Dr. Zira's actual 13th birthday is December 15, but we are celebrating today. We adopted Zira in July of 2008 from her breeder. I had been wanting a brussels griffon for my fifth dog and was thinking I would like an older dog rather then a puppy, even though I adore puppies, as we had just gone through the puppy stage with Bob our bulldog. I had planned to get a male Brussels Griffon and name him Dr. Zaius. The idea for the name came from the movie Planet of the Apes which we had just scene at the Landmark Loews, a really cool old theatre in Jersey City that has been restored and now screens old movies. I have always thought Planet of the Apes was a hoot and since Brussels Griffons are known as monkey dogs I thought the name would be very appropriate. I also loved this clip from the Simpson's of a musical Planet of the Apes, it always cracks me up. I have recently decided that it is Dr. Z's theme song.
Anyway, I contacted numerous rescues and quite a few breeders and nobody had a male Brussels Griffon. Finally, a local Brussels Griffon breeder told me that she had an older female, age 9, that had been returned to her recently. So we went out to see her knowing we would probably wind up bringing her home. When we met Zira she was named Samantha, and was very shy and a bit skinny. She was living with about 20 to 30 other dogs so I knew that living with five other dogs would be nothing for her. Of course we couldn't leave her. She transitioned to our home very smoothly and became very close to our elderly pug, Bingo.
We changed Samantha's name to Dr. Zira and brought her to our vet right away. There we found out she needed a bunch of teeth extracted and that she had kidney disease. Today Zira has almost no teeth and with a good diet her kidneys have not worsened. She is definitely still shy and doesn't like to cuddle much, but she is always around when you open a bag of treats. She has some very nasty habits (the initials for it would be P.E.) but we love her anyway. Our vet thinks we have extended her life by many years by bringing her into our home. Here are some of my favorite picture of Dr. Z over the years she has been with us:
Today Dr. Zira began her birthday celebration with a trip to one of her least favorite people, the groomer, afterwards we took her for a walk (short as she is not a fan of long walks)
and out to buy our Christmas tree.
When we got back Dr. Zira, and her siblings, had cake (peanut butter flavor)
Goand got her present:
Kung Fu Fido fortune cookies.
Then we watched Planet of the Apes and decorated our tree (its a terrible blurry picture but it looks very nice and is very tall)
It was a great birthday for all!