April 1, 2000- August 23, 2012
Zip followed her nose out of the safety of “the fenced in yard.”
As hours, then a day passed,
Hope mingled with impending sense of doom.
But maybe…like in Homeward Bound…?
A day and half later…
A knock on the door,
Neighbor reports Zip, alive but “not able to move” in the ditch.
Frantic calls to Jim at work.
Apple pie still in the oven, very al dente tortellini on the stove.
Boys hurried into van -confused, sad.
Thirty second drive to the neighbor’s ditch.
Assessment- alert,stable, but badly injured in the hindquarters.
Reaching down, stroking, calming sweet Zip…
Our first dog.
Traded her blue and brown eyed sister pup for her.
A very good trade, 12 years ago.
At the end of my first year of work.
The first one I told when, home alone, I “got the call.”
That our first son, Sam was born in Korea.
Enthusiastic running companion all these- gulp- 5000 miles!
(Checked math, yes: 10 miles x 50 weeks x 10 years=5000.)
Now, gingerly hoisting her 55 pounds into the van.
Countless adjustments as she’d yelp when I moved her.
Still, trusting eyes.
Grateful she’d eat a slice of bacon and sharp cheddar.
En route to vet.
Shots. X-rays. Bones badly out of joint.
Final strokes of silky black muzzle.
You’re a good girl, Zip.
Now home without Zip.
I can’t eat because I’m just too sad, says Gabe, when Sam offers snacks. What about her dog treats? Her bowls? (Between 5 year old sobs) I want a new dog, Mom. When can we get a new dog?
No, Gabe, now is the time to think about Zippy and how much we loved her and how good she was. It’s not the time to think about getting another dog.
Or is it?
Maybe Gabe’s response, self-centered as it is, really is the better, or at least equally good Christian response to loss. To jump right in and love again, to give the heart away, again.
The past two days I tear up at the strangest times. I feel lonely. When I head out for a walk, and see the open gate. Or stranger still, when I’m clearing plates after dinner or draining the grease off the ground beef. You see, Zippy was a dog blessed by frequent and many table scraps and I was blessed by a dog who cleared plates beautifully, allowing me to rest my mind that “nothing was wasted.”
Today I read, “Loneliness is the illusion we are tricked into feeling when we stop thinking of others and think only of ourselves . . . it’s a disease and we can fight it the moment we chose to put others before us.” Hear, hear!
Or like my mom always said, when in the throes of pre-teen, cliquey girl angst (and periodically in the midst of sinful adult friendship envy), “If you want a friend, be one.” Or, “remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35)
So, what better way to heal the hurt, to fight the disease, than to share a meal? Remember the apple pie and pasta? Our pastor’s wife had her first baby a week earlier, and I had offered deliver a meal the evening we said good-bye to Zip. By God’s empowering grace, I managed to choke back tears long enough to get out a call from the vet’s.
Could I come an hour late with dinner, I asked, due to a pet emergency?
An hour later, pasta, peas and pie delivered.
Smiles, congratulations and cuddles with a sweet new baby, Hans Noah.
Teary and blessed, to give and to have received.