A letter to Zen

Some people are dog people, some people are cat people and some people are people people. I like animals more than I like people.

When I got you it was just us. We had a special bond because I was upstairs and you were downstairs. In your crate. The rule was that you were to stay in there over night. But The second I heard a whimper, I took you upstairs and comforted you. I never regretted that decision. It was only me and you so it made no sense to be in separate rooms. We were both happier for it.

You continued to grow, but you never got big. I loved it. When we would walk on the street, people would pass and you’d make them smile, because you were so happy. It was contagious.

Officially you were fox red. But it was more like a dark honey. You had the best most beautiful hazel eyes. Before you, I had never seen that before.

I built my life around you. And then when you were young, we met Lauren and she built her life around you too. I would work nights on the weekend and you would stay with her. You both had your own bond formed. You trusted her and she loved you.

Apart from that one time I caught you with a trainer in your mouth – you never chewed a thing. You liked other dogs, but you liked it more when they left you alone. And that was ok.

You were the queen of fetch. Head down like a missile. Your little legs surprisingly fast. Always getting the ball first. Then getting the second too. A real ball hogger.

If it wasn’t the beach it was the park. If it wasn’t the park it was a mountain. If it wasn’t a mountain it was a tent. If it wasn’t dog friendly, we wouldn’t eat there. Whenever I could have you next to me, you were there.

You were Sugar’s protector from Monty. Saving her from his relentless play fighting. You’d swear he was the bad guy. Then I would find you cuddling him. It’s testament to how special and loving you really were.

My responsibility and my priority. I’d never had anything like that before. Up until the day you went to sleep. I wanted to make you happy. And I really hope I did.

I never want to feel the way I do today again. You brought me so much happiness but it got snatched from me too quickly. Now I feel pain. In your case it was unfair how quickly it got taken. 7 years. Long enough to love you unconditionally. Short enough to know I should have had more time with you. ‘You burnt very very bright, and those who burn bright, burn half as long’. I read that about someone else’s dog, and it resonated with me about you.

In the end you were too poorly to save. We tried our best, but I didn’t want to cause you any discomfort. The second I saw an ounce of that, I had to make the most difficult decision of my life. It wasn’t easy and it will scar me forever. I held your head until you fell into a deep sleep. I kissed you goodbye and I knew that there was no more pain. My eyes haven’t stopped stinging since.

Without you I’m sad. I don’t have children, so you were the closest thing I had to the feeling of being a dad. That’s why I loved you so much.

Sleep tight Zen. Know how much you were loved. Our home is now empty without you. Xx