Zeke. Post Mortem. Did you cry then?

zeke-vizsla-dog-pet

I ran the morning of his “expiration.” Same route. There was no rustling, no reason to turn, but my attention is pulled hard right to the other side of the highway.  A doe, large, silent, and frozen in spot, stares. Our eyes lock. Go ahead Girl, speak to me. I’m listening.

Two hours “before”, I’m watching The Man Who Knew Infinity, an inspiring flick about Srinivasa Ramanujan, a self-taught Indian genius who forged a bond with his math professor, G.H. Hardy, while fighting an institution that refused to acknowledge his achievements (racism, jealousy, fear). Here’s Hardy, an atheist and his mentor, in a speech to a skeptical decisioning board:  “So, now we see the enormous breakthrough that he has achieved…Mr. Ramanujan told me that an equation had no meaning unless it expressed a thought of God…Well, despite everything in my being set to the contrary, perhaps he is right…So, in the end, I have been forced to consider, who are we to question Ramanujan, let alone God.” Just as Hardy finishes his impassioned plea, Zeke, prostrate on the hard wood floor, starts choking, unable to catch his breath, the tumor working its devilish deed. Why now? Why so soon? Who am I to question…?

Minutes “after“, I look in his water dish, peanut shells float in lukewarm water, undigested remains and backwash from his lock jaw. We need to remove the water dish, his food dish, his crate, his toys and everything else.  Yet, while all physical remnants have been cleared, the silence from the absence of his footsteps, his swishing tail, his presence, all Thunder in this empty house.

Vizsla’s are “velcro” dogs, restless, following you everywhere, all the time. What happens when your shadow of eight years, is no longer there, no longer anywhere but in your head. You continuously look over your shoulder feeling something, yet there’s nothing there. With the velcro detached, when do You become detached, unstuck, unhinged?

There have been so many kind friends on this blog, in the neighborhood, who have shared their condolences. It’s heartwarming really, how the community rallies around you when you need them most.

I suggested to Susan that perhaps to deal with “this” hangover we needed some Hair of the Dog. “Huh?” “Yeah, let’s get a Vizsla puppy.” Not a male like Zeke, but female.  Let’s call it “Zeka.” It was too fresh, and the “are you crazy” was a justified response as was the “are you are insane” reaction when I asked “why not?”

As we approach the one week anniversary, I’m awed by the love we had for Zeke and numbed by the hollowing out of our home with his absence.

But, looming is the animal vs. human comparisons of compassion levels.

A scene from the (great) movie Cavalry comes to mind. A troubled man, raped by a priest when he was seven years old, seeks retribution against the church and the clergy. Father Lavelle is accosted by the troubled man in a closing scene:

Father: The burning of the church I understand. But you didn’t have to kill my dog.

Brennan: Did it upset you? The Dog?

Father: Yes, it did

Brennan: Did you cry?

Father: I did.

Brennan: That’s nice. And when you read about what your fellow priests did to all those poor children all those years, did you cry then?

Father: (Looks blankly at him)

Brennan: I asked you a question. Did you cry then?


Inspired by:

A dog can never tell you what she knows from the smells of the world, but you know, watching her, that you know almost nothing.

~ Mary Oliver, excerpt from “Her Grave” from Dog Songs


Notes:

  • Photo: Zeke, March 2009  (Thank you Susan)
  • Related Posts: Zeke, The Stories (Beginning to End)

 

Comments

  1. No words. 💔

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Heart rending.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m with you on this David. Get a Zeka. As one a fellow blogger said to me when we lost Rufus: ” you won’t love him any less but you will learn that you can love her even more.” my heart is with you.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. freddiegeorgia says:

    This is so beautiful. That huge love leaves such an emptiness. I had to look up the Vizsla breed. (at first I thought you were talking about a manmade velcro dog!!) Yes! Get a lil Zeka pup. Why not? It’s absolutely the best way to get over the hole in your heart. And it would make Zeke smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hang in there, buddy. I liked Michael’s statement above, yet I encourage you to catch your breath before making any big decisions. In my opinion/experience, Zeke will never be replaced, even if you get another dog.

    I have never heard the “Velcro” term before, but I left the bathroom door craked open this morning and while in the shower, looked down and saw two, black heads and four, brown eyes staring at me from just outside the glass door.

