July 14, 2008

Saying goodbye

Zip

For the last fourteen years, one of the creatures joining the family at camp for July 4th week has been Zip, a collie who lived with Red-haired Sister's family. In his young days, Zip would spend the days at camp chasing chipmunks, leaping off the dock to swim, and eagerly retrieving sticks and balls. He loved the smells and freedom of camp. When Red-haired Sister and I would sometimes take the dogs for long walks on the country roads, I'd always volunteer to take Zip, because he was the easiest to handle of her crazy dogs.

This summer, Zip spent much of his time at camp sleeping. When he'd walk, he'd list to one side like a drunk staggering home from a night at the bar. Sometimes he'd fall, into the marsh or the empty fire pit, and he wouldn't be able to get up. He'd lie there, whimpering, until Tie-dye Brother-in-law would carry him over to a more comfortable spot. We all knew he was dying, but he didn't seem to be in pain. Wherever the family was, usually sitting in a circle of lawn chairs and blankets, he'd join us, stretched out on the grass, half-asleep. When I knelt down on the grass to take his photo, he tried to lift his head to look at me.

We all knew this was Zip's last trip to camp, and we said our goodbyes to him at the end of the week when it was time for Red-haired Sister's family to return home. We've all been expecting the email that came yesterday. Zip had a difficult night on Saturday; Red-haired Sister and Tie-dye Brother-in-law were up with him most of the night. But finally he fell into a deep sleep and died peacefully.

27 comments:

jennifer said...

It sounds like Zip had a wonderful life and I'm glad he had a last visit to camp with your great family. My friend Lisa says dogs help you remember to live the life you want to live, and I like to think that's so. Maybe there are chipmunks in doggy heaven. My heart goes out to Red-haired sister and family; losing a friend is never easy.

Songbird said...

Bless his heart, and all of you. Bon voyage, Zip! Chipmunks, yes, and all good things!

kayni said...

Good luck, Zip! I've lost a few dog friends, and I keep in mind that they are in heaven.

crazymumma said...

I hate it when animals die.

may there be many squirrels for you to chase Zip.

RageyOne said...

Sounds like this last visit to the camp was just what Zip needed. So glad you all got this last chance to spend time with him.

YourFireAnt said...

Well, for once you photo outdid your words, Jo(e). This killed me. I can't see for tears.

FA

zelda1 said...

It's always so hard to say goodbye to our family pets. But he did have a good life and he had one last family camp. On to the enteranal chasing of chimpmunks and headscratches where all dogs and cats go.

Anonymous said...

Last big smile I got from Zip was when I told him I was sure Aunt Seashell would be waiting to greet him in Heaven. He managed to lift his head and smile.We feel lucky to have had him for so long.

Anonymous said...

I knew he was going to die but I didn't want to believe it was true...he was a great dog, I love him so much!

Karin said...

So hard to lose a family pet. I have tears in my eyes remembering going through this with our 3 dogs. He looks like a beautiful dog and it sounds like he had a wonderful life. Condolences to all who loved him.

jodi said...

My condolences. Pets are so much a part of our lives and it's so sad when we have to say goodbye.

Jodi
(formerly jar)

Musey_Me said...

Sorry to hear he has gone. I'm glad that everyone had a final chance to say goodbye though - those chances happen infrequently with pets, it seems. He was beautiful.

Cathy said...

Brought tears to my eyes. I could tell Zip was not well by the picture - but I am sure he offered many years of joy to you all. I am sorry Jo(e).

Zhoen said...

Good bye, Zip. You made a difference.

susan said...

May Zip be as well remembered as he was loved.

BlackenedBoy said...

I'm sorry that Zip died, but at least it was a peaceful death surrounded by those who loved him.

landismom said...

I'm sorry to hear about your family's loss. It sounds like Zip was a great dog, and had a wonderful life.

monkeypants said...

I'm so sorry for your family's loss. Pets are part of a family, and it sounds like Zip had a wonderful time with his family.

concretegodmother said...

i'm with fire ant on this one. wow. and sniff!

this is the way it should happen -- a last hurrah in nature and with multiple loved ones.

my condolences to all who knew him and loved him. i feel ya'.

Twice said...

What a sweetie - I'm sure you will all miss him terribly, especially at camp. My condolences. Thanks for sharing with us.

Kris said...

rest in peace, zip

Yankee, Transferred said...

R.I.P., Zip. Lucky, lucky boy.

liz said...

What a beautiful dog. I'm so sorry.

Silver Creek Mom said...

Always hard when a pet passes awy...but he was given the chance to do it on his own. That doesn't happen much these days.

I remember when our Last dog died. I was Pregnant for Nathan and she yipped all night. i was exhausted and was upset with her cause I needed the sleep. Jack put her out as usual but she could not walk at this time and Jack had decided when he came back to put her to rest. BUT She did that on her own and I was napping and woke at that moment. I still feel the guilt that I was not more patient and with her in her last few hours.

I will now better next time. Lesson learned.

TDLR said...

Longtime reader, first-time poster. I'm sorry about Zip. It's never easy losing a pet.

My dog died several months ago while I was at college. Oddly enough, I felt compelled to go home the week before it happened but didn't. Now I wish I had.

Psycho Kitty said...

Oh, please give your sister my condolences.
-PK

Wayfarer Scientista said...

what a wonderful life. My condolences to those he left behind.