Zoe Stories

Our Zoe is nearly 11 years old now. We got her from the shelter at six weeks. I took her out eight times a day but she was always a sleeper and even as a young pup she could easily sleep from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Now as an old lady she jumps off the bed when the sun begins to come up and crawls underneath it, under my pillow so I can’t go anywhere without her knowing. Herder, I love and hate it at the same time, hate it when she serpentines in front of me when I have a load of laundry in my arms to fold!

At nine weeks of age we went to see two of my husband’s college buddies, brothers. We took Zoe and their parents were kind enough to take her while we went out to dinner. We returned and there were towels all over the house. Zoe did not fall into their pool. She got a running start and dove in! Luckily she learned how to swim, swam to the other side and they fished her out. Oops.

Then there was Zeus. We went to Easter that same weekend at the vet who ended up taking out her hips a few months later. Val had many animals, horses, goats, dogs, cats and others. After dinner she gave all the hard-boiled and decorated Easter eggs to the dogs. Zoe got right in there. Zeus, the Alpha dog said NO! She went running. She was probably always Beta but certainly was after that day. When her hips went bad she’d just lay on the hill, tummy up, and no other dog ever disturbed her, I think it’s her kind and happy spirit that kept her from evisceration.

When her hips went bad at five months I looked into treatments. FHNO was the best option (femoral head and neck ostectomy) so we had Val do the surgeries at six and nine months of age as research showed doing the surgeries before 10 months led to an 80% chance of normality. There were no titanium hips available for 25 lb. dogs because they’re not supposed to get severe hip dysplasia (Val said it was the worst case she’d ever seen) so she grew her own hips from cartilage and has been very happy and healthy for over ten years. Still cow-hocked, but happy.

Zoe can corner around a tree faster than any big dog. And she plays outfield and gets the ball first. Smart gal, our Zoe. She now has a complicated game that requires removing wooden pegs and moving sliders to get treats. In a month and 7-8 trials what took her four minutes now takes 45 seconds. Then it’s my turn to fetch, under the sofa and coffee table for pegs to put up for the next time.

Val’s son had a guinea pig in a cage in his room back then. I was downstairs and heard the guinea pig and remarked that I never heard one talk before. Turns out her son opened the cage and Zoe tried to kill it, it was shrieking. After all that we were actually invited to stay other times. Zoe got it back, though. I’d take her out at six in the morning and the animals thought Val was up and they were about to be fed. Pork Chop, a 1,500 lb. cow and Val’s favorite horse followed us. The ground shook and Zoe was so freaked out she couldn’t do her business!

Oh, Pork Chop is buried on the property. Only fitting. Zoe is known around town. People don’t know my name but they know hers. Look, it’s Zoe! She has made many children happy. She even likes cats, one has even come to call for her, sleeping in front of our door because she knew our puppy walk schedule and with us, the brute squad, she could keep away from the mockingbirds.

Sometimes I wonder what Zoe is dreaming when she’s in REM sleep. Yes, people tell us dogs don’t dream, and that they can never remember anything after 45 minutes. WRONG! She runs in her sleep, after squirrels or mice, and she always goes to my father-in-law’s personal spot on the sofa to watch for him on the four-wheeler coming back from feeding the cattle, even if she hasn’t been there for a few years.

All y’all have a great day, Dee


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