Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Our Sweet Kaika

About a month or two ago, Diesel and Kaika were playing. Shortly afterwards, Jeff noticed that Kaika was limping on her right front foot. We figured it was a sprain and decided to hold off and watch it for a while. Time passed and it was not getting better. She was eating and drinking but losing weight rapidly. She would get exhausted just walking across the yard and sleep literally all day long. Prior to all of this, her back legs were starting to give her problems. Five years ago, she had hip problems when we moved here so I wasn't surprised but the added weight on them now was not good. Jeff was petting her one day and she just fell over. Sometimes when she would lay down, she wouldn't beable to get back up depending upon the angle. She looked like a turtle on its back. I could tell it freaked her out.

We finally made the decision Monday to put her to sleep yesterday afternoon. It was one of the hardest decision I have had to make. It was hard. We knew that something was wrong and if we did get her checked out, it would result in this anyway. As I was talking to Jeff about scheduling the appointment over the phone, I looked out the window and saw her looking back at me. No doubt did I question what I was doing and I broke down. It hurt, no doubt. After all we had had her as a puppy for the last 11.5 years. She is the longest dog on my side of the family to ever live. We had bad luck with dogs growing up. So to face euthenatia was hard. I prayed several times to just let her die at home, but the stubborn thing wouldn't do it.
I prepped Gunnar the best that I could. The death of Rusty is still very fresh in his mind from one year ago. He understands. He heard me talking to my mom on the phone about going with me and having dad watch Gunnar. Afterwards he wanted to know what that was about. I had to explain to him that Kaika was sick, she was going to the hospital and would not be coming home. She was going to be with Rusty again and with Jesus and happy and not sick.
Yesterday came. Gunnar and I brought her bed into the family room so that she could lay inside for the day. Gunnar decided that he wanted to read to Kaika. She gave him sweet kisses on the face. He loves that dog. Her appointment was at 3:30pm so we had lots of time to have her inside. When the time came, we loaded her up in the car and headed to my parents. Gunnar and I talked more about what was happening. He got really quiet and in a really sad, quiet voice he said, "I am going to miss her." It made me so sad until he said, "Okay, so we had two dogs, now we just have one. Now we can get another one." Like, no way. We are going to be a one dog family from here on out. Gunnar said his goodbyes and we headed to the vet.

Poor Kaika was shaking so bad waiting for the appointment. Part of procrastinating this visit was me. I wasn't sure if I wanted to be there when it happened. I witnessed two other dogs dying in the past so I knew that I could do it. A big part of my decision to be there was that I did not want my sweet Kaika to have to be there alone and scared. Not sure of what was going to happen. I wanted her to know that I loved and cared for her to the end. When we first walked in there, the staff would make comments about cancer and age. We had no idea what it was. This was the same vet clinic we took her to 5 years ago randomly. I got a recommendation from someone in our ward that has lived here forever and she said they took their animals here for years and loved them. I love them too! They are so incredibly caring and genuinely love animals. You could just feel it. The vet was awesome! I loved it there and my mom has now converted to them as well after witnessing their love for animals. The process was short and very peaceful compared to the others that I have witnessed. As she slowly relaxed and drifted off to heaven, the vet could immediately tell where the problem was. I was at peace with our decision while talking to him. Our sweet girl had major cancer in her shoulder. It was very apparent with her body in a relaxed state. The tumor was HUGE and he suspected that she would have gone on her own soon. Bone cancer in the shoulder is one of the worst. Had we caught it sooner, the only thing that we could have done was amputate her leg and shoulder. Given that her hips have been a major problem for the last 5 years, that would have been a bad option. Ultimately it would have resulted in this. It gave me great comfort to know that I did the right thing for her. She is no longer in great pain. She is in a happy place. It was great having my mom with me. I had actually cried the day before so when it came time, I was okay and then to hear what she was going through made it more okay. I miss her terribly. How could I not after 11.5 years. Gunnar has yet to say anything about her yet. It will be interesting to see if he does say anything as things sink in.

She was a crazy girl. The bloodhound mixed in with the lab made her stubborn and unwilling to listen when she was younger. The lab made her a puppy for about 5 long years. She was fun and feircely loyal to me. She was a big girl weighing in a little over 100lbs. She LOVED chasing squirrels but now we have a squirrel problem because Diesel has befriended them all. She loved to howl when emergency vehicles went by. She got Rusty in on it at an early age. Diesel would just look at her like she was crazy. He never understood. She loved going for car rides and walks. She loved playing tug of war and was extremely strong. She was so tall. Her head was taller than the table so she would immediately head over to Gunnar's spot at the table, when let in, knowing that he would always leave something behind. She surprisingly immediately took to Diesel. They loved to play together. Chase was always fun to watch. She actually let him sleep with her curled up on their bed. It never bothered her. They both liked each others company. She was a great mommy to him when he needed it most. He learned a lot from her as the other dog in the house. He followed her everywhere. As a younger puppy she was a pain. Her and Rusty were major trouble makers but nicely mellowed out with age. She was such a beautiful dog. Her coloring was a pretty golden and her eyes looked like they were lined with eyeliner. We always got compliments on walks. We will miss out sweet Kaika greatly.

Side information that I want to remember: Euthenasia can be spendy. I got a quote from the vet my parent's actually take their dogs and it was going to be $80 (based on weight) for the euthenasia, another $40 if I wanted to be there (to insert a catheter and schedule an office visit), and another something depending upon how I wanted to dispose of her body. The Idaho Humane Society was going to be $55 for the euthenasia and another $40 if I wanted to be there. Disposing of bodies is free for anyone (we took Rusty there), plus it is a 30 or so minute drive to get there. I called Caldwell Vet and it was $65 for the entire thing...euthenasia, to be there and disposing of her sweet body and it is down the road about 10 minutes, if that. To me, this showed me that they are a vet clinic that truly cares for animals versus the money. They provided awesome care. There were also people in and out constantly which to me meant that people really like them. With that same sad call, I also got Diesel's neuter set up for Monday. Talk about dealing with extremes.

4 clever remarks:

Amber H. said...

My heart just breaks for you guys! It sounds like you made the right decision though to not let her stay in so much pain. How is Diesel doing? Does he run around looking for her? I know how attached my dogs are to each other and I can't imagine how much one would be mourned by the other if they were gone. I hope he is doing ok. Big hugs to you guys!

Danielle said...

I'm so sorry you had to do that! Sounds like she had a great life though- nice and long too:) That was a very sweet tribute to her.

Megan and Greg said...

I'm so sorry. The whole thing sounds really hard. Your profile pic is so cute! I thought you'd be bigger! You're still nice and small!


I'm sorry for your loss- and the hard decision you had to make.