Zoe’s Dog Blog

Zoe’s Dog Blog

Zoe is the shelter spokes dog and family pet of Lori Halligan, HHS Executive Director. Zoe shares thoughts about life, love, and the pursuit of forever homes for our shelter animals.

The time has come for mom and me to say goodbye.

I have been writing my blog since January 2010. I started out as a young pup adopted from Hinsdale Humane Society, still learning the ways of the world… potty training, refraining from biting, getting my parts and pieces “fixed.”

I missed my previous family and had to learn to adapt to my new family. My first family had active preschoolers: strollers, tricycles, blankies, and table scraps dropped on the floor (YUM!) My new family had teenagers with big smelly feet, parents who sometimes brought me to work, and a house with big scary stairs. You know what? I learned to adjust. The most important thing was that I had people who
loved me… my first family who wanted what was best for me and my current family who lets me bark at everything and anything. (OK, they don’t really “let” me bark, they just haven’t figured out how to help me understand the need to be quiet!)

While I’ve grown and become more mature, things around me have changed, too. 6119 shelter pets have come and gone to their forever homes. Seriously, that’s the number of pets who have been adopted! Just think of all those wonderful dogs, cats, kittens and puppies, along with a few rabbits, birds, Guinea pigs, reptiles and others who now have a roof over their heads and a family to love!

Things around the shelter have changed, too. There have been remodeling projects and renovations… New, improved kitty condos and brand new dog kennels… A memorial garden and a new front entrance when a car accidently ran into the building. Kind of like when my teeth accidently bit dad’s toes, I’m sure no harm was really intended. We learned to deal with adversity and make the best of a tough situation.

A few staff members have come and gone, but a lot has remained the same. People still care passionately and deeply about the mission of helping animals. More volunteers than ever come to walk dogs, socialize cats, clean up after the animals, and help with administration and events. Board members give generously of their time and donors share compassionate gifts, all so the NEXT pet can be adopted, and the NEXT one, and the NEXT one. And so on.

Pet therapy teams visit people who are lonely in the hospital or nursing home. They help kids who are learning to read. Other dogs and cats work with children and adults who need physical rehabilitation, or provide a shoulder to cry on while in hospice. Unfortunately, I couldn’t pass that evaluation to be a pet therapy dog. It’s not that I’m not smart or special, but only the “best of the best-trained” animals make it. And if I face my shortcomings, obedience isn’t my strongest quality. The world needs dogs who can write and look cute, too!

You know what else the world needs? Kids who love animals! So while I missed my first family, I got to see kids coming for shelter tours, kids participating in pet camp, kids bringing in birthday money to help pets, kids reading to dogs, and kids adopting their new best friend. I will never get tired of seeing the next generation of animal welfare advocates as they demonstrate their capacity for caring and compassion.

But as I mentioned in the beginning, the time has come for me to say goodbye. I’m leaving to follow my family to another state. I’ve never even been to Kentucky. I hear there are lots of horses there, but I’ve never even met a horse! What if they are scary? I guess I’m going to have to learn to adapt to new situations and a new house. Mom tells me there are no raccoons living in the attic and I won’t have to climb any stairs. I’ll have a new groomer and a new vet. There will be new paths to walk and new people to meet. SO many changes are ahead of me! But I’ll have a roof over my head and my family who loves me. Whatever else could I possibly need?

I know I will miss my friends at HHS, the human and the furry kind. They’ve been considerate and thoughtful and I will always remember them, especially the ones who give me cookies and nibbles fromtheir lunches! (YUM!)

Not to be melodramatic, but it makes me think of Juliet. “Good night. Good night. Parting is such sweet sorrow.”

The sweet part is the wonderful friends I’ve made and the love you’ve shown to me.

The sorrowful part is the fact I must say goodbye to the very ones who have shaped me into the dog I am today… A little less wild, a little more obedient, perhaps a bit less stubborn, but a lot more open to the possibilities of a life well lived.

Thanks for the memories, but most of all, thanks for the LOVE!

So long and goodbye!



It seems like everyone at my house is always talking about sleep. “I’m tired, but I can’t sleep. Please be quiet, I’m trying to sleep. You can’t stay up all night. You need your sleep.” 

I don’t know why that is such a big deal. I sleep when or where I want to and for however long I want to. However, I don’t always sleep WITH whomever I want to. Even dogs know that’s not always such a good idea. It gets you in trouble.

I like to sleep with my family, but they don’t like me in their bed. Once, Dad accidently bumped me in the night, so I tried to bite his toes. In my defense, I was inadvertently attacked while I was sleeping, so I’m not really responsible for my own actions. He started it first! After that, I was banished to the kitchen, until I gave them the “sad, puppy dog eyes” and got back in their good graces (and in their bed!)

