MWD ZIZI - L 401
PATROL / EXPLOSIVE DETECTION DOG - US NAVY
MWD Zizi, a Belgium Malinios, was born April 04, 2005 and served in the US Navy from 2008 - 2011. She was deployed once to Camp Arifjan Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from June 2009 to June 2010. MWD Zizi retired early at the age of six, due to Progressive Retinal Atrophy. She was adopted by her handler MA1 Cristina Collesano in February 2011. Zizi was diagnosed with Cancer in March 2014 and passed away peacefully in Cristina’s arms on September 23, 2014.
From the day you came home to the day you left the Earth, you brought love and light wherever you went. I have long since stopped counting how many times complete strangers would stop, stare and ask me “what you were”. I would say you were a Belgium Malinios to which the rely was always some form of “ She’s so beautiful / gorgeous / pretty”. And you were, babe. You were the most beautiful dog I’ve ever seen, inside and out.
The best example of who you were was shown the day Grandma died. We had been living with her for several months , caring for her, along with my parents in the final stages of Alzheimer’s Grandma passed away in the morning, surrounded by the entire family. Afterward, while we all sat in a circle in the living room sharing memories, stories and prayer, you went up to each and every person and laid your head in a lap for a few moments. You looked in our eyes and stood still while we pet you, whispered a few words or just cried.Then you moved to the next family member and did the same, for over 20 people. You knew what we all needed on that grief-filled day and you gave it gladly. My heart was so full watching you give yours and i’ve never been so proud of or grateful for anything as I was on that day.
I couldn’t let you suffer. You deserved every good things and that included a dignified end to your amazing life. So I spoiled you, snuggled you, loved you and told you how much you meant to me every day and night for the last three weeks. The last weekend when you wouldn’t eat, could barely walk and struggled to breathe, I knew it was time. I still held out hope that there was something that could be done, but when we went to the vet today I knew there was nothing more. I struggled with it, fought it even, but when you looked at me in that office, when I saw what was in your eyes, I couldn’t let you go on no matter how much I selfishly wanted you with me. And so I let you go peacefully, in my arms covered with love. It was by far the hardest thing I have ever had to do and the pain I feel is indescribable.
You were never just a dog to me or anybody who met you. You were never a tool or military property. I’ve always said I love you more than I love most people, and it’s true. You have shown and taught me so much in our time together and I will always wish we had more time. Our 5 years together went by way too fast, as time tends to do and I will cherish every memory of you.
Run fast and hit hard “Mama”. Know that I love you dearly and will miss you every day. Wait for me at the Bridge, I expect a big hug. I’ll see you soon.
MWD Zizi (L401)
US Navy, Retired
April 04, 2005 to September 23, 2014