Two thousand and nine. I liked it. It was all so, so good up until, I dunno, Stephen’s Day or something. Christmas Eve was the best, but I don’t want to say it started going downhill from Christmas Day. I guess the depression really sank in the day after Stephen’s Day. The mighty 27th of December.
The past few days were horrible. Really, really awful. Our 7 month old German Shepherd had been getting sick for a while and lost a huge amount of weight over Christmas. We had to ring the vet on his mobile and call him in to the surgery during his holidays to have our Zico looked at. He got a blood test on the 28th and we got the results on Tuesday evening. There was no definite illness, but our vet said it could be Addison’s disease, a very rare condition of the adrenal glands, whereby the body does not produce sufficient steroids. It is mostly found in middle-aged female dogs. JFK had it. I found all this information from the mighty Google, and it all looked quite positive, because with proper treatment there is no reason why an Addisonian cannot live a long, healthy life.
On the 30th, Zico was brought into the vet early in the morning. I was sitting in the car, and I watched him walk after my dad, so slowly. And he went in through those doors, and the staff came out and chatted to my dad for a bit. And I saw Richard, the vet, lift poor Zico up, so easily, as though he were a much smaller dog.
My dad came back to the car and told us that Richard wasn’t hopeful. Even in two short days he had seen a deterioration in his condition. They were going to do alot of tests on him, to get a definitive result on the Addison’s, and if that wasn’t it, try everything else. Leaving there, even though it wasn’t extremely hopeful, I knew he was in the best hands, and that there was nowhere else safer for our sick puppy to go.
We went for breakfast in town, as in the rents, my brother, and me. It was fine. I had toast with butter and cinnamon or some shit, and a glass of orange juice. I felt a bit wrecked because I had a cold and after breakfast I left the others and went to Plugd. Albert had a smile and a bitta banter for me, and Jim asked me did I want a tea or a coffee from next door. I was crying in there, mostly from the bitter wind outside and the fact that my eyes are incapable of staying dry in such conditions, but also because I was worried about the dog, and because it was the second last day of Plugd Records, and how Albert still seemed happy, and Jim personally offered me a coffee.
And then I went and got my photo taken for the provisional which turned out crap because I hadn’t had time for a shower and I had a cold. Town was eerily quiet, and I hated it. I waited at the car for over ten minutes as I almost froze to death before the parents came along. And I realised my passport was at home so I needn’t have bothered with the bloody photos.
And as soon as I got through the front door and into my bedroom I took off my coat, threw my bag on the floor and got into bed. I pulled the duvet over me, just wanting to hide from the world. Along with the cold I just felt miserable. I was so worried about the puppy too and I just hated it. I wanted it all to be ok again. I lay awake alot. I slept a little bit. After eight hours in bed, I finally got up at about eight pm. I went into the kitchen where my mum was clearing up. My dad had gone to drop my nana home. I poured a glass of water. I sat on the couch in the kitchen. My mum came over to ask me how I was.
I didn’t care. I asked her about Zico, and she was silent. ‘He died, didn’t he?’ I said to her. Again, she didn’t reply. Then, ‘The vet called. He had to put him down this evening.’ And that was it. Every feeling in my body disappeared. I didn’t care that I had a cold and a fever and a headache. I screamed. I cried. I shouted. I bawled and roared my head off. The tears streamed down my face and I wanted that dog back so, so bad. I couldn’t take it. I didn’t want to believe it. I wanted someone to blame. So I looked.
‘It wasn’t the Addison’s’, my mother said. ‘He developed pouches in his oesophagus so food was getting caught there and never reaching his stomach.’ I knew it wasn’t Addison’s. He was a young, male puppy. Addison’s wouldn’t have killed him anyway. I don’t know how long I moved from room to room screaming and crying. I felt like a part of me was gone. I felt so empty.
Two years ago, on my way into Maths Paper 2 of the mocks, I found my black Labrador dead on the road. Of course I cried, alot, but not as much as I did when I heard about Zico. The Labrador was almost six years old, so you’d think I’d have been more upset having grown more attached to her. That was true, but with Zico, it was this horrific sorrow of losing him. It was because he was so young, and was such an amazing dog. In his short four months with us, he became the most well-behaved dog we have ever seen. He was an absolutely gorgeous German Shepherd, my dad’s pride and joy. When the weather was still fine, we’d bring him to Kinsale and the waiter in the café fell in love with him. He’d always ask for him when we didn’t have him with us, and brought a dish of water for him when he was with us.
I hate thinking about how he suffered, not for long, but he suffered. And it’s awful to think of how I could have spent more time with him, but I didn’t. He was such a beautiful dog and I miss him. I miss him so much. I cry when I think about him and want him back. I want to walk down the road with him and I want to play with him and I want to hug him and I just want him to be sitting there when I go outside. But he won’t be. He’ll never be here again, but he will forever remain in our hearts.
Here’s a photo of him on one of his first days with us. More recent photos haven’t made it onto the laptop yet.