Zeppelin was born in the summer of 1990, but I do not know the exact date. My brother and his son rescued him as a puppy from a shelter. Unfortunately, they could not keep him and I agreed to care for him. I had him from the fall of 1990 until his death in September of 2006. And, yes, I am told he was named after the singing group, Led Zeppelin. If you want to see some pictures, click to see Zeppelin's Gallery.
In January of 2003, Zeppelin became crippled. I have no idea why, because there was no immediate cause that I can recall. It must have resulted from a degenerative condition or, perhaps, one of his fights with Bo, Jack or Jake, may have caused some damage that degenerated. Zeppelin made a remarkable recovery, although it was not a total recovery. Remarkably, he got up on his four feet over Memorial Day weekend of 2003 and walked and run fairly well up until the last few months of his life. He died at my feet as I slept in September of 2006 at the age of 16.
He was happy and did not cry as long as he was with me. He never seemed to be in pain. He just could not walk for much of the end of his life. I took care of him very well and loved him a lot. He only barked or cried when I was not right with him, but that was nothing new. My biggest regret is that he did not have one of those wheeled devices that I see on Facebook now for crippled dogs! I do not think they were available back then or I did not know about them. Also, I did not know how to build one for him
When he became crippled, I had a few choices. First, back surgery was a possibility, but I could not afford that. Second, he could have been euthanized, and I suspect that most people would have elected that course on the theory that he should not be made to suffer. The third and more difficult choice was to make him as comfortable as possible and hope that his body would heal itself.
Zeppelin did not seem to be in pain, had a good appetite, was drinking water very well and, other than his inability to walk, he was in great shape. More importantly, he was very happy when I was around and I loved him very much! Therefore, I elected to hope that his body would heal itself. I laid down plastic, sheets and towels on my floor. He was very smart about going to the bathroom when I was around, although I came up a somewhat clever (I think) arrangement whereby he did not lay in his urine, if he did go when I was not there. It did not work perfectly, but did work reasonably well.
I think that the time and effort I spent was worth it. Not only did he make a fairly remarkable recovery, but I have never had a dog that wanted to mind me as much as Zeppelin and he was worth all the effort. He has a little trouble socializing, because he is very protective of me. But, he always wanted to do 'right' so much!!! He was a really great kid!!!!
Unfortunately, he and Jack and Jake did not get along. I had to keep them separated for most of the time after Jack and Jake came into my house. Part of Zeppelin's problem is that he had gotten to be top dog and then along came these big guys, which respected him for only a few months. After that they all wanted to be top dog. While I tried to convince them that everyone would have been much happier if they all got along, I made about as much sense to them as the United States did to Sadam Hussein back in those days.