We first met Zoe when she was one of eight puppies living under a trailer outside of Duuth.
We had just gone to look (yeah, right). We had been without a dog for all of two weeks. Our house didn’t feel like home without a dog. So off we went.
How we decided on Zoe is family legend. Rachel chose her and after trying to mind-meld with the wiggly black puppy with white socks around compatibility, we agreed that she would join our family.
Cute is a small word. Zoe was that and she was also immensely spirited when it came to shredding furniture and most anything else her imagination decided it wanted to engage.
She almost didn’t last. There were deals made over and over again until she reached that lovely age of three or so when it seemed she grew a conscience and some sense of self-preservation.
She grew to be a dog steadfast of heart. Always Zoe greeted us with enthusiasm. Always she had time to commune with the brokenhearted. Always she responded to the rustle of bread bags and pizza delivery persons.
She was a devoted fisherwoman. She spent hours at the cabin walking two feet or so out in the water. Her tail broadcast her joy and her sure conviction that those fish were hers to manage.
For fourteen years, Zoe has been heart touchstone for our family.
We have watched in the past year as she has struggled with aging. We knew that she would let us know when it was time to say goodbye.
Yesterday she couldn’t much walk without falling.
It was time.
Today was gentle goodness. We had the day off so there were many opportunities to snuggle up next to her and smell the good of her. Her beloved children came home for quiet loving. She let us lift her and carry her to the car.
At the vet, as preparations were made, she laid in our laps and seemed to be ministering to us through the ways she lived trust and love until she breathed no more.
Oh, to have shared life and heart with the best dog in the world. The house echoes lament; my heart grieves for the wanting of her.
But the dog who companioned us all through so many shifts and changes and comings and goings is free.
It was time.