Time was no longer on Cash's side.
In late March, a veterinarian finally broke it to the dog’s family — guitarist Paul Phillips from rock band Puddle of Mudd and his fiancee, Karen Perry.
Cash couldn't fight the cancer any more. It was time.
So they bid a tearful farewell to their sweet friend. The couple’s home in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, fell into a dog-less hush.
"They were heartbroken," Jen Deane, founder of Pit Sisters, a Florida-based animal rescue group, tells MNN.
But not far away, another dog was fighting for a chance to get started in this world. The puppy, who rescuers called AJ, was born from a litter of 12.
Pit Sisters had saved his pregnant mom from a local shelter. But all 12 puppies came down with parvo, a highly contagious — and deadly — virus.
AJ was among just three who survived.
"He was a fighter," Deane recalls. "He wasn’t ready to give up."
Indeed, AJ got stronger by the day, finding traction — and love — in a foster home.
Until Perry got in touch.
She had seen a post about AJ on Facebook. The couple wanted to adopt him.
Deane sent AJ’s foster mom to check out the potential new home.
"I knew she would be harder than anyone else would be on the adopter because she loves AJ," Deane says.
The foster mom reported back with a resounding yes. AJ arrived at his forever home on Sunday.
And what kind of dog dad does a rock star whose band has sold more than 7 million albums make?
Well, the kind who hangs a massive sign on his front door to welcome the new family member.
And the kind of couple who calls their dog, Zeppelin. Naturally.
"They’re fantastic people," Deane says. "And they just love him. They had already bought toys for him. They had a blanket. They had everything ready for him. They were so excited."
Rock on, Zeppelin.