Breaking My Heart

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

17 thoughts on “Breaking My Heart

  1. I am so very sorry. What a beautiful tribute to Zoey. I remember sweet Dawnie! She’s part of the reason we adopted a German shepherd when I was in high school. Sending you love and hugs.


    • Thank you, Marilyn. Wasn’t Dawnie awesome?! She used to tow Barb and I in from the raft at the Cottage which I thought was the coolest thing. ๐Ÿ™‚ Zoey has been that awesome for us–and still is. ๐Ÿ™‚ Now we just know our time with her is limited and writing about it has helped me process this whole thing. Thanks for the love and hugs–sending them back at you! ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. oh, JoAnn,
    thank you for posting the photos of Zoey – she is soooo beautiful and I can see her sweet heart in her dear face. I send you, Terry, and Zoey wishes for comfort and solace, along with warm and gentle hugs.

    much love and light to you all,

    Karen xoxo


    • Thank you so much, Karen. For such a beautiful and photogenic girl, Zoey can be really stubborn sometimes about having her picture taken and it surprises me all of the good photos we’ve been able to snap in the past 4 1/2 years. Your well-wishes and support are so meaningful and help so much as we go through this challenging time. xoxo JoAnn


  3. I am so sorry, JoAnn! Your baby girl Zoey was just so sweet and gentle with my baby boys in NOLA. Has it already been a year since we were there??


  4. Pingback: Giving Care to Z | Searching for EMWA

  5. Pingback: Our Outlier | Searching for EMWA

  6. Pingback: My Three Little 2015 Words | Searching for EMWA

  7. Pingback: Zora’s Own Post | Searching for EMWA

  8. Pingback: Triggers | Searching for EMWA

  9. Pingback: Remembering Zoey | Searching for EMWA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s