Tuesday, August 17, 2010

No Dog Yet, You Say?

I started wanting a dog when Tom was sick. I'm sure the pain is the same whether your spouse has brain cancer, or heart disease or any terminal illness (Tom considered his cancer "terminal" with the quotes, having read much about long-term survivors. Few though they were, they were not non-existent.), but brain cancer had already robbed me of my hard-working, cuttingly-sarcastic, animal-loving, handyman-project-doing, car-guy husband, and my sense of loneliness was all the more acute because Tom was alive, but no longer, well, Tom. A dog would love me, and keep me warm, and fill the hole in my heart that I shouldn't have had because I should have just been grateful my husband was there, sleeping right next to me in the bed every night, drinking his coffee and reading his paper every morning. But that emptiness in my heart continued to grow, and my desolation darkened. And that dog? I really just wanted a dog to love me. I wanted somebody to love me. And for God's sake, at least the damned dog wouldn't die of brain cancer.

Then, Tom died. I don't know how else to explain it. Tom died, and the loneliness that I felt finally at least felt normal. My husband was dead, my sons' father was gone, and that the loneliness was expected made it somehow more tolerable. Getting from today to tomorrow became easier after Tom died, as I found myself already partway through the process of grieving his loss. The desperate yearning for a dog slowly subsided, replaced by the quiet belief that there's a place in our family for a dog.

So there we were today, at the Northeast Animal Shelter:  the place Tom took me on our second date; one of his memorial charities; and the place where the sweetest little  Belgian Schipperke x picked us for her forever family. She came with the utterly unacceptable name Skippette, so we're down to business picking out a name. I think her name is supposed to be Zoetje, dutch for "little sweet one". Any dutch speaking readers out there? Please advise.

And say hello to the newest Gentile, Zoetje.


  1. I think Zoetje is a lovely name for a dog :) I'm curious as to how you pronounce it though, because I am a native Dutch speaker.

    By the way, Zoetje is used when referring to a little artificial sweetener tablet :)

  2. And by that, I mean ALSO used. :P

  3. Oh, Emsz, thanks so much for the comment! When I was trying to find a name, I found "zoet" which means sweet (and I pronouce it to rhymy with "soot", or "put", so kind of a short, soft u sound. And I also saw that the "je" ending was diminutive, so I put them together, and came up with the pronunciation zut-cha. As a native dutch speaker, how close do you think I am?

  4. From what I can tell, you're quite alright with the pronunciation. Keep in mind though that the 'Z' in Dutch has a hard sound. The ending is also more of a chuh sound than a cha sound, at least when I pronounce it :)
    (Obviously, since you've had the dog for a while, I wouldn't change the pronunciation of the name now, would probably only confuse her :P)

  5. Thanks, Emsz. I wouldn't worry too much about confusing this little dog, though. Definitely not the sharpest knife in the drawer. For the longest time she didn't know the back door went "out"!