Zoey the Boxer.
My husband and I got married in 2009. As I have mentioned many times, I got married when I was 36. It was the first marriage for both of us. We both wanted kids, and we knew, at my age, we couldn’t wait. We got married in August, and had a positive pregnancy test by November. We were shocked and ecstatic. The following six weeks were filled with nothing but baby talk. I remember we were so happy over Christmas, but we were keeping it somewhat quiet, as everyone advises.
We went to a New Years Eve party, and by the end of the party, all of my friends knew (the fact that I drank water all night was a giveaway). The next day, I had to drive to Des Moines for work. That’s when the bleeding started.
I still had hope that everything would be okay, as I had read bleeding could be a part of a normal pregnancy. I completed my work day, drove the three hours home, and hoped for the best. With it being New Years Day, I knew my doctor’s office would be closed anyway.
As soon as I thought they would be open, I called the doctor’s office on January 2nd. I was told to go to the hospital for an ultrasound. We were still hopeful that everything would be okay. But, it wasn’t. The baby had stopped developing very early. A blighted ovum.
Needless to say, we were devastated. It’s been nearly 8 years, yet I remember the details of the following days so vividly. Funny how the habit of talking about something takes effect so quickly. My husband or I would start to say something about the baby, then stop ourselves, because there would be no baby for us this time.
Maybe I’d missed my chance. Maybe I was too old. Maybe I would have several miscarriages. What did the future hold?
Life went on for us, but I was having a hard time. My husband had been bothering me to get a dog for a while. I kept telling him, “Let’s wait until Spring. I don’t want to potty train a dog in the Winter.”
Then, I read an article about a woman who had a miscarriage and how getting a dog helped to heal her emotionally. Maybe I needed something to nurture.
I grew up with boxers; that’s what I pushed for, and that’s what we got. And, what a beauty she was. We named her Zoey. I loved that dog to the point of ridiculous obsession. And, she did take my mind off of the loss.
A few day after we got Zoey, my Grandfather, who was my last grandparent, passed away. Another loss. I needed that puppy to take care of, house training in the below freezing Midwest Winter and all.
In March, I had another positive pregnancy test. Again, we were excited, but this time, the excitement was more apprehensive. We kept it very quiet, telling only our parents for several weeks. The twelve week mark came and we saw a heartbeat. While things could still go wrong, it was much less likely. We began to feel the joy of anticipating a baby again. We started planning . . . getting the room ready, buying baby clothes.
We spoiled Zoey rotten. Her biggest flaw, was not a flaw in some ways. She just loved people and other dogs so much. Boxers can be hyper, but she was off the charts. When we had company, she would get so excited. I could live with the piddling on the floor, but she would jump on people. She was expected to get up to 60 lbs., and she was all muscle. Solid as a rock.
We took her to obedience class, and it helped with letting her know who was in charge. But, their direction for getting her to stop jumping on people was impractical and not very effective. We just couldn’t break her of it, so she usually ended up in the crate in our bedroom when company came. Pure misery for her, hearing people in the house, and not getting to show them her love. But, what could we do? We even got some doggy downers from the vet for when guests came, but they didn’t help. (Her terrible gas was also a problem, but I’ll spare you those details).
She also chewed things up – which all puppies do. The pregnancy and getting the room ready forced her to give that up, probably earlier than most puppies. It must have been in our tone. When she started sniffing around the baby’s things, she got the message that chewing them up was not going to fly.
How would my puppy baby react to a new human baby? I was concerned. My son was born about 2 weeks before Zoey’s first birthday.
When Zoey met my son, about 2 days after he was born, she was very excited and curious. We were nervous. She basically just sniffed him and wagged her tail. Whew.
But, my feelings changed for Zoey, especially during the first few weeks. My focus was on the new baby. She became, at best, just a dog. At worst, a potential threat to my son. Would she feel the shift and retaliate?
As time went on, I saw what a wonderful dog she was, flaws and all. We owned some property on a pond, where we planned to build a house. Once my son was walking, we would go out to the property and let him and Zoey run around. When my son would start to walk toward the pond, Zoey would place herself between him and the water. I loved her for that.
We had another child when my son was turning 3 and Zoey was turning 4. A beautiful little girl. Babies were old hat to Zoey by this time. Three months later, we moved into our new home. We decided it was time to let Zoey have free run of the house, and sleep outside the crate at night if she chose. I got her a big fluffy bed, and placed it under one of the windows in our bedroom. But, Zoey decided to sleep in the hallway on the floor, right in the middle of all of the bedrooms, so she could protect us.
Our family felt complete, and Zoey was an important part of it. My husband’s and my first living creature as a married couple. My son’s loved and constant companion.