When Chris welcomed the beautiful tan and white border collie puppy he named Zoe into his home in California, September, 2005, he didn’t know how long she would be with him. All he knew was that she needed love and a safe place to stay. You see, Zoe was one of thousands of animals that made their way to various rescue groups and shelters throughout the United States following Hurricane Katrina and the flood waters that destroyed their hometowns. Zoe, like many of the pets recovered from the flood waters, was not reclaimed by her owner. So, in January, 2006, Zoe officially became a part of Chris’ family.
Chris remembers the water sores on Zoe’s paws and belly and the resulting scars that became her iconic freckles. Zoe suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and was deathly afraid of fire detector beeps, fireworks, and strong winds. She did not shy away from people, however, and often barked with a head snap as if throwing it up at people and other dogs passing her new home. If you were a guest at Chris’ home, Zoe welcomed you with pure love. She padded up to visitors, checking them out with a few well-placed sniffs and then giving a wag of her luxurious border collie tail. For more than ten years, Zoe, who could have become another sad Katrina statistic, made Chris’ life a little better.
When she passed away in June, 2016, Chris knew she had to return home. She was laid to rest at Heavenly Pets Ossuary in New Orleans on July 8. Chris and his seven year-old son were in attendance, along with representatives from the Louisiana SPCA, NOLA City Bark, and dog lovers from around the city. Rebirth Brass Band gave Zoe a traditional New Orleans send-off, and a New Orleans style reception with po-boy sandwiches provided by Chris followed at the animal shelter on the Westbank.
This trip, this remembrance, was something Chris knew would be a tight squeeze for his budget, but he understood he had to do it for Zoe and his son. Chris feels that all should return to the land where they were born. And so, completing the circle of life for his beloved Zoe, Chris brought her home.
There is an emptiness in Chris’ heart. “She is missed so much,” he writes. He knows he was blessed to have Zoe in his life, and he is satisfied that he returned her to New Orleans.
Author’s note: Check back on Thursday for tips on evacuating with a pet.