Thank you, someone who gets it.
I’ve seen it said way too often that Wolf does everything for you. That isn’t a good way to think about any pet class. Whether it’s Wilhelm, Jack, Gaige, Axton, or Mord (and Roland I guess) you always want to work in conjunction with your pet, not sit back and let it kill everything while you AFK.
A pet is part of your DPS equation, but you still have to throw in a few numbers yourself to make it truly shine.
To answer your question OP, based on what you said, you would really enjoy Aurelia (so long as you played gun Zero and not melee). She has the crowd control of Maya, with some of the juicy damage buffs of Zero. She won’t do as much damage as Zero could, but she makes up for it with more health regen skills and freezing abilities.
If you find Aurelia too squishy for you, Jack also has great survivability, crowd control, and damage. There was a sniper spec for him on the old forums, but I can’t find it now. But if you want to take a more careful approach to Jack as opposed to quad spamming, there is that.
If you really don’t want the DLC characters, the closest you’ll get to what you want is Athena. She has melee and gun play aspects, although both are radically different from Zero. Athena’s melee is more of a debuff than a damage dealer, although it can kill if you really build around it. Her epicenter skill is no converge, but it’s decent for grouping up mobs, rend functions kinda similarly to slag (although she can’t apply it as effectively as Maya could slag), and she has a whole bunch of group heals as well. If you like the tankiness that Maya brought to the table, Athena may fit your fancy. If you like Maya’s CC or Zero’s melee, you may want to look elsewhere.
Lastly, about Athena’s action skill, you can either build it to be a purely defensive item or a weapon. If you find waiting behind the shield boring, skip the extra points in HTL and just toss the thing as soon as it’s charged up. Or if you were doing that, try the opposite. A change in approach may change your perspective.
TL;DR- If you decide you want the DLC characters, go with Aurelia-> Jack-> Athena. If you find her action skill boring, try using it in a different way.