For as many pets as there are, people have reasons why they “adopted” them. For me, 13 years ago, I had recently broken off my engagement to be married, and needed a reminder that life is wonderful after all. I picked up an American bulldog, and named her Zuzu, and for the next decade she was my white and black spotted, 110-pound shadow. She came to work with me, ran alongside me mountain biking, and danced on the shoreline when I surfed.
But three years ago, Zuzu started to act funny. She has always been a tough dog, built like a 4x4 truck. But almost overnight, she had trouble walking upstairs, pooped in the house (something she didn’t even do as a puppy), and bumped into walls. When you get a puppy, no one tells you that you’ll outlive your best friend, and I had never considered what I would do to save her life, in spite of one trip to the emergency room when she gobbled down rat poison, and diving into a frozen lake when she broke through the ice.
Then three years ago, a MRI found a tumor about the size of a golf ball lodged on Zuzu’s brain. Fortunately, the veterinary clinic had a new tool, and after three rounds of radiation (and a certain amount of money), Zuzu returned from her ghost-like state; she’s not quite as rambunctious, but low-key and old, she is alive and still my best friend.
This is our first Dog Days of Summer Issue. It is a fun issue, and one that never dives too deeply into why we have dogs, or what dogs add to our lives. But really, isn’t that the point of dogs? To remind us about the simplest pleasures—how fun it is to swim in the open water at Mirror Pond, the joy of having your butt scratched, and how slobbering great even one bite of a hamburger can taste.