27 12 / 2012
Zoey was by far the strongest soul that I have come to know. How she fought through sickness and loneliness to greet me only with joy still awes me to this day. I know right now I have two wonderful dogs, Rickross and Zachary, but I can’t help but thinking back especially during this yuletide season to that dog that changed my life.
Like anyone, I go through trying times, and this month has been especially hard. We all find ourselves at some point, no matter how positive our outlook is, breaking down and just sitting on our beds, battling with doubts and sadness. We’re human.
Zoey was definitely no human, and when she would see me sad about something, I could see her tail wag as she leaped up on my bed to snuggle me. When I think back to it, I can’t help but start to tear up, because sometimes that’s just what we all need. We need a hug. We need someone to show up, to hold us and with no words necessary, let us feel that everything is going to be alright.
I spent a lot of my life struggling with emotions and feelings, confused between shutting them out or letting them overtake me. I was trying to find a balance, dealing with so much that was happening in my life… and yet, here it was. The answer, the evidence that true love really is unselfish and kind. Big beautiful and understanding eyes, the assurance I needed.
Truth be told, I feel a void in my heart now that she left… and I do know there are days I don’t remind myself of her on purpose…because it hurts. This is why she was more than a dog, she was an angel - and exactly the reason that I wanted to write this blog about her, because we all could learn so much from Zoey. Sometimes I find myself searching and hoping that she’ll come back again… but I do understand, I do know she will in the right time.
From her I learned so much about strength, and as I write this, I realize that there’s so much more for me to do in order to be a better person. Being good isn’t something to strive for, it’s something to already be. It really is a true test of strength to remain honest and live a life that you’ll always continue to be happy about. Leave your regrets at the door and live in the now and move forward into the future, while you don’t forget your past, take the good parts of it and let it strengthen you. And for the bad parts? Just remember they’re all lessons that God knew would come your way to shape you into the person you are now.
Be strong. Have faith.
Zoey didn’t know if she would live the next day, but that didn’t matter to her. What mattered to her was that she made me happy, and that she was able to make me feel better during the time she was here. I think back on her and that’s where I take a lot of my strength, of a little skinny dog that set aside her entire life (even food and toys, mind you!) just to be there for me.
Be there for the people that need you. Assure them and know that you are there to support and love them. It might be hard now, but you’ll have an impact on their lives that will forever change them.
Merry Christmas everyone.
09 6 / 2012
I think one of the biggest things that Zoey made me realize that I could be alone and be okay about it. I spent a lot of years being dependent on someone, being afraid to do things on my own. I remember telling Zoey every day, “Don’t ever leave me.”
And there she was, every day, fighting for her life, showing me that she would be there as long as I needed her. I have been driving since I was sixteen, but to be honest, I tried as much as possible never to drive on my own. I always made an excuse, afraid I couldn’t park in certain places, afraid for little things like… Oh, I’ll never drive at night, it’s scary.
The difference was now that I had Zoey. She would hop into the passengers seat, looking at me as if to say, “Hey Ma, where we going? I’m right here, don’t worry!” And I would drive off with my Malamute in the front seat. She would follow me wherever I went, whether I left her off leash. She was there, by my side.
Every day, she waited until I got home, and it hurt me when I had to travel for work – leaving her for long periods of time. She would get sick everytime I left, like she was telling me, “Hey, you asked me to stay and yet, there you are always going places.”
I remember going off to Canada, and flying back because the doctor called me to tell me, “It’s not looking good.” And I took the earliest possible flight home.
I booked that flight, paid all the charges just so I could be there for her. I cried and cried, regretting the whole month that I left her. She thought I wasn’t coming home, I thought in panic. I even called up the vet, speaking to her on the phone like she was my child. And in truth, she was. She was my everything.
That day was one of the most memorable days of my life. Zoey, they described her as being weak and lethargic, lying in her cage with a blank look, her tail just as sullen as she. But, when I arrived, it was midnight… and I knew in my heart she knew I was coming.
When I arrived at the vets office at around 12.30, I ran inside and heard a shrill howl. There was my Zoey, her paws ready to knock me down. And knock me down she did.
