Category Archives: Zoe

My Zoe

The belle of the ball. Oh, she was so sick when we took her home. Just six weeks old, coccidia and hookworms but we took care of that immediately until her hips went out and we had them removed at six and nine months then (thanks Dr. Val) she was great. A mascot around the neighborhood she enjoys her status as grandma to the pups and mascot out and about.

I talk about her and my many years of  volunteering to ask readers to ask the family if you want a pet, what type of pet, make sure you know that your kids are ready for that responsibility whether it’s a guinea pig or a dog. It is a serious responsibility. I know parents don’t like this extra task, however if your child takes it seriously, they’ll be better children, students, and spouses and parents one day.

If the hamster dies, show it, bury it with them. Don’t tell them the cat went to heaven. If they’re old enough take them to see Fluffy be euthanized with your hands on her head and tummy while they say goodbye for the last time.

The kids don’t have to stay the entire time for the pink shot. You do. You owe it to your pet for his/her service to you, because you think they only wanted to be fed and walked and took up your time. My dog is getting old and as I lifted her up to the bed, all she cares about is taking care of me and making sure I’m safe. Us, but he is the fun guy and I am the disciplinarian and food wench, she only cares about me! Food! Dee


Yes, it means death. It is allowed for pets but not for people. Only secretly for people.

For a cherished pet a proper parent should make the decision when there is no other alternative, hold that pet and be there.

For pets I would ask that there is a special room with a panic button. My old dog got up five times after the anesthesia and I couldn’t call on anyone. It was heartbreaking for me because I knew it was the last time I would see her alive and I didn’t want her to suffer. Because of what I went through, they’ve a “death wing” with a separate checkout and back door for payment, and the rooms have panic buttons to summon assistance.

I know that this is to prevent grieving pet owners from paying the death bill in front of others at the front desk. Two friends arrived at the hospital and visited my Chani before she died. In the end, Chani had bled out and had no hope of survival.

When I got home I called a dear friend and her husband answered the phone. Are you sitting down? Yes. I lost Chani. I’ll be right there to help you find her. This is an Army Ranger, yes, the Army Ranger.

No, she’s gone. What do you need? Companionship and a good glass of Pinot. He ran for me with a precious glass. I jumped the wall 200 feet away and we missed each other. He’d called his wife to come home, and when I arrived he arranged to have Chani’s remains given to me, not fodder for a pet cemetery.

I had spent six years trying to gain legal leash-free areas in our city. The entire neighborhood donated money to the city for a tree in her memory. The city decided the type, location and size of tree and the money and we paid  it. Then there was a big fight with neighbors who didn’t like dogs in “their” park.

Time was spent with both of my parents, who are gone now. They both had onsets of debilitating diseases that were accelerated by either medical mistakes or diseases of just being in a hospital. Mom died. Dad just died weeks ago. I can’t even find his grave. They both went through torture just to decide to die. My pets had a better death.

We scattered Chani’s ashes, at night, everywhere. But I’ve the last thing she brought to the park, a large teddy bear I bought at a garage sale for fifty cents, from a woman who hated me for trying to allow dogs in the park. A milliner friend, dear friend, placed ashes in the bear and sewed on a heart with lace and beading and everything.

I spoke with said other mother this evening. My new old dog, 13 years, would eat Chani’s bear so I keep it up high, always remembering the family that called me their daughter and still do so. She’s getting older. We had a good talk this evening and I promised a visit.

As to trees, there are so many now I can’t even see Chani’s on Google Earth. I heard the Wicked Witch of the West is no longer controlling “her” park so will visit, place flowers and water on her tree, and meet the people who made me, me. Thanks from your only daughter, Dee



What’s Next?

I’m stuck with paying bills, doing taxes, an old dog who needs blood work and a home without my husband. Of course we’re still together, it’s just that the jobs got divvied up.

My husband flies home every weekend, usually the plane is late, sometimes a few hours late. He wants a frozen thin-crust pizza and a 2-liter Dr. Pepper. He sleeps ’til noon Saturday, we have lunch and he takes a nap later.

What I don’t know is that if we go where he is, or make his commute shorter, will he still just sleep away the weekend? I’m getting bored with TV and computer while he snores. There’s only one way to know. Visit.

It’s all thunder and lightning and rain here, supposed to be snow. The wind is fierce. Oh, the rain is coming down now, I can hear it. Zoe (the dog) is not going to like that in the morning. I’ll have to find her rain coat. It’s not like she wears clothes or I dress her up. This is for -6 degree weather and snow. It is weather-proof. No, she will not allow any kind of “hat.” Or boots for the excess salt that is placed on sidewalks and streets so the City does not have to plow snow.

