February 10, 2011
Dog
Photo by Jessica Walliser
We will miss our beloved dog, Zodie.

Dear Zodie,

You were the best dog this Earth has ever seen. I am going to miss you so very much. From your velvet-soft ears and stinky breath right down to your four white paws and white-tipped tail, we loved you and always will. From the moment we saw your handsome face peeking out at us from between the concrete walls at the Animal Rescue League, you have been such an important part of our lives. Our baby before we had a baby. 

We will never forget your troubled first year with us: your appetite for glass Christmas ornaments, hairbrushes, boxes of nails, bottles of glue, chair legs and sofa cushions—each ‘”meal” followed by a trip to see the vet (whom we fondly called your “girlfriend” due to your frequent “dates’” with her).

After the separation anxiety waned, we learned what a treasured friend you would be. Our trips to the dog park, punctuated by your tail waggling like an out of control propeller, were a daily occurrence, so too were our games of chase and catch me between the living room and family room in our first house.(As I recall, they sounded much like a herd of small elephants on stampede.) The endless bouncing of the tennis ball off of the deck and into your eager mouth; the walks around the neighborhood in rain, sleet or snow; the protective barking every time a doorbell rang on the television; the endless wiping of so many muddy paws as we opened the back door, and you and your little sister Solo traipsed in after yet another wrestling match. Your beloved squeaky soccer ball from Uncle Brian lasted years longer than the countless plush toys that ended up with their stuffing strewn about the house a mere 10 minutes after cutting off the tags.  The peanut butter- and kibble-stuffed Kong toys, the pig ears, the chicken flavored toothpaste you relished. The neighbor boys and our own little boy who loved you so. These things we will always remember. 

We laughed at the vet today thinking about your first night with us. How you busted out of your crate—not by physically breaking free, but by crying until we opened the door. It was quiet in the room as you lay instead on your cushy dog bed, until we heard a soft thud and felt you slowly creeping up from the foot of the bed in an army crawl to sandwich between us. 

I will miss the sound of your paws scampering on the hardwood floors; how your whole body shook every time you sneezed; how you would lay on your back with your legs sticking straight up into the air (a position we fondly called your ‘”playboy pose”); how you loved to chew sticks and yack them back up; how you loved carrots and chasing squirrels; how amazingly tolerant you were of Ty, even in his terrible twos; and especially your wet nose and sandpapery kisses.

You never hid from the insulin needle even once in the last five years. So brave. We tried our best to make it easier on your. Belly rubs, scratches on the forehead, and backyard brushings replaced more vigorous trips to the woods and swims in the pond as you got older and lost your sight.    

It was one of life’s most bittersweet pleasures to be with you as your face grew whiter and whiter, knowing that someday today would come. We spent so many years together. We hope you had as much fun as we did, buddy. We love you. I wish the world could know what an amazing dog you were.

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