Many of you know that our animals are equal to a human connection because they have a way of loving you unconditionally. Zarrah's life began in Mother Earth's playground, Tennessee. There was a sign on a pick up truck $60. Bulldog/Boxer mix. We were on vacation and I said oh how cute they must be, should we stop…NOT to buy but to look? Of course, the rest is history. We fell in love with her, immediately. She said farewell to her host parents and even hugged her brother by wrapping her head around his. The owner sobbed as we drove off, I knew how valuable she was the moment I saw his face. She was a prize and will always remain this way.
Our 5/6 years together were the BEST. Long before I could shed a tear, she would always lick them dry and muzzle her face into mine. The way she comforted me in my darkest hours, I will always be in debt to.
Zarrah had trauma a few years back. There was a male large dog that had intimidation, it spread fear and domination to both of our dogs. This vortex of new space/new territory created the perfect storm. Camden had passed the intimidation to Zarrah, biting her and immediately we went to the Pet ER and had Camden euthanized. 2 years later, Zarrah would chase a fox across the road and got hit by a car. Again, the Pet ER would rescue her life. Our critic's would say that is why you leash a dog. Danny and Zarrah had a bond that was so special, especially on those long walks. As you know wheelchairs aren't friendly to dog leashes (perhaps an invention we need to invest in). These two life traumatic events, forever changed her. She started to get very paranoid and would be on high alert, every single noise was intimidating to her. Especially visitors, the uncertainty. I suppose she felt she wanted to protect us at all costs.
We would get a new puppy to give Zarrah a new found purpose, being a surrogate mother. Daisy, our pug is mischievous and it was adorable to watch them both play, tease each other and most importantly give chance to bond. They were two peas in a pod. For over a year, the connection grew stronger and stronger between the two. The protection alerts grew even more intense because she saw herself as a mother. We began to become more concerned with her reaction to our visitors-family/friends that would come and she would try to nip, then immediately would fall into sadness begging for forgiveness. Zarrah didn't have control of her emotions and our concern's were growing. The perfect storm appeared again. The mailman came by. Zarrah had came close to biting him and I spanked her 2 times, which was so rare. On top of it, I ignored her for an hour and created space to show her my sadness…she had never experienced this type of reaction from me. I was disappointed in her eyes on a level that I had never been. It broke her spirit. I could see this, so I finally made up with her and we snuggled together and began the line of forgiveness. A line of disappointment had crossed and it was very evident that she was changed puppy.
By the stroke of midnight, a bone. Yes, a bone. That's all it took. We have plenty around but this one had been the "prize". Hundreds of times, Daisy and Zarrah pass around the bones but tonight it was different. Zarrah attacked Daisy and we all went into instant survival mode. I had separated them both with great force and was able to get to a safe area with Daisy. We went Pet ER and would later returned both puppies were in agony in separate levels of the house. The first thing Daisy did was run up the stairs to connect with Zarrah, a door separating them. Zarrah moaned with sadness and you could hear that she was asking for forgiveness.
Danny comforted Daisy, the agony of pain vs. processing a traumatic situation was so difficult. Without doubt, he was her shield of amour. I took Zarrah out. Grabbed a pillow, water, blanket, leash and a determined outlook to make this…."THE BEST DAY EVER".
Zarrah was always so scared of noises, especially loud ones-ever since her injuries. We went to a metro station where there was a bunch of grassy area. We watched the trains, buses, planes, cars go by. She wasn't any longer scared. She ran through the grass and into the creek. Ate two cheeseburgers, drank water out of a big gulp cup. We snuggled. I spent every minute I had with her, praising her and telling her she was a "good girl". I when through memory lane, telling her all the stories we had. 4 hours passed, her tail was underneath her. Finally, her tail lifted and she gave me peace. I kissed her so much my lips hurt.
By morning…we were in Zarrah's vet. I asked him, "what should I do?" He said, "My job is to be the voice of your dog". After listening to her full story….he said, "Please, give her peace". It would be irresponsible to give her to a shelter after knowing her traumatic situations and reoccurring disposition. If you should keep her, I can tell you how difficult it is because I too, have had two dog attacks with our own pets. They didn't have trauma, it is usually because of two things. Toy or Food.
Advice from our vet: If you have a dog(s). CRATE or USE SEPERATE ROOMS if they're eating or chewing on bones. If they have done it a millions times before…consider yourselves LUCKY. It only takes a heavy scent or behavioral issue to make any "normal situation into an isolated, harmful event". His dogs are crated when no one is home and always during the feeding/bone times. He even said, "knowing what he knows about his situation, he would have euthanized his dog too". It is too difficult to live in fear of safety for you and your animals.
Safety is our gateway to the choice we made. Although it was the most difficult choice ever, it was the right one. Please let Zarrah's story resinate with yours and make you think differently when it comes to toy vs. food.
Our hearts will take a great amount of time to heal. Zarrah passed away in my arms, her head started to raise when she was heading to heaven. I was singing Silent Night to her and told her to go chase all the angels and rabbits. Her heart stopped and it felt like mine did too. The moment I got into the car, her scent was so strong. She jumped right into the car and came home. Her presence is ever present. Daisy let's us know she is here.
Zarrah entered the kingdom. I shall never fear when I get there because I know she will be the first that I see, waiting for us.
May 1st, 2015. She shared the date of a famous singer that passed away the same day "Stand by Me". It also was the day that Justice system played it's first hand to getting justice for Freddie Gray. State of Maryland vs. MD Police Department. Both of these two events are a beautiful beginning and ending.
I will say this when I am 99 years old and laying in my bed, knitting with ginormous holes everywhere, "You WERE the BEST dog, I ever had".