My Dog Zoe

Oh Zoe! She was an evil little puppy! She was up and raring to go about 16 hours a day, with maybe a couple of 5 minute naps in the mix. She cried all night. She launched herself at me with her little puppy teeth and nothing would dissuade her from her attacks. She didn't like cuddling! That's one of the most special things about a puppy, being able to hold them to you like a baby – they're the perfect weight! I was covered in bruises, had the seat of my pants ripped from her leaping attacks during playtime, had to hand feed her kibble as she was a fussy eater – yes, she is a Lab! She was nothing like Raven – except for the chewing, which she excelled at. Socks, underwear, paper towels and toilet paper, toys, beds, couch cushions, tables, chairs, the wall, my bed, books, and magazines. As she got older she moved on to remote controls, digital cameras, telephones, the baby monitor (I use it for pets), shoes. She had boundless energy – it was exhausting, and it was hard to bond with her, and I wondered if I had made a mistake.

I had spent hours and hours online searching every shelter in Ontario for my next dog. I had contacted someone who was getting rid of their 11 year old lab because they didn't have the time for her anymore, and said I would take her pending a full vet check up with bloodwork and heartworm testing and was told - "Good luck with your business." - end of communication. I contacted someone who had adopted a puppy and then moved back home with her parents – the girl was young, and that adoption fell through. I applied to foster/adopt with a local rescue who then questioned my morals because I used the words "pack" and "calm assertive leadership". I was verbally attacked by several members of the group, who questioned my morals. (What else do you call a group of dogs, a herd?) It was devastating and heartbreaking and I withdrew my foster application the day before I was supposed to pick up my foster puppy.

I kept seeing Zoe's litter, born May 1 2010 on Kijiji. Beautiful, roly poly puppies, pictured with their dog mom, grandmother and dad, the family's three children and the three adults in the home. I finally decided to go meet the pups, who were the result of an unplanned litter from the family's pet dogs. They let me spend 2.5 hours at their home while I told them Raven's story, and tried to decide should I? I finally did, picking Zoe out of the other female pups as she fell asleep and started snoring – the snoring got me! Zoe came with a puppy care bag with a letter from the family, wormer, vet records, a toy, a collar and a blanket with her mother's scent on it.

It's now been over 2 years and Zoe is finally, FINALLY growing up. She is with me every day doing dog walks and park outings, and socialization with my dog clients. She still likes to shred paper towels, toilet paper etc, and steals my shoes and puts them in her bed, but doesn't chew them. The regulars at the dog park really seem to love her as she's a very friendly, wiggly, happy girl. Zoe is often leading the pack in a game of chase with stick, always brings back the balls she steals, and knows her dog and people friends by name. She's very smart, and happy to learn new things, and though not a huge snuggler, she will curl up beside me in bed or on the couch.


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