when I was sixteen, I had been begging my parents for a dog for a solid decade. They had tried to pacify me, and my younger sister Nicole, with some birds, and then a pair of kittens, and some ferrets, and all of that, but what I wanted was a dog.
as ocean wears down a rock, Nicole and I wore them down. We went to the Humane Society but were rejected for reasons i still don’t understand (2 responsible teenagers! 1 parent who worked at home! fenced in yard! WHATEVER, humane society!) and it was sad when we fell in love with a certain dog and all of that, but then it turned out that a neighbor’s sister’s dogs were having puppies.
(NOW: you should NEVER EVER EVER do what we did. do NOT get a dog from a backyard breeder. it is a terrible idea, the “breeders” we used were pretty terrible as dog owners and thus as people, and this is why Z has such hip problems. If you must use a breeder rather then rescue, do your research etc. Now let’s move on to my dog).
ANYWAY. we went out to their house and chose the smallest black female. The litter was huge–12 puppies, half black and half yellow, all Lab. Our girl was a disgustingly cute little thing who dragged the camera case across the room.
When she was seven weeks old we brought her home. That first night Nicole started to sleep with her downstairs to let her out and then decided that she was too tired (she was only 12!) and I did it, instead.
Zoe was basically the cutest puppy ever. She was so easy to train. Having decided that her name would be Zoe (it means life) I started researching training methods like whoa. and it was SO MUCH FUN. we did clicker training and we went to the dog park near our house almost every day. She played with her friends Tonka and Darby and Nelsonm fetch and tug and chase. It was adorable.
Now that we’ve lived by ourselves since May I have a new appreciation for how much work a dog is. It turns out that it can be stressful, always having to arrange to make sure the dog is being cared for. But it also makes living alone so much better. In the morning, Zoe and I have snuggs times; she curls up next to me so I can rub her belly and scratch her chin and play with her delicious, soft ears. It’s such a great way to wake up. And in the evenings, she slides against me, and rests her head against my shoulder while I fall asleep. It’s delightful.
I sometimes call her my Mary Poppins dog, as in practically perfect in every way. Oh sure, she barks sometimes, and occasionally she is agitated and wants All The Attention. OK, and she will steal food, especially from children since they are easier targets.
But she never runs away. and she stops at the street. and she is so good at cuddling. and she is so adorable. It slays me that she is starting to have Health Problems. that I have to give her frequent pain pills, that her leg vibrates sometimes because her arthritis is so bad, that she sometimes won’t eat. I hate seeing her any less vibrant.
It’s a good thing she is still so damn cute, eh?
and here is my little banana girl, today, on her eleventh birthday, holding a toy. Though not her birthday present today, because the platypus toy is too new to take outside