Friday, October 9, 2015

Goodbye, Pretty Girl

Zelda was a rescue of sorts, a beautiful, one-year-old Golden Retriever when she came to us not long after Ashley and I were married. Her given name was Zelda Moonpie, and we didn’t bother changing it because it just fit. We also used nicknames Zee and Zellie, but I started calling her Pretty Girl.

A runner when she was younger, but always a lover, Zelda became equal parts protector and tackling dummy for our boys after they joined our family. She tolerated rides and wrestling and sometimes even curious pokes in the eye.

She was intelligent and funny. Early on, if she thought I was paying too much attention to Ashley, Zelda would insert herself between us to let Ash know she had competition for my affection. She would let me know she needed to go outside by standing in front of me and growling or softly barking, and if I said, “Go tell Ashley,” Zelda would go over and stand in front of Ash until she let her outside. Both of these quirks make us laugh.

If I have one complaint about Zelda, it’s she REALLY liked one spot in our yard and rolled there so often it caused the soil to compact so badly that it sits a little lower than the rest of the yard and I can’t get grass to grow. We call the spot “Zelda’s Buffalo Wallow.” If we were outside, or when she’s done rolling around, she would sun herself in the cool grass right next to it and watch cars and squirrels and neighborhood cats go by.

She hated getting her picture taken and would turn to hide if she knew we were trying to get a snap of her, which is why she's sleeping in almost all the pictures we have of her. During thunderstorms, she would hide in the bathtub, of all places. Same for Independence Day. She loved rubs on the ears and cheeks and down her velvety snout, and, oddly enough, steamed broccoli. 

She developed cataracts and couldn’t hear very well, and later on, arthritis in her hips, but was still a lover, and still a beautiful dog as her muzzle turned gray. She hadn’t been getting around very well for two or three months and a couple of weeks ago, she started having other issues. Her health deteriorated quickly, and blood tests indicated she had either cancer or a fungal infection in her blood. Neither offered a good prognosis.

Today was Zelda’s last day with us. When we get her ashes, I’ll bury my Pretty Girl in her wallow, so she’ll always be in the sun.