    May Zeke’s memory be eternal.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Dear David,
    I didn’t know Zeke had passed. I am so sorry for your loss. Although you’re a virtual friend, and I’ve never touched Zeke, your post brings tears out of me. Is it all of the Zeke pictures, your loving words about him, or my own passion for these dear ones who grace our lives?

    I sit here in my sister’s living room, playing and petting Chloe, my sister’s dog, on the first day of a week long visit to NC. Chloe is the only dog in my life right now. I shall give her extra hugs this week!

    May Zeke’s presence always be with you, my virtual friend.
    Hugs,
    Deb

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Still no words – and my hunch is I will never have them. I have lived these losses – someone said that dogs give you years of joy and one horrible, unforgettable, wrenching day. I couldn’t go more than two weeks without a pup in the house – never offsetting the loss, rather prying open my heart for more love.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Years of joy and one horrible day. That’s it Mimi. Zeke was my first dog. And all I can say is Wow. What a gift.

      Liked by 2 people

      • ah yes.,,,, David you will have many dogs and will love them all, enlarging your capacity to care. get a puppy…or better yet…..rescue a visla….I am sure it is possible. most breeds have rescue groups. or rescue any breed. they need you. expand your capacity and your patience!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Rescue a Vizsla. That is a good idea. I’ve always been reluctant to rehab a Vizsla given how sensitive they are but your idea is a good one. I need to get the other half to move on the thought of another creature in the house to replace Zeke. Thanks for the idea!

          Like

  8. I have no words. And so very sad. Zee will always be in your heart. I am so sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. powerful.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I cried like a baby my friend, held him and talked to him till the end. There really are no words. When you get that puppy she will steal your heart but you will always have those fond memories of Zeke. Hang in there.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. WMS…. After losing my first dog, whom I loved with all my heart, I was reluctant to get a second, as I just didn’t think I could ever give my love that way again. And you don’t. It’s different, but no less powerful. Every dog is an individual that you love for his or her own sweet self. As to the time needed before adding a new friend to your home and heart, that’s such a personal thing. Only you know the answer to that, but I am much like Mimi. The stillness is stifling. There is nothing like the companionship of a beloved pet to enliven a house. I’m waiting to meet the pet sitter now to pick up my crew after a long weekend trip and the silence is deafening. CANNOT WAIT to get my fur kids home…. Keeping a good thought for you all, pal…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I feel dear David, because I lived this pain when we lost our cat, When I came back home without him, I was so sad… every corner was full of with his images and events… I cried everyday. But then our vet phoned me and called me, as he said there was someone waiting for me in his clinique. I couldn’t go. My love went there and when he came home he wasn’t alone, there was a little black and white kitten in a chocolate box. She directly came to me, jump into my arms and she touched my face, my tears, as if, nia I came back I am here, but now I a a Princess 🙂 Of course we and I didn’t forget him, but we have a new cat and you know me, how much I love cats, and she is older now and I am afraid to lose her too… This is life, you know. I just wanted to share mine, you may have a new dog but different one… My love and thoughts with you all, nia

    Liked by 2 people

  13. What a beautiful post, Dave! So very sorry for your loss!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I cried like a baby my friend. I held in my arms and spoke to him until the end. Zeke will always be with you my friend, but the new puppy she will steal your heart. The pain will ease and you will have more of the fond memories. Hang in there my friend

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Yes, I cried. I’m still crying….

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh… I didn’t know. This tugs at my heart. It’s been 3 years since our Frankie left and it still stings. You never get over it, you just get through it. And kind friends let me bury my face into their dog’s neck fur and give me a look of silent understanding. Other dog lovers understand that no one can replace him and perhaps someday you or I will have another, for me my schedule too irregular right now. I’m sorry about your boy, you have my deepest understanding and sympathy 😦 MJ

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Much love and condolences to you, David. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  18. So sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. (((hugs)))

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I cried then and I cried again today. I say adopt a Zeka ,she will never replace Zeke but she will help you and the family thru this painful times. I can tell you I love having my dogs a white lab and a golden retriever , Dolce and Bella greet me when I come home and follow me everywhere . This is PRICELESS!!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. What a beautiful photo of Zeke 🙂

    I don’t know what to say to you David. I know of no words that can ease the pains of loss of this kind.

