What Can I Say?

She’s smart, funny, pretty, getting old, cares for us, herds us, kind, gentle to all including puppies, babies and cats.

We went out for “last chance” tonight as we do every evening. I took off her leash and hung it upon our return (it’s windy enough to blow her across the street) and I hung up my coat and took off my shoes.

Our Zoe will be 13 years old in a couple of months. We got her because my husband asked when we were first married whether I wanted to have kids. I said “no, we have to get a dog first, to find out how bad you’ll be.” Well, we never had kids, not for not wanting them. A year after we married we adopted Zoe at six weeks of age. After years of volunteering at many shelters and rescues, she is the happiest dog I’ve ever met.

I’ve known my husband longer but know Zoe inside and out. It’s probably because my husband has a very large, complex brain that spouts mathematical theories, binary code and any number of software languages. Zoe is relatively simple. Her favorites are food, sleep, walks and her herd. That would be us.

Tonight while I put up her leash, she stood in the hallway facing our bedroom waiting for me to go there. Herding me. I finally took her but told her she wouldn’t like it if I wasn’t there. I was going to the living room and kitchen and then office to write. She doesn’t like to be alone.

I lifted her to the bed (she has no hips and is old so can no longer jump up). Unbeknownst to me, she hopped down as her front half is strong, and made her way to the #2 bed, a flat thing with a view of the living room, hallway, doorway and kitchen so she makes sure I do not leave her sight, without her knowledge. I found her there before coming here.

Her third bed is a big, comfy one with surrounding “arms” that cradle her body and lift her head, that is at the foot of our bed. Around four in the morning, she jumps off our bed, circles around and crawls underneath our bed, right under my pillow, so I cannot go anywhere without her knowing.

She knows when someone is coming to visit, and when my husband is coming home from a business trip even if it’s just a text saying flight number and “on the plane.” I know what she is thinking and her priorities.

I’ve never had a dog like this. My last one was broken mentally and beaten physically and in a shelter her second year of life and I “fixed” her over 10 years. Zoe needed two hip surgeries as a pup and grew her own and has not been sick for a day for 12 years (that doesn’t include throwing up from eating a dead toad or bird from the asphalt in Texas, years ago).

My Chani was a wonderful dog, and the entire neighborhood got together and gave the city a tree in “her” park in her memory fifteen years ago. Zoe is kind of a mascot around here, an elder statesdog. Her food was delivered today from the only place in/outside town that carries it, and her friend M petted her like crazy after unloading her new stash and told me they like being petted “ears and rears.” Isn’t he right?

He doesn’t know that Zoe loves baths, hates comb-outs, except for the tummy. She’ll show me her tummy and have me comb away. I know her little mind and can never replace that or her singular personality. My husband keeps me guessing. Never go on a car trip with him. He’ll ask what kind of smoke is coming from that factory and what that factory makes. Then he’ll give a physics lesson.

After all these years I love seeing Zoe sleeping on her 4″ orthopedic bed in the back of my SUV and would rather hear s***kicker music down south or even a religious lecture on the radio than the same physics lesson again and again. Oh, we love our Zoe. Dee



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