I was 17 when I opened up my present. It was not a box. Nor a parcel. And nothing big. In fact, it was very small, brown and thin. As we sat around the Christmas tree, taking turns to open presents, I was left with one. I opened the envelope and read the words aloud. My face changed. I wasn't excited. I was shocked. Confused. Why on Earth would Santa give me a voucher to purchase a pet...
I've grown up with pets my whole life. There were the cats Tammy and Robyn. One brown and grey. Speckled. Placid. The other ginger. When they past away, we adopted Sox. A rich black cat with white feet. Soft. Fluffy. Beautiful. But we hardly got along. And then there was the evil Sandy. Ginger. Feisty. Viscous. We did not get along at all. Her claws targeted my skin any chance they got. We even had goldfish. They names remain unknown, after being killed by the cats over and over. I never liked any of them. We simply co-existed.
So you can just imagine my face at the site of the voucher. And then came Zoey...
My sister convinced me getting a dog would be amazing. She talked to me many times. Eventually wearing me down. I caved. Accepting that if it didn't work out, I would find the dog a new home.
But it was love at first sight. We took her home that day. Zoey. White with Black patches. Tiny. Fluffy. Adorable. I couldn't take my hands off her. A Pomeranian cross Maltese. A friend to my sisters new Maltese dog, Jack.
Pets are great companions. I didn't have the easiest life growing up. Always lonely. But Zoey made everything go away. I would frequently come home crying. Running inside. Finding Zoey... and lying in her bed with her. She really was a light in my darkness. My best friend.
Four years later, I moved out of my parents home. Seeking independence. Reducing travel time. Zoey and Jack had become inseparable. And I was blessed to take both dogs with me. Apartment life has its pros and cons. I moved into a townhouse big enough to take the dogs with me. But it meant a shared home with four people. This lasted one year before I wanted to rip my hair out. Sadly the dogs couldn't stop barking. Yapping all hours of the day. The night. And the early hours of the morning. Apartment life didn't suit them. And I couldn't afford a house.
This was the hardest decisions I ever made. I wasn't home enough. I couldn't take care of them. The apartment life was too small. Neighbours complained. They were sad. I had to put their needs above mine. And so I found them a family that could take better care of them.
What started as a letter, turned into a life experience. Zoey meant more to me than anyone or anything. There is unconditional love between a pet and a person. You take care of them. But they become your rock. Zoey saw me through some of the toughest times. She made me happy. Giggly. Bubbly. Excited. She slept with me. Had naps with me. Giving me joy to come home to and a #story
I will always miss you.