Once upon a time a boy and a girl met fell in love and got married. Soon after they decided to buy a house. To the girl buying house meant the opportunity to grow her fury family. The girl convinced her young husband that they should get a dog. Thus begins our story of Zander.
Before we had even closed on our house Eric and I made a visit to a local Humane Society. There we met a handsome 10 month old German Shepherd/Husky mix named Zander. We left the Humane Society that day without Zander but I was convinced that Zander needed to become ours. Zander was no small dog and was terrible at walking on a leash and remained that way for his entire life. He certainly loved going for walks. At some point in our story I decided that I should try to go for a 15 minute walk in the morning and would take Zander with me as a walking buddy. Remember he has never been super at walking on a leash, part of my route was up a hill, and just as I had gotten my momentum, he would decide that he needed to stop and water a neighbors curb. He was never a cuddly lap dog but he loved being with his humans. He being the 75 pound dog that he was would try to crawl into bed with us in the beginning of our relationship but soon discovered that was not going to work. He especially loved his Eric. I think Zander was often Eric’s late night pal when Eric couldn’t get to sleep. Zander was also our traveling companion. He traveled to Virginia with us to visit Eric’s grandma. He went camping with us and when he could not go with us he would stay with grandma and pop. There he would get to go on daily walks with pop. Zander being such a large dog was sometimes referred to as our pet horse. and was often called bubba. He may have been big and awkward but he was gentle and friendly to all he met human and animal. Zander was our baby for approximately 4 years until I became pregnant.
As the years passed life got busier with the addition of two more little girls. Zander was good with the girls and dealt well with them grabbing at him and even sitting on him. We did do our best to include him in our activities if we could. Much of his enjoyment in the last few years of his life was lying out in the back yard soaking in the suns rays in the snow or in the green grass. It was always enjoyable to look out our sliding glass doors while doing school with the girls and to see him sun bathing and rolling in the grass.
This past year Zander started to go down hill in his health. He lost weight and developed some arthritis in his back hips. He was changing mentally too. There would be times he was confused and didn’t really seem to recognize me or any commands I issued. He totally disregarded the wireless fence that for so long gave him the freedom to wander most of our small property. This unfortunately led to us have to place him on a long leash just this past fall. My first thoughts were maybe he was experiencing doggy dementia, but in the back of my mind I wondered about a brain tumor. This past Tuesday April 4th 2017, I went to let Zander in before going to be, only to discover him unresponsive lying in stomach fluids and blood. I thought he was gone but he was still breathing. Eric and I moved him into our garage and tried to clean him up some. We have been trying to put pieces together because at first we couldn’t tell where the blood had come from. We determined that he must have had a seizure on our concrete pad and scraped up one of his toe pads. By Wednesday morning Zander awakened, his eyes were open and he was somewhat responsive to verbal and physical stimuli but unable to move. We tried to make him as comfortable as we could but it was evident that he was going to leave us. Today the morning of Thursday April 6th Zander died. This was not the way that I would have chosen for him to go. In my imaginings I had hoped that when it was his time to go that he would go peacefully in his sleep, possibly while he was doing what seemed to bring him much comfort, lying outside sun bathing. Suffering is sadly a part of this life because of our sin. But for those who believe in what Jesus Christ did for us, there is hope in a day when there will be no more suffering. My oldest has been the one most deeply affected by the loss of Zander of our 3 children, but one of her hopes and responses during this has been that we shouldn’t be too sad because just maybe the special creatures in our lives will be waiting for us along with our friends, family that have gone on before us and their creator. I hope so. We will so miss our Zander the most handsome, crazy friendly and gentle giant.