For something that was so long in coming, it all went down very fast.
Zoe had been doing great. A stellar patient. When originally diagnosed, she was given thirty days. That was almost nine months ago. Performing way beyond the challenges facing her. She chased the ball every morning. Ate her meals with vigor. When she was given new foods, she always gave a satisfying moan, "Mmmmmmmm!"
She was happy.
Then, on Saturday, for the first time since she was diagnosed with cancer, she acted like she didn't feel well. On Sunday, she did what she was asked. We took her for ice cream, a habit we began as "Make-A-Wish-For-Zoe". But it was clear, she did it for us. She had given up.
On Monday morning, we already had an appointment with Dr. Michener, her oncologist. I asked her get up one last time. I begged her. And dutiful dog that she was, struggled to her feet. I helped her get as far as the side door. She collapsed. It was the last time Zoe ever got up.
We got to the office and had to carry her in on a liter. And Kathy came into the room. She had told me when we started this journey that she never knew how long they had to live, but they would let us know. Zoe was making it plainly clear. She was done.
Hud's tears rained down on Zoe's sweet head as we said goodbye. It was the kindest passing that I have ever had the privledge of witnessing. Even Dr. Michener was in tears. We had all done our best, but no one more than Zoe.
We got Zoe at the agricenter, eleven years ago as we went out to get beans on a Saturday morning. She was bred to be a goose hunter. Her litter was large with robust eight week old puppies of fifteen and sixteen pounds. She weighed eight. The runt of the litter. And a red head to boot. I had fallen in love. The breeder asked Hud what he hunted. He said that the dog was for me. He asked me what I hunted. I told him, "Designer shoes at fabulous prices!" I thought he would snatch the dog from my arms.
But oh, was she a bad puppy. A terrible chewer, she removed the dashboard from my car, ate the hard knob of the gearshift, demolished a couch and could crack a golf ball in half. Hud said that if she ever caught a cold, he was going to put her down.
At four years old, a switch flipped. Suddenly, she was the gentlest, sweet, well behaved spirit in the whole house. Hud trained her to catch the ball. She began running with him in the mornings. Finally, Hud fell in love.
She always thought she was a little dog. Smaller than Simone even. There was a chihuahua in the park that could flip her onto her back. Zali dominated her. She never knew what a great big beast she was. At one of the Rhodes College games, a small boy asked me if he could pet my horse.
Farewell, my sweet tiny girl. Safe trip and so much love to guide your way. We miss you.