(C.A.R.E. Name: Nina)

In May of 1997 I adopted a dog there (you were calling her "Nina" but she became Zelda). She and I had 12 wonderful years together and she passed away this week. This is the memorial I wrote to friends and family. I wanted to share it with y'all because you made such a good match so many years ago.


Dear friends and family -

Today we took Zelda to be put to sleep. She'd been on a slow decline for the past few months, and then a quick decline in the past few weeks (ever since her 13th birthday, actually). She was basically paralyzed in her back half, unable to even stand to eat, drink, or pee and probably in a lot of pain in her spine despite medications. Eric and I were with her at the end and the kids got to say goodbye this morning before we left. Yesterday, knowing this was coming, I wrote a little memorial thing.

Zelda and I have lived in 4 states and together traveled through dozens. We've camped at the beach and in the mountains, swum in 2 oceans, many lakes (1 Great, 1 Canyon) and the Gulf of Mexico together countless times. We've hiked miles of trail  (hours of railroad track on Bloomington's west side) and walked together in 3 AIDSWalks (Chicago and Atlanta). She's been my most faithful companion through all good times (watching her run with a big stick is the purest expression of joy ever) and bad (when I cry, she climbs into my lap to comfort me). She's been my bodyguard. I could go anywhere in the world with her and feel safe. All the years I lived alone, nights here with the kids when Eric is out of town - she's our protector. Those single years alone together in Bloomington, living in that little house on North Adams were truly our heyday. Like her namesake, she was a real party girl - we played hard and lived it up! She was then there when Eric and I fell in love, accepted him when we moved in together and acquiesced when we finally kicked her out of the bed when we got married. There have been times when I think she even loved him more than me; she waits by the door for the 2 hours before he gets home from work. The smell of her fur was the only smell I liked throughout both my pregnancies. I wanted her with me through labor (although that, alas, was not to be). She's put up with being somewhat displaced by babies and taken it (mostly) in stride (she did give us this look when we brought home #2 like "Again? You're putting us through this again?!") She's never nipped either child even once, although they both have deserved it. She's watched both our kids learn to walk, accidentally knocked them down a hundred times, and, in these frail past few weeks, been knocked down by them. Despite all the tail pulling and eye poking, she loves these children, and Lord knows they love her. "Ze-daaa" was one of Jo's first words, and although I'm sure Jack won't  remember her much at all, we have lots of pictures of them together. These last 4 years in California have been good for her. She's lain in the sun, had year-round, all day open-door access to the back yard, relatively few health problems, and I've been at home with her the whole time. They've been good Golden Years. I've poured all the love I have into this dog, and she's returned it tenfold. I really can't imagine life (or my home) without her.