Last Minutes with Zeus
A few months ago, I lost one of my best friends and daily companion, Zeus. It’s taken me awhile to strike up the courage to put my thoughts together, but I did want to honor him by chronicling that experience.
Gastric torsion occurs when a dog is too active immediately after eating their food. The stomach flips over, twisting both ends shut, causing horrendous bloating.
We had no warning that this would happen. I was out for the night at a Sounders game with friends, and received a text from my wife telling me that Zeus looked bloated.
By the time I was home thirty minutes later, it was clear Zeus was suffering from bloat. We immediately loaded him into the car and drove to the nearby animal hospital.
Everything from that point on is almost a blur. They rolled Zeus in for an X-ray, and then the vet came in to confirm our fears. After discussing the cost and effectiveness of surgery it became clear that the best choice was to put Zeus to sleep.
It was the hardest decision I have ever made in my life. Even knowing that it was the right choice, I still feel a great sense of guilt that I did not push for the surgery.
After my wife and our other dog Stanley said their goodbyes, they left me alone with Zeus.
When it settles on you that you’re about to lose someone who is important to you, you lose all sense of bravado. I remember the door shutting and then I just sat there holding his head and crying for a good twenty minutes.
After awhile, the vet came in to administer the drugs to put Zeus to sleep. I didn’t want to stay, but I knew I had to. I sat and held him on my lap, talking to him and playing with his ears.
The vet gave him the first shot to take away any pain.
The second shot stopped his heart.
I felt as the life left his body, and he went limp. It was one of the most intimate and crushing moments of my life.
There isn’t a clever wrap-up to this story. It’s been five months since Zeus passed and I still miss him, but I’m grateful for the time that I had with him, even in those last minutes.