SCOTT GALLOWAY: Losing my beloved pet, Zoe, during the pandemic reminded me that time marches on. Here’s what else it’s teaching me.

Scott Galloway
Many of Scott’s blog posts have been written with Zoe’s head resting on his stomach.

  • Scott Galloway is a bestselling author and professor of marketing at NYU Stern.
  • The following is a recent blog post, republished with permission, that originally ran on his blog, “No Mercy / No Malice.”
  • In it, Galloway talks about how the grief of losing a loved one reminds us that time marches on with or without us.
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We put down our dog, Zoe, on Tuesday. We’re grieving. Three months ago our vet told us Zoe had growths on her liver, to take her home and enjoy our remaining time with her. Tuesday morning I woke to distressed calls – “Dad … DAD!” – coming from downstairs. Zoe had collapsed a few feet from her bed, had lost control of her bowels, and her breathing was labored.  

We shuffled her onto a beach towel and carried her to the back of our car. At the vet, we learned her organs were failing and that she was bleeding internally. The clinic had an outdoor annex, where we laid Zoe down on a wicker table and gathered around to say goodbye. Like every urbanized landmass in Florida, there was a gas station and a strip mall abutting the clinic. A car alarm was ringing. We had a remote control to notify the clinic when we were ready for them to administer pentobarbital, a seizure medication that would stop Zoe’s heart.   

Zoe’s death has rocked our household. The other dog won’t come out of his crate, the nanny won’t stop crying, my oldest doesn’t want to come out of his room, and (most disturbingly) his 10-year-old brother is doing what we ask him to. We’ve been a bit self-conscious about our grief as we recognize that 500,000+ US households haven’t lost a pet, but a dad, aunt, or other loved one in the last 12 months. But our grief persists.

Scott Galloway

At first, I was fine playing the role of the stoic dad: “She lived a great life,” “This is what’s best for her,” etc. Then yesterday, on a livestream with Verizon and 60 of its communications agency partners, I started sobbing while describing the harm Facebook is doing to society. Despite all the macho and strength I aspire to project, there I was, 56 years old and a chocolate mess on a Zoom call with dozens of people who want confirmation that they should serve ads on Yahoo.  

It’s not the worst thing for someone in my line of work to have Verizon’s agency partners believe I am emotionally invested in holding social media platforms accountable. However, I’ve been crying every six hours since. I cried watching WandaVision last night, when eating oatmeal this morning, and again doing pull-ups.  

Failed birth control

Two decades ago, I moved to New York, where I applied tremendous skill and resources to building a life of arrested adolescence. The SoHo loft, a wintertime apartment in South Beach, a summer home in Watermill (complete with sand volleyball court, despite the fact that I … do not play volleyball), and a metallic blue Maserati. Jesus, what a douche. 

I embarked on a series of obsessive relationships – with people, business ventures, and material goods (the more scarce, the better). Inevitably, the rapture would fade, and my heart would sink. A weak heart breaks more easily. I wasn’t grieving over the lost person or the failed deal so much as I was grieving the lost possibility to escape to a better life – a life of meaning, vs. the IMAX version of The Narcissist’s Playbook. 

Then I met someone nicer, more impressive, and much more attractive than me – who was also kind. However, she wanted children. I told her I was not interested in getting married again. She called my bluff with a José Aldo roundhouse: “We don’t need to get married to have a kid.”  

Looking for an alternative means of birth control, I drove to Pennsylvania to pick up an 11 week-old Vizsla. The breeders were some of the most down to earth, normal dog breeders I had ever encountered … and they were exceptionally strange. But that’s another post. We named our puppy Zoe and talk of a baby subsided. However, similar to most extemporaneous methods of male birth control, my tactic was not effective, and 38 weeks later my oldest son came rotating out of my girlfriend.  

Zoe soon became my oldest son’s dog. He had a connection with her only matched by the contempt he has for his younger brother. Zoe forged the connection by sitting in front of his crib each morning; they stared at each other through the wood slats while my son spoke a language deployed across species. They would be transfixed like this for 20 to 30 minutes (no joke). It was as if they were planning a jailbreak.

Scott Galloway

And why I think I’ve been crying.

I will miss Zoe, as she was a meaningful part of our family’s life. But the truth is, once we had boys, most of that emotion transferred to the kids. Plus, I’m not one of those guys who finds peace away from the family in the company of dogs. So yes, I am grieving Zoe, but as with happiness, real grief is internal.

Zoe’s death has rocked me because it is a marker. A reminder that time is the most relentless force in the universe: that no matter what we do, its thievery marches on. For the rest of my life, I’ll have sons. But I no longer have the baby who sat on a blanket with us in the backyard, the toddler who had an alliance with his dog to disappear his vegetables, or the 8-year-old who rang out a particular laugh only the dog could inspire. Zoe’s death is a loss on several levels.

