GRIEVING THE LOSS OF A PET: MY BELOVED DOG ZOIE MARIE

Hey there! If you’re new here or came back for more – WELCOME! This post is a little longer than my other ones, as it came unexpectedly..

Remember how I said in my last post “2019 did not start out how I wanted”? Well, the universe called last night to slap me in the face and said, “Challenge Accepted” Now, I know the universe didn’t take my dog away and that it was her time to go, but I’m grieving and think I’m entitled to be a little irrational to help me cope with everything for the time being.

I was blessed to have my beautiful, yellow lab named Zoie Marie (gave her my middle name) for the last 15 years. Today is actually her birthday. Ironic, she would leave the day she came into the world. Although, I am sad to learn of her passing, I am also overjoyed thinking about the life she had and the life she gave me.

My mom never wanted a dog, but I had probably been begging for one since she pushed me out. I really wanted a Golden Retriever because I saw AirBud and just wanted to have the same dog to do all those tricks! My parents finally took me to the pet store when I was in 8th grade. I saw a litter of Yellow Labs and this little dog in the corner. She was just doing her own thing on her own while all the other little puppies were playing together. I asked to see her and the lady brought us into one of those private dog rooms and put her into my arms. I was so excited! I was probably holding the puppy for all of 5 seconds before she jumped out of my arms and ran the distance of the room 15 times knocking everything over. I instantly laughed and said “I WANT HER”. My parents looked at each other and asked if there was calmer dog lol But I had pushed and pushed and finally they agreed to let me take her home! And since that day, Zoie and I have been best friends.

I was an only child growing up (I’m 28 and now have 1 and a half year old littler brother — just to put in perspective of how long it’s been just Zoie and I), so I really enjoyed her company. We ate dinner together every night, went to the park, went on long walks, watched TV, and just basically hung out everyday. When I would leave the house, she’d wait by my bedroom door for me to come back. Or she had this little spot on the last step that she would snuggle up under, so we always had to be careful coming down the stairs to not step on her.

As I got older and graduated from college, It was my time to move out of my parents house. Zoie came with me the first night in my new apartment and stayed with me the first month. As I tried to work 2 jobs and go to grad school, Zoie needed more care and attention than I could give her as she was getting older. So, my parents and I decided, I would take her on the weekends only. They would bring her to me Friday night and take her back to their house on Sundays. With Zoie’s age, that started becoming too much as well to get her in and out of the car, she just didn’t have the same hop she used too. I knew I was going to miss seeing Zoie everyday, but I thought of my parents and the companionship Zoie had brought me all those years. I knew she could do for them what she did for me since I had moved out. She made the house not feel so empty, and filled it with love. So I would drive home on the weekends or FaceTime to be able to see Zoie as often as I could.

Riley Raphael

I probably lasted almost 1 year without having a dog before the loneliness kicked in. I’m a crazy dog lady (sorry cat people) and I need my puppy-baby! That is when I rescued my Riley, about 4 years ago. A little Belgian Malinois puppy mix.

Zoie was pissed and it broke my heart. She hated Riley the first time they met. She even gave me an attitude when Riley was around. I felt so bad. She did not want to be near him at all. It took over a year to get Zoie to want to be around Riley, but once she grew to love him they were inseparable. I started bringing Riley to see Zoie every weekend. Riley was more of a struggle to train, and needed his crate. Zoie would lay right next to the crate to keep him company. He added some extra pep in Zoie’s step, they walked together and played. They developed a true brother and sister relationship. Riley will always remind me of Zoie, Riley is a boy, he squats when he pees because I used to walk them together and he copied her to learn to use the bathroom lol

Additionally, I am so happy my little brother got to experience Zoie’s love. To this day, I would still go to my parents house and just lay in Zoie’s bed with her. My brother saw me do it so many times he started doing the same thing (SOOOOO CUTE!).

Saying goodbye is one of the hardest things to do because it often feels it’s too soon.  Pets become such large part of the family, Zoie and Riley feel like they’re my children. A dogs unconditional love is just so pure. You share such an intense bond — love, security, comfort, loyalty. I’m devastated. But, the reality is, I will grieve forever and learn to live with the hole of her absence.

I love you so much Zoie, it hurts missing you. But I know you lived a great, long, amazing life! Happy 15th birthday my sweet angel, may you rest in peace xo.

Have you ever lost a pet? How did you cope with the grief? Thank you for listening, I truly appreciate it.

Sending extra love, life, and wellness today for whoever needs it xo