Sometimes when I sleep with my family, I will sit on someone’s head or wag my tail in their face. It certainly gets their attention, but all they can do is mumble something like, “Go away, Zoe, I’m trying to sleep.” Since I can’t unlock the front door, attach my own leash and take myself out, you would think they would be a little more concerned for my well being. I never wet the bed, but sometime I should try that. Maybe then they’d move a little faster and understand the urgency of the situation!

If it gets too hot or cold where I’m trying to sleep, I just move somewhere else. But the people in the house try to control the temperature of where they sleep. Heaters or blankets, ceiling fans or air conditioning, opening or closing windows…I don’t know why they don’t just lie on the tile floor or snooze over top the heater vent. It works for me!

My brother is a “young adult” and he keeps some pretty crazy hours. Sometimes when he’s shooting bad guys with his video games, he gets a little noisy. I’ll start barking and Mom will start complaining, “It’s the middle of the night! Why aren’t you both sleeping?!” He’ll just say, “Sorry.” But I try to explain: “Because playing video games is fun and besides, we can sleep all day tomorrow while you’re at work.” Somehow Mom is not amused by this fact at 2:00 in the morning.

The dogs and cats at the shelter have soft beds, comfy blankets and elevated cots to sleep on. But occasionally they don’t sleep “correctly.” Sometimes they hide under their beds. Sometimes they sleep in the back of their kennels when they should be front and center, acting cute for the potential adopters. Come on, silly kitties and cuddly canines. You snooze, you lose!

But sometimes the dogs and cats sleep in a way that brings attention to themselves…kittens snuggled up together…dogs on their backs with their heads tipped to one side…curled in a ball so everyone can see a sweet little nose and blissful dreamy expression.

Potential adopters, I ask you, “Who could resist such a face?” Wouldn’t you love to bring home a sweet dog or cat where they can get some uninterrupted, adorable sleep?

Writing my blog has made me awfully tired. I’m off to take a nap in a sun beam.

Until next time…
Love, Zoe

Happy Valentine’s Day!

In case you’ve forgotten, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Speaking as someone of the female persuasion, I have a very important piece of advice for everyone: DO NOT forget it is Valentine’s Day! That might land you in the doghouse for months!

Valentine’s Day is the best time to show someone that you love them. It can be something really simple that you don’t have to buy from a store. A tender kiss on the nose or forehead sometimes says “I love you best.” Just remember that slobbery kisses aren’t always appreciated. Homemade presents are cherished, too. Except for hairballs. Definitely do not produce a hairball and expect gratitude or excitement.

Another freebie is something you find around the house. If you share your favorite toy, they will get the idea that you like them and want to play. Give your true love a stone and say, “You are my rock.” Better yet, give her a diamond or a beautiful rhinestone collar and wait for the hugs and kisses to follow.

Somewhere, sometime, somebody is going to pop the question on Valentine’s Day. And I don’t mean “What’s for dinner?” If you’re going to get down on one knee to ask for someone’s hand in marriage, ask them if they love cats and dogs, too. That way, you’ll know what kind of person they are. I have found that people who show compassion to animals tend to be pretty awesome when it comes to love, tenderness and forgiveness, too.

Whether you are married or single, in a relationship or not, I bet you can find someone who needs a valentine. Mommies, daddies, children, neighbors, co-workers… You get the idea. Even really grumpy, annoying people could benefit from getting a valentine. Maybe the reason they are so unhappy in the first place is that no one ever showed them any love. You could learn a thing or two from the cats and dogs in your life. That’s what I always say! So if you wiggle your butt, act cute, rub up against them and hand out kisses, someone might…

WAIT! Mom says that someone might get the wrong idea if a person actually did that! You’ll have to figure out what is appropriate for humans to do to get someone’s attention. Apparently, there are some animal behaviors that are misinterpreted in human circles.

I have found that the way into a girl’s heart is through jewelry or flowers. At least that’s what my mom says. (And she told me to tell dad!) It can be almost anything, as long as it’s from the heart. You don’t have to go to the fancy-schmancy store, either. The gas station or the grocery store will have really great flowers. But if you forget to plan ahead, the jewelry stores love clueless guys with credit cards 5 minutes before they lock the doors.

And a reminder to all the pets, you’ll get in trouble if you knock over the flowers, dig in the dirt of a potted plant, chew on the blossoms or swallow shiny jewelry objects.

According to Dad, the way into a guy’s heart is through his stomach. This would appear anatomically incorrect, but I’ll believe him for now. A little candle light, a yummy meal, maybe something exciting for dessert and Dad is one happy fellow. Come to think of it, that would make me happy, too!

Pets don’t really need Valentines, but we won’t complain if you give us a special treat or an extra pet or booty scratch. It’s my job to show my constant affection, and I don’t need a special day to remind me. They call it puppy love!

Until next time,

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