Saturday marked 104 weeks since I lost my ZoeGirl. I knew she hadn’t been feeling well those last few weeks, I was having to bribe her with sardines to eat, but for whatever reason (denial?) I didn’t take her to the vet until a friend dropped by that fateful Saturday morning. My friend took one look at Zoe and said, “something’s wrong,” and that’s when I got scared.
I thought Zoe looked like she had gained some weight, but it’s hard to notice the gradual changes in someone you see every day; although her not wanting to eat was a giant red flag that I just didn’t acknowledge then. I chalked the weight gain up to her being less active than she had been. My friend hadn’t seen Zoe in 3 or 4 weeks, so it was obvious to her Zoe looked significantly different. Long story short, she apparently had a tumor on her spleen that had ruptured and she was bleeding into her belly. I always figured Zoe was a little older than Dudley which would have put her at 13 or older that day, and while surgery was an option, it wasn’t a good option at that age. Plus, it would only have stopped the immediate problem, it wouldn’t have changed the fact that she was an old dog and her time was near.
As much as it hurt, in the end it was a pretty easy decision to make. It was a shock to most everyone that Zoe went before Dudley because Dudley had been diagnosed with cancer a couple of months earlier. Several people expressed concern that Dudley might be depressed without Zoe, but he never gave any indication that he missed her. Her paw print has a few of her hairs in it and I’d hold it down and let Dudley smell it and he’d try to eat it. I think he was sort of happy to be the only dog again even though he and ZoZo were pretty good pals for the 10 and a half years she lived here. Maybe she had told him it was her time and he just accepted that. Most dogs tend to accept reality without the drama humans bring to it.
I always felt like Dudley would accept the loss of Zoe better than Zoe would have accepted the loss of Dudley, but that’s only speculation on my part. I know that Dudley coped better than I did losing Zoe. I hung onto her a couple of weeks longer than I should have and I’ve always felt bad about that. It is because of Zoe that when things started changing so quickly with Dudley, I did call the vet and did not linger over the decision to let him go. Very important lesson learned, thanks ZoZo and I hope you and Dudley are together and you nip his ears every morning on the way to breakfast!
Dudley was always excited over a new day because he knew food was coming his way, but Zoe was so much more animated than Dudley and she just plain loved life. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the name “Zoe” came to me so quickly when she came to live with us, it’s Greek and it means “life”. So in honor of the Z-Queen, take a moment and just love life!
“Did you ever walk into a room and forget why you walked in? I think that’s how dogs spend their lives.”~ Sue Murphy