In Memory of Zoe

The last post that I did like this, I wrote that I had a feeling that I would be doing many more of these before my time on this world was up.  There are days when I hate being right.  Zoe was a good friend to me.  She wasn’t the kind of friend who comes over and brings you a cold drink when you need it.  She wasn’t the kind of friend who you could nerd out with your newest games with.  She was just a friend who put her head on your lap and looked up at you, just glad to see that you were there.  Zoe, Shield Maiden of the Homestead, was my dog.

Zoe with her puppies.  The little white one is Riley.

Zoe with her puppies. The little white one is Riley.

Confused about the name?  Well, Zoe is a pure-bred lab.  Pure-bred dogs have to have titles.  Since neither of the parentals were good at thinking one up, they put the task to me.  Same with her puppy, Riley.  I had just watched the Lord of the Rings movies, so I thought of a name that was regal and whatnot.  She was a gift to the family after I had surgery.  Cervical fusion.  C1-C3.  The most unpleasant operation of my life, following an accident that has defined my outlook on life, forevermore.  She was such an excitable puppy.  She had a bit of a problem of peeing on the floor whenever people came home.  She just got so happy.  We trained that problem out of her by adulthood.  She wanted to be everybody’s friend.  Much to the chagrin of my cat and confidant – Lizzy.  Lizzy brutalized that puppy, to the point that even as an adult, who could bite her in half, she was afraid of her.  A trait that carried over to her puppy, Riley, when he tried to be her friend.

If there was a more friendly dog, I can’t think of one.  She was everybody’s friend the moment that she met them.  Hitler and Stalin could come in and she would try and be their best friends too.  I loved that quality.  Since the parents live out in the country, long walks around the woods were a favorite activity of hers.  Sometimes, she had a bit of trouble coming back when called.  The adventures were just too fun.

Now, while I say that she was given to me, the truth is that she wasn’t my dog.  Very quickly, it was the father-unit, Dave, who she bonded with.  Make no mistake, she was HIS animal.  Went absolutely everywhere with him.  Working in the garage, she was there.  Working outside, she was there.  In the plow truck clearing the road in the middle of winter, she was there.  She went absolutely everywhere with him.  He would complain, but the truth is, I think he liked having a little helper go everywhere with him.  One of my fondest memories from the old house is how I knew who everybody was by how they walk.  Since the basement was my favorite place to hang out, I could hear everybody walking around upstairs.  Sally (the mother-unit) had a slow and monotonous walk.  Not in a hurry to get anywhere.  The Sister had an angry walk.  For real, even her walk sounded pissed off.  I refuse to believe that she has arches on her feet.  But with the old man, everywhere he went, there was the clickety-click of doggie feet behind him.  For a while, it was Zoe, but then there was Riley.

See?  Such a momma's boy.

See? Such a momma’s boy.

Riley is her puppy.  He has been such a momma’s boy.  He doesn’t appear all sad, but then, dogs process death different than people.  I envy that about them sometimes.  Everywhere that Zoe went, he wasn’t far behind.  If she got attention, he had to have some.  There was a constant competition to see who got the old man’s lap while he would watch the news or TV at night.  But the neatest thing to me was when, even though he was so much bigger than her, when Zoe got pissed at him, she could run him down and throw him over, showing that he may be bigger, but she was top dog.  Given how large he got, that was so neat to see.

I got a call a couple months ago that it was confirmed that Zoe had cancer.  In her lymph nodes.  Not a good way to go.  She was having a hard time breathing.  When I got home from college for the summer, I got to hear how labored it was myself.  That was hard.  Her death was nowhere near easy.  She still seemed happy, but she’s a dog.  Dogs always seem happy, if people are being nice to them.  And we were.  By the end, her sense of smell was gone, her eyesight was getting really bad and her breathing was like the bellows.  We knew that it was time to put her to sleep.

I couldn’t be there when it was done.  I had to be at work.  We all have to earn money, right?  Been thinking about it all day.  I get home, hearing that it was done.  Part of me is glad that I wasn’t there to see it.  Too cruel a thing, for me.

When I was a kid, I used to think that animals all had a kind of sacred place that they go when they die.  Some kind of place that only they can find.  Since the parents used to say that none of the cats that they owned died at home, I figured that when they got old, they went off to find that sacred place.  The final resting place of their kind.  I don’t believe in God or anything, but part of me still wishes that I believed that.  And that maybe, someday, I will go to that place, and find my friend again.  If there is an afterlife, I have a feeling that there is a ton of nature to explore.

That’s all I have to say, really.  I lose one more friend.  A friend who I’ll never get back.  Lately, I feel so alone here.  Alone, forevermore.

Normally, I close these things out with a quote from the person who passed, but this was a friend, and I don’t have a quote by them.  So, I will use a quote about the species.  Goodbye, my friend.  I hope that you are in a better place, even if I don’t believe that.

