Zoe and Zeke
Ten years ago, the kids and I moved back to Louisiana to be near family while Keith was deployed for a year to a small atoll in the Indian Ocean called Diego Garcia. It was a hard time for me and the children, who were missing their daddy. One fateful night we watched "Old Yellar"... a bad mistake if you have emotional children but it was to be one of the best decisions of my life. It made me want a yellar dog! After wiping my tears and grabbing the classifieds I saw an ad that said "yellow lab mix, free to good home" I promptly called. The next day, a most loyal friend entered our lives and forever changed us. We named her Zoe.
Her former owners had found her as a stray who had been hit by a car. They were moving to a new home that didn't allow dogs so they had to let her go. When they cried at releasing her to us, I knew then that we must have someone special on our hands. But not knowing yet if she would work out with my young children, I asked for a trial period with her. One morning a few days later, Max was in the yard playing... When I heard Zoe ferociously barking, I became concerned and rushed outside. I saw her hair standing up on end and she was barking at Max. I thought- this dog is vicious! She's Old Yellar at the END of the movie! I was about to rescue Max and send Zoe packing when Max said, "Mom, there's a snake!" Zoe was standing between Max and a 5 foot long water moccasin! As you can probably guess... She passed her trial. We kept her! And we never regretted it! Since that day, she patiently followed us wherever the Navy led us, eventually coming full circle to her birthplace in Louisiana when Keith retired.
Zoe was the sweetest, most loving, loyal dog you could ever meet. She was a beautiful yellow lab and retriever mix with the softest fur I've ever felt. And did she ever LOVE to be petted! Often laying her head in your lap to make sure you got the point. There was something especially comforting about burying your head in her fur and wrapping your arms around her wide frame. It was just plain "therapetic" to quote Barney Fife. She could fix those beautiful eyes on you and melt the coldest heart...
But this past Monday, July 28th, Zoe passed from this life, leaving our home and family with an empty place. We are all heartbroken and devasted.
Zoe loved everybody she met (except for the UPS man :^) and was a faithful protecter of our home. No wild animal was safe if they were unfortunate enough to venture into Zoe's domain....Possums, stray cats, snakes, coons... Years ago she had a legendary fight with an enormous raccoon. Needless to say... the raccoon lost.
She was full of personality. She is the only dog I ever saw who could actually smile. She usuallly did it when she had done something wrong. If we came home from church and Zoe was smiling, we knew she had gotten into the trash... It was her one vice. If one of us ever put on a baseball cap, Zoe would practically dance. In her mind, this meant she was going for a walk. Even after she got older and couldn't walk as far, the twins would thrill her soul by taking her down the sidewalk on her leash. She didn't ask for much and was easy to please.
Zeke (our German Shepherd) adored her. Zoe tolerated Zeke. He loved to wrestle with her. She usually won but that didn't stop him from trying. If Zeke heard Zoe go outside, he had to be with her. He is lost without her.
Zoe had been relatively healthy throughout her life. A couple of weeks before Haley's wedding I noticed that she seemed weak. She seemed to have trouble getting up and moving around. She was going on 13 years so we knew that she wouldn't be with us a whole lot longer. But I prayed she'd hang on until after the wedding. She seemed to get stronger and to be her old self for a while. Then Monday I noticed that her breathing was labored. I called Keith and he made her an appointment with the vet. She came and laid down in the hall, outside my bedroom door to be near all of us. Hannah and Joseph were concerned for her so Hannah went and got some anointing oil and put it on her head and was praying for her. Suddenly Zoe just looked up and laid her head down and then died. She was where she wanted to be- with the family she loved. She didn't have to be put down by a vet but she died in her favorite place, in her home, near her family. Keith immediately came home from work, so did Max and Haley and Josh rushed over... We all said our goodbyes. There were lots and lots of tears. We then took her out to Cathy and Bill's house in the country and wrapped her in her favorite blanket and buried her there. It was heartbreaking. But we know that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and who are called according to His purpose. I don't understand why this had to happen now, when so much is going on in our lives, but I do know that God is good and His ways are higher than our ways. I told the kids that she is waiting for us in our mansion in heaven. Probably getting hair all over the floor and terrorizing the possums... ;^).
Please pray for us, the children especially, they are inconsolable... They will be okay for a while, but then suddenly they will break down. We all do at times. It is very hard. The twins have had Zoe in their lives since they were two years old! We miss her terribly. There is a huge fluffy empty place in our home where Zoe used to be. We don't know how to function without her loving presence in our home. But we will learn.
Also pray for Zeke. He walks around looking for her and whining. She was his closest friend. She was a member of our family and a constant part of our lives for ten years. Our hearts are heavy but God is good.
We are thankful for many things. One being that Haley was still here when she passed on. Haley and Zoe had a special bond. For this to have happened after Haley was in St. Louis would have been very difficult for Haley to bear. Also we are thankful that she was at home with those she loved when she died. And we are thankful that she didn't suffer. Even up until the end, her eyes were peaceful.
Our hearts will heal, but we will NEVER forget our Zoe, aka- Zolene the Possum Queen, Zolanda, Zola Coyola, Zo-Zo or just plain Zo. She was almost human. Heck, she was BETTER than human. We humans could learn some things from dogs like Zoe. As Haley said so rightly, she loved Zoe more than many people she knew. Its because Zoe was ever patient, always loving, forgiving, protective, faithful, loyal, always there. Lord help us be more like that ourselves!
Please pray for us. For non-animal-loving people, it may seem hard to understand, but we are all truly grieving. I know that God will bring us through and it won't always hurt this bad, but until then, we'd appreciate your prayers. His grace IS sufficient!
God bless. Kayla