Scott Galloway

Love persevering

Dogs are not allowed on the couch in our household. Ever. The thing is, both dogs and humans are mammals, and are happiest when surrounded by (read: when touching) others. So, Zoe and I had an agreement: After everyone was asleep, she could come on the couch, rest her head on me, and dream. It was a pact of secrecy, and not once in her 14 years did she betray this trust – Vizslas are rugged hunting dogs, and also discrete. She would lie on me, dream and, according to her paws, run for miles. Many of these posts have been written with Zoe’s head resting on my stomach as she dreamt of running through a Hungarian forest.

All Zoe wanted was affection – which is to say, love. Lying on a wicker table, next to a gas station, death came for Zoe. When her heart stopped, our other dog was licking Zoe’s ears, and our entire family had hands on her. Our wonderful dog left this earth with everything she had ever wanted. And we are grieving because our love perseveres.

Life is so rich,

Scott

 

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How to care for your dog’s cracked or dry paw pads step by step and the supplies you need to do it

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dog with dry and cracked paw pads
Dry and cracked paw pads are especially common in fall and winter months.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • An injured paw pad can really dampen the spirit of an active dog.
  • My dog has had multiple cuts and cracks on his pads, so I’ve learned how to tend to injured and cracked pads at home.
  • Further injuries can be prevented by investing in a nice pair of dog boots and washing your dog’s paws after walks.
  • Before administering any treatment to your dog, it’s important to consult your veterinarian.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Karie Johnson, veterinarian and co-founder of VIP Vet Visit, a mobile vet service in the south suburbs of Chicago.

Picture this: It’s a cold November day. The sun is reflecting off a fresh layer of snow, and the family is gathered together for Thanksgiving. Everyone is watching the dogs play outside before heading in for dinner. It’s a beautiful fall scene – until someone notices bloody paw prints in the snow. Leave it to my German Shepherd Silas to slice open the pad on the bottom of his paw on Thanksgiving Day. 

So what did I do? What any self-respecting dog mom would do in this situation: freak out. After I calmed down, we corralled Silas into the bathroom to assess the damage and contain the blood. Then we called the vet and got the lowdown on what to do for an injured paw pad. Unfortunately for Silas but fortunately for you, this wasn’t the last time he cut or cracked his pads, so I’m now an expert in injured dog pads. Below, I’ll walk you through the steps to take care of your dog’s pad and get it back to playing fetch in no time.

Call the vet

Every situation and every dog is different, so the first thing you should do is call your dog’s vet. If bleeding is severe or the pad is completely cut off, you might need to take your dog to its vet or to the nearest emergency vet if it’s after-hours. Taking Silas to the vet usually causes him more anxiety and trauma than whatever is bothering him in the first place. Luckily, we were able to save a trip, and his vet talked us through what to do over the phone. 

Clean the injured paw pad

Run your dog’s pad under warm water or use a saline solution to clean out any dirt or debris. (Note: The American Kennel Club advises against using hydrogen peroxide because it can be damaging to healthy tissue.)

Superglue the cut

How to care for a dogs pad 3
Apply superglue to larger cuts.

You read that correctly. It seems strange, but this is what our vet advised us to do, and it worked perfectly. For smaller cuts or cracks, you can skip this step, but for a larger cut, manually hold the cut together and apply superglue. Hold the cut together until the glue dries. This acts in the same way a surgical glue would to hold a cut together. 

Apply a balm

A pet balm or dog paw cream like Vermont’s Original Bag Balm can help the cut heal and soften its dry pads. Make sure the superglue is dry before this step. 

Bandage the paw

In a pinch when this first happened to Silas, we used a paper towel and a clean sock, but once we were able to get the proper materials (gauze and self-adhering tape), we found they worked much better. Securely wrap the gauze around the cut and the dog’s entire foot. Then wrap the tape around the foot and partially up the leg. Self-adhering tape works well because it won’t pull your dog’s fur. Make the wrap tight enough that it won’t slip off, but not so tight that it cuts off circulation. If you notice that your dog’s leg or paw looks swollen, the bandage is too tight and should be loosened or removed.

Optional: If your dog is biting at the dressing, you can cover it with a sock or buy your dog a dreaded cone of shame

Change the dressing

At least once a day, change the dressing and clean the injury again until the wound is healed. If you stop wrapping it too soon, it could reopen or get infected. 

Try to keep your dog off the injured paw pad

How to care for a dogs paw 4
Wrap your dog’s injured paw in surgical gauze. Or in a pinch, use a paper towel and clean sock.

For an active dog like Silas, this is the hardest step. One of the most effective ways to do this is to work on mentally stimulating activities to tire your dog out. 

How to prevent this from happening in the future

  • Keep your yard free of sticks and other sharp objects.
  • Use dog boots if walking in hot weather or on salted surfaces in the winter.
  • Rinse your dog’s feet regularly in the winter. Cleaning Silas’ paws is so easy with our MudBuster.
  • Use a paw protection wax on your dog’s pads before taking it out in the elements. 

Products that can help you take care of your dog’s paw pad

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