Went to Rainbow Bridge 25 June 2010

You came to us three and a half years ago, with your big brother Ben. Sadly Ben could only stay with us for six weeks then went to Rainbow Bridge. You were a lively 11 year old girlie with a zest for life and although you didn’t know how to play, you did try to learn from us. In the end, we realised that as long as you had a soft toy to carry around, you were happy. Many is the time that you have insisted on taking one on a walk only to drop it just down the road, so that I was forced to carry it for the rest of the way. You always greeted us with your teddies when we came home.

In spite of your obvious joy at living with us, you seemed a little lost when Ben had gone, so we asked IRR for a friend for you and that’s when Merlin came to live with us too. You took to him straight away even though he wasn’t interested in any of us much at first. He had recently had an operation to remove a lump on his shoulder and the evening before he came to meet us, he pulled the drain from his wound, so that he could impress you no doubt. You let him into your life and accepted him as your new friend. Just over a year ago, you also let a very elderly Della into your life and accepted her as part of your family too. You have always been willing to share us with your doggie friends, but pushed them out of the way if you felt left out and they always let you, knowing you were the boss.

You have had us very worried several times since you came into our lives. You had a series of vestibular attacks, the first of which was so severe that we thought we would lose you then, but you fought back even though it meant living with a questioning tilt to your pretty head.

Then you were very poorly eighteen months ago and you had a full hysterectomy for ovarian tumours and a mammary tumour removed at the same time. You were so ill that I didn’t know whether you would make it through the operation, but I knew we had to try as you seemed to want to stay. I think everyone was pleasantly surprised when you made it through and all your sponsors will remember the swimsuit solution we came up with so that your dressing would stay in place and to keep you from removing those itchy stitches. You insisted on going for walks just two days after the operation, so I knew you had decided to fight it and by working together we managed to overcome it and you got well. So well in fact that we managed to go to the IRR reunion last year and you took a turn around the ring with the rescue dogs in your year and then with the sponsor dogs – your photo is there on the website to prove it. You met lots of people who knew you and some who didn’t, but you loved them all and let them make a huge fuss of you. We’ve always had such fun writing your sponsor letters.

Just last week we took photos of you for the sponsor dog calendar next year, not realising what was in store just a few days later. I have been sleeping downstairs with you since your major op and Thursday night was just so terrible that we spent it awake together. You were coughing and being sick and I was cleaning up and comforting you. We spent the night cuddled together with me getting more and more concerned. In the morning the vet gave you anti-biotics, but by mid afternoon things were so much worse and your sparkle had gone. We rushed to the vets and you were x-rayed, but Julie the vet’s face said it all. She was in tears showing us the evidence of a very large tumour pushing down onto your intestines and the very enlarged oesophagus that prevented you from ingesting your food and made it all come back up again. The vet asked what we wanted to do and looking at you I knew that this was the end of the road we had travelled together. It broke my heart like it has never been broken before, but I knew the only thing I could do for you was to let you go. You looked like a dog prepared to move on and your body was preventing you from flying, so we released your spirit so that you could join Ben and all the other beautiful dogs at Rainbow Bridge. I cuddled you close and told you how much we love you as you faded away. I cried then, I am crying still as I know I will never hold your soft head in my hands again or look into your deep brown eyes and see into your soul. You were a dog in many millions and will always be in our hearts.

Goodnight beautiful Zena. We will love and miss you more than words can say. Until we meet again.

Love always, Lorna, Rachel, Merlin and Della xxxx

 Many thanks to all those at IRR and the sponsors who have contacted me to express their sorrow at our loss. Zena was special to so many people and not just our dog, but a big part of your lives too. We all love and miss her terribly.



They say memories are golden
well maybe that is true
I never wanted memories,
I only wanted you.

A million times I needed you,
a million times I cried.
If love alone could have saved you
you never would have died.

In life I loved you dearly,
In death I love you still.
In my heart you hold a place
no one could ever fill.

If tears could build a stairway
and heartache make a lane,
I'd walk the path to heaven
and bring you back again.

Our family chain is broken,
and nothing seems the same.
But as God calls us one by one,
the chain will link again.


Zena’s poem, kindly written for us by Wendy

 You gave me and Ben a home when we thought nobody cared, you took us into your life and your love we shared.

 Sadly Ben passed away and I was left on my own, but thanks to you and Rachel for the love that you have shown.

 I had two new friends that you rescued, Merlin and Della too, they have a lovely life, and it is all thanks to you.

 Nothing was too much trouble and you always did your best,

Sometimes it was hard for you and you never had a rest.

 I was feeling tired and it was my time to leave, I know that you will want to grieve.

 I will meet up with dear Ben once again,  and we will run and play and feel no pain.

 I will always stay very close to you, you will feel all the love that I have for you.

 I will be just a whisper away, and I will think of you each and every day.

 Think of me as the gentle breeze that blows, the sun and the river that slowly flows.

 I will watch over you during day and night, I will be your *Star* in Heaven that always shines so bright.

 Thank you for being my very best friend,  and for being with me at the end.

 I will never forget all that you have done, to me you were such a ‘Wonderful  Mum’

 Lots of Love from ‘Princess Zena’ xxxxxxxxxx



We're so terribly sad to hear about Zena. She was such a fighter and it is a great testament to how happy she was with you, that she fought so hard to stay with you right up until the end. You brought her and Ben such happiness at the end of their lives, and gave them the retirement they deserved.

You're right that she is with her soulmate Ben at the Bridge now and free of their years, and their ailments.  What a stunning couple they must make, although I suspect Ben will still be cantankerous, and Zena will still roll on her back at every opportunity to have her belly tickled.

Although they can never replace them, it must be some comfort to have Merlin and Della there. I can still very clearly remember the day I collected Ben and Zena, the lady opening the stable door to reveal them lying in the straw.

We remember the Christmas they spent with us, making it bearable for us, being the 1st we'd spent without our own dog Ben and we remember the pleasure in knowing they'd finally found their perfect home with you.

Thanks to the IRR I've seen many dogs in lots of circumstances and I know, without any doubt, you gave Zena and Ben their perfect home. Although it's difficult now, you should be very proud of that.

Back to the Rainbow

2009 Irish Retriever Rescue UK