This week will take a slight turn. Last Tuesday, my dog was put down and I have been thinking about writing something to remember the last 10 years of having her in my life. We will pick back up on affordable makeup next week. This is dedicated to the love I felt in a little copper-colored Cocker Spaniel.
To preface her life there is just a blank chapter. She came from a rescue group, she had been bred young, and she had no legitimate name. She was skittish, antisocial, and meek. We had two foster dogs come to our home in 2008; one was a playful, happy dog and the other dog, not moving other than her fearful trembling. The choice was up to me as to which one would stay permanently. I chose her and named her Zoey.
Zoey wouldn’t move off of our beanbag for several days, so I hand-fed her until my mom said I had to stop because she needed to do it on her own. Eventually, she moved off of the beanbag and into our hearts. At some point she stopped shaking so much and began to trust the two of us. Somehow, Zoey developed new names along the way: Zosephina, Peena, ZoZo. She wore dresses, didn’t wear leashes, and loved to sneak to the dumpster to find a late-night snack. She learned how to give high-fives, roll over, play dead when you pointed your handgun at her, army crawl… and wink. Yes, she winked. Anything for a treat.
Around 2012 we had a huge scare. Zoey was playing in the yard and stopped walking. She just sat in the yard, her whole back half paralyzed. This dog licked away so many tears, provided so many smiles and good cuddles. We couldn’t lose her this soon. Luckily, she pulled through after a very expensive surgery and many weeks of recovery. Her personality grew increasingly as did the nicknames: Peanut, Penny, Pasta, and more. Her excited hallway runs and prancing feet never ceased to crack us up, she totally knew she was making us laugh.
Cocker’s are the most stubborn breed I’ve ever encountered. The funniest and most stubborn moments were when she would chase a ball and pick it up. Only to look up, then drop it and come back with no ball… even though she knew she was supposed to bring it back. She ran the place through numerous foster dogs, but when a new little blonde Cocker puppy came to stay, well, it was a change of pace. She became increasingly playful in her older age despite some physical setbacks. She loved to cuddle next to her furry sister and lick her mom when she wanted to be pet. Yes, Zoey endured pain and encountered neglect in her lifetime, but she also fell into the hands of a gentle family who loved her so much (and spoiled her) because of the sweet, fun-loving demeanor she had.
To sound cliché: losing a pet is like losing a family member. She was my sister until I had a sister. She was there to listen and wipe away tears when no one else was there. She made us laugh and now cry. But, I can’t help but feel joy through mourning because I know I was blessed with her existence. She taught me perseverance and strength and the importance of change. She was a trooper, which reminded me to not sweat the small stuff.
Responsibility and care come when you are required to care for another living being; animals shape the world we live in for the better. I loved her so much. The best part is, I know she loved me too. I’ll miss those big brown eyes begging for a piece of my dinner, but I know she is in a better place where she will feel no pain and know no illness.
Thank you for taking time with me this week to reflect on the loss of a loved one. I hope this reminds you to appreciate the people and small blessings in your life. Take some time to show someone some love this week, whether they are a person or an animal. Of course, stay tuned for next week’s tips on good products that won’t break the bank.