Love and a Dog
What you are seeing is the first picture I ever took of the first dog my wife and I ever got together. Her name is Zooey Deschanel. Yep, we named her after the famous actor/singer from such shows as “New Girl,” and the musical act known as “She and Him.” We always name our dogs after the music that we are listening to. Just so you know, our puppy is named Johnny Cash. If you don’t know who that is, I can’t help you.
Zooey is one of the best dogs a man could ever ask for. She is mild tempered and she loves catching the frisbee. I mean loves it! She will do it until she can’t stand anymore. She is also a herding dog. Whenever we take family walks, it’s not unheard of to see her moving around the group doing her best to keep us in formation. I used to find it highly annoying, but these days, I find myself wishing she was doing it to us right now. The reason why is that we just found out that she has lymphoma, and the vet said that he expects 1-2 months left in her life.
As I write this, I find myself choking up and doing my best not to cry. A beautiful soul such as hers, should be able to live forever. Anyone that has had a good dog should be nodding their head right now. The moment the vet gave me the terrible news, I started contemplating the concept of love. Everyone knows that dogs will love you unconditionally because you are the one who provides for them, comforts them and shares your life with them. But you don’t understand that, until the point where you find that will be taken away from you.
When you find out that a person you love is dying, you think back to all of the things that you said in anger, and you have a chance to go to them and say your sorry. You have the opportunity to make amends. With a pet, you don’t have that. In fact, you don’t even have the opportunity to say to them, “I am sorry Zooey, but you have cancer and you are going to going to die in a few short months.” They don’t understand what is making them sick. They don’t even understand why they have to go to the vet in the first place. They just understand that they have to go where you take them, and oddly enough, they are usually happy to do it. So, what do you do? How do you cope? How do you make sure that they know that they were so important to you for such a short time?
I don’t know if she wonders why I have been so willing to give her food straight off of my plate for the past few weeks. I don’t think she cares. I just think she is happy to get it from you, instead of the same old dog food that is in her bowl. She will never call her friends and tell them that she is getting top shelf food now, and that she has earned her way into the upper echelon of dog society. Her friends won’t ever ask her what she did to deserve it. She will just look at you with this look of satisfaction in her eyes, and maybe try to jump into your lap and lick your face. And the whole time she is doing it, you will be thinking how much you will miss her when she is gone. Isn’t that a sort of metaphor for how we should be treating the people in our lives?
I can’t tell you how devastated I will be when this beautiful creature passes from my life, because she is still here. All I know is that the love that I feel in my heart is overflowing for her and I hope that she has enjoyed the life that we have given her. I am not one to usually love dogs as my wife does, but this one was different. I don’t know if anything will ever be able to come close to her. I just know that she was a blessing and I am a better man for having her in my life.