We put Zach to sleep this morning. He's been ill with Cushings since January, but was doing pretty well--fairly good energy, eating okay. Until last week, and since then it's been a very steady decline. The vet said that he was probably suffering from a cancer that caused internal bleeding, which accounts for the very recent severe anemia (we were treating him for that) and coughing up blood. This morning, he was much worse, so Bill and I (via phone--Bill is in NM) decided that it was the right day to help him end his journey here, and begin our journey without him.
Zach has been our companion for nearly 12 years. He was about 18 months when he came--a refugee from the Round Rock pound, rescued by Dick and Louann Lindsey in 1996--and so his human years equivalent was somewhere in the 90s. A ripe old age for a grand old dog, who was unfailingly loving, gentle, and amenable to most suggestions, although not all, since he was a dog who knew his own mind. He loved going on walks, riding in the van, breakfast and dinner, puppy treats, petting and hugs, and his bed. He didn't like snakes (smart dog!), armadillos (he tasted one once and concluded that they were not on his menu), and being left alone. He ignored the cat, tolerated Lady (who passed on just a couple of months ago), and learned to like Toro, our optimistic, self-confident heeler. He was fondest of Bill, and considered him the Alpha Dog (I wasn't even in the picture when Bill was around). We loved him. It will seem like a different life without him.