A few years ago when I started trail running, I decided to look for a four-legged running partner through a local rescue. After a few misses, we found each other. Her name was Zoey. She was about 2 or 3 years old and a black and white shepherd looking dog with a curly tail. Her fur was relentless. She shed so much that the Roomba could not keep up. She was my girl.
She and I bonded instantly. It’s as if she was waiting for me to find her. Trail running was great with her, although I had to brace for those sudden jolts from when she spotted a deer and wanted to take off. Our longest distance together was 14 miles. The sound of my breath, the sound of her pant. The clomping of my heavy feet, the jingle of her leash tethered to my waist. We ran free and happy together. We were a team.
She was my rock through my divorce, and years later, gentle and caring towards my newborn daughter. When the decision came to rehome her, I was absolutely crushed. I could not give her the love, care, and attention she deserved. I was a solo parent who had gotten laid off after coming back from maternity leave trying to keep everything together. I cried off and on for weeks trying to come to terms with the decision knowing that it was in her best interest. I was fortunate enough to find a friend who would take her in. Zoey was my first baby and I loved her immensely. And I know that she loved me too. But her time with me had come to an end.
I remember taking her to her new family. I cried on the entire drive there telling Zoey how much I loved her and that this was not her fault and that she was wanted. I didn’t want her to feel that she was just a toss-away dog. She was my baby. Her new momma kept me posted on all things Zoey. She would send me pictures and I was free to visit anytime. I found it very difficult to leave after a visit. It was as if I had to tell her good bye all over again, so I didn’t. Zoey had new fur siblings and was never alone. Her life with her new family was perfect for her and I am forever grateful that the Universe arranged it as so. She was so loved, SO LOVED.
Over the past few years I have gotten deeper into my spirituality. I believe that animals are healers. Zoey and I had a soul contract and when that ended, she fulfilled her soul contract with her new momma and family. Zoey healed me in so many ways. Not only was she there for me in my time of need, she taught me what it was like to be a mom and prepared me for motherhood. She was also a healer for her new family too.
This past August Zoey fell ill and it was time for her to cross the rainbow bridge. Her new family kept me posted and allowed me to be with them and Zoey when we had to take her to the vet. When I stepped outside of my car, Zoey wagged her tail when she saw me. I wasn’t sure if she’d remember me since it had been a long while since I seen her in person. But she did. She really did.
We held her and loved on her as she peacefully drifted off to sleep.
Our hearts broken. Our lives forever changed by our wonderful, loving, four-legged baby.
The following week I went for a long run and I felt her with me. I could hear her pant beside me and I could feel her happiness to be able to run on the trails once again. My eyes teared up and my heart was full. Since that time, I have felt her beside me on most runs. This week her last momma told me that she had DNA testing done on Zoey. Among a million things she was mixed with was wolf. Yes, she was part wolf. And I smiled. How fitting is it that my four-legged healer had wolf lineage. The wolf is one of my spirit animals.
I can imagine her spirit running with me on the trails and then going home to rest with her last momma to comfort her. I miss her so. I’ve missed her every day since I had to let her go. But now when I run, she is with me again. My own little spirit wolf.
And I am now one who runs with wolf.
Thank you for the love you gave me through the years that I had you. You will always be a part of my soul. You were the best dog ever.
Love, Your first rescue momma
Thank you Tracy for loving and caring for Zoey during her last years. You are a true blessing. And thank you again for these wonderful keepsakes of Zoey. I will treasure them always. Love, Sandy