Zoey, you were 27 days short of your 15th birthday. For a labrador, that is an amazingly long time. The amazing part is that in those nearly 15 years, you succeeded in having a relationship with everyone you met. We always said that you were a very "present" dog. You never aimed to please. In fact, you always thought the best idea was your own. You were so funny, such a comic, you had am amazing sense of humor and we cherished you for all of this. There was not a single day in your nearly 15 years that you weren’t showered with hugs and kisses. So much love for our sweet Zoey.
I remember bringing you home on September 4, 1992. You were a fat little butterball, and you slept quite complacently upside down in a little towel-lined box next to me in the back seat. The years that followed brought all of us so much joy, learning who you were, getting to know you and to love you more every day. You were so adventurous and enthusiastic. You were a wonderful companion and made the days worth living. There are so many stories to share. The truth is, you were an integral part of our lives, you were like another human among us, and so the stories are in volumes. Volumes of wonderful times, silly times, thoughtful and pensive times, learning times, and happy, fulfilled times.
In the last 2 years you slowed down considerably. You lost your hearing, and no longer rang the jingle bells by the door to get outside because to you they didnt work! We could no longer tell you go left on the sidewalks, so instead you waited to see where we were headed. But you were so sweet in your old age, earnest, loving as ever, with an added element of trust in us to help you when you needed it. Eventually it became hard for you to walk, and your back left leg would collapse to the right. You would look for help to get up, and you always got it. We established a routine for you to see a physical therapist and acupuncturist, who did great work with you. You moved much better after these visits and had a great appetite. But eventually, acupuncture only goes so far.
In the last week you got 24 hour care. We thought perhaps this was like the other hurdles we had help you overcome before, but our optimism was extinguished quickly. You gave up eating and drinking. You could not get comfortable it must have beeln so frustrating for you to be uncomfortable and for you to not be able to move well and readjust yourself. And so, the first time since losing your hearing, you began vocalizing. Frustrated moans. And you looked to us to help you as we always had.
It was so hard, Zoey. So hard. You gave us everything anyone could ever want or need in your nearly 15 years. And you were always so appreciative of everything you received, from your lunch biscuits which you paraded around the room, to your Christmas and birthday presents which we bought especially for you. The last gift to you was relief. It is so hard for us to bear, sweet baby Zoey. August 10, 2007 , 27 days before your 15th birthday.
Here is a poem that someone I dont even know sent to me. It says what I cannot say about the last day of your life with us. Zoey, I know you had an amazing and wonderful life, more than can possibly be expected for most dogs. You were fortunate, and so were we. Knowing that does not make me hurt any less, or make the tears stop flowing. You will never, ever be forgotten. You will be always remembered with love, and smiles, and fondness, my sweet baby girl.
You’re giving me a special gift,
So sorrowfully endowed,
And through these last few cherished days,
Your courage makes me proud.
But really, love is knowing
When your best friend is in pain,
And understanding earthly acts
Will only be in vain.
So looking deep into your eyes,
Beyond, into your soul,
I see in you the magic, that will
Once more make me whole.
The strength that you possess,
Is why I look to you today,
To do this thing that must be done,
For it’s the only way.
That strength is why I\’ve followed you,
And chose you as my friend,
And why I’ve loved you all these years…
My partner ’til the end.
Please, understand just what this gift,
You’re giving, means to me,
It gives me back the strength I’ve lost,
And all my dignity.
You take a stand on my behalf,
For that is what friends do.
And know that what you do is right,
For I believe it too.
So one last time, I breathe your scent,
And through your hand I feel,
The courage that’s within you,
To now grant me this appeal.
Cut the leash that holds me here,
Dear friend, and let me run,
Once more a strong and steady dog,
My pain and struggle done.
And don’t despair my passing,
For I won’t be far away,
Forever here, within your heart,
And memory I’ll stay.
I’ll be there watching over you,
Your ever faithful friend,
And in your memories I’ll run,
…a young dog once again. "