Posted by: ritagone | January 23, 2013

Good-bye, Zuzu!

Zuzu pupPlease forgive me the sentimentality of writing a short eulogy for our Tibetan Terrier, Zuzu, who we had to put to sleep this past Saturday.  Zuzu would have been 15 years old on May 1, so she had a long life, a good life, well cared for and well loved.  We had Zuzu in our family before we had our first grandchild, taking care to pick a breed that “got along well” with kids.  And she did.  She lived up to the specs and did her breed proud.

We got her from a breeder in Modesto, and I can remember as if it were yesterday bringing her home, a little bundle of sable and white fur, the cutest puppy I had ever seen, bar none.  The photograph of her in this blog was taken the day we brought her home, at eight weeks of age.  Come on!  Admit it.  She was adorable.  And she was smart, loving, a good dog, healthy, easy to train, everything you could ask for in family pet.

Several years ago Carol, the woman who had worked for us as a kind of personal assistant for 14 years, had to retire from her job because the drive to and from our house was too difficult.  Carol had been a smoker for most of her adult life, and now emphysema was weakening her year by year.  During the time she worked for us, she and Zuzu developed a special bond, taking long walks together, just hanging out together.  So when we brought a puppy (Sherlock) into the house and Zuzu “objected,” with Carol leaving to be alone in her home in the city, it made sense for us to ask if Zuzu could go with her.  Carol was delighted.  So we literally adopted Zuzu out to live with Carol for the last two years, visiting occasionally, paying her vet bills and calling weekly to check up on both of them.

And then last week, the call came:  Carol was in the hospital, failing fast.  And Zuzu was also failing.  No longer able to take care of the dog, Michael went and got her, and we took her to our vet.  You could see instantly that she had lost a lot of weight, that she was jaundiced and doing poorly.  After some tests and blood work, the vet informed us that her liver was failing.  It was a difficult decision, but we knew the best thing for Zuzu was to not stress her out any more than necessary by putting her into another home, with new dogs, not knowing if medication or treatment would even save her.  And so my daughter Dana and I spent 20 minutes with her, saying good-bye, and then being with her while the overdose of anesthesia was administered by the vet and a loving, gentle technician named Manuel.

It was over quickly.   And it was peaceful.  All in all, it’s not a bad way to go.

We had to tell Carol our decision, and now she’s truly alone.  Carol doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus; she’s always relied on herself, and she doesn’t seem to want to bend the way of meeting God now that her life is most likely coming to an end soon.  So pray for Carol.  I’m more concerned with her soul than with Zuzu’s.

American humorist Will Rogers said: “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”  Only people who have had a dog like Zuzu can appreciate the emotional truth of that statement.

I just pray now that this will be true for Carol.



  1. Both beautiful and sad. Praying for Carol this morning.

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