|Kerry and Zoe|
On the way back down Riverside we passed the house where after an ice storm that became a blizzard this winter we saw a woman outside shoveling snow so her husband would be able to get their truck up the drive. We'd all lost power that day and she was staying warm by keeping her driveway clear, but she was worried about her child and their cat in the cold apartment. If the power didn't come on again that night, they'd be in trouble. Even with all her worries, she had stopped to pet the cute three-legged dog and admire her dexterity in this crazy winter weather. Now she said, "I remember how much energy and strength your dog had that day, the way she plowed through feet of snow and wouldn't stop. The way she walked confidently through all those snowdrifts. She was the most powerful thing out in the world that day." It was such a kind thing for her to say, and now she and her little boy were patting Zoe, doing their own version of a laying on of hands, wishing her some good last days. (I wrote the story of Zoe's first encounter with this woman in January in a post called "A Meditation on Power," which you can see here.)
Afterwards our vet, Amy Thompson, came by to see her and to drop off pain meds for when she needs them, if she needs them. Zoe barked and wagged her tail and followed her into the house with great purpose. Amy said, "Well, she may be putting on a show for me, but I think Zoe still has lots of Xi in her--a good, strong pulse." We made plans for her to come back on Tuesday and treat Zoe with acupuncture needles: the first time she would ever be doing this solo, without the Vermont Dr. Thompson. After the visit, Zoe ate for the first time that day. I think that once she realized we really got the message that the anti-cancer drugs were getting hard on her stomach, and she understood that we've ditched them, and that we'll give her whatever she wants, she was keen to tuck in.
Tuesday morning Zoe opted to hang out on the deck watching the house instead of walking with the gents, but then we took a stroll in late morning around the backyard, startling the groundhogs, admiring the wingspan of the great blue heron, playing a slow-moving kind of hide and seek in the tall grass by the river. For most of the day afterwards we sat on the balcony together except for when rain chased us inside. She ate a late breakfast of browned hamburger (organic, local) and grains and watched the river flow by our house while I brought my laptop out there and sat beside her. When the rain came, we went back in and had a long and very honest conversation. I lay down beside her and she presented me with her paw, as in, Nice to meet you again, as in, We've done okay, you and I, as in, We can do this part well too, we really can, as in, Thank you. For a long time it was a contest to see who would break the gaze first. Her stare is very intense and in the first round, she won, but in the rematch we tied.
|Dr. Amy T and Zoe|
At five o'clock Zoe enjoyed another stroll through the neighborhood. She met a young chocolate lab on the corner of Riverside and Prospect and it was such a sweet encounter. They stood a few inches apart from one another wagging tails for the sniff-fest, and then they gently tapped snouts. Later, Amy came over with the prednisone and her acupuncture needles and Zoe relaxed into a good session on her doggy day bed. She looked content and peaceful when the needles went in, and afterwards she napped out on the balcony.
I think, from Zoe's point of view, the best part of this new phase is getting to eat what she wants. We cooked her lamb chops from 8 o'clock ranch and served them on her organic grains mix and some wild rice with beet greens and she devoured every bite. We've got wild salmon from Alaska in the freezer for her, and tonight she'll get what we're having on a plate.
|This is our office now|