We had to put our beagle to sleep today. At first, this was going to be an "in memorial" post, but then I realized that we're in the midst of 30 Days of Thanks, and how grateful I am that Zena was a part of our lives. So, as much as is possible, I'm going to take a few moments to appreciate the beautiful little beagle that was ours for the past two-and-a-half years.
Thirty Days of Thanks, Day 8: Zena
We brought her home on April 4, 2011. I remember the date clearly because it was the day before the local municipal elections, when we got a new mayor for the city of Champaign, and things were looking up. There's a picture somewhere of Ashley and Zena on the couch together, Ashley looking at the incoming election results on his laptop, Zena simply looking-on, probably trying to gauge who this new owner of hers was.
She was 11, almost 12 when we got her. I wanted a dog and, eventually (thankfully), got Ashley to agree. We went to the humane society and looked at a few animals, initially passing Zena over. She was old, and all I foresaw was a short time together and a lot of medical bills. That wasn't entirely off the mark, but the disdain with which I said it is still something I regret. We eventually realized she would be a good fit for our household, and home with us she came.
It'd been decades since I had a dog, and Ashley had never had one. Zena was just our speed. Being older, she wasn't a big ball of energy to have to take care of. She didn't bother the cats, and she was sweet. So very, very sweet. That's what I shall miss most about her. Zena was easy-going, good-natured and just wanted to be with us. She followed us around (especially if there was the potential for food) and, overall, went with the flow of things.
More than once I was struck by her devotion. The love of a dog is something I wasn't prepared for. Truthfully, I didn't deserve it, although it was certainly appreciated. Zena would greet us at the front door, wagging her tail with happiness. She loved to lay on her side so her belly could be rubbed. My mom used to babysit her when we were away, and Zena greeted her just about as enthusiastically as she would us.
The last few months have been difficult, first with a bulging right eye that led to a discovery of a malignant tumor and subsequent removal of the eye, followed by some bad coughing spells that led to the discovery of terminal lymphoma. The dog that loved to eat began to turn away food, stopped getting excited about going outside and, overall, didn't seem very happy.
We were with her to the end, until her chest stopped moving and her body was still. Zena was gone, but the benefits she bestowed upon us will remain for as long as we remember her. I am so thankful for that beautiful beagle.