I've started this post numerous times, added a few things and then quickly closed it out. I just couldn't seem to put into words what this girl meant to me, still means to me. She's been gone 2 years today. Still just as hard to remember but I need to do this. For her.
I miss her.
This is a warning.
This post will be sappy and sad and probably reduce you to tears, just as I'm in tears remembering and typing this up. But it needs to be done. I need to honor Katie. I need to remember the good and the bad.
Let's start at the beginning:
Katie came into my life not too long after John and I got together. She is what I lovingly called a pound puppy. I had been calling shelters all around us, looking to see if they had a boxer or boxer mix. When I called the local humane society and inquired about any Boxer types, they told me about Katie and I almost immediately hopped in the car to go meet her.
|One of my favorite pictures of her|
She was shy and quiet but tail was wagging and eyes bright. We hooked her leash up and spent some time getting to know each other, walking around the fenced in area. They told me that she was picked up as a stray, was food aggressive and dog aggressive. I was ready to bring her home right then and there.
They almost didn't let us take her home b/c we didn't have a fenced in yard at the time. And she was close to being euthanized too. 😧 I understand their concerns (lots of dogs end up in shelters b/c they got lost) but I WANTED her and was willing to do anything to get her and keep her safe. Eventually (and obviously haha) I prevailed and we picked her up about a week later after her spay and microchip.
|Posing with toys she got through a Secret Santa Dane group|
We weren't really sure of her age but ours and the shelter's best guess was around 3 or 4 years old. I know she was fairly young when we got her b/c she went through a horrible chewing faze for a few years; destroying a whole recliner, several books and a couple Christmas gifts. I have my suspicions of why she ended up in the shelter and I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't b/c of her chewing things.
Remember when I said the shelter said she was food aggressive and dog aggressive? Never saw a hint of food aggression. Not one time. Maybe she felt the need to defend her food while in the shelter. Maybe even before that if she was a stray. She'd let anyone and anything come up to her food and she'd just politely step back and wait. Not that we forced the issue. The dog aggressiveness was more of a challenge. She didn't tolerate much but it was easily managed and avoided. If a puppy came in the house (Rio) she was perfectly fine, she just didn't like older/adult dogs.
She was Rio's world. He constantly followed her and defaulted to her. She wouldn't tolerate much from him and at first, I figured they'd just co-exist, but they quickly turned into best buds. Constantly playing together, sharing bones and toys (food and dog aggressive eh?). She corrected him when he got too rough and instigated a lot of their play time. I'd find them together on the couch, not necessarily snuggled together but close to each other.
I didn't really talk much about Katie here and I feel bad about that. Not much changed in her day to day life. She was never really active, never doing anything 'blog worthy', content to just laze around the house. She was an awesome house dog. She knew what was expected of her and where she was allowed and not.
She LOVED being outside and would spend hours sun bathing. I couldn't keep her in the house during the spring and summer.
Shoot, she loved being outside all times of the year. Except maybe when it rained. She might melt if she got rained on. LOL I'd have to argue and plead with her to come in at night b/c she would never want to come in.
We took her camping with us a few times since she loved it outside so much and one particular time always brings a chuckle. We were in John's tiny Nissan 240 with leather seats. Katie was in the back seat with the cooler. We're heading up this curvy, mountain road and John took one of the turns a little roughly, which resulted in the cooler full of ice getting knocked over. Onto poor, unsuspecting Katie. I have no idea how she moved so quickly but one sec she's in the back asleep, and the next, all 60lbs of her is in my lap.
She would have short active moments when she was younger, she was too much of a lady to play all the time. Short bursts of energy where she'd tear down the hallway from the living room, launch onto the bed and then do a 180 to run back down the hallway. Back and forth. Leaving claw marks on the carpet in her wake. We called it her zoomies and you better be clear out of her path or she WOULD mow you over. In fact, she caught John under his eye with a claw one day as she spun off the bed to head back down the hallway.
She buried her water, stole my recliner (a new one after she chewed up the old one), tucked her self under pillows and was the best damn nanny dog when McKayla was born. She wouldn't leave her side. She slowed down and was calm any time she was around McKayla.
|McKayla said she was hungry LOL|
Katie was with us for about 8 years. She slowed down that last year (2014). Was losing weight and control of her hind-end --- once up or down, she was fine, it was just difficult for her to stand up and she'd often fall down. She started pacing in circles and acted uncomfortable at times. She was still eating good and actually had a voracious appetite and still patrolled the backyard for unwanted critters. She started sleeping more and became more of snuggle bug. Before, if you sat on the same couch Katie was on, she'd jump down. Didn't matter if you sat right beside her or on the opposite end. No matter how many times you invited her up, she'd refuse. But then she started to stay on the couch and would seek you out to cuddle.
And this is the hardest part of this whole story. I can look back with fondness at the years spent with her but her "end" is what kills me. It positively tears me up. I wasn't there for her. I wasn't there when she needed me. I failed her.
This may be jumbled, so bare with me.
My grandmother had passed away January 25, 2015. We made the trip a few days later to attend her graveside and on the way home, decided to stop in Gatlinburg for the weekend. We had our next door neighbor keep an eye on the dogs while we were gone and she called me on Saturday morning. She said that Katie wasn't acting right and I didn't hear much after that, giving the phone to John b/c I didn't want to hear what she was going to say. After I composed myself, I called her back and she told me that she thought Katie was dying b/c when she went to check on them, she found her laying by the front door and the rug was all jumbled up like she'd been struggling. I asked for a picture and I swear it looked like she was already gone. I lost it. Neighbor said she was running home to get dressed and then would run Katie to the vet office where she worked and see what they could do.
Only, by the time she came back, maybe 10-15 minutes later, it was too late. My Katie Lynn was gone. She died alone and I wasn't there for her.
I was ready to race right home but our neighbor and John reminded me that there wasn't anything I could have done or could do. Neighbor was going to take her to her vets office and contact the crematorium for me, so there really wasn't much I could do. My neighbor was also really sweet in telling me that she thought Katie had chosen that time to leave us. That she had been holding on for me and picked while I was gone to make it easier on me. I'm not sure that's true but it's a sweet thought.
True to neighbors word, she handled everything for me. She called the crematorium and arranged for Katie to be picked up. After a few days, it was time for Katie to come home. The crematorium were extremely kind and gave me a paw print, lock of her hair and provided ashes in a smaller baggy so that I can have a sculpture made of Katie and add the ashes as the 'heart'.
It was pretty hard for Rio. She was his constant. She'd been there since he arrived. I found him on the couch one day, after dragging her sweater out of the dog toy bin (not sure why it was in there) and laying with it on the couch. I about lost it. I felt awful for him.
I still think I hear her walking in the living room or jumping down off the couch. I sometimes feel her presence in the bedroom, although not as often as I use to. She was a joy to have in our lives, even during her chewing faze and grumpiness.
My Sweet Gal
January 31, 2015