Zoey Makana and I recently had a milestone: 5 months since I adopted her officially and brought her home. She, like the rest of us, has been through a lot lately. I had a terrible fall and injured myself badly while I was running with her, and though the fall wasn’t her fault at all and though she did everything right once I fell, she felt guilty. Prior to that, as you know, we were dealing with the sudden and unexpected death of my beloved Godmother. Zoey knew that there were things wrong, but not what, and was very concerned, and emotionally worn out. I’ve begun to suspect, based on her reactions, that in her last home, anything that went wrong was taken out on her. I don’t believe that she was ever physically abused, but I do think that she was yelled at on a regular basis. She’s never quite sure whether or not she’s going to be punished.

She has come such a long way in the five months that I’ve had her. She is very sweet, smart, and eager to please, which is very helpful when it comes to training her, though she knows her own mind, and sometimes isn’t obedient because it doesn’t suit her, which while it may frustrate the trainer is quite endearing to her independent Mama. She knows how to communicate her wants and needs, and isn’t shy about them. I will never forget her first night home, when I turned back my covers and she climbed under them and laid with her head on my pillow. I wanted her to sleep near my bed, but not actually in it, and she just looked at me with a look that said, “This person is an idiot, she doesn’t know that beds are for sleeping.” I decided not to fight, and in my bed she has remained these last five months. She is the first to groan each morning when my alarm goes off, and she will cuddle in close to me, or on top of me, to prevent me from getting out of bed. I’ve watched her grow more and more confident and assertive, less likely to cower when the cat that she’s afraid of walks into the room, and more likely to spread out and take up space. I’ve also loved watching her claim our house as her territory. Any time someone rings the doorbell or comes in, she barks like mad. Even a person making a u-turn in our driveway or even coming onto our street to visit a neighbor draws a loud Zoey alert. Sometimes animals that have been abandoned have lingering attachment issues, which I am sure can sometimes lead to second and third abandonments, but my girl knows that she and I belong together. She’s protective of me when we are out on walks, or even visiting with friends.

Yesterday afternoon, we went on a walk in one of our normal spots, an abandoned woods property next to my house. We weren’t in a rush, for once, for Zoey to do the business and then rush back into the house, because it was a Sunday afternoon, and because we were out on an extra walk to make Zoey happy, and to allow my mom to eat her lunch with one less mooching animal. I decided not to worry about dodging the sun, another important reason that I like to keep Zoey’s walks short, and to just enjoy being outside and to enjoy Zoey sniffing all the grasses and flowers, and going where she wanted to go instead of where I wanted her to go. Zoey saw a butterfly, and at first I thought she might bark at it or try to eat it, but she didn’t. She decided that she wanted to follow it. She didn’t try to chase it, or get ahead of it, she just went where it led her, and so we followed it wherever it flew for a minute or so. It’s hard to tell how long is was or wasn’t, because it was just a magical moment, one that I knew I would have ruined if I’d tried to photograph it, so I didn’t even try, though it would have been a great photograph. The sunlight was just perfect, and it was finally feeling like it might be a real spring soon, and we just wandered in the trail of this butterfly. And I thought that maybe everything wasn’t nearly as fucked up as I felt it was, and maybe there is still beauty and magic yet to be found.

I hope you find magic today, my dear readers.