The World without Zeke

He entered my life unexepectedly when a coworker found him wandering on the road. Just a tiny yellow fuzzball at the time. He checked with near by neighbors and no one claimed him, so he took him home and bathed the flea infested ball of sweetness. He already had 3 dogs and couldn’t keep another.

I was only supposed to be dog sitting for a week, while he and his wife headed home to visit family. But he had warned me…this little guy will steal your heart.

I held to my guns for all of…1 day. My heart was indeed stolen and 13 years later I can say my heart was changed and I am so thankful for that fateful day when Zeke entered my life.

I named him Zeke after a farm dog I knew years ago. He was born to be Zeke. I found out that if my coworker would have kept him, he would have also named him Zeke and we had not previously discussed it. Yes…there was something special about this pup from the very start.

For the longest time I never even had to put a leash on him. He would stay at my heels on walks – even in a neighborhood with so many other dogs and distractions to go running after. I think he was saving it all up for when he got a little older…because he became known as the wanderer…a free spirit kind of guy.

He was the kind of dog that vets would stop, look you in the eye and say, “This is a special guy. Don’t waste it”. They encouraged me train him as a therapy dog. But in the end, too much bathing was required and he ended up not enjoying the hospital environment. Yet…he had some kind of purpose…a mission…what was his mission????

What the Vets saw – and anyone that got to meet Zeke, was his very sensitive, sweet, gentle spirit. His beautiful bright brown eyes could look into your soul…and connect. His smile was so kind you had no choice but to smile right back. And as he sat in the sun smiling, he would even sometimes give you a wink!

He lived with me and my girls for many years. But when divorce came knocking and I had to head back to work, he increasingly became more and more depressed. It was clear that he needed to be around people a lot more than I was capable of being there for him.

It wasn’t hard to find the right place. My parents welcomed Zeke as their own. Zeke couldn’t have been happier. They were retired and traveled…and Zeke baby LOVED to travel. He would jump into any open car door. Literally…I had several awkward moments prying Zeke out of strangers or neighbors cars a few times. He was a traveling fool.

He was also a wanderer. He had just enough Husky in him to make him that free spirit, roaming kind of guy. He would stick that keen nose in the air, pause, twitch…and off he would be. No fence – chain link or invisible – could ever contain Zekey boy. He was quite the escape artist.

When he first started doing this, I took it personally. I thought he was trying to run away. But he always came back. After enough research, I found out – that is just in his Husky genes. They love to be free and roam. Makes suburbia life quite the challenge.

In the end, he had two mommies, 1 daddy/buddy, and two little girls that he truly belonged to…or rather truly belonged to him. And we will forever be grateful and better off for just knowing him, being blessed with this wonderful random gift that just wandered right into our hearts.

Zeke lived his last several years with my parents. I was always afraid I might not get to say good bye to him. But like I said…Zeke is special.

The night before his passing my parents came over to watch the girls and brought Zeke along. Each girl got to spend some quality time with Zekey boy. They read books to him, covered him with blankets, loved on him – just like back in the day.

Then just after tuck in time, he made his rounds and spent a little time laying in each girl’s room before settling in the living room with my folks. He did it while the girls were still awake too. That was the first thing they talked about in the morning – so excited Zekey had laid next to them.

I can’t help thinking now…that was his intentional good bye. Zeke, in his wise and mature years…and remarkable amount of pain – I think he knew it was time. He needed a good bye too. I think he was soaking in those last moments just as much as the girls were. Only he knew it would be there last.

When I got the early morning call the next morning from Dad I knew what was coming. In fact, I knew even before the phone rang. For some reason…I felt it. Today was the day for good byes.

I had a meeting that morning so I told them I’d meet up with them afterwards. I fumbled into work…I was having trouble with even simple tasks…logging in…plugging stuff in. I was numb. My mind was with Zeke.

My boss must have seen it in my eyes. He graciously relieved me from the meeting. I am so thankful. I got there in time to spend the last hours with that sweet random miracle of a pup.

My stepmom and I – Zekes two Mommies got to hold him in our arms as they prepped him and then gave him the injection. His fears subsided as we held him. Then as the injection took effect all too quickly, we could feel him relax and let go. He was finally pain free – really free.

All we have now are pictures, fur balls on the floor and memories of so many wonderful years and moments with this little guy that changed our lives forever.

Happy Memories:
His fat little furball belly, dark eyes and nose as a pup…following me all around.

