In early 2002 my mother and I decided that we would like to get a third dog (this was back when we only had two German Sheperds) and so, a few weeks later, we adopted a three month old French Poodle and named her Zaza.
She brought us much joy, even on day 1: I distinctly remember walking out of my room and seeing Zaza standing in the dining room – a puddle of urine at her feet – at that very moment my mom, walked out of her room. I then looked at Zaza, and she had this look on her face that said she knew she was in trouble. “Zaza!!!” my mom shouted, the poodle making a beeline for the back door.
Within a few weeks I would come to grow used to waking up with a wet nose in my face, on the mornings that she didn’t wake me up she was often sleeping outside my window.
As the years went by, Zaza brought us tons and tons of happiness; she was popular with kids at parties and in the park, but some people were afraid of her as well: I remember once taking Zaza for a walk when I ran into a few kids from school, they kept their distance, but they started barking and howling at her. Zaza’s head cocked to the side, she looked at them, dumbfounded; suddenly barking back, frightening those kids out of their skins. From then on I’d decided to avoid the school when taking her for walks.
She was always such a lady as well: when we lived in a complex, we had a tiny courtyard and an even smaller backyard, in the evenings while we were having dinner we would let her out into the courtyard to do her business. We would leave the glass door open, for the fresh air – and to allow her to come back in when she pleased – but we would keep the curtains closed to keep the mosquitoes out; then only would we find that Zaza was too much of a lady to walk through a closed curtain, she would neatly sit outside the door and wait for the curtain to be opened before she even attempted walking in.
When we moved to where we are now, our old dog started learning new tricks: Zaza had learned that on cold mornings we would let her in earlier, all she had to do was make it seem like it was really cold outside, so she started putting on a little act; each morning she would shiver, acting very cold, until we let her in; she thought that this was the key to getting in earlier so she even started doing it in the middle of summer. Imagine our confusion: waking up to a warm day, only to find our beloved poodle shivering.
Time went on and she grew older. She started losing weight so we took her to the vet to have her checked out: her kidneys were failing (leaking protien, to be exact). So we started giving her more protiens: fat from chicken and beef, canned husky food (she loved that). But within a few months, she had grown bored of cow fat and meat cubes, fortunately she seemed to like ordinary canned dog food and that was what her diet consisted of for a while. Eventually she even went off that. So we resorted to chicken necks and giblets.
These last few days, she started refusing food. At one point she would only eat from my hands. Then, yesterday, she went off food altogether, having puked out whatever she’d eaten in the last few days overnight.
Yesterday was the last. She’d come dangerously near to the end of her road. I was visiting my cousins when my mother phoned and confirmed with me that we would have Zaza put down tthat night. I cried and cried, I didn’t expect to see her when I got home, she seemed so cheerful earlier, it was like seeing a ghost, I almost wondered if I wasn’t seeing things. We took her to the vet, said our goodbyes and she went off peacefully.
While writing this, I cried and cried and cried, I even laughed at certain parts and I’m crying even more now; but that just makes me realise how much I loved her. The last time I cried was when Blade (another dog) died last year, before then it had been a long time since I’d had reason enough to cry.
Zaza, you were a good friend and a great dog, now that you die I hope you understand why we had you put down; but don’t you worry because you have a big family waiting for you on the other side: Blade, Chelsea and Bart, a bunch of friendly fish and birds, even a snake and a few hamsters. They’re all waiting for you, go and join the pack. I will forever keep your collar and the little bell that’s attached to it, I’ll give it back soon enough, but until then:
Goodbye old girl, I’m really going to miss you.