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Our Sweet Girl, Zoe

We called her Nurse Zoe. She was a Tibetan Terrier, smaller than most, as she was the runt of the litter. Since birth, she was favored, coddled, and truly the princess of our family.

While my aunt slowly and painfully lost her battle with cancer, Zoe was her biggest source of comfort. She sat with my aunt patiently and dutifully during every visit as if it was her job. She did the same for my mother while she grieved her only sister's impending and inevitable death.

When my dad limped around our house during his own battle with cancer, Zoe limped behind him, almost to let him know he wasn't alone. I believe her support was one of the reasons he was able to pull through the ordeal.

All it took was a little puckering up and Zoe would be at your side in an instance eager to give kisses or accept any love you wanted to give her. We got her when I was 11 years old and between dressing her up in doll outfits, making her sleep in my room with me, and putting her through the tedious motions of learning silly little tricks, Zoe put up with a lot. But she never turned away from loving me or any of us. I'm now 24 and we just lost Zoe two days ago.

Her "fault," if any, was her barking. She barked at nothing, barked just to hear herself bark, sometimes I think she even did it just to get a rise out of the other two dogs. I would give anything to walk into my parent's now quiet house to hear that barking again. The void left in that house without her is unbearable.

She was a dog with a sense of humor. She was bossy and made clear what she wanted. She had her "babies" with which none of our other dogs were allowed to play. When my mother had a pile of clothes on the floor meant to be donated to charity, Zoe slowly and slyly stole pieces one by one and built herself a bed behind the TV stand. She may have been getting old, but she was still so playful. She still greeted me and Pepper (my own dog) at the door with a happy cry, kisses, and tail wags. She had more personality, compassion, and apparent wisdom than any dog I've ever known, and even more than many people I know. There are so many memories flooding my mind right now, it's just so hard to believe she is gone. Realistically, I know we all must move on and appreciate the wonderful time we got to have with her, but in my heart, the thought of life without Zoe is so hard to accept.

She, in essence, raised our other family dog, Max, who is 4 years younger than Zoe. She was so smart and a natural at everything and he was so inept in some ways, the juxtaposition of their relationship was humorous. Zoe was a bit more aloof toward him and he obviously looked up to her in a way similar to how a younger sibling would. They loved each other and spent every minute of their lives together- Max wouldn't even allow a grooming unless he could maintain a clear sight of Zoe the whole time. We always joked that Max was Zoe's dog. And he was. He now looks for her inside the house and outside around her favorite tree, crying and obviously distraught by her absence. Our family is not the same without our baby Zoe and she will be intensely missed forever. I know there will never be another Zoe, but I also know Max needs a new companion. And, despite the fact that their lives are much too short and some of us depend on them emotionally to an extent that almost seems foolish, I can't imagine life without the love of a dog. And I hope soon, my parents will be able to adopt another into the family for many reasons.

Nevertheless, I would give anything to have Zoe back for just one more day. To just hold her, get/give her kisses, and feed her one of her favorite treats, bananas. Rest in Peace, Zoe, I take comfort in the fact that you knew you were loved more than words and you loved us all back so much. I wish we could have had more time with you, and I wish there was a way I could thank you for being such a benevolent part of our lives. You were one in a million and will never be replaced or forgotten and we will always love you from the bottom of our hearts.

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