Until next time, a quote,

“Happiness is a warm puppy.”  -Charles M. Schultz

Peace out,



19 thoughts on “In Memory of Zoe

  1. I had a dog growing up, he was a Keeshond named Bear. I picked him out of the litter as a little pup when I was about twelve. We grew up together, and when I was about twenty-two I buried him. It was very traumatic for me too.

    I was curious, what happened in the accident, right before you got Zoe, and how did it change your outlook on life?

    • It was a severe head injury. What changed my life was that while the intellectual side of my mind was intact and functioning on all cylinders, the emotional side of my brain was damaged. It can’t properly process, so now I am condemned with depression for the rest of my life. This isn’t something that one can just have a more positive attitude to fix. I hate hearing people say that. Ignorance. My outlook has changed because I am, quite literally, brain-damaged.

      • Thanks for explaining, Lucien. I didn’t realize your depression was a physical condition. I’m guessing medication has been tried?

      • Wouldn’t do any good. My condition isn’t a chemical imbalance. It is due to physical damage. Medication can’t fix something which doesn’t work properly. In all likelihood, because of my condition, medication would likely make it worse.

      • Would you say, from the time of the accident to now, that your level of depression has stayed about the same? Is there anything which you feel has effected it, in either a good or bad way? Are your moods completely out of your control, or are there certain triggers, or stimuli, that can pick you up, or bring you down? Hope you don’t mind the questions. You don’t have to answer. I’m just curious. This seems like such a rare condition. I’ve never heard of anything like it before, so naturally, it conjures a lot of questions to my inquisitive mind.

      • It’s gotten worse, over the years. Though that has coincided with my rising stress levels. Makes sense. Negative stimuli are more easily processed now than positive. Though I’ve had plenty of negative stimuli to help it along. Death of a fiancee, loss of friends and a loss of direction in my life. All hard. And I wouldn’t call it a rare condition, so much as a result. My brain got damaged, this is the result. Cause and effect. How I see most of life, actually.

      • I think cause and effect is a good way to see life, but I don’t think we truly understand just how powerful our choices are when it comes to the life we find ourselves in. That is, I see a lot of dissasociation in others between where their life is at in the present, and the choices they’ve made in the past. So, yes, cause and effect.

        If you don’t mind me asking, how did your fiancee die. What was she like?

        What do you mean by loss of direction in your life. What was your direction before, and why did that change.

        PS: if you feel like I’m prying to much, say so. I appreciate you sharing some of your life with me.

      • I tend to be open-book about most things in my life. Camille died from a car accident. T-boned at a stop-light. Other driver was an idiot who didn’t know how to drive in winter. She was in the back-seat, driver’s side. Both her and the driver were killed instantly. As for what she was like…well, I will say that her hatred of life was on par with my own. Neither of us were what you’d call happy people. But while it was a brain injury with me, her reasons for unhappiness were because of where she grew up. Mother was a crack-head who lost her kids. She lived in a group-home in Chicago. If there is a worse place to grow up, I don’t know what it is. Having seen that place, I am SO before abortion instead of adoption. I knew that she had to do some bad things to survive there. She didn’t tell me, and I didn’t ask. Having to lose your dignity to avoid getting raped, I didn’t want to know. She was vague, and I respected her privacy. But we managed to work, for what time we had. She died when I was 19. And that’s all I have to say about that.

      • I am, but where home is is something I keep to myself. Can’t be too careful. Insult insane Christians and Texans enough and you collect a fair amount of death threats. A good day on my blog is when I get at least two. 😛

      • I understand that. I was just wondering how close you live to where I am. I live in Tennessee. I thought, if you didn’t live to far, maybe we could meet sometime, share some coffee, and talk. I prefer getting to know people face to face. Just a thought.

      • Oh, well, I’m afraid that that isn’t going to be possible, because I am at least 3,000 miles away. And I also like to get to know people in person. Alas, the internet shows me how far away I am from people. 😦

      • That would be an exspensive cup of coffee. Still, if you’re ever in my neck of the woods, let me know.

      • I wouldn’t count on it. Been down that part of the world. Old boss of mine took me on a business venture to the bayou of Louisiana. I don’t believe in an afterlife, but if there is a Hell, that’s it. Hot, miserable and with bugs the size of Buicks. 😦

      • Yeah, Louisiana is hot, muggy, and buggy. But Tennessee isn’t quite as bad. It does get hot here in the summers, but not like Louisiana. Actually, Tennessee is my perfect climate; short, mild winters, nice, warm summers, and lots of nature. I can see the Smokey Mountians from my back porch.

      • Ironic, my kind of environment is more akin to Seattle. Pity that it is so expensive to live there. I’d love to. Rainy, wet and the few nice days are celebrated. My kind of weather. 🙂

      • I do like the rain, especially thunder storms. I’ve wonder, since you go to school in Alaska, how does that affect your moods. The cold, the short summers, and the issue of light.

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