he never bothered Reina. She loved his companionship, body heat and constant licks.
We’re not ready for another dog at this time, however, we’re discussing taking in our neighbours dog for the remaining few months to keep her company. In the meantime, we will cherish the time that we have with her and know that we are helping to prolong her life by keeping her healthy.
Have you Ever Dealt with the Loss of a Pet?
Disclosure: The Zoo is proud to be an Ambassador for Petcurean, an independent, Canadian-owned family business that’s been around since 1999. Find them on Facebook and Twitter. Watch for our upcoming Petcurean giveaways and other related posts.