Terry started working in New Orleans three months before I officially made the move here myself. I made a number of visits to check out the city and help find housing; however, I didn’t officially make the move from Chicago until August 2009. I packed up our condo and coordinated the movers while still rehabbing my ACL reconstruction and flew down a number of times.
When I flew into NOLA August 1, 2009 Terry picked me up and told me that we were going to meet a friend. This seemed odd, because he had not mentioned any new friends that he really wanted me to meet, but I was all about the new adventure of moving to New Orleans and excited to be with my husband again. I thought it was really odd, though, when we drove over to the West Bank and Terry was winging it with directions. When he managed to find the LA- SPCA (Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), I started to have a suspicion as to what might be going on.
I come from a family of dog lovers. My grandparents all had dogs, my parents had Boston terriers while we were growing up, and I had a border collie, EB, that I was given by my sister and boyfriend my junior year of high school (talk about the best form of birth control ever!). Each of those dogs has a story and were an important part of the family. From Dawnie, my Grandpa C’s German shepherd who ended up with the same arthritic limp my grandfather did to my other grandparents’ boxer, Bonnie, who managed to destroy my grandmother’s kitchen and get paw prints on the ceiling, these dogs imprinted on our family. Terry was raised with pets as well, but he always struggled with allergies and since they only got worse as he got older, we had ruled out ever getting a dog–or so I thought.
When we pulled into the drive of the SPCA, I started to list off all of the reasons we couldn’t get a dog. Terry’s allergies, getting permission from our new landlords, the responsibility of owning a dog, etc. But then he started to tell me that one of his co-workers had sent out a picture of this dog that had already been at the SPCA a couple of months and hadn’t been adopted and if she wasn’t adopted soon, she was going to be euthanized. He had met this dog a couple of days prior, but if I didn’t think it was a good idea…We were literally out of the car, walking towards the building, and I’m saying we can’t do it because of Terry’s allergies and I’m about to turn around and go back to the car when Terry says “She’s a border collie. Don’t you want to at least meet her?” And I did. We went in and met this beautiful, 40 pound border collie with beautiful markings who was quiet and not happy being in a kennel. She was stand-offish when we took her outside–not rude, but with the attitude that she had “been here, done that” before. Too many people had looked her over and walked away. Why were we going to be any different?
Well, needless to say, I fell in love that day and we did adopt this beautiful girl. We brought her home and Terry let me name her. I chose Zoey.
It’s now four and a half years later and our baby girl has a brain tumor. And this is breaking my heart. The dog that has been with us–with me–through thick and thin the past 4 and a half years of this New Orleans experience is dying. The vet says she has less than 6 months.
We’ve decided to give her the best quality of life we can through medicine, which includes anti-seizure and pain medicine as well as steroids. We’ve decided to skip surgery and radiation. We are also cherishing every moment, but wow, this is hard.