Our story begins in March 2014 when someone dropped three puppies off on a rural road. When going to town I barely spotted the puppies out the corner of my eye while passing an intersection of a rural dirt road. While in town I picked up a bag of puppy food, then went back to where I had seen the puppies at. Well, they were nowhere to be seen so I figured someone picked them up. Fast forward a few days when the puppies showed up at a hollow log on the side of the road, which is around 200 yards from where they had originally seen.
The third puppy was not at the log. I found out later that puppy had died near the log.
My cousin put an aluminum pie plate at the log and had been feeding the puppies. Shortly thereafter I started bringing them food also. After what felt like a couple of weeks of feeding the puppies I stopped, picked them up and gave them a home. Their first night here was spent on the deck inside of a deer feeder laid on its side, and with a blanket inside. The pie plate was brought home with them. The first couple of days they were food aggressive with the male driving the female away from the food. The aggression only lasted a couple of days as the bowl was filled with dry puppy food at all times.
Zoey acted like she had been abused. When I called her, she would literally crawl the last couple of feet to me. Once I picked her up she would start licking my face. It took her a few weeks to get out of cowering phase where she did not act afraid.
I was not sure if I was going to keep the puppies. Over the course of a few days I asked around if anyone wanted to adopt them. In fact, I did not even name them for several days, maybe a couple of weeks after they were picked up. Zoey and Ellis were named after the Left 4 Dead series. Zoey is a character from the original Left 4 Dead, and Ellis is from Left 4 Dead 2. I thought the names were fitting as they had been left for dead on the side of the road.
A few weeks after I picked Zoey and Ellis up, I walked out the house, called them but they did not show up, which was strange. From the house I walked to the back of the farm to plant some pine tree saplings. While kneeling down to plant a sapling, all of a sudden, and out of nowhere, the puppies literally knocked me over trying to play and licking me. It was a wonderful experience for all three of us. We continued to walk around the farm and plant the saplings.
Zoey turned into an independent, loving, wonderful pet.
I do not know how many (hundreds of) times I went outside, called Zoey over and over, but she refused to come inside. Sometimes I would have to go outside at night with a flashlight and call her. When she saw the flashlight she would typically come inside. However, there were numerous times, especially in the fall and spring, when she absolute refused to come inside for the night.
There were dozens of times when Zoey and Ellis were gone all day, not coming home until either after noon, or just before dark. I found out later they were prowling the local hunting leases. One day my cousin and I were talking, the same cousin that had been feeding them as puppies, when he told me Zoey and Ellis had been spotted on trail cameras probably a mile from home. I did not believe my cousin, so I asked him if there were any pictures. He made a phone call and a few minutes later he received pictures on his phone of Zoey and Ellis on the hunting lease just as he said.
Another cousin, her husband told me he had seen them around a mile away from home, but in the opposite direction of the hunting lease. This means Zoey and Ellis had around, or at least, a 1 mile radius from home.
Zoey loved to ride in the truck; whether it was in the cab or the bed, it did not matter. The first time Zoey rode to the corner store with me she rode in the cab as I did not want her jumping out of the bed. When I walked out of the store she was looking straight at the doors.
There is a wonderful story I want to share. An oak tree had fallen next to the creek which I wanted to cut up for firewood, so Zoey and I loaded up in the truck and headed to the back of the farm. Lunch time came along, so Zoey and I loaded in the truck and went to the local corner store. At the store I bought one of those premade cheeseburgers, bag of chips, and 32 ounce fountain coke. Before leaving the store the burger was heated in the microwave. When Zoey and I got back to the farm I sat on the tailgate of the truck, ate the burger, chips and drank the coke. As I ate the burger I would toss Zoey a piece. That silly dog went and buried those pieces of burger.
When she was younger, Zoey could jump over the tailgate of my truck to get in the bed. She only did that a few times though. As she got older she stopped taking risk like that.
There is another story I want to share. Zoey and Ellis may have been two or three years old when this happened. One evening shortly after dark I walked outside to call the dogs in. Off in the distance I heard them barking near my neighbors farm, which was odd because I had never seen them herd my neighbors cows. I walked towards the back of the farm when I realized the dogs were on the hunting lease on the other side of the neighbors cow pasture. After stopping and listening closely, the barking was moving around the backside of the neighbors property, Zoey and Ellis were chasing something. I stood there in the dark and listened as Zoey and Ellis were maybe a quarter mile away chasing something, probably a deer or wild pig, through the woods at night. All of a sudden their barking stopped. After listening for a couple of minutes, I decided to head home. When I got home the dogs were there waiting on me.
Zoey will be dearly missed.