THE KID'S PLACE
A "dog for the kids" completes the family. A dog is your child's best friend, a non-critical confidant to share childhood dreams and to teach care and responsibility.
by Joline Hartheimer
This little girl's mother is Linda Hartheimer, Legislative Liaison for the Weimaraner Club of America. Joline has learned about husbandry, competition and the pain and anguish we all suffer when we lose our animals. Her story is sad, but it definitely shows how she has learned about "loss". Joline is a 6th grader, surrounded by Weimaraners since 1997, traveling to AKC dogs shows, hunt tests and agility trials, playing in x-pens, and learning the difference between animal rights and animal welfare from her mother. Joline trains her Weims in obedience and agility. She has aspirations to become an architect and a dog breeder. Introduction by Linda Witouski, Legislative Editor
A "dog for the kids" completes the family whether you show or not. This young girl's loss is so sad but it is a life lesson that could only be taught by man's best friend. We are honored to have this young lady share her story, it's about more than ZOE...
Spray cheese, blankies, and amazing smiles. All memories of a very special animal in my life, Zoe. The can of spray cheese in the pantry, the pieces of dog beds strewn all over the house, and the way Jam, our new puppy, is starting to smile like her, are all constant reminders to me of Zoe. Sometimes they bring back sweet memories, sometimes sad ones too, but all are important factors in being able to remember her.
Coming home from school, on one dreaded day, I let the dogs outside. I was a little confused, when only two dogs raced outside. I paused a moment to see if Zoe, the third dog, would come out from wherever she was and go outside. Suddenly, Zoe was making her way up the stairs.
This may seem normal for a very calm dog, but that was definitely not what Zoe was. She usually would race up the stairs and beat me to the door, before I even went inside. She was very strong, and could even push you down if she jumped hard enough. This was not how Zoe acted at all, and I was starting to get kind of scared.
When my mom came home from work she noticed that Zoe was eating less and less. She had barely eaten any of her food that morning and she barely touched her dinner at all. My mom began to get worried and decided that she would bring Zoe to the vet the next day.
The next day, I stayed home while my mom took her to the vet, but I was still very worried about what was wrong with Zoe. When my mom finally came home from the vet, she said that we had to wait a few days for the test results. I was full of anxiety over what could be wrong with Zoe.
We waited for three days for the tests to come back and during that time Zoe just kept slowing down. She would rest and sleep almost all day and only come out for a sip of water, or a nibble of food.
Finally, the tests came back and with them was sad news. Zoe had a type of advanced liver disease and there weren’t that many ways for her to get better. The veterinarian told my mom that the best option was to give Zoe medicine.
Zoe hated her medicine and barely would eat any. My mom attempted putting it in all kinds of food: canned dog food, soft treats, and even nutrition drinks. Zoe still wouldn’t take any of her medicine. The vet advised my mom that she would know what to do with Zoe after a few days and my mom thought that she would have to put Zoe down.
From this point, Zoe stopped eating her food and wouldn’t even drink water. It made me really sad to see Zoe get skinnier and skinnier. My mom finally had to make that choice to put Zoe down. We couldn’t let her keep suffering like this.
When my mom told me her decision, I just couldn’t understand. I would spend hours with Zoe, just lying with her and talking to her, telling her that everything was okay. And during Zoe’s last few days, my mom fed her nutritional drinks to try to give her some strength. Zoe would throw up most of the drink, and would end up only consuming a few drops.
That Sunday, before my dad went on a business trip, he said goodbye to Zoe like her would never see her again. This really scared me because I couldn’t imagine my life without Zoe, and I didn’t want her to go away.
The next day, September 17, 2007, I went to school thinking that I might not ever see Zoe again. I was upset all day and when I got home from school, I was really surprised to see Zoe sleeping on the couch. I asked my mom why Zoe was still here and she said that she hadn’t been able to take Zoe to the vet. She said that she would have to go in an hour and asked me if I wanted to come with her.
I thought about this for a while, and decided that it would be too upsetting to go to the vet with Zoe. It would be better for me to stay home. My mom understood and over the next hour, I cuddled with Zoe as much as I could to say goodbye to her. I knew that soon Zoe would be gone forever.
Zoe was so weak that my mom had to almost carry her to the car. I went back inside and, from the kitchen window, watched my mom’s minivan drive away, carrying Zoe.
Then, at that moment, it finally came to me that Zoe was gone. For the past week I had known that she was going away, but then it hadn’t seemed real. Now it was really happening. I started crying hysterically, hoping that this was all a mistake and that Zoe was fine.
I was still lying in my bed crying, after almost and hour had gone by. The phone rang and it startled me. I was so used to the quiet of the house.
I picked up the phone and it was my mom. She sounded sad, like moments ago she had been crying too. She told me that after waiting a while in the waiting room, Zoe had been put down. She explained to me that Zoe had been suffering a lot and it was unfair to her if she had to keep suffering.
My mom said goodbye then because she was turning onto our street. We were both really upset and we spent the rest of the night on my mom’s bed watching TV. Even though our other two dogs, Trixie and Wotan, were on the bed with us, the house felt kind of empty without Zoe. Zoe was now gone from my life.