When we started this blog in 2006, one of the first posts had the same title. Now, we have come full circle with this post.
We said goodbye to our dear, dear Kita-pup today. It was a heartbreaking and beautiful experience at the same time - for all of us to be able to be there with her and surround her with our love and McDonald's french fries.
Mixed with sadness is peace and relief. Relief that she no longer has to degrade herself to daily incontinence. Relief that she no longer needs help standing on her four legs. Relief that she no longer lays on her bed day in and day out, staring into the air because she can't do anything else. We want to believe she is in a better place than all that, even in the midst of our incredible sadness.
We've known this day would come for awhile now. Over the last couple of weeks, I've been putting together photos of her life as a means of therapy and healing. It was actually quite cathartic and therapeutic! (I've put the photos together in a slideshow here.)
It reminded me of the puppy we picked from Pepsi's litter 14.5 years ago. The little girl we could carry in our arms. When we thought we might have the only Labrador Retriever that couldn't swim...and then the never-ending pursuit of water that followed! In addition to her love of water, the photos also reminded me that she was happiest when she was chasing that orange and blue Chuck-it ball. All these passions she has not been able to pursue for awhile now.
Last week, we took her for one last walk at McDonald Beach by YVR airport. As we pulled off Hwy 99 over by Tim Horton's and Costco, her head popped up (she had been laying laying down in the back of the truck). She knew. We hadn’t been to McDonald Beach in awhile and she’s mostly blind and deaf, but she could smell Mcdonald Beach from that far away! She started pacing in the back and she was walking all over the kids’ feet and breathing her panting dog breath in their faces. The kids expressed their disapproval with “Nikita!”, but we were all loving her sudden burst of energy. As we drove along Templeton, she started making her anticipatory crying noise, like when she knows the beach/water is nearby. It was so GREAT to see her full of energy, even though she couldn't enjoy the beach the way she used to.
There are also things that the photos don't show me that I will always remember - how anytime I was sad, she would rest her head on my lap, telling me, "I know you're sad and I love you"; how anytime Brian and I would try to hug, she'd get all worked up and try to get between us! How we never had to clean our floors because she always made sure it was always licked clean (when the kids were little, she knew to stand guard by their high chairs because food was always coming her way soon!). How anytime I'd sit on the floor, she would curl up between my legs; and how anyone that was lucky enough to meet her loved her playful spirit and kind and gentle nature.
We have been so lucky to have been Nikita's "pack" for almost 15 years. She has shared her unconditional love with us her whole life. She has been with us since her beginning and we are honoured we were there with her at her end. We will miss her and always love her.
Good-bye 'Kita-pup. Thank-you for the loyalty and love you brought to our lives.