"If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than humans." J Herriot
The night before we said goodbye to Zoe, she was galloping in the snow with me. Her back legs had become so arthritic that they remained stiff and straight when she ran, but she ran anyway. I even think she was smiling as she plowed through the fresh powder. They say dogs will hide their pain and I believe this is true. She would overcome it to be with us and do whatever it was we were doing, with gusto!
James Herriot wondered about dogs "Why were they so devoted to the human race? Why should they delight in our company and welcome us home in transports of joy?" I am convinced dogs hearts are big, they are sensitive and can love. A moment when this seemed especially true was during Cemmi's life (Parker's golden before we were married). I was a beginning sailor and a complete novice at rowing, but loved being on the water and so, would attempt anything. On a sail to Bustins' Island for the night to visit with friends, Parker asked me to row ashore with Cemmi and the gear then come back for him. As I made it to shore, suddenly the wind velocity increased dramatically! As I attempted to row against the wind to Parker, it became evident that I could NOT row-- the oars kept coming out of the oarlocks and I was losing ground...fast! Completely frustrated, I began to cry and yell out "I cannot do it!" Cemmi, who was pacing back and forth along the shore, suddenly started whining, jumped in the water, and swam to my side with this worried, but encouraging expression on her face. I knew then I had to persevere.
Herriot always advised people to get another dog as soon as possible. A dog can break your heart and leave a terrible void. We added Teeka to our lives before Zoe died and, though she could never replace her, it is wonderful to have her tail wagging, jubilant self about now more than ever. If you have never read James Herriot's books, I highly recommend you do. I took them out of the library and read them aloud to Ilka and Finn many years ago and think I'll reread them soon. All Creatures Great and Small is a good place to begin.
Zoe, sweet dog, you are missed.