Tribute to Zeus

... he looked more like a bear than a puppy

by Wendy Golini

I remember the first time I laid eyes on my good ole'
boy..he was a mere pup riding shotgun in an old friend's
car. I was never really a dog person, grew up with cats my
whole life. They just seemed like too much work. But that
cold winter morning everything was about to change...I
leaned into the car chatting, giving this little brown ball of
energy a good scratch and came to find out that his
Momma had just died and he was raised an orphan from a
milk bottle and needed a home.

I looked down at his face and we took a good stare at each
other...it was that moment, I saw he and I had destiny...and
like so many times before, in a single moment, without
thinking it through, I made one of the best decisions of my

His given name was Bear. Quite fitting for his appearance,
he looked more like a cub than a puppy. But ironically
enough, our next door neighbor's dog already had the
name, so as I adopted him..he adopted the name Zeus.

The boys were quite young when Zeus came into our lives
and like all puppies, with every day came a new adventure
and story. He chewed his fair share of pillows and furniture,
stole and hid favorite articles of clothing and snacks right
off the counter during his rebellious adolescent years. He
quickly became a celebrity at the elementary school,
greeting every kid that came out the door as he waited for
his human brothers...everyone in the neighborhood knew
his name. He also became the peacemaker, sometimes
breaking up family squabbles with his hilarious antics, like
getting his head stuck in the cheese nip box or
coming down the stairs wearing underwear on his
head...the laughs were boundless.

Trash days were always fun, as he would plan his escape
and run up and down the street with his nose in every
neighbor's barrels, like it was an all you can eat buffet. He
took his job of guarding our house very seriously and had a
longstanding rivalry with a mean spirited Akita a few doors
down..(a rivalry, that he snuck out and settled, just days
before the family moved away). He served as a great
doorbell over the years and always let me know when one
of our teenagers was sneaking in past curfew.

More than once, he protected our house..most notably, a
day in which I was the last one heading out, leaving him
alone. He stood in front of me, blocking the door, barking
and pushing me toward the stairs..come to find out, there
was a smoldering rag with grease on it in the clothes dryer
that was about to start a fire.

Zeus wasn't short of miracles either. When he was seven
years old, he was hit by a car and shook it off as easily as
he shook off the scent of a skunk he wrestled with in the
back yard. Never a dull moment with my good ole boy. And
my "Bubba" was strong too...ask anyone who walked him
what he was capable of if he saw a squirrel or wild rabbit.
He'd pull your arm out of the socket. Ell Pond was his
favorite hunting grounds. You took your life into your own
hands if he was determined to chase a flock of geese into
the water.

He was always the life of the party and the perfect host,
navigating his way though countless BBQ's or holiday
bashes, trading pats on the head for treats and nibbles of
the good stuff out of his reach. He got more tail than
anyone else in the house, never afraid to hump right up on
an unsuspecting guest's leg right in the dining room. If we
had ever gone through with the long standing joke at our
house for a reality show called "Zeus Cam", we'd no doubt
all be cyber millionaires.

He was there for the saddest moments  too. When the
unspeakable happened in my home and I stood paralyzed
by shock as the police and paramedics gathered in my
basement apartment, it was my Zeus who scampered down
the stairs and skulked past all the officials and approached
my mother who had just died, reports were that after he
confirmed that she had passed, he licked her face, kissed
her goodbye for me, then turned and went back to find me
numb and in an unapproachable state on the stairs, he
came and sat at my feet, letting no one near from that
moment and for days to come.

He waited patiently at home when I spent three weeks living
by my father's side in the ICU and in the end, was present
at my Dad's military service, sitting proudly at the foot of
his casket. Zeus always knew what to do when the world
didn't make sense. I have no doubt, more than all the
stories we have shared about him..today, he takes to the
grave all the quiet, secret moments he spent with each of
us when we thought no one was looking or we needed a
most trusted confidant when we felt misunderstood.

For me, Zeus was all that. For nearly 14 years, he slept at
the foot of my bed, rising with me each day, sometimes
before the break of dawn. We had our silent routine of
being let out while the coffee was brewing, breakfast and
the news. On warm days, we chilled on the deck, skimmed
the pool and watered the plants. It was always our time
alone..and the best part of my day...and if the day ever did
take a turn for the worse, at the day's end, he was there
greeting me with a wagging tail and making it better again.

My heart is inconsolable as I try to even begin to imagine
my days without my best friend.

Without a doubt, his love for me was unconditional. He
never held a grudge and was always happy to see me. Even
the days when he tore through the trash, or I forgot to
bring home dog food, we loved each other and forgave so
easily. Loss is part of life, but what he gave me was so
much more..and irreplaceable..and today, I had to give him
over to the other side, where he now lives in the company
of so many our family has loved and lost.

They say that a dog is a man's best friend, more than that,
the truth, he was family... and City ordinances be damned,
he will rest in peace in my plot, buried alongside Mum, Pop
and Bro and it is there I will visit him every day.

Zeus, thank you for being a most loved member of our
family. These words don't even begin to touch the surface
of what you meant to all of us. You hold a special place and
can never be replaced. My morning coffee will never taste
the same. Coming home will never really feel the same
without your snout pressed up in the window as I pull in
the driveway. I will no doubt cry the first hundred times
that I will now have to bend down and pick up whatever
morsel of food that drops to the kitchen floor while I am
cooking. And for the rest of my life, who will eat my last
bite from my plate?

As Peter Pan said to the Wendy Lady.."You know that place
between sleep and awake, the place where you can still
remember dreaming? That's where I will always love you.
That's where I will be waiting". Until we meet again RIP My
Good Ole' Boy...love always, Mum


May 1, 2015

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