1998 – January 21, 2011
Zelda-Jolie left us today. She had been struggling from the effects of a pituitary tumor and each day was no better than the day before—-often worse. When I got her out of her crate this morning she tried to stand but just couldn’t. I knelt beside her and she looked up at me “My time here is over Mom, and I have to go now. Please help me to say goodbye”. So with false bravado I brought her into the vet clinic that afternoon, wrapped in her favorite pink and brown blanket and as I held her in my arms we said our goodbyes. As Dr. Claus struggled to find a vein I said over and over again very softly “It’s Ok little girl. Your Mama is here. Don’t be afraid. Your Mama will always be here. I love you so much.” She lay so still and warm afterwards. I kissed her sweet face, her ear and her warm little belly. I felt like someone had torn my heart out.
She showed me how it is that love conquers all. With unerring faith that yes the world has just got to be a good place and I know I can find it if I just keep trying… she came into our lives, this skinny, broken, abused, elderly little dog with her graying muzzle, bent legs and a history of beatings, torture, and neglect. With her bright eyes she asked “Will you be my Mama? Will you be my Daddy?”
She taught me that patience could never be allowed to fail and why it was so important. She graced each and every day with love and joy when she greeted me with her warm, sleepy snuffle and so happily skittered and wobbled into my arms so she could snuggle and look up at my face. She taught me that fear is just a word—you can face and overcome anything if you put your mind to it.
She made me laugh countless times when she so fiercely barked at the Fed-ex delivery man or woof-woofed at the vet techs in the veterinarian’s office demanding more treats—after all, she had made the trip there and made everyone smile hadn’t she?
She had been with us for only 6 months and she had to have surgery to have her left eye removed. I held her for hours prior to her surgery keeping my hands on her small body, reassuring her and telling her not to be afraid. When I picked her up later that day post surgery, with her little face all shaved and stitched up, she just sighed with happiness and relief that I did indeed come back for her and she would not be alone or abandoned again.
Every day for her was an adventure: each ride in the car, each trip to the dry cleaners, every trip to our daily drive through coffee place where I often could hear “Zelda’s here!” being passed around amongst the staff inside. Smiling faces would come to the window and doughnut holes would be offered while she sat in the passenger seat with a sophisticated, princess-like air about her as though being chauffeured was her absolute right… and doughnut holes were too.
When I look back at the year and a half that I was lucky enough to have her in my life, I realize that she made me a better person in so many ways. She made me that person that I can be proud of.
Zelda-Jolie’s legacy to us all is her never ending belief that human beings are ultimately good, and even just a warm spot in the sunshine is worth living for. I have never known a tiny dog with such a big spirit and such a loving heart. Somewhere over the rainbow little girl, your dreams did come true. And you healed us and made us laugh and love you even more.
Little Zelda-Jolie, the light of my life, will now frolic and play and fiercely woof-woof at the angels. There is nowhere on heaven and earth that this little dog did not bring warmth, smiles and happiness. I will love her always. Goodbye little friend. You are my angel girl and always will be.
Hamburg, New York