Zane dies

By: David Ihnen

CREATED2006-07-22 10AM
NOTESThis is a True Story.
RATINGGeneral
UNIVERSEReal Life
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I'm sad to report that I no longer have the companionship of a white shepherd.

A couple weeks ago (I can talk of it now without crying. Much.) my longtime companion Tumbledown's Zane Underfoot died. If you don't want to hear about his death, you better stop reading now.

He'd been kind of low-energy for afew weeks, not eating much. I figured he was just depressed and lonely... until he collapsed one thursday morning.

Of course, I took him to the vetinarian. His on the spot diagnosis was anemia, which was confirmed through blood tests. He kept him all weekend. Zane was feeling much better, and he gave me a course of steroids and some canine vitamins to feed him.

He was mostly fine for about a week, eating full meals, eager to go on walks - though it still seemed he was not quite fully recovered, easily winded.

He started going downhill when the steroids went to half dose. He still was eating, but just some. This isn't unusual for him though. He wasn't as keen for walks, walking along with me instead of rushing to the next bush to sniff and pee as he used to do.

Not long after the course was finished, he stopped eating entirely. This also isn't particularly unusual for Zane - sometimes he'd go for almost two days without eating anything for no obvious reason. It was when I noticed he was getting weaker, and his gums were getting pale, that I got concerned. I called up the Vet that saturday morning and left a message.

"Zane's symptoms have returned, he hasn't eaten for two days and he's quite pale and weak."

The office called back an hour or two later. "The vet would like to see Zane on monday."

My brain translated this instantly.

"Your dog is a goner give him a chance to die, its not worth further treatment"

I knew that was coming some day but it still hurt.

I spent the rest of the day alternating between distracting myself and petting Zane. He chilled out on the bathroom floor mostly. I put some cheese cubes in his food, and he ate about half of it, he drank water. When I was walking around doing things, he suddenly rushed out side as if he was afraid I was leaving without him. I took him on a liesurely walk since he was up. We scared up a rabbit mere yards away. He just stood and watched the rabbit. it was so startled by this it stopped and stared at us for a few seconds, before running off.

Zane climbed up onto the bed that evening, and we cuddled long into the night.

When I awoke about six thirty, Zane was nowhere to be seen.

Stomach twisted, I went looking outside. He was under the trailer - still alive. I squatted there and petted him a bit. He looked at me and wagged his tail. I went back inside and tried to distract myself more.

After a while, Zane came in, stumbling up the steps. He bounced off the wall twice as he staggered down to me and lay down on the floor, panting hard. His heart was beating so hard I could hear it four feet away. I brought him water, he drank almost the entire bowl. I brought him another, he lapped it a few times and was keen on just resting.

I alternated between petting him and distracting myself for the next few hours. He moved from laying on his left to laying on his right a few times, but that was it. It was somewhere just past 10:30 when I was aroused by a clatter - Zane had spilled the water dish. I rushed to his side.

He was laying flat on his left side, gasping for breath - his gums and tongue were dead white. Great gasps that shook his whole body. I broke down, hugging him, telling him I was there, crying and howling for all I was worth.

He died there in my arms, weaker gasps until he tensed then went limp. I cried until it dried up.

I told my friends. I called my boyfriend. He arranged to fly down asap. My best friend and neighbor came over with his tractor, and dug a hole. It wasn't very deep I buried Zane there on my land. The sky was grey, thunderstorms crackled lightning in the distance, I felt a few drops of rain, gusts of wind swirled. It could pour for all I cared, somehow it seemed suiting. I finished the grave with my shovel.

Almost nine years Zane was with me. I was everything to him, and I'm glad I was there when he died. I couldn't have asked for a better dog.

I don't know if I'll get another white shepherd. It would almost be trying to replace Zane. Could I look at another white and not see him? Perhaps someday. I'm interested in getting a Newfie or Anatolian Shepherd, my boyfriend wants to get a labrador. (which blows my mind, I never liked labs) I also considering a saluki if I'm going to stay in the desert for long. I can teach him to hunt rabbits, we've got enough of them around. Zane never could get close to catching the desert hares.

Now, two weeks later, I'm doing okay. Better than i think I should, perhaps. Its awful lonely to lay there in the dark without him. I would have sworn the rascal was laying beside me when I woke this morning.


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