A guest post from Terri DeVore
You will just love this story about Terri and Zero.
My Heart Dog
So what is a “heart dog”? I have heard this saying in the past and was never sure of exactly what it meant. I found a great description and definition from the site Jenna and Snickers. Here is what she writes…
“In my opinion, your heart dog is that once in a lifetime – maybe twice if you’re truly blessed – soul mate dog. He or she is the one you click with similarly to, but different from, how people in love click. There’s an understanding, a bond stronger than most, and a special level of communication. Your heart dog “gets” you and you get him or her right back.”
This is so me and Zero! I have had a couple of dogs in the past when I was growing up, but none have been my dog … my heart dog … like Zero has.
So how did I end up with this amazing dog in my life?
When my son ,Dylan, was younger he started going through that phase of wanting a little brother or a sister. Well, since I wasn’t even dating at the time, I knew that wasn’t going to happen so I figured it was time for a dog!
Side Note: I often joke that if I had the dog first, I might not have had the kid. I mean, if I tell Zero to sit, she just sits…right then…no questions, no complaining, no whining, she just does it. So much easier! LOL
We found Zero at our local Humane Society. She was just under a year and a half old and had been picked up as a stray so they didn’t know anything about her. When we got her out of her kennel and into the big yard so we could see her more, she hardly even came over to us. There was just something about her, though, and we knew she was the one.
We brought her home and the next day when we took her to the vet, learned that she had heart worms…bad. My mom reminded me that the humane society said they would take her back if it was within 72 hours but I just couldn’t do that. First, I was afraid nobody else would adopt her knowing she had heart worms, and second, she was my dog. Like we already totally bonded and I just knew she was my dog.
Long story short, we put her though the pretty intensive heart worm treatment, killed all those little buggers off and she was healthy!
We also learned that she was a pretty fearful dog…scared of so much. She would not walk up the stairs to our apartment so I had to carry her up and down for about a month until we finally coaxed her to walk up and down the entire flight by herself. She had no idea what the TV was and would hide behind my chair whenever it was on. She had no idea how to play with toys. When I would try to teach her fetch and I would throw the ball she would just look at me like, “well, that was stupid…why did you do that?”. She had no idea of anything.
To help socialize her more and build her confidence, we put her in agility with Dylan as the handler. They did great! He was about nine at the time and they even competed and won a couple of times! After that she continued to blossom. She learned how to play with toys, learned a ton of commands (she’s so super smart!) and she even got her CGC (Canine Good Citizen) certificate.
It was so great seeing her come out of her shell and watch her confidence grow. Also during this time she was becoming closer and closer to Dylan and I. We were her pack and she was not happy unless we were all together. In fact, when Dylan would run her in agility trials, I would have to go hide because if she saw me she would stop in the middle of her run and charge over to me. Same would happen if I ran her…she would have to search for Dylan. She likes it when all three of us are together.
Now she is thirteen years old and still going strong. The vet even told me at Zero’s last check up that she can’t believe Zero is thirteen and would never guess she was that old by looking at her. She “checks out” to appear much younger. That is 100% okay with me. I have already told Zero she cannot get any older and she must live forever.
She truly is my heart dog. We just know what the other one is thinking. We have our routine, our habits, and our quirks. She loves me unconditionally and I love her back just the same.
What type of breed is she? I don’t know for sure. Someone asked me once if she was a kelpie. I had not even heard of that breed before so I looked it up and found pictures online that I could swear were Zero! So, by looks alone yes, I would think she is kelpie. What do you think?
Of course, I was interested in Terri’s background and this what she wrote me:
As far as my background…had many jobs in the past but the longest was most recent when I worked as a personal trainer. I was in the fitness industry for about 10 years. Got a little burned out and was trying to figure out what’s next. Knew I wanted to roam and when my son moved out I figured now is the time, so I started planning. Zero and I will be taking off in mid-August to roam and explore the US in my Honda Civic and a tent. Can’t wait!!
Plus Terri explained how Zero took on that name:
One of our favorite movies at the times was ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (I still jam out to that soundtrack #soGood). The main character (Jack Skellington) has a dog named…yep…you guessed it…Zero.
With Terri going on to add the commands and tricks that Zero has learnt.
Bang aka Play Dead
Be a bear (stands up on back feet)
Be sneaky (crawls with her belly on the floor)
Here (Runs to me and sits at my feet)
Then a list of Zero’s favorite games:
Hide and Seek (with me and/or Dylan)
Find It : basically hide and seek except I hide her toy and make her find it
Keep Away with her frisbee (Dylan and I throw her frisbee back and forth and she’s in the middle jumping up and trying to get it..she freaking loves that game!)
Fetch with her tennis ball
Finally, Terri offers some random facts [Ed: “she” being Zero not Terri!!]:
She likes apples but wont eat a piece unless it’s peeled #soPicky
She looks up at the sky more than any dog I’ve ever seen. She loves gazing at the sky day or night.
She does not like any delivery truck. Fed Ex, UPS, Mailman, etc…Other trucks are fine
She hates storms and shakes like a leaf when there’s thunder
She’s awesome at soccer and it’s almost impossible to get the ball past her
Her favorite toy is her tennis ball
Her middle name is “Marie”. Not sure why, it just slipped out of my mouth one day when she was in trouble..lol….Zero Marie…
She would always help me get Dylan up in the mornings by burrowing under him and raising him up out of bed
So there you have it; a little bit about my heart dog and my best friend. I really can’t imagine life without her. She’s my protector, my companion, my best friend, my partner in crime … pretty much my everything. She makes my life so much better and I have learned as much from her as she has me.
(All the photographs are by Terri.)
There are millions out there that have the most beautiful and loving relationships with their dogs.
There are far, far fewer who can articulate just what that love means to the level that Terri has done!