My best little buddy died this past Saturday morning. And I can’t even convey how big a loss it is to my heart. We were greatly blessed to have this guy’s life be a part of ours for a little over 15 years.
Zazzo defied the odds from the start. He was the runt of the litter. When we went to the farm in a little town in Colorado to buy a dog, I could see no one there wanted him. He wasn’t the classic, roly-poly, and chubby Labrador Retriever you always see in ads and commercials. His eyes looked sickly, and he was much smaller than his 8 brothers and sisters.
But I noticed he was barking for attention and could basically leap-frog over his siblings. He had determination and a spark for life I didn’t see in the others. I couldn’t resist, so I talked my wife into agreeing to get him.
And what a choice! He eventually grew to be quite a champ. That’s what I always called him…in addition to Zazzo. He actually grew a bit larger and much more muscular than his brother Nestlē (who died 4 months ago).
And Zazzo was a world-class retriever. Where we used to live had a fairly deep ravine behind the house. I could throw a ball or Frisbee across the ravine, and he could run down one side, up the other side, and catch the Frisbee in the air or the ball on one bounce. He’d play the game as long as I would…and ask for more. And he was that way for the first 10 years of his life.
Because he was a runt, from the beginning he struggled with swallowing. We had to grind up his food and mix it with yogurt when he was a puppy. And for is whole life we had to give him his food in small portions, wait for him to swallow, and continue that process till he was full.
About a month ago, Zazzo became unable to stand up on his own anymore. But he was still full of life and would bark incessantly if we were in the house with him but out of sight. We’d take him and his bedding into whatever room we were in and move him back when we went to another room. And I carried him out and held him up as he went to the bathroom…at least 4 times a day.
Then…last Wednesday I carried Zazzo out to go to the bathroom, and when he was finished, his whole body slumped over. I quickly carried him back inside, and he just plopped down on his bed unable to raise up. Just going outside completely wore him out.
I texted my wife at work to tell her to ask for her earned time off and to be ready because I was coming to pick her up. From Wednesday evening until Saturday morning, we took turns for 24 hours a day care. To begin with, we’d turn Zazzo over about every hour or so when he’d whine or whimper. Before long he refused food. So, we took a syringe and squeezed water and bone broth into his mouth…which he seemed to gladly slurp up. After a while we needed to help our boy change positions about every half hour. Then it was about every 10 to 20 minutes.
On Saturday morning I had an appointment for work, and then I went to get Zazzo some medicine to ease his stomach discomfort. Unfortunately, he died before I made it home. But fortunately he died in Elgielene’s arms. I thank God Zazzo got to die of old age, natural causes. He’s at rest now, and I miss him more than my puny words can convey.
Sorry for the long-winded explanation, but I had to express it to help get through it. Thank you for your prayers.