Dog towels have a place in this world, I think she has more towels than us. I just dry her off. The storm seems to be moving away, that was a quick one, oh, another has hit. Hard. I’ve always liked thunderstorms but our dogs have not. This old gal is OK with this and fireworks. After all, Pyro Paula was her good friend, creator of the largest land-based fireworks in the USA. Zoe has cataracts now so perhaps she has to depend more on hearing than sight.

Zoe is very smart but not with traffic. If her vision is diminished (we just found out) I hope her hearing is good and that she behaves on the end of my martingale collar and braided leather leash. I’ve arthritis for 30 years, mis-diagnosed for 20. Even though she is 32 lbs. and old, she can pull me over on ice.

I love my husband, our families and our dog. My family moved a lot. It’s an incredible amount of work to move again but I’ll need help this time. Zoe just hid under my desk at my feet. I think it’s time to lift her back up to the bed and say goodnight and good thoughts. Dee

Life and Trinkets

We have lovely things given us over the years by family members. As look around there is art, most done by my father after he took it up at age 80. There is food, travel, Italy and Greece, photography (mine and others). There are flowers. Historic quilts, paintings and memories hang on our walls. And writing doesn’t fit but I’m doing it now.

On a tree or wreath each holiday season I try to capture where we are, and were, at the time. There are hand-made paper ornaments from a theater event I envisioned and executed years ago, a few from my parents who made this a tradition. I try to get us two ornaments for each year in the spirit of what we have experienced. Living in Scotland, the mountains or lakes.

The big things like Italian Majolica serving platters from Dad for our wedding, or my mother’s china service for ten, become smaller when one thinks of the bigger things.

Dad got me a Hi, Dee, drawing of a chef and signature from Andre Soltner. He’s a pre-eminent chef, owner of Lutece in NYC. Dad sent me pashmina scarves and an evil eye bracelet from Turkey, candles from the Netherlands, and a replica of a Medici necklace, not to mention two Ferragamo scarves I’ve yet to find. One was really cool, tied one couldn’t tell what it was, looked like chrysanthemums. Opened, it was a dog. He knew me so well.

My aunts taught me how to cook, entertain, and clean up after myself.  While visiting, as my husband is tall and big, he brushed by a wall upstairs and knocked off and broke a cherished piece. They sent it to us, glued back together, a while later. They have taken us on adventures, actual and literary, to last a lifetime and have always been kind. If I’ve young visitors I’ll need to get a copy of the OED and place it on top of the loo. Said child will need to open the dictionary, find a word he or she does not know. Then go out to the living room and spell it, say whether it is is a noun, verb or adjective, and use it in a sentence. Those attributes and their letting me correct their English exams (only multiple choice with a guide and a red pen) but I read them, Romeo and Juliet…. made me smarter.

My husband’s family, as I now have no parents, have given me the greatest gift of being my family. They have given me perspective (The War of Northern Aggression), conversation, a delightful cook-mate in my mother-in-law, entertainment, adventure (wild hogs, not motorcycles), and much love. First night there meeting the parents my father-in-law met us at the airport with two dozen roses. M gave me a small picture frame into which I placed our favorite wedding photo.

We have her quilts, my husband’s baby book to look through and frame. I must thank them for a really big gift, my husband. Together over fifteen years, married and we’ve a dog to prove it.  Dear old Zoe. Now that’s a gift from the local shelter we gave ourselves. It took a lot of work (me) but she’s a great old dog.

Zoe gives us gifts every day. I’m not talking about the outside ones. The ones that line your heart with love and joy. She is kind and everyone knows her, she’s a mascot around here. With all the things I do, everyone remembers Zoe and calls out for her. If we can pick and train a dog like her for us, that’s a life challenge and it’s OK with me. Dee

Harley Flowers

Yes, I had an arrangement made yesterday for my barber, Mr. B. My husband has his hair done by female stylists who only work for men. They won’t cut my hair but will allow my female dog to be there all day.

I know his gals and one (and her boyfriend) takes care of our dog when we’re out of town, but I can usually drop him off and go to the market while he’s being groomed. Oh, they love our dog, too. She hangs out with the patrons and other dogs.

My florist chose orange and we chose spiky things like thistles to make a manly bouquet for my annual gift to my Harley biker barber. I served it up in a local brewery’s pint glass, a vase of sorts for him to keep.

I’ll not go back to my favorite florist before Valentines’ Day as we do not celebrate Hallmark holidays. I’ve flowers around and secrets, too. One is that I don’t like crowds, he knows that. I do not wish to be in a crowd of men buying flowers like crazy for a Hallmark holiday. I’m not in the market for men, so bought just a few flowers this week to replenish what we have. My secret, OK it’ll remain that. Happy Valentines’ Day! Dee


The Stare

People sometimes talk about “dog heaven.” I can’t imagine a people “heaven” without dogs, or even my enervating cats.

When Zoe goes, it will  be with our love and blessing and hope we will meet again. She is certainly irreplaceable.

