Yes, all she knew was to spread love. Unconditional love, one that is immeasurable and one that makes the heart ache for more. She was the fur-kid of the Malliers and they called her Zoe.
Back in 2013, we met a couple – Cindy and Shanon – who are our dearest friends today. Cindy and I worked in the same organisation but were not really friends. However, the moment she learnt about Mr. Popo, she was really eager to visit us. I thought – Oh! It’s one of those momentary things; they will not visit us because we hardly know each other. I was wrong! Cindy and Shanon visited us that very weekend and they became Popo’s favourite humans almost instantly. And we realised how much they missed Zoe, waking up to her kisses, feeding and goofing around with her, dressing her up for occasions and above all, the warmth that dogs are all about. It was an adjustment for Zoe too to not have Cindy and Shanon around as they moved to Dubai from Pune.
So, what was Zoe like?
I know Zoe only from my conversations with Cindy, Shanon, Uncle Harry and Aunty Betty. In my head, Zoe was more human-like than a human. She was someone who was motherly by instinct. She would keep Uncle Harry on his toes because Zoe knew Uncle needed daily exercise. She not only kept Aunty Betty busy but also became the best buddy of Aunty’s little students. The kids would spend a lot of time at Shanon’s home even after their music lessons only to hang out with Zoe. Every kid would throw a fit if they did not visit Zoe even for a day, irrespective of the lessons. Zoe would also keep the watchman company while sunbathing. That was Zoe – the ever-so-friendly and lovable girl.
Zoe was incredibly fond of Nana, Shanon’s grandmother. When Zoe was little and had a bad cold, she would often be found underneath Nana’s blanket with a hot water bottle; and in no time, she started feeling better. A labrador retriever who soon grew big, Zoe was careful about not hurting the 90-something Nana in any way. When Nana visited Zoe; she would patiently wait at her feet to be petted. That was Zoe, an excitable yet a very responsible fur-kid.
Every time Cindy and Shanon visited Pune, I placed an order for my regular favourites – photos/videos of Zoe (Nana too actually) and Shrewsbury biscuits. Each time they returned from home, I would ask Shanon and Cindy the same questions – Did Zoe really know when you landed at the airport? Did she show signs of knowing that you would be home soon? Did she party with you this time? Did she follow you like a shadow? I knew all the answers, yet I asked, and they answered patiently. I also knew why Cindy and Shanon visited Pune so frequently; it was to meet Zoe! Oh, this one time, Zoe was going to litter and literally at the last moment Cindy decided to fly in to be with her. It was really like a mother’s instinct to be with her daughter at childbirth. And let me tell you, Zoe nursed each one of her kids to be strong, confident and even potty trained one of them. That was Zoe!
She was the perfect companion for Aunty Betty and Uncle Harry; they took care of each other. She was made Cindy and Shanon’s wedding photos more beautiful. She made their lives more meaningful – that was Zoe; all she knew was to spread love…
…That night seemed long. We were holding on for a miracle to happen. We were waiting for that phone call to assure us that she will be okay. It was the early morning of June 22, when we received two news – that Zoe went away leaving behind a lifetime of memories and that our niece Zulu was born. That is the cycle of life, I guess. Someday, when Zulu and Maya – Cindy and Shanon’s daughter – are both slightly older, Zoe’s ‘tailz’ will probably become their bedtime stories. Zoe will always be the elder pack member of our goofballs Bella and Zorro, and the Malliers’ beloved girl.
A tiny attempt at paying a tribute to a loved one I never met yet knew so well. Zoe, you do live on in our memories, love…
“Snoop Dogg, Zoe (name changed from Susie)
We’ll be together
Snoop Dogg, good dog
Love lasts forever” – ‘Are you willing to be a fool for love? Susan Martin