I sat down on the floor of the cubicle at my vet’s clinic. Kodiak, my almost two year old blue heeler mix settled down next to me. Her eyes were looking right into me and I hugged her neck tightly while I whispered in her ear, “You are such a good girl!” Her 99 pound frame struggled to gain all of my lap- but there just wasn’t room on my lap for her. She already hogged my heart.
Dr Doer came into the room and tried to smile. “Look at that teddy bear of a dog,’ she said softly. I smiled wanly, we had originally named Kodie, Kodiak because when she arrived at our home after being rescued from a meth house, she looked just like a little bear.
But, a teddy bear was a far cry from what she had become in the last six weeks. More appropriate would be a grizzly bear with an aggressive nature that kept rearing its ugly head at any time of the day or night.
I requested a muzzle, knowing full well when the first shot hit its mark, she would attack witih a vengenance before the drug would take effect. She had been muzzled at the vet’s before and she fought briefly my attempts to put it on her.
Prior to this last visit for this special friend, we had shared one last romp in the woods. I had taken her tennis ball with me, and just as a Border Collie is fixated on sheep, Kodie has always been fixated on tennis balls. I threw it for her in the tall grasses until my arm threatened to sue me for pain and suffering. She would run after the ball every time, bringing it back to me then dropping down low to the ground waiting for me to throw it again.
I knew I was stalling and we finally packed it in and headed back to the car. My appointment was at 1:00 and it was almost 1:30 now. But this decision had been difficult, for both Mike and myself, borne of the recent attacks Kodie had launched, first on the gas station attendant, then on Traveler my horse, and lastly on Mike himself. She had been to several vets in our quest to find answers, but none were available. We knew she was in pain, but no one could locate the source of her pain and her aggression grew.
Gone was the loving pup who would bring me my slippers (after she chewed all the lining out of them of course) Her reluctance to move in the late afternoon brought tears to our eyes. Her shoulders would hunch down and she would hug the rug refusing to budge.
When on the rare occassions in the last week we could coax her outside, she would eat more grass than the horses then promptly vomit orange froth all over the ground. Whatever was wrong with her was major. We decided she deserved to leave with dignity, before she really hurt someone badly.
As the needle found her vein, she reared up and were it not for the muzzle securely fastened, I believe the vet would have lost some skin. But then the anesthesia set in and soon the potassium mixture stilled her courageous heart and she was gone.
Goodbye Kodiak, your torment has ended and ours now begins. I hope those disconnected neurons are firing on full cyclinders now and you have joined the rest who went before you.
I found out later this same day that a good friend had also passed away. She was only 24 years old. I have to think that Kodiak was there to escort Hope over the Bridge and into the tall grasses in search of tennis balls to throw.