Tissue Alert: Even though I try to keep things very positive and uplifting on the Daily Dog Tag, there is a place for posts like this one. Because almost every reader who comes here understands what it is like to love a dog with all your heart. Zeus was a senior Pit Bull-Boxer mix who became quite ill. As a quick reminder, please get professional portraits of your pets while you can.
Photographer Nicole Maddalone took these photos on Zeus’ last day, and they are very touching, but also quite sad. If you think they might be too heart-breaking, feel free to skip this post. However, if you need something to smile Bailey’s story is pure happiness.
From Nicole: “On May 5, 2017, on our ninth anniversary, we had to lay our dog Zeus to rest. He was 18 years old. He was my husband’s best friend. My husband’s mother adopted Zeus for him when he was only a 12-year-old boy, and Zeus was already around 1. This dog was almost human, he sure loved like one and had the appetite of one. Zeus was a beautiful boy with such an amazing spirit. He healed my sad heart so many times. Zeus lived to see the birth of both our little boys. He went from normal to really sick seemingly overnight. It went on for two weeks, and he kept declining and couldn’t walk or eat or drink, but he just hung on. I don’t think he wanted to leave us. He refused. So we had to make a choice, and so we decided to have a veterinarian come to our home and put him to rest while we held him and hugged him. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Our other dog, Addy was heartbroken, and it was very noticeable. She stayed by his side for days before he passed and for most of that day. We did remove her from the room while it happened but immediately let her come in to sniff and understand he was gone. Her moment of realization was just so painful because she whined and just laid next to him. Our toddler was so sad, and we didn’t quite understand how to explain it to a 2-year-old.
Below, is my post from when I told the social media world of our loss.
‘It seems about right that it should be raining today. Nine years ago on my front steps, your daddy asked me if I would be his girlfriend. We were young and crazy teenagers. I didn’t know the journey that was ahead of us. That was the beginning of my becoming your mommy. Zeus. In all this time, you saw us through so many adventures and road bumps in our relationship and lives. You saw every one of our firsts, and you saw us through our wedding and the birth of both of our little boys. You have always been so tolerant of us; we know we aren’t always perfect. You surely taught me patience, because let’s face, you were always a bit of a handful. But, I loved your personality, it was so spirited and loving and compassionate. We always said you were not a dog, but a human given another chance. 17 years. You lived 17 long, years and for 15 of them, you were with people who deeply loved your crazy, energetic, always happy, self. These last two weeks were some of the hardest times I’ve had as I watch you rapidly decline, and there was nothing I could do to make it better. It was so hard carrying you around everywhere and trying to help you eat and drink. A little more of my heart broke every single day. I just wanted to make you better. But, I couldn’t live in denial anymore, so I know that letting you go was the best thing for you. I am so blessed to have been with you for more than half your life. And truthfully, I didn’t deserve such a sweet dog like you. But, God put you in my life for a reason, and you helped shape me. I love you.
I’m going to miss your persistent barking when you refused to stay outside.
I’m going to miss you chasing us around barking and trying to bite the vacuum because it was your arch nemesis.
I’m going to miss the way you’d walk over to where Addy was laying and just sit on her.
I’m going to miss watching you do tricks for treats.
I’m going to actually miss being flabbergasted on how you managed to get into every garbage can no matter how fancy we got with it.
I’m going to miss having one the best snuggle partners there ever was.
I’m going to miss your funny hopping around you did when you were excited.
I’m going to miss your consistent, up my butt wherever I am companionship. Even though I know it made me crazy sometimes.
Mostly, I’m just really going to miss you.’
Never ever, take your pets for granted, not even for a second. Because God’s timing isn’t always in line with yours. And there’s never enough time, and you’re never ready to say goodbye.”
You can see more of Zeus’ session on Nicole’s blog.
About Nicole Maddalone Photography: Based in Saratoga Springs, New York, Nicole specializes in newborn and family photography.