Tribute To Zeus
Zeus – A a best friend and member of the Daley family for a short thirteen years and a bit.
Zeus was born December 3, 1995, he was just a fluff ball when we saw him at a breeders ranch in California when he was just 4 weeks old. They were expecting us so when we pulled up to their yard all the pups were out in the yard playing. We got out of the car and immediately walked over to the pups.
They all became interested in us and competed for our attention except one who positioned himself under a parked car. He emanated independence and really didn’t seem to care if we were visiting or not. Being the dog lover that I am, I could not resist his cute face and went over to pick him up. He was a chubby little guy and grunted when I picked him up. When I held him close under my chin he lavished kisses all over my chin and did the same to Jane when I passed him on to her. In the next few minutes Zeus made up our minds to the fact that he would be joining our family.
Jane and I made a trip to Petsmart to pick-up dog food on a Saturday. We didn’t know it at the time but Petsmart has adoption services on Saturdays. When we entered the doors there were these cute puppies that looked like they were a German Shepherd mix of somekind. The sign said, “please adopt us today or we will be euthanized on Monday”. If that was supposed to tug at your heart, it worked. My bride immediatly went over and scooped up one of the little females who was a cutie and couldn’t seem to lavish enough love on us. It was almost as if she knew this was an opportunity to break prison. Jane suggested that it would be a great idea to bring this little girl home so Zeus would have company when we were not home. This was not a new concept for the Daley family because we almost
always had two in our household just for that reason. I told Jane I wasn’t ready to bring home another dog because I was afraid Zeus would maul anyother dog that came into the house. I finally talked Jane in putting her back in the pen and we commenced to fill our shopping list. While I was looking at training collars for Zeus I turned around and Jane was not to be seen. When I walked back toward the front of the store there she was, holding this little female that we would later name Venus because she loved everyone and had lots of love to go around. Once again, I convinced Jane to place Venus back in the pen and I asked her to stand in the check out line while I ran back and got our 50 lbs. bag of dog food. When I made it back to the check out line there was Jane holding Venus. Venus would not be going back to prison on this day or anytime in the future. Since that day I have went out of my way to avoid Petsmart on Saturday’s.
When we got outside I told Jane that we should have Zeus and Venus meet on neutral ground to avoid any territorial conflicts and she agreed. I was concerned that Venus would wind up just being a toy for Zeus. His alpha male tendencies made him a bit of a bully. While Jane waited I went back home and got Zeus. We introduced them on a neutral grassy patch in front of the Petsmart. When I let Zeus off leash he ran toward Venus as I feared would happen with malice of intent. I begin to move forward so I could rescue Venus from the terror Zeus. To everyones surprise and especially to Zeus, Venus flipped Zeus on his back into a submissive pose. At least for now the leadership role was established in favor of the little lady. That would change as Zeus matured but the role reversal seemed ok with Venus as they became the very best of friends.
Zeus under went snake training, a necessary exercise because of the rattle snakes that inhabit the natual areas of Arizona. There was several times that Zeus blocked our path because using his sense of smell he identified a rattle snake ahead that he was trained to identify as dangerous and it needed to be avoided. A couple of the hikers told me that if for some reason I could not make the hike they would pick up Zeus so he could still go on the men’s hiking excursions with the rest of the guys.
Although Zeus took on the role of protecting the house and let it be known to everyone that came to the door that this was part of his roles and responsibilities, once introduced to the arrival they were welcome and he was ready to be friends. Away from the house on walks through the community he would meet people and other dogs and was cordial and happy to make a new friend or say high to an old friend.
Life was good as we took our trips into the desert to discover new trails and see the vistas that this beautiful country has to offer and those car trips to see our children or visit friends were all special times. We took some of our vacations at dog friendly resorts like the one in San Digo, CA. Zeus loved to watch movies and never missed a chance in talking us into stepping into the theater to watch a movie. There was also particular shows he liked to watch. He liked animal planet but we could never figure out his facination with the Jay Leno show. He would watch that show and then when it was over it simply was time to go to bed and he would move to his own bed in our bedroom. Many of our friends thought Zeus’s singing ability was the best. His favorite song was singing in the rain. While I sang lead, Zeus would harmonize in his tenor voice and Venus would sing soprano. Sometimes we could even get Jane to join our little choir. Others just liked Zeus’s interaction when they visited our home or attended a gathering. He would always make everyone feel important and special. Yes, those were very special times as Zeus was there to make a good day even better.
It was evening time and dark with our long driveway illuminated by outdoor lights that gave very limited light so as to protect the night skies that we enjoy in North Scottsdale. It was a trip the Zeus and I have made many times to take the mail down to the mailbox for delivery the next day. This was just another trip when I heard the noise of the shrubs being pushed aside by something. I finally caught the outline of a Javelina (pictured above) running directly at me. The adrenaline kicked in and I thought about running but there wasn’t time so I was preparing to delivery a kick to the Javelina. That kick would have been futile as it probably weighed in the neighborhood of 200 pounds but I didn’t have any other options. At the last second Zeus came out of what seemed like nowhere and collided with the pic knocking it off balance. Zeus attached the pig with growls and intensity I had never seen before. The next thing I knew the pig was running back into the bush with Zeus riding his back and chewing on the back of his neck. I whistled for him and he jumped off and ran back to me and turned to face where the pig disappeared. I told Zeus to heck with the mail, let’s get back up to the house. Zeus never for a moment gave a thought for himself, his only thought was to keep me from harm. We never went to the mailbox after dark again.
As Zeus grew older he developed hip trouble and eventually lost the use of his back legs. We got a special harness to help with lifting his hind quarters and he used his powerful chest muscles to walk on his front feet. He still made the trips to visit our children and grand children and couldn’t have been happier when we did. It was a lot more work on our part but we didn’t mind as he had given us so much.
The condition finally got the best of our brave Zeus who never once complained about his condition as it grew into the final stages. He new his time had come and as I lay on the floor close to him he inched closer, laid his head on my arm and took his final breath.
We can’t help but grieve for Zeus, after all he was not only a family member but a good friend.
Zeus will be loved and missed – But never forgotten.
12/03/1995 – 01/26/2009
Written by Jeff and Jane Daley
See a Video Tour of Zeus Here