Who do you know that can stare you awake? No harrumphing, barking, whining, squirming and rolling on the rug. No scratching of floors or doors. She just stares and after 13 years we are one, and I awaken, dress for the weather, take her out, feed her and on weekends, lift her up to the bed to snore alongside my husband.

Zoe has made “the stare” into an art form. I know 99% of the time what she wants. Early dinner. Out. Precious (it’s her only toy and I keep it up high). Bed. “Lift me, Mom!” Up on the couch with me at night to watch a movie. Often she doesn’t even ask for that one but she is usually respectful of my space except when I make half of a soft blanket available.

It’s one thing when I’m awake and aware of the time of day as to what she needs (she never lies when she stares to go out), it’s her ability to stare when I’m sound asleep and awaken me. Eerie. Luckily no-one in my life has ever done that. My older cat learned from my sister’s cat how to open the cat food cupboard. He’d get up at four in the morning and slam that door about 1,000 times, then come upstairs and sit his hefty 14 lbs. directly on my bladder. I had to get up, go downstairs in the open loft and use the bathroom, then I’d feed him and we’d both go back to bed. He was a talker, Burmese mix, and in 13 years I never got in the last word in an argument. “Anywhere is allowed save my kitchen counter work space.” “Mraaaaaah.”

My younger cat, at the time, played with dogs. Dogs would run away from home to play with him. Yes, I’d get phone calls. Is she there? Yep. He walked into my loft at nine weeks and lived there nine years, crawled in bed with the dog and stayed a year. He taught himself to retrieve crumpled post-it notes. He’d sail over the top of the sofa, grab the note, run around and drop it at my feet. Yes, a DSH Retriever. That’s domestic short-hair, he was a tuxedo cat with white chest and paws.

You wouldn’t believe that the day after he was neutered the vet called to make sure he was calm and sedate. I’ve spayed and neutered enough feral cats (about 2,500) that I know they do what they can do, especially males as the surgery is not as invasive. The moment I answered the phone Mickey was sailing over the top of the sofa chasing a post-it note. He’d dropped an old one at my feet, daring me to toss it. “He’s right next to me, Doc, and is calm and doing well.” He was calm and doing well, according to him, as he dropped the “ball” at my feet so was next to me.

I’ve had some strange animals but none could just stare me awake. It’s freaky. No. My “alarm clock” is not for sale or rent. First, because her timing is her clock, not mine. Fall back and spring forward are difficult times for us because our sun and clock are different. Seven a.m. becomes either six or eight. As she ages it seems to take longer to adjust.

Our girl is dearly loved so much that even my mother-in-law bought her a matching Christmas stocking last year, shocked that Zoe was not considered part of the family, stocking-wise. That from a family that wanted to keep her as a pup in a goat pen, and not on our bed. Farms. We hung it up between our stockings with pride. I don’t think it stared at us. Cheers! Dee

ps One could set off fireworks across the street in the park and it wouldn’t wake my husband. The Stare doesn’t work on him. Is it a motherly instinct? If you know, please clue me in. Thanks, Dee


Older and Giving

Our dog Zoe is over 90 in “people years” but she keeps on going. She spent some time at a retail business last week and will again do so this Thanksgiving week.

I’m told she’s a hit. I just need to comb out the undercoat she is shedding so she looks presentable. She is so kind with people of all ages and all dogs (except the one that wants to eat her) and even cats. Squirrels and mice should watch out but she’ll never catch them, especially on my 6′ leather leash with Martingale collar.

When I move from room to room in the middle of the night, she follows me within three minutes. Now it’s an hour before she knows I am gone and displays her herding skills, not letting me go anywhere without her say-so.

As the sun begins to come up, I do receive regular emails from Stirling Castle in Scotland. It was home to several monarchs from Scotland and even James II who ruled both Scotland and England after Queen Elizabeth I.

The new parliament and nation that is Scotland is an inspiration to me and has been since our long-term visit a few years ago. While there I called my uncle/godfather and asked if he wished for me to contact any of his relatives while there. He said no, that his family had left in the 1700’s to kick the French out of Canada. Well, that didn’t work. Montreal is now French, centuries later.

He did say that if I was in a Scottish pub, any pub, and used his name someone would stand me a pint. I never tried it.

Just as Zoe is getting older and more frail, so am I. So are our families. That’s the way it goes when one attains a certain age. I think we have to embrace life, collect mental memories, and rage, rage against the dying of the light. I never understood Dylan Thomas as a kid, but by age eight, I understood both Anne Frank and Death Be Not Proud about the son of John J. Gunther.

This time of year I usually cook a lot and drive my dog halfway across the country to see my husband and his family. This year, she’ll be taken care of and I’ll fly in with minimal cooking. So, gals, does this mean I need to do dishes??? Happy Thanksgiving, Dee