The zoomies. Oh…that dog would get the zoomies. He would run circles around you…literally – huge sweeping circles like he was herding us. We would laugh and chant, “Run Zekey Run, Run Zekey Run!” as he would wind himself up and then shoot off like a sling shot to make a wider circle around the entire yard, only to come running back directly at you to make a “run by” we called them. He would zoom by you as close as he could without making contact – all you could feel was the wind.

His amazing smile.

Hide and go Zeke. Me and my girls would play hide and seek and miraculously they would find me EVERY time in record time. Zeke, my shadow, would always be standing right where I was trying to hide…if I was in a closet…he would be standing right outside the closet. If I was in the shower…there Zeke would be standing right outside it. He made us laugh so hard!!!

Dress up. He would be so gracious and kind…yet still give us this woeful look like…really?!??!

Fall time. He would actually let you cover him in leaves and then suddenly bust out…and of course – do the zoomies. Autumn says there is probably a special room in heaven – Fall and Winter rooms and that Zeke is probably in one of those rooms right now…zooming with little leaf remnants sticking to his beautiful yellow coat.

Snow! He loved the snow even more! Here he was in his element. He’d get all giddy – like a litte kid, open the door and he’d shoot out of the house like a rocket and go zooming all over the fresh fallen snow. Doggie trails and circles all over the yard…and one happy, smiling, snow nosed dog.

And the quiet times. He was such a cuddle pup. He just loved to be near people. Those were special moments, where he would look you in the eyes…into your soul, and just be. We would have conversations with no words…just understood silence, and winking of eyes.

These quiet times is where he taught me about love, forgiveness, peace.

The world is a strange place without him, but a better place for having had him in our lives and forever in our hearts. I feel like I lost a bit of myself, an anchor or something. Even though he didn’t live with us the last few years, it was just comforting knowing I could see him anytime.

But he couldn’t walk…and that is not for Zeke. After his night with the girls, he finally gave in to the pain that he been fighting for so many years. Dad and Deb had cared for him so long in his deteriorating condition, angels on earth…I think he finally decided to…set them free.

And after all his years of training me in love, forgiveness and peace…I think he finally felt like perhaps he had gotten through. His mission! He had done it! He had done the impossible…transformed his broken person into a healthy, balanced, peaceful human. And he could finally…rest.

So Zeke baby…Run baby run! Be free! Sniff the wind and do the zoomies baby boy! Run Zekey Run! Run Zekey Run!

7 Days of Sunshine

I used to live in the dark. Even a completely beautiful sunny day would seem oppressive and annoying to me when I lived in the dark.

When I lived in the dark, I was easily frustrated, short tempered, quick to judge and accuse…because I felt judged, and afraid…of nearly everything. I was a miserable person there in the dark.

I stayed pretty confused when I lived in the dark. Couldn’t see straight. I tripped over things. Second guessed myself. Doubted everything. Made unwise decisions…and then got angry at the consequences of those unwise decisions. “Why was the world always out to get me anyway!?!”, I would cry out in anger.

Read the next line in a loud cheesy game show voice: But thanks to Mr. Clean’s new formula, 7 days of sunshine, I am happy to report that I am now living in the light! Finally!

Ok, that is not exactly how it happened. I do like that new product…but I love the name even more.

7 days of sunshine.

I can honestly say that one day I awoke from my walking slumber and did infact walk into the light. But it took dreadful honesty, humilty, acceptance and forgiveness. It’s not the formula of Mr. Clean’s 7 days of Sunshine, but it is an emotional formula that has proven incredibly powerful and effective in my life.

And the really cool thing is that it hasn’t just brought 7 days of sunshine…it has brought continual sunshine. Because it is all a matter of perspective. An incredibly simple yet complex formula that took me years to discover.

If you can apply those 4 principles (honesty, humility, acceptance and forgiveness) in your life on a daily basis, it is contagious, addictive and very freeing. There is no reason that you can’t apply that formula every day. Just a little spritz here and there goes along way.

It took way too long for me to discover this little secret. I am trying to lead by example and help my daughters live in the sunshine in hopes that they get so used to it there that they never want to stray into the dark.

Whenever any of us start griping, complaining, or being negative, I spray a little perspective in hopes of an attitude clean up. It usually works. But we are human, and sometimes even I have gray and cloudy days. But at least they are not dark days now.

A little matter of fact tough love can go a long way. A day spent complaining or dwelling on negative stuff is pretty much a day wasted.

I have realized I can’t change the world. I have given up on that exhaustive impossible dream. But I can change my little world. I may not smile 24-7 or have a perfect life, but I am absolutely content for the first time ever. All because of that simple yet incredibly complex magic formula.