seek and find

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Zoe Schalit, 1996 to 2010

Good Bye to You, Zoe

The best and worst part of being a dog owner is making the decision, towards the end, to be the best dog owner, the best companion, the best friend you can be. That decision comes with consequence but only you feel the aftermath, for she will be sleeping soundly, comfortably, easily for the rest of whatever existence she has.

We’ve had Zoe now for 15 years. She came to us as a 6 week old fluff ball of goodness. She slept in the nook of my neck until she got too big; she worked by my dad’s side, worked harder and smarter than any other dog we’ve seen; she was an instant celebrity when she visited me in Austin and once we moved to Salida, we were front page material as soon as we arrived.
Last March she lost the use of her back legs after years of accidents and consequential rehabilitation. She made her way around like a seal out of water until July, then, when I came home, with all of my issues, all of my tears, all of my regrets and the heartache that they caused in my life (namely the end of my engagement to Ryan O’Brien), she was there, needing my help, offering her assistance as only a dog can. I’d lay on the floor with her and cry, weep, sleep, and she’d just lick my tears and put her head on my shoulder. We got her a set of back wheels, not unlike a doggie wheelchair, and we set off everyday for two walks, one in the morning and one at night. With determination and massive consumption of dog treats, she mastered the wheels, she mastered trails and hills and pot holes like a cyclist. She goes up and down wheelchair ramps without direction, as if they were literally made just for her. She plowed through snow and made her way into the grand Arkansas River many a time to cool off.
Without her in my life upon my rocky return from Mali, without someone needing me, truly giving me a purpose, a reason to get out of bed, to get down stairs, to get outside by 6am every morning, I truly don’t know if I would be here. If a dog can do anything, it’s to give you purpose, to give you reason and legitimacy and absolute unconditional love. We have reached Zoe’s last leg (no pun intended) and this week, on a good day, we’re going to put her down, after 15 years of loyalty, friendship, companionship and absolute love.

It is my duty and my honor to help her find that simple sleep that will relieve her of all of her physical woes. It is my duty and my honor to be the best friend to her that she has been to me. To lay with her on the table while she drifts off is not only my worst fear but my biggest honor. She deserves peace and comfort and it is her time now.

I will always love this dog, Zoe. To my parents and brother and friends and family and all of those dedicated to the cause of Zoe, the goodness in her face, the sweetness in her step, thank you for your unequivocal dedication and support through this.

Monday, May 3, 2010

family ties (post dated 3 May 2010)

written 3 May 2010:
i've spent the last week with my half brother, his lovely wife and their two fantastic boys on the pacific central florida coast. the original purpose of this visit was to have him fix my jaw that had been rearranged during the altercation in africa. the reality of this visit became startlingly clear within minutes of seeing the boys, Storm and Max: to aliven that lovely knot called the family tie.

we grew up with different circumstances, different stories, different aspirations, different decades but with similar genes and similar knowledge of a few things: forgiveness, empathy, love and compassion. my brother and i, we've got a lot going for us. we're both good looking, we're both generous and friendly. we both love family, even and almost especially when they are crazy. and we both speak our minds, regardless of the crowd or audience and rarely falter in speach. and today as he left for work and i sat in his lovely house, on the water, listening to the sounds of the boys waking up and the coffee brewing, i was brought to steamy eyes knowing that he really does love me. even though he doesn't have to.

a while back our dentist diagnosed and prescribed me with some very serious dental work that would almost certainly need to be followed up with very serious (especially to a24 year old) plastic surgery, leaving me breathless and sobbing after each visit. he wasn't wrong, he just wasn't right. for a second opinion we called my brother. within 3 minutes of explaination, he interrupted me, invited me to florida, said i can have you fixed in 30 minutes, with a tan to boot.

thus here i am, a working jaw, a fantastic starter tan and a new and well founded knowldege of my brother, the power of goodness, his infaliable wife, Maria, and what true love can look like. its been inspiring, encouraging and has allowed the cullmunation of what was the worst year of my life to be somewhat anticlimatic... just how i had hoped it would be.

while visiting with him and his family in Florida, i received news that i had gotten a creative writing job in Washington state and would be leaving for it at the end of May. this was very welcomed news and couldn't have been better timing. with the surgery behind me, the pain in the past, and this being the final installment of my long road to recovery i knew that this job, this creative, fast paced, career starting job was a perfect fit at a perfect time.

curt gave me more in that trip than i could have ever received in the years we grew up apart. i thank him, his lovely family and our dad for the chance to get to know him, to have the good fortune of being indebtted to him and the knowledge that he and i can be sibligns of differnt sorts and be very happy knowing it.