It was the first time she lit up. The veterinarians looked at me, astonished. They said she started to howl and whine about fourteen hours prior to me coming… I realized, she knew that my plane had left.
How can you ever say that a dog has no soul? When she knew, not by instinct but by pure love that I was coming home?
It makes me cry to this day thinking about that love she had, how she waited for me, how she depended on me to come home to her, too.
I thought I would never be able to live without her, until one day, I had to.
That was the first night that I told her, “You can go, you can go if you want to.”
And that morning before I left for another work trip, she passed on.
My helper said she saw her run down the stairs, tail wagging, and her bright eyes staring at her that morning.
Zoey still came home. She still wanted to tell me that she was there… that I could in fact live without her. She knew I was ready.
I knew deep down in my heart, as much as it hurt, that she was teaching me how to be alone again.
Even in her death, it brought me a lesson… one that is probably the most amazing one she ever taught me.
She taught me the right way to grieve through positivity, with love… and whether it be a relationship or something more difficult, she taught me that I could move on.
It’ll never be easy – but I always think to myself now… I really didn’t believe I could go on without Zoey… but she didn’t give me a choice, she taught me the lessons, as hard as they were, through example. And her death was more than just losing a life… she still taught me strength.
Zoey, January 3 will always be the day I remember your death, but May 7 will always be the day that I remember you were born. You lived only a year and a half, but each moment that you lived you brought me joy and happiness. You needed to be there for me during that time just so you could teach me how to let go of you. You attached yourself to me as I attached myself to you – so you could leave me.
I don’t know if I can ever really properly describe what she meant to me… except that she filled every crevice of my heart with her love and her joy. She was the positive light in my life… and even when that faded, she taught me that it was everlasting.
So when people ask me, what does love look like to you?
I always answer, “Well, I’d say its grey and white, with beautiful big eyes and a wagging tail. I’d say, it looks a lot like Zoey.”
31 1 / 2012
Zoey never let a night go by without saying good night. She let me know how special I was to her, she never took a moment for granted. I’m so glad I cherished her, but she also taught me how to cherish the people in my life.
She did the same to everyone in our household, especially my Dad. She would shake her tail silly so her entire body would shake along with it, as she trotted over to him and asked for a hug. She would have hilarious conversations with my Yaya sometimes, and place her paw on my Mom’s knee so she would throw her a piece of bread.
But, Zoey never took her eyes off me, and anytime I needed her, she came every single time I called her. She never let me down.
I believe today I’m stronger because of her, and I realized that time doesn’t stand still. We have parents and a family because God put us together, he gave us his blood to bind us. We all go through a time in our lives when we feel that we’re alone, that we can take on the world on our own.
But time is also given to us so we realize, we need each other. No moment is a great one when you have no one to share it with. Love isn’t something you can have alone either, we all need someone to be able to say “I love you”.
Now, I know time does catch up with us and we’re all getting older. And so are the people around us. We can all let go of things, because years of distance can go away with one simple hello.
Dogs are simple, they love you regardless of what you’ve done or who you are. They forgive so quickly, and they live in the moment. Zoey let me know that moment was better with me in it.
So, go ahead and think of your most cherished moments and aim to make those moments last throughout the present. Each laugh, each smile and even the tough times make for moments that are best shared. Hug that person right now, and tell them you love them… and you’ll find, even as time passes by, you’ll always know you didn’t take it for granted. Every moment was better for them too, with you in it.
26 1 / 2012
We all receive gifts at some point in our lives, whatever form it may come in. After you receive the gift, you need to accept it into your life as being part of you, something you’re responsible for. Even at 24 years of age, the reaction to getting a puppy never changes. Here’s the very first picture taken of Zoey and I when I took her home.
I had a puppy. How much fun was that?
I found out soon after that she needed more care than I had anticipated. Zoey was already worrying me when she was throwing up and had constantly wet stool, to add to it, she always arched her back like a cat. As a puppy with all these issues, Zoey took it without a hitch.
Yes, she was my gift, but even my parents wondered with all the veterinary bills, and the constant crying each time the complications got worse… would I be able to still see her as such?
The truth was, her amazing spirit outdid her poor health. She remained positive, she was my little survivor.