    One way Zeke is still around is in his friend’s jarring brutally beauiful tribute.
    It’ll be a while before you stop crying.
    I’m with Susan, maybe wait a little.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Hi Dave. Zeke will always have a place in your heart and your precious family’s. Your words moved me to tears as I hung out with my dog, Mio, early today. Precious words. And as I head to worship at church on this 9/11 morning, there are lots of reasons to cry, to pray, to remember and be thankful for. Thank you for sharing Zeke with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. When you’re ready, a new dog will take some of the pain away. Not the memories, just the pain. But please, try to come up with another name. Zeka sounds too much like the virus (zika). There’s my two cents’ worth. Now you can just go ahead and ignore it. You have to do what makes you happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Stephen Pointon says:

    I feel for you my friend. I hadn’t seen your earlier posts and did not realise until now that Zeke had passed. I have no words of wisdom, for we all must handle such events in our own way and time, and only you will know what and when is right for you. In the meantime you have wonderful memories to recount; happiness and pain in unison as a reminder that Zeke was both a loyal friend and cherished member of your family. Take care Dave.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Beautifully felt and expressed. I am so sorry about the death and loss of your family member Zeke.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. So beautiful, David…All of it so moving… esp. “As we approach the one week anniversary, I’m awed by the love we had for Zeke and numbed by the hollowing out of our home with his absence.” <<< So heatfelt…one day you will open your heart and home again…take some time, you grieve because you loved…/// Yesterday, i was thinking of you and wondering if you were going running…one step at a time, each breath gifting…

    Liked by 1 person

  27. The doe! A messenger, I think.
    Feel the pain, it’s the only way to get through it I think, as the wound becomes a scar that will always be there. And give gratitude for the time you had with Zeke. And cry.
    Many hugs to you and your wife.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Beautifully put, David. I still remember the thundering silence after Bumble left in February. Yes, I cried then (and now). I was feeling, ‘seeing’ him everywhere for weeks. I am with you on Zeka. A pup family needs a pup. Dylan has proved that to us.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I have cried so many times in the last few days thinking about your beloved Zeke…I’ll think of him when I look at my Bella and the tears will start. He was in so many of your wonderful stories and we all grew to love that beautiful dog. There is something missing for all of us now…and I can only imagine the heartache felt by you and your family. Love to all of you.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. There is so much to cry about in this wordl, Dave. Lost of innocence and dogs. Love, Perpetua

    Liked by 1 person

  31. David. – my heart breaks for you and all of Zeke’s family. Your use of “velcro” sears into me the absolute quaking absence felt by the loss of your shadow. Big hugs my friend. Xo

    Liked by 1 person

  32. I’m so sorry to hear about Zeke. It’s amazing the dedication and unconditional love we experience from our pets. Hugs to you; Susan and the kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Beautiful post Dave. I’m sure that Zeke would want you to use your time here to love. Grieve him yes, remember the special memories he gave you, in time let go. When you are ready, open your heart to Zeka or whoever comes into your life. We are here to love ourselves and each other and that’s how we heal all our loss and pain. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 2 people

  34. And meaning of your Doe visit:

    “By observing the ways in which deer behave, it is possible to see what amazing qualities – or powers – they possess. From the deer we can learn that the gift of gentleness and caring can help us overcome and put aside many testing situations. Only love, both for ourselves and for others, helps us understand the true meaning of wholeness.”

    Liked by 1 person

  35. So sorry for your loss David. *hugs* ❤
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  36. This is such a beautiful, poignant tribute to Zeke. My heart feels your sense of loss. I had the pleasure of sharing time with a feisty, loyal Airedale shadow – still deeply missed many years later.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Tearing up again reading this David. I have a velcro cat, the standard, no-particular-breed-but-stuck-to-my-hip variety that sits on the edge of the bath when I shower and waits outside the door to the loo. She is the reason my typing goes wonky when I’m working, and the reason I want to come home when I’m away.

    May Zeke’s memory be long, happy and strong and little Zeka in whatever form she takes, in whatever time it takes you to get there, be as much loved and as happy as your dear velcro dog.

    I dread that day when my Maisie cat goes. She’s 11 now. Her older “sister” passed a few years ago at 16 and even with having the younger cat the hole was never filled, just changed over time to happy memories and knowing that they are always with us one way or another whether we can see them or not. Feeling them is normal, that won’t go away. And I don’t think we’d actually want it to. Now I’m tearing up again. Hold those memories dear, and take whatever time you need.

