Rewind to August 2009. A bunch of friends, Brett and myself were at our cities annual Corn Fest. While enjoying the festivities i noticed my cell phone was lighting up. My sister had called and left a dreadful message:
“Colleen, Zoe was just ran over by a car and then ran away. No one could catch her and now she is lost.”
Zoe was my sisters dog. What had happened was my nephew, Evan, age 4 and a half at the time, went to let Zoe out to go to the bathroom, as he always does. We are not quite sure what exactly happened. Did Evan not hook the collar right? Did he not hook it at all thinking Zoe would stay in the yard? All we know is Evan let Zoe out to go to the bathroom, he came inside, and about 3 mins later the neighbor was banging on the side door in a panic.
The neighbor saw the whole scene play out. Zoe ran into the street, was hit by a speeding car, was dragged some feet, came out the other end of the car, and then took off running. The neighbor said it was the most horrific thing she has ever seen, to the point where she told her children to look away as it happened.
Neighbors, friends, and family searched and searched. The next morning, the same. We heard rumors that Zoe ran into the woods, but the search was unsuccessful. She never came back. She probably had run somewhere to die. I heard when animals are about to die, the want to spend their last moments alone.
Zoe’s death was upsetting, but I think what was most upsetting was seeing my little nephews heart burdened with guilt and pain, that he was the cause of this misfortune. How do you explain to a 4 and a half year old that mistakes just happen in life, and that what he did was not purposeful so he doesnt have to carry the guilt.
“Buddy mistakes just happen. THis will be one of many in life. But God, God is in control, and HE knows where Zoe is. He knows if she has passed on. And if she hasent…he will protect her and take care of her.” This is collective conversations a few of us, (me, my sister, my mom, his dad) have had with him about Zoe.
Fast forward through fall and winter. My nephew was watching TV at my parents house and the comercial about abused and lost animals came on (You know, the Sarah Mclachlan tear jerker?). The little 5 year old burst into tears, “I miss Zoe. Im sorry i let her go. I didnt mean to.” My sister scooped him up in her arms and told him, ”It was just a mistake buddy. Its not your fault.”
Fast forward to this this past weekend. My sister and Mike came home to a note in their mail box to please call Love A Stray. Mike told my sister, “They probably found Zoe’s body and want to tell us so we can have some closure” ……. NOPE!
“We just wanted to inform you that we have found your dog, Zoe. She is alive and a healthy weight. Do you want her back?”
It had been nearly 10 months since Zoe went missing. She survived the fall, the winter, and spring on her own. Love A Stray started receiving calls in March that Zoe had been spotted in the next city over. Finally Love A Stray found her and had her on their radar. It took them 3 weeks to finally catch her. They said she was the most difficult dog they have ever had to catch, and that she is smart and strong. They would set “paw cuffs” out to catch her, but she would balance them just right to get the food and then run away. And when they tried to tranquilize her, she would sit completely still until she heard the gun go off, then she would run as to not get hit. Finally, when the dart got her, she shook it off (which they had never seen before) and run. POint being…she’s smart.
The lady from Love A Stray suggested that my sister and Mike come visit Zoe, but that it would be best if she stayed another night because of rest, and stress etc. Mike and my sister went the next day. The moment they called her name, Zoe started whimpering and wagging her tail to get out of the cage. Zoe ran over to them and rolled on the ground and jumped on them and licked them. The lady from Love A Stray burst into tears saying, “She hasnt wagged her tail since we caught her.”
It took an effort of many people over the last few months to catch Zoe. In fact, everyone nicknamed her “Ivy” because whoever tried to catch her got poison ivy. We dont really know where she was between the months of August through March. We know she made a nest/bedding in a guys back yard in some bushes and i believe thats where they finally caught her.
What is best, is seeing my Nephews little heart lifted and revived. And i quote him, “Its like im in a dream.”
Me- “You know what that ‘dream’ feeling is called buddy? Its the blessing of a miracle from God.”
Me- “You know how we cant really ‘see’ God?”
Me- “well this is what God does to show us that He loves us and is Real. Actually, this is what God did to show YOU that he loves YOU and that He is real. God is real buddy. And He loves you that much to bring Zoe back. YOu beleive that? God brought her back for you”
Him smiling “Yeah!!”
I truly believe God brought Zoe back for Evans little heart and faith. I believe when Even is older, he will be able to look back at this time in his life and say, “THAT is when i knew God was real, personal and showed me His love.”
Actually just as this moment, i found out their story went national.
Here is some pics of Zoe. Alive, healthy and well. Also, Not one bone was broken on her body.
This is Zoe. A little scraggly but c’mon she was in the
wilderness for 10 months
When they brought her home she went right to her favorite spot that she always used to lay. Right on that pillow on the couch. And thats my nephew sitting with her. She also remembers all of her tricks that *cough* i taught her.
Fell right asleep. The lady at Love A Stray said she would probably sleep for 3 days since she no longer has to look over her shoulder.