Watching her grow up was such a joy, seeing her being silly and playing with Ross. How she would fight for my attention, and take “mommy’s girl” to new heights.
It’s true when they say that when your dog greets you when you come home, it makes you feel like the luckiest person on earth. Zoey would scold me when I left her too long, and would try to find anyway she could inside my car so she could come along on trips. Suddenly, traveling lost its luster and Zoey was the apple of my eye.
She always seemed to understand me, when I would cry she would comfort me. When I was happy, she would take it as time to play. She was beyond fetch and tricks, she would react based on how I was feeling.
I remember I would say to her, “What a gift you are, little Zoey.” And she would look at me with those adoring eyes.
I’m glad I took so many pictures, that I spoke about her all the time. She was in my BBM, Twitter & Facebook statuses constantly.
Sure, we ended up in the hospital a lot, but I would always see how much she would spark up when I entered the room. She never wanted me to know she was sick. She was always there to comfort me and tell me that she was okay.
Sometimes the burden did get to me, and the first year we were together I was still struggling with being able to support all of it. But, I looked at her and realized that she had to be taken cared of, that all this love and joy she gave me was nothing in comparison to it.
Somehow, God always made it work. I was always able to pay for her vet bills.
People questioned why I spent so much time and effort on her, but giving up wasn’t an option.
Gifts don’t necessarily always come in the way we want them to, sometimes they seem almost troublesome or tiring. But everything, even our hardship is a lesson from God. He wants us to trust him, and to do that we have to accept whatever comes our way.
Zoey was hospitalized numerous times, and I cherished every moment with her. She got better, and without that struggle I don’t think I’d be viewing the trouble I face now the same way. I used to give up, I used to only want the best of something, but to accept it was a whole other lesson that took Zoey a year and a half to get me to understand.
You accept what God gives you, and you accept it with open arms.
Zoey is one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me, she was meant to be in my life. During the last few days with her, I was listening to a podcast - and our pastor spoke about “Zoey” meaning the quality of life… I didn’t even know her name meant this.
How ironic, her being sick and actually not physically having a good quality of life.
But she remained happy, and so generous with herself, giving what she could to me. Zoey gave me everything, and never held back. She lived because she loved, she lived up to the name God gave her.
Her gift was the quality of life, my life.
25 1 / 2012
I remember picking her up for the first time, I had never had an Alaskan Malamute before and my mother thought I was crazy taking in a dog like this. To tell you the truth, I was worried myself - and spent long hours googling information about the breed. When I first got her, I wasn’t sure if we had a connection. She was so timid and quiet for a puppy, she stared at me like she thought I was an alien. I remember taking her to the veterinarian and they said it was the usual behavior for a puppy to act distant during her first few days in a new home.
And, in a matter of a few days, Zoey took this whole “connection” process a lot more seriously than expected. She would find any way she could to get closer to me, and although she wasn’t allowed on my bed (yet), she always found ways to be around me and anything with my scent. Napping on my slippers was her new favorite pastime.
She was playful and rambunctious, but so well behaved around me. I took her to Puppy Starters Class, and found out she was an incredible little Malamute. So different from all the others, as she felt the need to please me was of the highest importance!
Zoey became more than a dog, she became my baby and best friend. However, I found out how attachment also had its problems when I left for Canada for a month. Zoey didn’t take well to that and ended up in the hospital, and I had to rush home ahead of schedule to make sure she was alright.
I learned my first lesson then, when the quiet, sickly dog that tucked her tail between her legs suddenly let out a long howl as my car was approaching. The veterinarians were surprised, rushing to her, only to find that she had leaped out of her cage and into my arms, asking me to take her home.
Lassie had nothing on Zoey.
Zoey didn’t live a long life, she passed away just this past January 3rd, 2012. However, the lessons she taught me will remain with me forever.
This blog is dedicated to a wonderful dog who will forever be missed, and forever loved. She inspired so many people through Twitter and Facebook that had never even met her. The least I can do is write about what she wanted to leave behind.
God touches us in ways we never imagine, and my faith grew through this little puppy with the biggest heart I’ve ever seen. Zoey, I was lucky to have been loved by you.