I spent most of this morning in the veterinarian’s office. Zuri stopped eating yesterday and then threw up in the afternoon. He’ll be twelve years old in 8 days. It doesn’t seem like that many years have gone by since the breeder notified me that the litter had been born and yes, there would be a puppy for me. For a big dog (and Zuri is even larger than the Rhodesian Ridgeback standard), 12 years is a good lifespan. For a friend and house-companion, it’s way too few.
He was a rough and tumble youngster, and I often had to warn my husband that his game of “growlie” with Zuri wouldn’t be so funny if someone not familiar with our dog made a move that triggered Zuri’s “play.” This became especially evident when Zuri matured out at 31″ at the shoulders and 150 pounds. Having a dog that could jump as high as a man’s shoulders, could hook your legs out from under you with just one paw, or could knock you over with a bump of his shoulders meant we needed to make sure he understood we were in control.
With Zuri that’s been an easy task. He wants to please. By four months of age he was as big as most mature dogs, so he was allowed to attend the regular obedience classes, which he passed with ease. I never had any intentions of showing him, but living with a dog that obeys both voice and hand commands is truly a pleasure, and when he was six, he even spent several months visiting a nursing home, shaking paws with the elderly residents as I tried to explain that the hair grew the opposite direction on his back and that was why it looked like he had a sword there (and no, he wasn’t angry or upset).
Zuri’s antics have helped me with my P.J. Benson mysteries. PJ would be in big trouble if her Baraka hadn’t played growlie or hadn’t run down and knocked the villain over with the bump of his shoulder. And if I’m having a problem with a plot point, Zuri is more than willing to listen to me grumble, rant, and rave.
I left the vet’s office this morning with two bottles of pills, but little hope. An ultra sound showed a large tumor on Zuri’s spleen. The vet said he could operate, but the operation would be extensive and at Zuri’s age, he didn’t recommend it. We’re hoping the pills get Zuri feeling better and eating again, and as long as my dog doesn’t appear to be in pain, we’ll go that route, ’cause saying goodbye isn’t easy.