    Jenny.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jenny, thanks for your kind note. We get so attached to our animals, it’s so hard to see them go. Zeke has left us with such wonderful memories. What a gift he was. Here’s to Maisie living another 11 years! Dave

      Like

  38. a really wonderful post David 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Puppies; oh! There’s the toilet routine, the behaviour modification, the nightly crying, the dirty carpet, the smells, the cuddles, the joy, the learning to love you, the bond only a puppy-dog can give, the trust, the fun; oh! why would you want another puppy-dog, David..?
    I can’t think of a single reason…! 😉 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Oh Dave., heartbreaking. I’m so sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Crying. Not just another sappy post, though I cry at those too. I love my favorite buddy Jai Cat months ago, and I cannot believe how much I miss him. HIM, and I have others to cuddle, but he was AMAZING, my buddy. Aching heart. Andyes, when ready, open that love to another. It won’t be the same, but love is love and good for humans and dogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. My heart is breaking as I read this. Losing a pet is so hard, but the love they give is worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. I was so sorry to hear about Zeke. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Beautiful Dave. The only thing that gave me solace was knowing that my beloved animals knew how loved they were. Zeke knew as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. In my son’s philosophy class, the professor was talking about how humans were the only beings able to reason. The students started whispering to each other, “What about dogs?”
    RIP Zeke

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Steve Reiff says:

    Dave, Steve Reiff here. We lost out 3rd Airedale last year, and I still have her bowl that she used to bite and throw across tile floor when she was hungry or thristy and you hadn’t fed her; her leade that she would carry in her mouth while walking her letting you know she wasn’t on a leash; and her rubber nubbed ball that she played catch with herself most days . I still hear those sounds from time to time.
    Get another.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Oh David, thought I was losing my Gretchen this week…and I nearly lost it. The raw ‘almost’ pain was so heavy…I cannot fathom the depths of your ‘for real’ pain. I’m so sorry.

    Let Zeka love you unconditionally as you grieve into her fur.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. I’ve been gone a while, again, wrestling with my own pain, and came back to find solace, beauty, *something* to help make the coming day worthwhile. And I find our universal experience of love lost, companions laid to rest, the grief that seems too engulfing to touch. We rush to make it stop. We do whatever it takes to make it stop. But it doesn’t. It shifts. It loses energy. It slowly slides from our front brain to a place farther back. But it also calls for another to love, another companion. They’ve conditioned us to love now.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. This post has a Lot of content to contemplate. Several twists and turns. First, profound sympathy for the loss of this Being – truly I cried more at the passing of our dogs and horse than I did for my own parents who lived long and bitter lives. In this way, I can understand (but Never excuse) the priest. Chilling, that verbal exchange. The priest, having no connection to his abusers and likely having been abused in his own past, is PTSD-mute when it comes to his fellow human beings. Yet the dog … Yikes. I have known men like this, scarred by war and poverty and the mindless cruelty of others. They bond with animals because those relationships, in comparison, are simple.

    Zeke’s demise – your sorrow and grief as something once obviated as ‘outside’ you moves into your center. Who or what is the Shadow now? On several levels, one assumes.

    Zeke’s gone, and your compulsion to somehow replace him. Like your wife, I’m on the side of waiting a bit. These kinds of ‘velcro’ connections are difficult to approximate in another. Perhaps, when least suspected, one will once again attach itself to you. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  50. Kim Hoffman says:

    Dave, I’m very sorry to hear of your loss. Through the years I’ve heard you speak of Zeke with such love and affection and now feel your loss as I read your words. As a pet parent of two rescues, I can only share my experience at the loss of my beloved Westie. You don’t replace them, you never forget them, you see them in every dog. When the time is right you simply share the love you learned thru Zeke with another. All my best, Kim

    Liked by 1 person

  51. Let him stay velcroed to your heart forever. My special guy Harry’s presence is next to me in the passenger seat as we venture out in the car. It was the best part of his day when I took him anywhere with me.
    Let Zeke’s essence continue to be with you as you continue living life. His physical presence is no longer by your side, but his loving essence sure is, and it lives on forever.
    We may not get it it … But I know that they certainly do 💕🐾💕

    Liked by 1 person

  52. So sorry for your loss David. All the memories of my dog dying in my lap came alive. It’s heart rending. But one has to bear this reality of life. I have never found a hint of his being nearby or watching. But I love to think that after death I will meet him. Consoling thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  53. Whoah. A few comments here 😉This is absolutely chilling. Some of your best writing, I think. The dog. The molestation. The juxtaposition. Really fine work, David.

    Liked by 1 person

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