Shelley Widhalm

Archive for the ‘Leaving Zoey’ Category

Zoey’s Allegiances

In Dad's house, Leaving Zoey, My house, Separations, Sleeping companions on October 4, 2010 at 3:45 am

Zoey is no longer a one-person dog. She is Dad’s when she is with him, and mine when she is with me. My mom and brother both said she would be happiest if we, Dad and I, lived at his house, where she has a big backyard and access to both of us.

 But she switches allegiances. She belongs to whoever she is with until the other one of us visits.

Zoey sleeps with me on the futon when I stay with my father, usually over a long weekend. She follows me around, making sure I won’t escape. She wants to play and be petted, mostly with me and second best is with Dad. She is excited until Sunday, when I start packing up hers and my things. Then she puts her head on her paws, warily watching me with her sad, brown eyes. She wants to stay, or she wants to go, depending on her allegiances for the week.

When Dad spends the weekend at my brother’s house, where I’m living until October, Zoey sleeps with Dad. She follows him around. She wants to play with him. She wants him to give her belly rubs.

The first time Zoey decided to sleep with Dad, I took her to bed with me. She went to the edge and sat there, whimpering. I put her on the floor. She went to the door and scratched. “No, Zoey,” I said. But she wouldn’t stop. I took her upstairs to the room where my Dad was staying. “She wants to say goodnight,” I said. He gave her kisses.

I tried two more times to get her to settle down for sleep. She wouldn’t have any of that. She wanted Dad. I guess that’s what happens when you share. You really do have to share. At least I get to have Zoey’s awe when I visit my dad. And he gets it when he comes my way.

Zoey’s Practice Goodbye

In Dad's house, Hard goodbyes, Leaving Zoey, Missing each other, Uncategorized on September 12, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Zoey enduring one of my hugs.

Zoey stays with me every one of six weeks, because my dad, who is caring for her, has to travel to Nebraska to get treated for macular degeneration. He used to live there and did not want to change eye doctors when he moved to Eastern Colorado in August 2008, coincidentally the same month I moved to Northern Colorado from Alexandria, Virginia.

A week after I took Zoey to my dad’s house, I talked to him on the phone, and he said she was doing just fine and loves his big backyard. She is very social and likes attention wherever it comes from, and it seemed she didn’t miss me.

But I know the truth. I had visited my dad in mid-July. While I was there, he fixed something minor in my car, which I had to move back to the driveway to load it up with Zoey’s and my stuff for our drive back home.

Dad held Zoey on his lap, but she saw me “driving away” and started squirming, yelping and crying as if I was going to leave her. I didn’t, of course, and hugged her after locking up my car. But I got no kisses back. It seemed that Zoey figured she was safe with me back in her lair.

Goodbye Zoey

In Babysitting, Confrontations, Dog sitting, Hard goodbyes, Leaving Zoey on September 5, 2010 at 10:06 am

When my mom said she would no longer babysit Zoey, I took that cute, adorable puppy with me on “an errand” and called my dad. He told me to not sell, get rid of or drop Zoey off at an animal shelter (I would rather drop myself off than her). He said he would take care of her until I moved into my own place. (It took me awhile to do this because I was facing a potential layoff during the Great Recession, but, as of yet, I still have a job).

A couple days later of my mom and I avoiding each other (this was in October 2009), I put up the white flag and asked her if she wanted to get coffee. She said, yes. While we sipped lattes, I told her that I was sorry for expecting her to take care of Zoey, She said that she was sorry for some of the things she said, and so did I.

But then a week later, I came home from work and my mom was in a very bad mood. She snapped at me a couple of times and physically pushed Zoey away. I suggested kenneling Zoey.

Mom said, “I want her out of here.”

And that was that.

So on Friday, October 16, 2009, I took Zoey to my dad’s house to stay with him. Two days later, I gave Zoey a big kiss and hug goodbye and tried not to cry as I drove 123 miles from his house in Eastern Colorado to mine along the Front Range. That night, I couldn’t sleep because I kept crying. We were separated, not only by distance but by something that had nothing to do with her, or maybe it was all her (and me).

