Zinnia Grace (affectionately known as Zinny, Zinnypoo, Zinzin, Rinzinzin, etc.) came into my life at a dark time. It was the depth of February and my long-standing depression had reappeared, full-force. I received an email from the SF SPCA one day advertising free adoptions for Valentine’s Day and decided to look at the website…you know, “just to see…” (I think we all know where this story is headed). I found a few online that I wanted to investigate further in person, including “Flower,” a four-pound papillon-chihuahua mix who had been found roaming around SOMA at the estimated age of 11 months. No chip, no collar, no one taking care of her. Such a small helpless thing on the street.
When I entered the SPCA, I saw her immediately and went over to the room she was in with multiple other dogs barking and playing and generally being chaotic. Flower was sitting quietly by herself, and upon making eye contact with me, she came up to the window and lifted her paws up, reaching for me — whining and pleading for me to take her home. And that was obviously that — a couple of “getting to know each other” visits later, with a teeth cleaning and a surgery to fix and chip her, she was mine. And as I was soon to learn, I was hers.
Zinny started off shy. In fact, her name came from an SPCA staff person saying as I was mulling over names, “Well, she IS a delicate flower.” I knew immediately I’d have to stick with that theme because she certainly was….Poppy? Rose? Finally, Zinnia (and the Grace just flowed because what dog doesn’t have a middle name???).
We got home and she immediately curled up beside me while I rubbed her belly. She made no noises, no barking. She was slow to take to food, but after awhile warmed up and began to nourish herself once again, undoing the damage that living on the street had wrought on her tiny body. But her bond to me was instantaneous. We were inseparable.
My depression didn’t lift immediately, in fact it lingered for the months to follow, but it never got worse. I never got to the point of complete and utter despair. I had a small being depending on me, someone who loved me so unconditionally it warmed my heart and soul, and took away my lingering loneliness.
A year later, we’re still figuring things out. She a rescued dog, me a rescued human….working our way through the world, but always at each other’s side. Zinny has many aunties and uncles whom she adores (and in turn adore her), a pack of small dogs she walks with daily, a fiercely independent spirit that amuses me often, and an instagram page, to boot!
Some would look at adopting Zinnia Grace from the street as saving her life, but I look at it as saving mine.