In Memory of Zira

By Zira's human - Kevin Monceaux

One day I happened to mention to my neighbor that I was thinking of getting another dog. I had one dog at the time, a Shar-Pei named Mr. Wrinkles. My neighbor told me of a stray German Shepherd pup her daughter-in-law's mother had found and was looking for a home for. After a brief discussion I agreed to take the pup. She arrived at my house later that afternoon. As it turned out she was not a Germah Shepherd. She was a mix, with perhaps some German Shepherd in her. I named her Zira, after the female scientist in the Planet of the Apes movies.

Zira was at most three months old when she joined my pack. It took the folks that found her as a stray about a month to catch her. And, they had her for a while before I got her, so she was on her own at a very young age. She was absolutely terrified of people. I had to work with her for months before she would let me walk up to her and pet her. With alot of patience Zira got to know and trust me. I jumped at every opportunity to socialize her. We went for daily walks and made frequent trips to pet-friendly places like PetsMart.

When playing in the back yard Zira frequently leaped over the other dogs, espeicially if one of them stopped in front of her. I had heard a little about canine agility and thought she would be good at it. But, I had no idea where to start. One day while out on our daily walk a lady out in her front yard happened to strike up a conversation with me. Somehow the subject of agility came up and and she gave me the contact infor for the Waco Agility Group. Shortly thereafter I enrolled Zira in a beginner class.

Thanks to WAG Zira made great progress. She never completly overcame her shyness. She would gladly take a treat from anyone offering one to her but shied away if they tried to pet her.

Kevin and Zira at Show and Go

On Saturday, March 30th, 2001 Zira attended a Show 'N Go held by WAG. She stopped in the middle of a run, as if she was lost, and rolled over for a belly rub. I didn't realize it at the time but it was a symptom of a major problem. Early the following Monday morning Zira was on my bed and acted like she couldn't get down. I started to help her down and she had a seizure. It was the first time I had seen a dog, or any living creature, have a seizure. "Freaked out" doesn't quite cover my reaction. With the help of a friend and a call to the emergency 24 hour vet clinic I calmed down a little. I brought Zira in to see her regular vet as soon as their office opened. They ran some tests, started her on anti-seizure medication, and gave me alot of information on canine epilepsy.

That night and the following day Zira continued having seizures. She went back to her vet and the kept her for observation and treatment. They had to keep her sedated with valium. When the valium would start to wear off she would have another seizure. She was even having mini-seizures while on valium. Her vets tried for three days to get the seizures under control. On Thursday, April 5th, 2001 I had to make the difficult decision to end Zira's suffering. Her vets suspect she had a brain tumor.

Zira was laid to rest in the Sleepy Hollow Pet Cemetery in Bellmead, TX. Many of her friends attended. I spent quite a while trying to come up with a fitting epitaph for her headstone. Eventually my loss for words turned out to be my inspiration. On her headstone is inscribed the following:

Words cannot describe the way you touched our lives