Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ziggy and Me...Responding to God's Whispers

"I held a moment in my hand, brilliant as a star, fragile as a flower, a tiny sliver of one hour. I dripped it carelessly, Ah! I didn't know, I held opportunity." ~Hazel Lee

The day of departure was drawing near and Ziggy, our aging Rottweiler was losing strength and mobility in her legs. The doggie doc encouraged me to "give it a little more time" as he believed she could turn a corner and recover enough to live a good while longer.

When your family grows up, it also grows apart. Everyone has busy and varied schedules. This was a rare and special family trip to the dunes planned, with all our motor toys, where most of my family would be present. My kids, my parents, my inlaws and some friends were all looking forward to a great time together. A couple days before the trip God whispered in my ear that I should stay home.

How could I expect a dog sitter to deal with special needs and possible complications? Would anyone care as much or be as attentive as I to her pain and basic necessities? Huh uh. So I reluctantly announced my decision to stay home. My husband felt terrible but the vacation wouldn't happen if he stayed home because he was in charge of bringing the base RV and biggest toy. I encouraged him to go ahead with the trip as planned.

The first night was rough because she was having a lot of pain and could only stand up with my help. I didn't get much sleep and prayed fervently for her sudden improvement. The next day she went into a rapid decline and by evening was unable to get up, stand or walk without help. Lifting a 100 pound dog from the floor, then partially carrying her outside is as difficult as it sounds. I had to call on kind friends about every two hours all through the night to come help me take her outside for potty breaks. She was hurting and exhausted. I knew it was her last night.

In the morning I lay on the floor looking into her eyes as the vet administered the concoction that would end her suffering. I stroked her face and promised her all her favorite things, "You'll have treats, go for walks, go for rides and go swimming." She looked back into my face and responded with familiar expressions (albeit subdued) until the light was gone, and so was she.

It was brutally painful and I hated it...but I wouldn't have traded it for a month of family vacation. I comforted her, loved her and stood by her until her last moment. God had me there for "such a time as this." The rest of the family, especially my husband, was protected from having to see her suffer and I was blessed to be there to make a crucial decision and stay with her until she was gone.

I'm grateful for God's whisper and so glad I listened and obeyed, for it would have all been much different if I had left her in someone else's charge. Have you had to make a choice like mine? Has He been whispering to you lately? What opportunities might you miss if you don't listen? Share below?
Diane Markins


Anonymous said...

So sorry for the loss of your Ziggy….it’s the hardest thing to loose a pet….they’re so loving and faithful! If we could all be more like our dogs!!

Anonymous said...


This was really beautifully written. I am sorry about Ziggy's death but
grateful for you both that you were there.

"As your family grows up, it also grows apart"...what a wonderful phrase and
so true.

You are a great writer and observer of life. :)

Paula (California)

Anonymous said...

Diane, having been through this a number of times over the years, please accept our heartfelt sympathies. You raise them, train them, and treat them like your children because they are truly beloved family members. The unconditional love they return for your care is made so much harder because of their shorter life spans. Each pet is unique in our lives and in the end and over time the memories are all we have left. Time for a new puppy!
Jim and Janet

Kathryn Neff Perry said...

Diana, I had a Ziggy, only her name was Sadie. I've had several Rottweilers over the years, but Sadie was my last. On Friday night she was subdued and not following me everywhere I went. I checked on her several times, realizing what was on our horizon. In the middle of the night, Sunday, she was not able to get up by herself. She didn't seem to be in pain, just tired. She wanted to rest. A 140 pound dog can do just about whatever she wants, but I laid on the floor beside her and she raised her head in my lap. The Vet came very early on Monday morning. I was hoping the vet would tell me magic words to make Sadie better, but I knew after 9 years that was not possible. I wrapped my arms around her massive head, she licked my cheek. I felt her life ebbing away as she drifted off to sleep. The Vet carefully examined her and nodded to me. The flood gates opened as I rocked and held her for a few more minutes. Sadie had been a part of our family all those years. She was a rescue dog, and I knew her last years were better than her first year. I still miss her. Thanks for giving me an opportunity to share with you my "Ziggy" story. I am truly sorry for your loss.

Diane Markins said...

Reading Katt's comment made ME cry! I've been getting lots of emails from people who've said they couldn't finish reading it because it was too sad. Well, death is sad. Loss is sad...but my intent was to remind that we gain so much from our pets WHILE WE HAVE THEM and we owe them so much in return. The other (overt point) was that when we're tuned in to God's whispered directions we won't miss the important stuff.
Thanks to all who've commented and emailed.

Kathryn Neff Perry said...

When God whispers to me he's usually looking down at me and smacking his head saying, "duhh---you finally got it!" I LOVE the way God uses me. And you are right, if we aren't listening to HIM, we miss fabulous opportunities. This one just touched my heart------see we're bonded, and now we're sisters. :D
Hugs and blessings

Jeanette Levellie said...

Diane: I had to do this for a beloved cat we toted on the plane from CA to IL. She purred the whole time the vet administered her shot, as I told her about what awaited in Heaven.

I know she's waiting for me there.

Thanks for sharing your story and your heart for pets.

Andrea said...

I am facing those days with my elderly, deaf Cocker Spaniel. Both peripheral nerve cancer and mammory cancer have re-occurred. She is doing better than the vet expected this far. She has far out lived any of our expectations. At age 16, she continues to defy odds. However, I know the days grow closer and I, too want to be with her when that time comes.
Blessings and prayers,

tonya said...

I am so sorry for you loss...