Sunday, January 3, 2016

In Memoriam: Keila January 2, 2001 - March 23, 2015

You came into my life as baggage
Baggage of a an old relationship
The relationship which left your mom with wounds
Wounds inflicted by another woman on woman
The woman that I love
The love that carried me out of depression
A depression caused by loss
Loss of a job, a house, a parent, a lover, a dog
The dog which had my heart
The heart that I gave to you
The you that is now just baggage

We discussed our decision to take two dogs on the road long before we left Houston.  Even then, we knew Keila's days were numbered.  We spoke of her not being quite so active but even last year, I wrote this:

Keila 'March 2014

One very excited friendly puppy awakes and searches for her favorite toy.

This determined energetic canine believes her job is to play ball.

Before seven am on a Saturday, the obsessed happy retriever forces sleepy people to toss the red rubber repeatedly. Then a tired panting dog stares with continued intent until her understanding loving mom feeds her favorite creature.

Keila no longer played ball.  Her old tight hips hurt and neuropathy took her dignity away.  Euthanasia wasn't any easy choice and became a sporadic, months-long discussion.

We bought a ramp for the RV, we cleaned up after accidents, slept lightly and listened carefully.  We noticed she didn't smile any more. Why make her give us any other signs. She stood still, facing walls and staring at nothing. It was time.  

We celebrated her final day by creating more memories and saying goodbyes.  We let our friends share her with us on her Facebook page and requested a photo of her favorite place, a trail in Tok, AK behind the Tetlin NWR headquarters. 

It was her favorite because she loved the springiness provided by the moist, dense thawed tundra.  She sprinted through those woods like she'd been poked by a cattle prod, enjoying the hell out of how the ground supported her fragile hips rather than hurting them.  Keila's favorite playground is now fondly referred to as Keila's Trail by national wildlife refuge volunteer coordinator, Kay Lynn. 

Late in the day, in a town in northeast Texas, she has crossed the rainbow bridge to be with all the others loved by us and others. 

First day on the road without her
We loaded and hit the road after a short walk and lots of goodbyes
No kolaches sons Subway sufficed
We discussed fill ups and breaks

We crossed the state line to Arkansas and she wasn't there
We bought brownies and chow chow at a fruit stand
While Frances was stalked by the cat she did not see
We looked for LP

A second outing this time with a bag
We arrived and set up camp with only one to tell "stay"
No one begged at dinner
We took a hike down a long trail next to the river
Walking through mossy lowland forest without her

We stopped to watch the rushing waters and sat on a bench
We discussed our happiness with our life and family of three four or five
I said I'd consider another but Frances deserved the opportunity to be an only
Kathy said the next would find us
We remembered her running through the bouncy bog of Tetlin

We made discoveries on the walk home
We looked for TV channels and set up the DVD player
No one sat on our toes or leaned against our legs
We paused and planned our day tomorrow
We told a barking Frances to "sshh"

We got comfortable and fell asleep watching Allie
We put the dishes away and got ready for bed
Kathy took Frances for a very quick walk
We slept well until the rain came again
I awoke to go to the bathroom

I tiptoed to the microwave to see the time
No one thumped a tail
No eyes watching me in the night
Only one in a kennel sound asleep
This was the first day on the road without her

1 comment:

  1. Kathy & Joy,

    I am reading about Keila - I am so sorry for the loss for both of you. What a wonderful life you provided her for her unconditional love. We love our fur babies. Michael and I had to make a heart felt decision to put one of our fur babies down a few months ago, it was soooo difficult and honestly I think we probably waited a little too long, I think we were both hoping mother nature would take its course and we would have to make that trip; in the long run we did.