In Memory of
- Date of Passing: 15/08/2015
- Age: 11 | Sex: 1, 1
Zackster the racing greyhound
Our greyhound Zack was 11 years old. He was not very old for a greyhound, and had arthritis. Occasionally he would step wrong and yip. He had regular doctor visits and we had every reason to expect for him to live for another 2 years.
But these things can happen so suddenly. I was sitting up watching television when Zack walked across the floor and tripped. I can’t figure out what he tripped on. Maybe he just fell. But he cried. My husband, Brent, (Zack’s number one buddy in the entire world) and I ran to him, but he couldn’t get up. He just cried. Brent picked him up and we put him in the car and went to the pet emergency room. He did start to move around a bit and by the time we arrived at the vet, he was walking slowly. The emergency veterinarian gave him two shots. One was a painkiller and one a muscle relaxer. The Vet instructed us to visit his regular doctor in the morning.
We did just that. Zack was not able to sleep much, and Brent did what he could to comfort his buddy. Brent spent the next day at the greyhound kennel; around greyhound experts and at the vet. Zack seemed to be recovering very well and we were very hopeful that it was an isolated incident. The vet saw him and confirmed that nothing was broken, and that he would need a stronger arthritis medication. We picked up a prescription and medicated Zack. By this time his shots from the night before were wearing off and Zack was starting to feel very bad. Physically. Emotionally he was our normal ordinary Zack. He smiled to see us. He was happy to visit his friends at the Kennel, and he was happy to be home and lay on his favorite bed. But as the night wore on, he moved off the bed and onto the floor. And he just laid there. And cried. He was very medicated, but he still cried. He began laboring just to breathe. We sat up with him all night, and sometime in the night we realized that our journey here on earth with this wonderful dog was almost to an end. That journey only lasted a little over 7 years. He was a professional athlete racing greyhound until he was 4, winning some races and losing some.
He retired early because he had a torn muscle. In the beginning, when Brent said he wanted a greyhound I was upset. They are BIG dogs. And our children had moved out and we were enjoying our “empty nest”. But Brent has always wanted a greyhound and visited Mid-South Greyhound Adoption Option (MSGAO) in West Memphis, AR. He started meeting the dogs and the people who love them. It was a different world for us. Many of these people have multiple pets, not all greys, and not all dogs. They just love animals. And they care about and support each other. Many have chosen to have pets INSTEAD of children, and to them, these animals are so much more than “just a pet.” Brent met all of the dogs up for adoption. He took them out and played with them and thought about who he’d like to take home. But he never took out Zack. Zack was “crate aggressive” meaning he growled when anyone came near him. As a new greyhound owner Brent was steered away from any difficult dogs. But he just liked Zack from across the room. Most people who hear the story of Zack are told that Zack chose Brent more than Brent choosing Zack. And Zack followed Brent with his eyes every time he visited. Finally he just had to see him, and just like that, Zack was happy, and Brent was happy. Zack leaned into him and smiled. Brent petted him and smiled. It took a couple of weeks to fill out the paperwork and background check, and then Brent brought him home.
Was I thrilled? No. LOL. I didn’t want a dog remember? And THIS dog? He came with a crate. I said no way, crates are terrible and I took him out of it. Zack was nervous. He chewed on things. My dining room table. An antique trunk. He was not happy. Finally, we put him back in the crate and he was thrilled. He arranged his toys around his crate. He rolled on his pillow. He claimed all the throw pillows and neatly lined the crate with them. I gave in and fixed my table. He was to be a dog with a crate. It wasn’t always closed though. He did adopt a couch and learned to sleep there as well. But that crate was his safe haven. He hid things in there that he didn’t want us to know about – like a sock. Like a kids toy he had chewed. His secrets. Well, he made a place in the family and in our hearts. Our grandchildren played ring around the rosie with Zac as the bridge until they were too large to crawl under him. They claimed him, and he treated them like pack members. It was a very good fit. But the night he cried all night was very sad and very difficult. As Brent sat up petting him all night and I sat nearby, we knew what we had to do.
In the morning we had to take him to the vet and have him put to sleep. He could not get up, and was never going to get up again. Even with his pain meds, he was alert. His ears were perky and his eyes were active. He knew he was with people who loved him, and he trusted us to take care of him. We did that. And we left the vet without our dog. Yes. We have been through this before. Yes, we will probably go through it again someday. But our time with Zack was worth it. He added love and a sense of home to our family. Our house turned into a hub again, and even when one of us was working there was someone home waiting for us. Now that he’s gone, the house is very empty. And quiet. And sometimes I still think I hear him in the house. After a little time we aren’t sad all the time anymore, and Brent and the grandkids have gone to the Kennel to see who is ready to retire and be adopted. There will be another grey in our house. But for now, there is a little memorial shelf. And there is his obituary. And there are a ton of memories.
Thank you for your support.