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Zara's Story

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

During the process of creating our blog unfortunately life dealt us with a very difficult and heartbreaking situation, we lost our dear Zara-- through it we grieved in our own ways and yet together as a couple.

Zara was the first big decision (aside from getting married), that we came to an agreement on…. well not so much, I wanted a chunky wrinkly puppy, Claudia wanted a guard dog—lean, muscular, mean looking dog. January 2017, we found ourselves near a pet store for the 500th time because for so many months now we had been going back and forth on the type of dog breed, female/male, and color; each time going in only to leave devastated because we could not agree and secretly I didn’t feel that connection. Well, turns out, Claudia just wanted to see me happy and says, “Fine whichever one you want, I am ok with”. Finally I can get my wrinkly chunky snuggle buddy! Thrilled, I begin my search, but I feel no connection with any of these pups. Then I think, “ughh great, Claudia is finally saying this because she knows I am not going to find her/him today”. Sadly, we left the store but she was determined to get me a pup that day, I guess seeing my pouty face wasn’t something she wanted to keep seeing. We decided to stop at one more place; I told myself that if we didn’t have any luck today we would stop searching for a while. We walk the store and, nothing. No wrinkly/chunky pup in sight, so we thought! When I had lost all hope one, of the store clerks puts back a puppy that had just received a bath back in the crate. In that moment those big brown eyes, those perfect wrinkles and that soft flubber was looking right at me, I asked the clerk if we could play with her and that was it. I fell in love. She kept tugging on Claudia’s coat and then she would come and scoot her little butt on me and well Zara came home with us that day. That coat that she was tugging on for so long was actually from the clothing store ZARA and well we knew we had ourselves a little fashionista!

1147 days we shared with our baby girl, she was our happiness after a long day at work. She was filled with so much love and even if she was in trouble those big brown eyes could get away with anything, well with me that is, Claudia always made sure she knew who the boss was. On the contrary, Zara would make sure to remind Claudia that it was she who ran the Sandiaz household. March 3rd 2020 was the beginning of what actually was the end. We had taken Zara out like any other day, except on this day the weather was a lot nicer. I decided that it would be okay to let her freely roam our yard since we have a gate. I was preparing breakfast and watching her from our window when I realized I could no longer see her I told myself, well maybe she is just on the side of the house, except I had a strange feeling. Claudia decided to go out to call her since she knew Zara always obeyed her command to come inside when she heard her whistling--Zara would always quickly come running back, except this time she didn’t. We both began to call her but nothing--one of the worst feelings ever. We searched and searched, we walked, and we drove, posting flyers to all neighbors and nearby businesses, called any and all shelters/ vets/ police stations. Posted flyers on any and all lost dog sites. Zara had just vanished into thin air and I could not understand how or why.

It was in this time that we prayed together something we had not done a lot of since getting married. It was vulnerability that we had not shared, it was a shared loss and she was our baby. We had gone through supporting each other in losses before but this time we both had lost Zara, so it was navigating between who gets to be sadder and who has to be stronger to keep life moving. It was taking turns crying or crying together. We learned about each other’s grieving process and how we best needed to support each other. It showed us a deeper compassion for one another and most importantly we have allowed each other to openly and freely express every stage. 27 days passed and throughout this time, I knew that we would be reunited with Zara. It was on that twenty-seventh day that we received confirmation that her body had been found and she would finally be brought home. It was not the ending we had hoped for, but she would finally be home again.

I think the lesson in all of this is that we don’t always know WHY, we just know that everything has a beginning and an end. When your end arrives, nothing anyone does will change it. Zara taught us the beauty of unconditional love and the reality of--regardless how many shoes she chewed, you (Claudia) get over it and you still love each other. In the end, we are only left with the beautiful memories and that is what gets us through the tough times. It is in those reminders that she is gone that I can go back and find 500 more happy memories that we were able to enjoy and cherish that make it just a little bit better.

Thank you to all our amazing family and friends,even strangers, who were there for us through this hardship.


Remember to ALWAYS Microchip your pets. In these instances contacting the company right away, and making sure all of your contact information is up to date is extremely important to help get your pup home.

If you or someone you know lost a pet, a very helpful and dedicated team of volunteers is a Nonprofit organization Lost Dogs Illinois.

Never Lose Hope regardless of the outcome know that when an owner is searching, a pet will sense them and always find their way back home.

***This is not an advertisement both these organizations helped us in this stressful time**


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