She was my partner, my ride-or-die. Together we spent untold of hours training together, traveling together, failing and succeeding together. For years, we learned together. And, through all the ups and the downs, we ultimately became a successful human remains detection K9 team. My girl, Baroness Zoey von der Wohl, known to everyone as Zoey, was a beautiful German shepherd. Always ready for adventure and always willing to learn. After surgery for a congenital back issue that could have spelled the end, her successful recovery allowed her to work a few more years. Yes, her career was cut a little short because of her health, but I couldn’t have been more proud of her. She had the heart of a warrior.
When her job was gone, I wondered if she’d cope but she surprised me yet again. As we brought home nine-week-old Deuce, she jumped into action. She never looked back on her former search dog career because now she had another job: mother. She cared for Deuce and taught him well. She performed in her second second career as well as her first.
When the changes started to show themselves, I didn’t want to think about the road ahead. She couldn’t be ill, she had so much left to offer. Deuce needed her. I needed her. The universe had a different idea. On a sunny afternoon in June, I stroked her head and told her how much I loved her. My heart broke as she closed her eyes that one last time, but my beautiful, loving Zoey once more runs pain free and joyous on the other side of the rainbow bridge.