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Tribute to our gorgeous Zali Girl

Border Collie
October 7th, 2004 - August 15th, 2014
Nicknames: Zali Girl, Zali Jane, baby girl, bubba, Zarls, Lala girl
Age: 9
Pet Type: dog
Lived: our home on Sydney's northern beaches
Author: JillKing
Favourite Things

Her family & friends, her brother, walkies, swimming,chasing her purple ball, barking at possums, 'Jindy' holidays.

Best Qualities

full of fun, ladylike, gentle, intelligent, affectionate, loyal, eager to please and very, very pretty.

In early December 2004, we drove to the Hunter Valley, brimming with excitement to collect you. You wriggled and whimpered as we drove away from your canine family but eventually fell asleep on my lap – a soft, warm ball of black and white fluff with that delicious new puppy smell. By the time we reached Sydney, you awoke and started to lick my hand intensely..... you had accepted us as your new family and consequently, we had become parents. We were completely besotted.

Along with the joy of this initial bonding came some humour.... and a glimpse of just how intelligent, courteous and ladylike you were. As we drove the final very winding uphill stretch to our home, your whimpering and wriggling started up again – whatever could be the matter? You were trying desperately to tell me that you felt carsick and you didn’t want to throw up on your new mummy – whoops – too late!

Not long after bringing you home you had your first holiday in Jindabyne – a Border Collie paradise of open spaces to roam free, wonderful smells, rascally rabbits to chase,  a lake to swim in – and we suspect some ‘de-facto holiday families’ that were feeding you treats too. In your lifetime, we estimate you must have had over 30 ‘Jindy’ trips – each one filled with joyous adventures. When the devastating news came that you only had weeks to live, we knew we had to take you just one more time to feel the mountain air ruffle your fur.  I will always be thankful we could give you this.

At only 12 weeks of age you walked down the aisle at our wedding in your pink diamante collar.  You were the very definition of cuteness and everyone was amazed by how quietly you sat through the service..... until we discovered the carefully chewed side of the church pew at the end of the ceremony. .... I’m sure God was having a giggle. You then accompanied us on our road trip honeymoon along the Great Ocean Road. We could not have been prouder of you as you charmed your way into the hearts of everyone you met, whether human or dog. You continued to weave your magic every single day of your life. No matter where we went, Zali Jane King was ‘Miss Popularity’.

For three years you were our indulged only child. We longed to start a human family too but went through a great deal of heartache in the process. For every stressful doctor’s appointment, every seemingly endless wait, every sense of loss and failure, you were my soft and gentle shoulder to cry on. There was no judgement, no blame, no need to hide my smudged mascara and no need to pretend to be strong when I felt so hopeless inside. There was only your unconditional love.

Our intense longing for a baby in the house led us to choose you another Border Collie playmate. Actually, Bode chose you when you accompanied us to the breeder’s. He trotted adoringly behind you, mimicking your every move as soon as he saw you. At first you were far from thrilled by Bode’s arrival – our ‘alpha’ girl was concerned that her position was being threatened.  But with plenty of reassurance from us and some well-directed growls at Bode, balance was restored. You grew to love your brother dearly and the two of you were inseparable for nearly 7 years.  Wherever we took you together on your double lead, passers-by would smile admiringly and stop for a pat. When your tortured breathing was silent and you were at peace, Bode rested his head and a gentle paw on your soft body with unspeakable sadness in his eyes. He is quite lost right now but will find his way again.

Then along came the miracle of our little humans. Throughout both of my pregnancies you were incredibly protective and sensed when birth was immenent. You sniffed ever so tenderly as we introduced you first to our daughter and then to our son two years later. You snuggled up close on the lounge while I fed them and always managed to find a place to sit where you could simultaneously watch over all the members of your growing ‘flock’.  You were always gentle and patient and simply removed yourself calmly when their attention became a little over-exuberant.  Our daughter’s word for ‘dog’ was uttered along with ‘Mumma’ and ‘Dadda’ and you walked beside them both for their first wobbly steps.  You were part of every birthday, every anniversary, every Easter, every Christmas, every major event good or bad in our family for nearly a decade. 

You were also part of the myriad of ordinary moments that make up the tapestry of everyday life.  Walking to the coffee shop, the park or to school, collecting a takeaway pizza, playing the piano, my early morning jog, gardening, taking out the garbage, lying on the lounge, rumbling inside on a rainy day, having a bath, making breakfast, making dinner, making any kind of food, returning home from anywhere and of course throwing a ball. Even one of us going to the bathroom was an event for you. No matter where you were in the house, you somehow knew as soon as we sat on a toilet!  Your black nose would appear at the door, politely nudge it open and then you would pad in and take up the “please scratch my back” position.  All of these things - so seemingly insignificant - were made happier, crazier and richer by the presence of your beautiful soul.  From this day on, these things will never be the same.

There are not enough words to express what you gave to us and to all who knew and loved you, Zali girl. Until the very last day of your too-short life, your strongest motivation was to please us. When we had to make the heartbreaking decision to release you from the grips of cancer, there was so much anxiety about ‘how do we know when? Is it too soon?’ Even in this, precious girl, you thought of your family. As the sun rose on your final morning, your ever-loyal brown eyes gazed deep into mine, asking my permission to go, reassuring me that it was your time and that you were ready.

We are so privileged to have shared this life with you Zali girl and so blessed to have known your pure, boundless love. Thank you from the bottom of our aching hearts, where you will run free and chase balls forever. Mummy and Daddy xox

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