DOG & STYLE
You previously mentioned a family dog named Zoey who is no longer living with you. Is there more to this story?
Dear Miss Holly
Though I never knew Zoey personally, I have certainly heard the stories. Zoey, described by my daddies as “a little white cotton ball with legs,” was actually a Miniature American Eskimo—a lap dog with an attitude. In fact, Zoey aspired to be a Doberman Pinscher but seemed hopelessly stuck in a little dog body.
Zoey came into the household in the spring of 1996 – several years before my arrival. To hear the daddies tell it, they knew almost immediately that Zoey was not a good fit for their home. She was skittish and submissive to the point that she would relieve herself every time a male simply reached down to pet her. As I know personally, when you have two daddies, a fear of men ain’t a good thing. Though loving and kind – on top of repressing a protective nature – Zoey apparently always seemed somewhat out of place.
Legend has it; diminutive Zoey’s desire for dominance was so strong she even mounted the 30-pound cat, Blackie, in a packed room at a New Year’s Eve Party. Though I wasn’t there, I have been told the look of humiliation on the face of the previously emotionless cat was priceless. Someone should have called Master Card.
I have openly shared that I was adopted; having come to the daddies through Airedale Rescue. Though I had a wonderful mommy in Maryland, she wisely recognized I was not a good fit for her home as I demanded more attention than her poor little family could provide.
The fact that I demand attention should not come as a surprise to any of my fans.
Just weeks after Zoey took residence came the first attempt to place her in a more suitable home. Though her fear of men and propensity to piddle could not be argued, her love of the daddies was strong enough for her to cleverly relieve herself in the middle of her new parents’ king-sized bed. So back she came having mastered the art of using urine as a weapon – a skill she would continue to employ as a part of other equally unsuccessful placement attempts in the years ahead.
Though her ultimate goal of being a guard dog seemed unrealistic, the task of finding her a happy home continued for ten years. But more often than not, the result was: “I don’t like you. I want to go home. So here’s some pee for your mattress.”
And then came Betty and Scott.
Betty, who Short Daddy always describes as the loveliest lady he has ever met, lived in a pet-free home with her husband of over sixty years. Sadly, when Zoey first went to live with them, Scott was already ill. Though Zoey’s time with Scott would only last four brief months, to hear Betty tell it, Zoey never left the ailing man’s side.
Finally, Zoey was a protector. Zoey had a purpose. Zoey was at home.
Betty also kept in close touch with our family. With each phone call she repeatedly shared her gratitude for the comfort, companionship and yes, the added “security,” she received from Zoey’s presence. Just recently Betty reported that Zoey had begun a new process of sleeping all day to enable her aging body to maintain the demands of her nightly tour of duty around the house.
Some things will never change – but, like it or not, others will. We recently received an email from Betty’s son that caused us all to take pause:
“Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but we wanted to share the passing of Zoey last week. Zoey, the beautiful girl who will be remembered for helping our family through good times and sad times. She passed in her sleep at a ripe old age of 100+ in doggie years.”
The first ache we all felt was not for Zoey, but for Betty. However, Betty is surrounded by an extraordinary family as well as friends and neighbors who will never let her want for anything. Even I have come to understand she is so very special.
The next ache was for the dog my family always loved – the friend they tirelessly helped to find her place in life.
But the last ache, no less sharp than the first two, was a bit more hopeful – whether man or beast, it’s simply better to live a life of purpose than to die without one. So good for you, Zoey.
Tony Wakefield-Jones is a 10-year-old psychologically gifted Airedale. He can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/tony.wakefieldjones. A member of a family of creative minds, his Short Daddy, writer Randall Kenneth Jones, has humorously chronicled his own personal and professional foibles on attackbunnies.com