The picture above is of Zoe, who was a Wheaten Terrier that my wife and I had for about a dozen years. I had never had a dog–or any sort of a pet, really– when I was growing up, and I wasn’t particularly excited about getting one, either. But my wife prevailed, and we picked out Zoe at the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago. After that experience, I’ll never be without a dog for too long again.
I was reminded of Zoe tonight while watching the Cubs game in Cincinnati on TV. The Reds’ starter, Johnny Cueto, is on my fantasy baseball team, and since the Cubs are now officially eliminated from everything this year, I can root for my fantasy players to do well against the Cubs without any guilt. But also, there are just a couple of weeks left in the season, so I had better satisfy my baseball itch now. October baseball feels like a cruel joke, or a fun party that I didn’t get invited to. Again.
As I’m watching tonight’s game, the cameras would sometimes cut away to fans in the stands with their dogs. These shots brought back possibly my favorite memory of Zoe, which was at a similar “Dog Day” game at Comiskey Park (the new one, or Comiskey Park II as it was called before U.S. Cellular wrote the naming rights check). If I had to put a date on it, I would say it happened in 1997, but it was definitely at some point in the last century.
My wife and I got tickets for the “dog section” in the bleachers, and one of the events was for the dogs to go onto the field for a pre-game parade around the warning track. My wife took Zoe onto the field, and I stayed in the stands to take pictures (none of which I was able to find before writing this). Zoe was being escorted around the field, along with all of the other dogs, and everything was going great. Then it got even better.
Zoe must have picked up some sort of a Cubs vibe from me, because she went off of the dirt that ringed the field, onto the green grass down the first base line, and started to, um, water the turf. I laughed when I saw what she was doing, and instinctively yelled out “Good dog, Zoe!” It was almost as if she had stepped up to the plate (or at least somewhere near the plate) and registered her disapproval of the home team.
I held Zoe when they put her to sleep a few years ago. She had a glandular problem, lost a lot of weight, and refused to eat anything. It was a sad time for all of us. Our new dog isn’t exactly Zoe 2.0, but isn’t too far away from it, either. Dooney hasn’t been to a game yet (and might not ever go, since U.S. Cellular Field doesn’t seem to do this anymore), but if the opportunity ever comes up, I’m trusting that he will follow Zoe’s lead.