Sleeper, Keeper, Herder

My husband is off on business for a few days so old dog Zoe is following me around. I am the Food Wench, after all. I walked a few feet from bed where she has taken my husband’s side, to the office to write this and in less than two minutes she was at my side.

I got her a small dog bed and placed it on the carpet. A minute later she is sound asleep again. A week ago she turned 84 in people years. She’s gorgeous, vivacious, loves everyone and is kind of a mascot around here. She sleeps probably 20 hours per day, plays, walks, entertains visitors and people think she’s a puppy. She looks for blue pants with a dark stripe (the mail man or her favorite postal worker Lynn who is still in the neighborhood but not here) because she loves them. And neighbors’ grandkids come over and whisper her name hoping she’ll hear and bark once and I’ll open the door. I’m younger in people years and wish I looked as good.

Now she herds me room to room, whatever I’m doing. My Aunt L used to call it “being by.” Make the bed, I have to walk around her at the foot of it. Fold laundry. You get it. But the best place is her Magic Room, the kitchen, where food is unloaded, prepped and served. She has her own menu but will occasionally be slipped (not by me) a sliver of apple or a grape. OK, my husband likes making popcorn and one or two popped kernels may go her way. He’s the fun guy, I’m food wench and disciplinarian.

As she is so old I’ve been thinking dog names and breeds. I don’t really want to get a pup that will drive her crazy but don’t want to get a pup that I’m too old to raise and my husband will not wish to carry on.

All my life I’ve dealt with damaged goods and have made good of two cats and two dogs over 20 years of volunteerism on their behalf. Zoe was our first shot at formative behavior, not a violent environment. Education, not rehabilitation. She and her litter were in a bad home and she needed to be rehabilitated for health reasons but was six weeks old, spayed at the shelter (too early for me) and got out of a filthy environment with her litter mates with severe coccidia and hookworms. That was remediated in two days with fluids, antibiotics and de-worming. I asked the vet if he was going to do sub-Q fluids and he came clean with me on her condition. Thank you, 2,000 feral cats and your ER!

After dealing with thousands of feral and other cats and hundreds of dogs, this shelter pup, now 12, is the happiest I’ve ever met. She’s so friendly to everyone. I must say she doesn’t stand for new pups chewing on her legs but she stands up, doesn’t growl and though my father has never met her, she’ll give the pup the “old eagle eye” stare Dad was famous for with my high school dates! They got me home before 11:00 because my parents said “bad things” happen after eleven. What bad things?

No-one challenges Zoe because, like Dad, she’s got a good heart, is a marshmallow inside, and is persistent to get whatever she wants. I hope he reads this. It is a tribute. Now I’ve gone and married a version of Dad and adopted a dog like him as well. Cheers and have a great day, Dee



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