The story of a journey


Tomorrow I am headed on a trip out of state with my sister to go look at a litter of bulldog puppies. It took us a long time to get to this point and now it has arrived. I am excited but also reflective. Last May she lost her previous bulldog Zeus to temperment issues. This is his story.

Zeus originally came to her as a rescue out of hurricane Katrina. He was found with 2 other bulldogs outside in a yard. One of the other dogs had been killed by a fallen tree. He never did like windy days after that and would hide in his crate when storms came in. Who could blame him?

When she adopted him he had been returned to the shelter twice for his health issues, once by a veterinary technician that said she couldn't deal with them. She wasn't wrong. He had continual reoccuring skin infections and needed baths every other day to keep him comfortable. To add to the skin issues, he had serious food allergies and regurgitated meals (and treats) daily due to a malformed esophegus. He was also known to urinate on any bed he decided he liked, regardless of actual ownership. And to add insult to injury (as if he cared) he was quite undersized for his breed.

Zeus had clearly drawn the genetic short straw.

The shelter was great and they did give her full disclosure of his known issues at the time. They even paid his vet bills for his first year with her since they were so prolific. They were just happy to have him a good and patient home. He wasn't a perfect dog, and she knew that, she also knew he needed her. His days had been numbered otherwise. Besides, she was looking for a nice quiet laid back dog to add to her home. Zeus fit the bill.

He was a sweet dog that moved at a snails pace most of the time. Walks with him were more like ambles. He loved food and would run through his whole repetoire of tricks to earn just one piece of kibble. He was great with kids and other dogs and would wiggle all over when he was really happy. His tail nub cocked to one side and only moved in one direction. He was patient during his bathtime and grunted when he got excited. He was a good dog.

For about 3 years they lived day by day and managed all his issues pretty well. He was happy, she was happy and it was all good. Then the aggression began.

We got him tested and found a thyroid problem, so on meds he went. We figured out his triggers and managed those while we began a behavior modification program. Ironicly his skin finally got better while his behavior worsened. Over time his triggers became erratic and hard to predict, if at all. He simply became a different dog.

Then one day he made contact with someone and hurt them. Fortunatly due to his misshapen mouth he didn't hurt them as badly as could have been possible otherwise, but the horse was out of the barn. We hit a wall and had nowhere else to go with the unpredictablity. If you can't predict it, you can't manage it. With the added complication of a disabled child in the home the decision was made to euthanise Zeus for everyones safety.

That didn't make it hurt any less.

It took awhile but she decided she wanted to share her life with another bulldog again. Rescues were considered but none were found that were a good fit into her home. We contacted reputable breeders and considered adults as well as puppies. Nothing fit all our criteria, until now.

So while we are excited at the begining of the next leg of the journey, we also want to remember what started it in the first place. A sweet and gentle dog named Zeus who needed a home. It may have been a short life but he had a good one with my sister. He was loved and he will always be missed, even as we move on.

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