So I should explain how Zoe came into my life, or rather, I came into hers. She started out as Hubs' dog, back in our early courtin' days. He decided, after living in a river town for a couple of years(my hometown, BTW) that he should own a black lab like each and every one of the other inhabitants. Except he thought he'd go a little wild and get a yellow one.
One Saturday we perused the place where EVERYBODY goes looking for a pet, the hunting supply store, of course. This particular store was known for posting the names and numbers of beagle, lab and various hound dog breeders. After jotting down a few phone numbers we heard the sound of irresistible cuteness coming from behind the register. A mixed-up jumble of whimpers, soft grunts and smacks that could only come from a pile of puppies. The guy at the counter proudly pointed to a big wooden box and said the adorable babies inside were all spoken for except for one, and he 'spected she'd be gone before the day was out.
The dude behind the counter was big, but I nearly leveled him to get back there and scoop up Ms. Available. The pups were English Setter/Brittany Spaniel mix, but the end result was sort of a lanky, dainty Springer. The one in my arms was black and white, with freckles on her nose, back and belly. She had a sweet, newborn-baby smell and deep, navy blue eyes. When I rolled her on her back, she yawned, stretched and gently licked my thumb, no matter how long I held her there.
"Fifty bucks." said counter guy. "Just to cover the first shots."
"Nah." said Hubs. "I really wanna lab." I made him smell the pup's head. He obliged. Then he winced and said, "I gotta go to work in an hour. Let me think about it."
This would not do. I knew as soon as we left some hunter would claim her. He'd probably make her sleep outside. In the cold. Probably keep her chained up at night. Probably make her earn her keep chasing squirrels. Or fetching dead ducks. Or something.
On the way back to H's neighborhood, my mind raced. Somehow, over the next several hours, I had to get that sweet bundle of awesomeness into my life. And I had to convince Boyfriend that it was his idea. But the magic of puppy love was already at work.
About ten minutes after I dropped H back at our place of business, The Daily News, he called me up and said, "If you come by and let me give you fifty bucks, will you go get me that little speckled pup?" Victory.
I wish I could say that her name was the result of some well-thought-out process, but we actually saw it on some Lenny Kravitz liner notes and thought it was cool. It was a song called "Flowers for Zoe," which Lenny write for his daughter.
We played her the song on her first night at H's apartment. She liked it. She also REALLY loved The Grateful Dead, and bites of grilled hamburger tossed her way, and having her belly scratched. And most of all, she loved us.
Over the years she's endured four moves and the humiliation of sharing her home with two human babies who took years to potty train and occasionally yanked her lovely, fringed tail. But she loved them for their perpetual trail of crumbs and because they loved her. She also enjoyed their lullaby CD's, and would often drift off to sleep at my feet while I rocked them.
Another song she liked was an excruciatingly corny ditty that I used to twang to her in the mornings:
"Even though we ain't got money, I'm so in love with you, Honey---everything will bring a chain of looooo-ove. In the morning when I rise, bring a tear of joy to my eyes and tell me everything's gonna be all right."
And that is what I whispered to her in the vet's office today, as she left this world with H and I by her side. I loved that damn dog. We all did.
Goodbye, sweet girl. You were the best.