Zoey © by Nora Amrani

By Estelle Nora Harwit Amrani
July 15, 2015

Zoey: A tribute to our new dog.

Last Sept. 3, our dog Gracie died from old age. She didn't suffer long, thankfully. In less than two days she was gone and she was mentally alert and loving until the end. We loved her very much and missed her so much after she died. We decided to get another Sheltie, and within a week I contacted breeders not far from me who just had a litter so we were assured our choice of pup.

Zoey (which is a Greek name for life energy, or life giving) was born in Sept. 2004 and we picked her up from the breeders and her family over the Thanksgiving weekend. She is a pure-bred Sheltie, and her parents are champions in the dog shows. Her fur is white, blond, and black with gorgeous markings. We gave Zoey the middle name Grace in honor of our previous dog. I prefer the spelling Zoe, but my younger son likes Zoey better and thinks this way it's more obvious how to pronounce it, so I gave in.

This tiny ball of fur was so cute and so shy but so good when we took her home. Her fur hadn't totally come out yet, and her tail was tightly wound up like a spiral, looking more like a rat's tail than a dog's. Her black fur came in as she matured. I immediately spoiled her rotten. Got her beds, stuffed animals, tug toys, and balls. She took to the toys right away, and quickly learned the names for each of the toys and stuffed animals. If we say to her, "bring your dolphin," she does - she knows the difference between a dolphin, elephant, puppy, tug.

The day after we got her was very cold - there was snow dropping low in the mountains in Los Angeles. Zoey managed to follow me into my pool area through the bars in the gate (I didn't think she could fit through them) and plopped right into the freezing pool! I fished her right out and dried her off. She didn't look the least bit phased by the ordeal. She went right back to the pool area! I think that day initiated her into her love for water.

Playing with her toys and balls is a great pastime for Zoey. If she's bored, the herder in her comes out and she plays soccer by herself. She holds one ball in her mouth, and either uses her chest to move the larger ball, or kicks them with her front paws (and swats them) back and forth across the yard. Other times she will talk to me, lightly bark, to get my attention so I'll play with her. Or, she'll bring her toys to me. She knows many of them by name. I will say, "Go get me your elephant," and she does. She can pick out the dolphin amongst all the stuffed animals and bring it to me. She also loves to pounce on our lavender bushes and run herself through them and daisies to wipe herself. She likes the lavender as a bedding. Then she comes running to me all sticky and smelly. And, like many dogs, she enjoys walking and going to the dog park to play with other dogs. When she knows we're going to play with her, she gets so excited that she sneezes (or chortles, can't tell which) a few times. When crows or raccoons or possums come to eat the cat food we leave out for the cats we care for outside, or people come to the house Zoey barks to alert us and to chase them away. If I told her to bark, she'd do it on command. She pees on command, too. Awesome dog.

Zoey © by Nora Amrani

She also has this affection for anything on a stick or a hose. If I don't keep her indoors while I do the watering, Zoey will be all over the water. She chases the stream of water everywhere it points. She does flips in the air, pounces, goes into dead runs after any running water. She doesn't mind if she gets soaked - just as long as she can get a few gulps from the treasured hose and run herself through it. Brooms and mops, anything on a pole, drive her crazy - she attacks them and thinks it's a game we're playing when I'm just trying to sweep leaves away. What a chore that becomes! When I fill the pool with the water from the hose, Zoey steps down to the pool steps and drinks from the hose water, and then takes turns with her paws swirling the water around in a circle. I don't know what she thinks she doing, but it looks cute.

Zoey also can get into the pool by taking a flying leap or by stepping down onto the pool steps, from where she can drink to her heart's delight. She's a darn good swimmer, too. She likes to swim laps with each one of us. She has this great paddle rhythm going on and now knows how to swim to the steps so she can get herself out of the pool. A new fun trick she figured out on her own is to get on the pool raft and surf the water. Sometimes she lays down on the raft and I take her around the pool for a ride, of course while she drinks the water. Before she gets on the raft, she sticks on one paw and carefully tests to see if she can stand on the water, or the raft. (One word to anyone who has a pool and a bubble pool cover - dogs can't tell the difference between the blue pool cover and water so they will walk on the cover thinking it's water. This can be very deadly because they can sink and drown and no one can save them when the pool cover is on the water. So watch your pets well.)

Zoey is a great guard dog. She might be small but she has a big bark, and that alone has been threatening enough to keep some people from wanting to come into my house! LOL I think she's a huge 'fraidy cat and barks only because she's warning, she's scared, and sometimes to say "hello" (depends who's coming). If someone is coming she barks and shows me where they are, and then comes to stand or sit right in front of me between my legs.

She's a huge lover and licks us whenever and wherever she can. Very affectionate, and that affection is returned to her. She follows me absolutely everywhere I go and loves taking a ride in the car. I'm grateful she doesn't have motion sickness. She loves to be with people so much that she will eat only if we're close by. When I work on my computer, she sleeps on my feet under the desk.

Zoey is a wonderful addition to our family - we're crazy about her. She sure lives up to the meaning of her name - she's full of life and love. We hope she's with us for a long time.

I am sharing with you two recent photos of fully-grown Zoey.

Oct. 31, 2015: Zoey passed away early this morning of heart failure. Luckily, she went quickly and without fear or pain that we know of - she gave no indication of pain. With her last breaths and barely any energy, and to please me, as well since I enouraged her to go out, she ran outside and lay on her favorite spot on the grass. Within a few minutes she made her transition. She had an enlarged heart for the past two years and we knew her time was coming soon. She had trouble breathing and there was nothing that would improve her situation. I called the emergency vet but there wasn't anything that could really save Zoey. She died looking up at the stars with us petting her and talking to her. We buried her in our yard. She was the best dog we've ever had and she will be missed beyond what words could say. RIP our dear Zoey. She knew she was loved and we were loved by her.

© Copyright 2015, Estelle Nora Harwit Amrani