Thursday, December 20, 2012

End Of An Era

This week marks the end of an era for me. I wish so deeply that it would be the end to violence in war and shootings everywhere but alas, I fear that is not the case. Meanwhile the country is obsessed with the tragedy in Connecticut this week in which 20 little children were murdered. How I hate guns.
A different kind of sad closure occurred for me this week as I made the decision to relieve my beloved dog of his suffering from neurological and intestinal problems.
When Lee and I chose Kodi at the Oakland SPCA almost 12 years ago he was just seven weeks. He fit snugly in one hand, such a furry bundle of sweetness. They had named him Frankie for his Sinatra like blue eyes. "Half pure-bred siberian husky and half traveling salesman" the woman volunteer stated. She offered that he would probably grow to 40 pounds. (Hah! At times he topped 100.)
Lee's health was already complicated by heart and lung problems but the dementia that characterized her last two years was to come later.  All huskies are escape artists and Kodi was no exception. Having raised dogs most of my life I'm a pretty experienced trainer, but no trick in the book helped. He simply never learned to spell "c-o-m-e". Until about a year of age he was a total mischief maker. Too much energy. In all other ways he was a charmer; healthy, beautiful in appearance, loving beyond measure. He captured everyone's heart. But Lee was the clearly the object of his devotions and she returned it in measure. Their bond was incredible. His thick coated chest was always inches from her recliner or wheelchair. Occasionally I felt jealous of their closeness. At the same time I was filled with gratitude that he so enriched her life. Since her death five years ago Kodi has grown closer to me, serving as both a companion and a guard dog. His dog walker even brought him to the hospital to visit me as I recovered from my hip surgery. Granted, folks in the hospital elevator stepped back. His wolf eyes scared them. They could not know he was really a mush-pot. My responsibility for his care in his senior years gave me an urgent reason to recover. I'm grateful for that. Do you suppose the heaviness in my heart will pass one day and I will again be able to picture him running full speed through the woods, or perhaps even the clouds?
Below, two of my favorite photos of Lee and canine companions, the first being Max who wandered in the back door of her frame shop, a skinny runt. The vet thought he was part beagle. Another misconception. He soon topped 100. He slept beside her at home at night but accompanied her to work as a guard dog for about ten years. The second is Kodi at about three years.

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