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Beloved Penticton dog Zippy died after ingesting drugs

‘It is with great sadness that I let you know that Zippy crossed the rainbow bridge’: Gord Portman
Zippy, Gord Portman’s dog could always be found in zipped up in Portman’s jacket. Sadly, Zippy died Friday after ingesting drugs while working outreach two weeks prior. (Gord Portman)

Penticton hero Gord Portman’s beloved dog Zippy has now crossed the rainbow bridge.

Portman made the announcement on Friday on Facebook.

“It is with great sadness that I let you all know that today Zippy crossed the rainbow bridge. It was a very difficult decision, but his health drastically deteriorated overnight. I will forever be grateful for the love and support the community has shown me and Zippy,” Portman wrote.

Condolences from the community came flooding in, many remembering when Zippy attended the Pathway protests and seeing Portman and Zippy around town working outreach.

Wherever Portman went Zippy was right there zipped up in his jacket.

He called Zippy his ‘recovery dog’ and his best friend. When Portman was living on the streets and living in addiction, Zippy was there to keep him company and to keep him warm.

During recovery it was Zippy he could count on through it all. Then Portman started working outreach, helping those still suffering in addiction, testing their drugs for them and helping support them. Zippy helped them too, hundreds of people, he said.

A couple weeks ago Portman and Zippy were working on the outreach bus in Penticton when Portman put Zippy down to take over driving. Most of the time, Zippy, a six pound Fox Terrier, spends his days in Portman’s jacket.

But in that instant Zippy licked what was later determined to be cocaine and meth.

Portman rushed Zipyy to the emergency animal hospital in Kelowna where he was treated with charcoal to throw up.

But being such a tiny dog, Zippy lost weight and was suffering with pancreatitis.

The community came together to help when Portman reached out to say that he couldn’t afford to pay Zippy’s vet bills.

“He’s my baby,” said Portman. “I work hard for my dog, to make sure he’s got a roof over his head. I’d do anything for my dog.”

But a recent examination revealed that Zippy was taking in water into his abdomen and not absorbing any nutrients. His health drastically deteriorated overnight Thursday and Portman made the difficult decision to relieve him of his suffering.

Zippy was nine-years-old.

READ MORE: Penticton’s Zippy facing health setback as local hero calls for support

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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