Project 7


Title: Zacch & Zoe

Observations and research of a different sort.

In trying to come up with something to research for this speech, I asked myself What is something that I am passionate about?  What I came to realize is that I am passionate about life, living life and observing life and the lessons that the Universe has to teach me.  So that led me to think about some of the greatest teachers I have had in my life and then that led me to my dogs.  I know there is tons of research about pets and the added benefits of having them in your life …. According to research, they are good for your heart (pets can actually reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease) …. and they can be furry therapists (you can talk to them about anything and they won’t reveal your secrets), they can keep us moving and they lower stress levels.

Today I am going to tell you about my dog Zoe, one of my greatest teachers.  Zoe was a beautiful black lab mix.  I bought her for $10 from a family in Dallas and that is the day my lessons began.  Some of the greatest lessons I learned from Zoe were patience, unconditional love, how to play, to remain open to change, to always extend a helping hand and we can get through the hard things.

These lessons became much clearer to me in August of 2010.  That is the month that Zoe’s life changed.  Zoe, who was 10 at the time, had just lost her companion of 6 years suddenly and unexpectedly.  His name was King and the cancer took him quickly.  As Angela and I observed Zoe, we could tell that she was depressed.  So I decided to change up Zoe’s routine and I began to walk her and while the walking helped, and Zoe totally loved it, there was still something missing for her.

One Saturday Angela & I decided to go to Petsmart and get Zoe a new collar.  I told Zoe we were going to change up her look and that would make her feel better.  At the Petsmart, I went off in search of the perfect collar and Angela went to look at the dogs that were there as part of a rescue group.  Angela saw this little white puppy with carmel colored spots on his long ears and fell in love …. but she knew she would have to talk me into it.  She showed me the puppy and said look at that white puppy is he not the cutest!!??  I said yes, he is cute but I am just not ready.  So we left and went home and presented Zoe with the collar and she liked her new look, yet it just wasn’t enough.  The next weekend we found ourselves back in the same Petsmart and the same rescue group was there and Angela again spotted that little white puppy.  And again I said I’m just not ready.  For some reason we had to go back to that same Petsmart again the next weekend and sure enough that little white puppy was there …. and this time Angela changed tactics and said “Do you want to hold him?”  And in order to finally put this puppy business behind us …. I said Ok.  Once I held him it was instant love and Zaccheaus, Zacch for short, a 12 week old Pointer mix puppy, came home with us that day.

When we brought him in the house Zoe was initially excited and then she gave me a look that seemed to ask me if I had gone mad …. and Zoe was mad.  That first week of life in our house Zacch tried everything within his power to get Zoe to like him.  The second week I could see that Zoe was beginning to soften and I observed that she was trying to teach Zacch a few things.  Zoe showed Zacch how to go to door and ask to be let outside.  Once they went out I noticed that Zoe would walk him around the yard and show him “where to go” and where she liked to lay in the yard.  Each time they went outside that week she taught him more and more and everywhere Zoe went Zacch was sure to follow.  The third week Zoe looked at me as if to say I totally love him …. and off they went around the yard, and this time when she looked at him it was as if to say I am glad you are here.

Zoe was Zacch’s constant companion for the next 4 years and then it was time for her to leave us.  They said their good-byes and I think she knew it was time.  I like to think that in those last looks at each other she told him she loved him and that she had tons of fun being his friend.

Through my observations and the lessons Zoe taught me and the lessons Zacch continue to teach me, I have come to believe that all creatures are these divine beings who are put here to teach us.  I believe that all creatures are meant to be treated with kindness and respect.  When we treat them in this manner, I believe that is when the lessons become noticeable to us.  That the Universe opens up to us and says that is why I gave you that creature, thank you for taking care of him or her.

From all the scientific research I read on pets and all the observations I have made with my own dogs, I can tell you this with certainty, I am a better person because I was Zoe’s human.