Reflections of Our Boy Zuko…
Zuko was a rambunctious little puppy when we adopted him from the Los Angeles Animal Shelter in 1998. He chose us just as much as we chose him. It was love at first sight. From that moment on our spirits were intertwined and the three of us were one happy family. We never made a decision without Zuko’s best interests in mind.
Zuko made us laugh a lot. We gave him a “voice”. He was always a little gentleman and never stole our food because he knew we’d always give him some of what we were eating. He was smart. We used to call him “Zuko the escape artist” because he could always figure out how to detach his leash or open a locked gate. We would take him to the dog park, but he used to spend the whole time chasing away other dogs. He always wanted it to be just the three of us. He would nearly implode from excitement if we mentioned a walk or car ride. Miraculously his daddy’s classical guitar playing would calm this beautiful being to sleep, and this tough guy Zuko, he was a real cuddler.
At age 15 Zuko slowly became disabled from canine degenerative myelopathy (DM). We never doubted our commitment to helping him, and although his body continued to decline, he always was happy to see us and be around us. We stuck by him. When his front legs stopped functioning and he could no longer use his quad support Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair we purchased for him, we carried him. In short, we literally carried him to the end.
Zuko taught us patience, compassion, and love like we’ve never known. We tried to keep him active, engaged, and aware of just how much he was loved. He spent his whole life protecting us, and now it was our turn to protect him. 18 years, 3 months and 3 days is a long time for a German Shepherd X to live, and we know he hung in as long as he could. He wanted to be held a lot and we knew he was not in pain. He died peacefully at home on his own terms with us by his side, and thankfully we never had to put him down.
Thank you to the Los Angeles Animal Shelter for entrusting us with such a beautiful soul. He is one of the best experiences of both of our lifetimes. A love like that stays in your heart forever, but it’s true that when he died, he took a part of our hearts with him. We strongly encourage adopting shelter animals. They return the love they are so grateful for. Zuko was a really good boy, and it was important to him to hear that. He is the most loyal dog we will ever know.
“You will never know loneliness when you have a dog, when you lose that dog it will be loneliness like you’ve never known.” (Quote by Michael P. Naughton)
© 2020 Donna Novak