Thursday, January 5, 2017

Losing Our Family Dog

Last year we had a lot of traumatic events happen in our family that I was really glad to ring in 2017 and welcome a new, fresh year. Unfortunately, we had some more trauma right after New Year's. On none other than husband-ji & I's 11 year anniversary, our beloved dog Ziggy passed away. He died of a sudden acute heart attack and was gone in a mere 6 minutes. He literally dropped dead out of the blue. 

He was only 6 years old and in many ways he was our first baby. We shared so many amazing memories with him in his short years on Earth. One of the things I love about husband-ji is that he loves animals, especially dogs. As soon as we started dating, we always dreamed about getting a dog together. Sometimes we'd look up different breeds and look at dog YouTube videos at night and muse about which one we'd want. In 2010, we rented a little house which the landlord said "dogs allowed". We looked at a lot of different breeds, but then decided on a smaller family dog that was affectionate, but didn't shed - a Havanese. We found a breeder in the countryside who was welcoming a new litter and they had one pup left - a little black and white spotted dog that was nicknamed "Oreo". We put down a deposit and got all our supplies together, binge watching episodes of Cesar Millan's dog training and getting books from the library.

He was perfect. Full of life and affection, we named him "Ziggy" and took him everywhere with us. He came with us to work during the day, and after we would take him to the dog park. He slept in our bed with us - nuzzled right between us. He followed us everywhere and was a wonderful companion. Walking him several times a day gave our lives a pleasant routine that cleared our head of any life stresses that were hurled at us over the years. He was sleeping in the bed beside me when my water broke and I went into labor with Maya.

When we had Maya, he was so protective over her. He used to sit and watch her play, crawl, and walk and never leave her side, even when I had to get things from another room. After a long walk, Maya would often fall asleep in the stroller and I would park her in the living room, and Ziggy dutifully slept right beside her stroller until she woke up.

When I was suffering from the stress of trying to conceive my second child, I used to take Ziggy for long 4 km walks in the woods with me. Being in the forest with him and seeing all the other dog walkers cleared my mind of any stress that I was having, and he also offered protection to me as a woman walking alone.

When my dad's health started deteriorating, Ziggy lived with him as a therapy dog and companion. He encouraged him to walk and gave his life a positive routine. In many ways he was a service dog to my dad.

Days ago, we just shared a wonderful Christmas with him at our place. He played with Maya, my father-in-law walked him, and he slept in our room at night right beside our baby's bassinet. I loved having him over and I dreamed about how it would be when we all lived together in our new building - that he could just go upstairs/downstairs between my parents' place and our place. I thought that we'd at least have another 10 years with him and that Maya (and the new baby) would grow up with him.

 We all feel awful and we were all crying this week, especially husband-ji. The worst part of it was hearing husband-ji wailing about it, as he never cries about anything. He is not easily shaken, and to see him break down was absolutely heartbreaking. Although I do feel like losing Ziggy has brought us closer - we are stumbling into each other with a kinder, softer,  greater sensitivity. I can't even allow myself to get too upset about it since I only have a few weeks left before my delivery. I have no idea how to tell Maya that Ziggy passed away. Right now, I'm just trying to concentrate on all the good times we had together, and what an amazing friend he was - not just to our family, but to everyone he met.

Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.” - John Grogan



  1. That is so sad :( and I am so sorry Ziggy passed away.

  2. I'm so sorry Alexandra!!! I can imagine what do you feel, we have our Caesar and he is like our child. I wish to hug you right now, take care Guys and keep warm! Love, J.

  3. How sad! Sorry to hear this. I know how difficult it is to lose a pet. RIP Ziggy.

  4. Alex,
    This is very heartbreaking to hear, my deepest sympathy to each and everyone of you. Our pets are so dear to us, they give us unconditional love each day.


  5. I am so sorry to hear this. It is always heartbreaking to lose a beloved pet, how much more so when it is so untimely and unexpected. You and your family have my deepest sympathy.

  6. This just made me sob. I'm so sorry to hear about your doggie. I've lost two pets in the last three years. One was my beloved parrot who died so suddenly at only 10 years old (they usually can live to be 20+) I'd had him since I was twelve.. He'd go everywhere with me and loved to dance and play and snuggle. It was so traumatic. The other was my 16 year old cat who had to be put down because her body was failing her. Making that decision was so hard but she lived a very long life and I could just tell, she really didn't feel good. Now It's just me and my Pup left. Kids take these things remarkably well. I'm sure Maya will too. I know when my bird passed away, when my stepmom told my brother (who was 5 at the time and loved my bird) He cried for a little while and then said "I bet Welly is in heaven dancing with Jesus" to which we all laughed and cried at. Much love,


  7. I have two cats now and have had a dog before. The dog died of natural causes and it was a painful experience. I empathize with your loss. Pets leave an indelible and affectionate mark on our soul.

  8. Awwww........our fur babies mean as much to us as our human babies too!
    We are sorry for your loss and extend our deepest sympathies to you & your family.

  9. Awwww, So sorry for your loss! RIP Ziggy.

    ((((((Hugs))))))) to you guys.

  10. I am so so sorry to hear about Ziggy :-( It makes me think how much longer I might have with my own (three) fur babies, and I can't bear the thought of them being gone... Sending loving thoughts to all of you at this difficult time, Alexandra <3

  11. As a pet parent I understand your pain :-(. So sorry about Ziggy.


  12. This made me tear up. We lost our fur baby just two weeks before the birth of our baby. He was just 1.5 yrs old. We lost him to renal disease. His name was boomer. We were so excited to see boomer n our baby grow together.. little did we know that they wouldn't get to see each other. It ripped our hearts completely. Its been 5 months now and we are still an emotional mess esp husband. I can completely relate and understand what you must be going through. All I can is we can never come to peace with it but I hope we learn and get the strength to live with their memories soon. Hugs to you.


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