Dog Sitting Zoey, Part I

In Babysitting, Dog sitting, Joint purchase, Leaving Zoey on August 8, 2010 at 1:59 am

My mother and I got Zoey together. She paid half and I paid half when we adopted her on February 21, 2009. We held her in the pet store, this sweet, shy and cuddly 2.8-pound piece of love.

My brother Brian, who I moved in with a few months after getting laid off in April 2008 from a metro Washington, D.C., newspaper, said I could get a dog, as long as I trained him or her and eventually moved out (he said this all very nicely). My mother said Brian might let her have the dog instead, but he said Zoey should be mine.

I made the mistake of assuming that my mom would babysit, or dog sit, given our joint purchase. I thanked my mom here and there. I rushed home from work (if I didn’t work nights, I got home between 5:30-6:30 p.m.) to spend time with Zoey, playing with her and taking her on walks. I spent more time with my mom and if I wanted to get Starbucks, which I do pretty much every day, I invited her along.

I pretty much dropped my social life, not that I had much of one to start with after moving yet again (I can’t even count the number of addresses I’ve had in Nebraska, Colorado and Virginia) and trying to recover from mono. I was diagnosed with mono in July 2008 just months after my layoff. I think the stress of that whole time period wrecked havoc on my immune system. I didn’t have much left over for going out. If I went to bed late or didn’t sleep at least eight hours, I was flu-like exhausted.

Anyway, I spent more time with my mom than was normal for a 30-something. But despite my being the ever-present, good and angelic (don’t laugh) daughter, it turns out my mother did not want to babysit a dog.

Fourth of July without Zoey

In Holidays, Leaving Zoey, Missing each other, Weathering the weather on July 5, 2010 at 2:38 am

Zoey and I decided to take a break from talking about our first 18 months together to describe our Fourth of July. Zoey is a miniature dachshund I adopted from a mall pet store almost 16 months ago when she was nine weeks old.

Zoey and I started out the weekend day as usual – a kiss indicating it’s time for me to let her out – and a return to bed for a lie-in. Zoey pulled on my hair – Come on, let’s play! – and jumped on me, but I wouldn’t move, so she gave up, curling into her cuddle spot on the pillow I hug.

My father, who lives in Eastern Colorado, came at 11:30 a.m. for a weekend visit, and Zoey did her welcome dance, consisting of barking, jumping on and off the easy chair and lying on her back, inviting a belly rub. Zoey got in an hour of playtime, and then Dad and I went to coffee before she could convince us to play more.

Dad, Mom (who I live with) and I went to my brother’s get-together with his friends. Zoey wasn’t invited because of her tendency to potty on the carpet when excited. At the four-hour limit of leaving Zoey, a pre-tornado dipped down from a wall cloud and the rain ripped. Everyone there agreed we should wait out the storm, and so we did. I started worrying about Zoey, a dog that needs lots of attention, but who also is fine with sleeping. We left an hour after planned, and Zoey was just fine. I didn’t need to worry about the dog I treat like my little girl. I will miss out on the fireworks tonight, if they don’t get canceled by the rain, because I will be staying with her, riding out her barking at the bang-bang, reminding me that another summer is going by.

Tough Goodbye

In Leaving Zoey, Missing each other, Mondays vs. weekends, Puppy bonding on June 28, 2010 at 3:05 am

I didn’t want to leave Zoey, the miniature dachshund I had adopted from a pet store in February 2009, for whole days at a time to go to work, though I knew my mother would be dog-sitting her. I especially did not want to leave her the first Monday morning after I brought her home, in part because I prefer weekends to Mondays, and second, I wanted to hang out with my new friend.

My mother called me at work that afternoon. She said she was downstairs ironing, and Zoey had followed her, like she had been all day because I wasn’t there. Zoey was under my bed and wouldn’t come out. “She misses you,” my mother said, explaining that Zoey was whining and whimpering.

“I miss her, too,” I said.

My mother had advised me to spend as much time with her as I could, so we could bond.

That wasn’t a problem for me. My problem was letting go. I kept thinking about her all day while I was at work. I realized what kind of mother I would be if I had a child, but I’m not married and not prepared to handle single motherhood. So Zoey, over the next few months, became my girl. I spoiled her with toys and teddy bears from the pet store, treats, things to chew and doggie clothes, which she, of course, will not wear. She slides out of them, or she’ll roll or run or whatever it takes to be free and herself again.