Monday, May 2, 2011
Sometime in the Fall of the year 2000 a little, tiny, three pound schipperke moved from the Eastern Shore to live with me in Baltimore. My first memory was her running into the room and then flipping over at my feet for a belly rub. She had so much energy and bounce. She went just about everywhere with me. I easily carried her in my pocket or purse. People often thought she was a toy. I named her Zo Bear because she often walked on her back legs like a circus bear.
The first night she met Senor she stood on his chest and licked his face, nose and ears until they turned red. I knew he was the one just from that. It was love at first sight for all of us.
For a while I had a job where she came with me everyday. We would walk in Double Rock Park for an hour before I went in. She greeted every one of my employees as they came in.
Everyone wanted to know what kind of dog she was. Sometimes people thought she was a fox or a pig:
"Is that a pig?"
"No, its a dog!"
"Honey, look! Its a pig!"
She was all kinds of trouble. She ate the entire contents of trash cans, anything off the ground and once a bottle of advil. She was always good natured with people, only snapping at little children who got in her face. She barked at everything and we always said she must be fighting evil. You know, the kind you can't see. But she loved people. She would sit up on the couch with you, sitting like a human. Strangers would come in and she would flip for a belly rub in about two seconds. We used to go the the Lithuanian Hall for drinks and she would get her own bar stool and glass of water.
She loved walks in the woods and splashing through creeks. She was great on camping trips. She went with us on road trips almost every time. Once, while we were on tour the people in the hotel where we stayed offered to take her for walks for us in the middle of the day while we were out. We would come back to find her enjoying rubs at the front desk.
When we brought the Bug home, I thought it would be hard for her but she was devoted to him from the beginning. She would sit under my chair when I was nursing in the night those first few weeks. She wanted to cuddle in with him and give him kisses. If he cried and we didn't respond quickly enough for her she would run back and forth between us, trying to get us to hurry up. It was so sweet and amazing. In the last year she put up with so much tugging and grabbing and hitting from him with never more than a little growl and a warning snap.
This last few weeks she had gotten clingy, as if there were always a thunderstorm about to break. Last week, after the birthday party we saw that she was bleeding from the mouth. I thought maybe a broken tooth or something simple like that. She seemed fine otherwise. We took her to the vet on Monday morning and finding no other obvious explanation for her poor blood work and the bleeding guessed that she might have gotten into rat poison (as she did eat everything.) She was treated accordingly and that seemed to help. We didn't see any more bleeding.
Wednesday I took her again. More tests were run. Nothing came back wrong and so we assumed she was just tired from coming so close to death. By Friday I was carrying her a lot. Saturday we were out of the house most of the day. Sunday there was no denying she was dying. I took her to the pet er and the vet offered very aggressive, very expensive treatments. Her blood levels were half of what they had been (which was already half of what they should have been.) Her clotting times were off the chart. They didn't know what was wrong with her. The rat poison was a good theory but if the treatment wasn't working that meant something else was wrong. The options weren't good- cancer, autoimmune diseases.
I asked if Zo was in any pain and the vet said she didn't think so. That she should just feel tired and depressed. She wasn't going to live many more hours. We brought her home and gave her a pain medication just in case and cuddled up in the bed with her. Everyone got to see her and give her some love.
It took a few hours but we were all with her giving her pets when she died.
Crissy came over to play with the Bug after and Senor and I dug a place for Zo in the back by our peach tree. Crissy and Jeremy came back after the Bug was in bed and we shared a bottle of wine and some cake.
This morning I got right out of bed and went and planted some artemesia and pinks above her. It has been so strangely quiet all day. I keep waiting to hear her. It will be so hard to be without her after nearly 11 years together.
Goodbye sweet dog dog. Thank you for gracing our lives with your love.