Monday, July 2, 2012

Remembering Katie

"Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in. "  Mark Twain

Katie as a yound dog.  She liked to wear a sweater.
Our little rat terrier Katie died last week.  And of course, we’re all sad.  Truth be told I’m the saddest.  We got her when she was a year old.  She chose me to be her person just as I chose her to me my dog. 
I (and Husband by default) seem to be one of those people who dogs seem to find rather than vice versa.  We took Katie from some elderly ladies who realized that a young terrier was too much for them to handle.  As a puppy she jumped and jumped as terriers tend to do and broke her leg.  Then she kept chewing off her cast and her leg never healed properly.  Although it looked quite painful, I don’t think it bothered her much until later years. 
She was quite skinny with a shiny coat, spritely and deer-like.  Her ears set on her head like oblong radar antenna not missing anything going on.  In true terrier fashion she never let her diminutive figure impede her.  She acted as if she was a big and strong as a pit bull and had a bark that was as loud as it was incessant.  Mostly she was clever as hell and I’m sure smarter than some people I know. 
We still enjoyed what remained of you puppydom while still living in Arkansas.  I’d take her to my parent’s house and let her chase rabbits in their backyard.  We could tell that she chose never to actually catch.  What would she do with it if she had?
Moving to Texas didn’t slow Katie down a bit.  She enjoyed chasing racquet balls in the backyard with a second rat terrier we acquired.  When baby Bruce arrived I fretted for months and months on how the canine babies would take to him, but both took it in stride. 
Katie and baby Bruce
I did begin to notice that Katie and Chevy were getting on in years and that Bruce might like a dog to play with him and truly be “his.”  I would argue this as a moment of pure insanity later, however.  So the boxer named Dexter came into our lives.  About 3 months later we moved to Tennessee.  All three took the move in stride and even the arrival of baby Reed. 
Lately I’d really begin to notice the slowdown in my Katie.  Mentally and physically she was declining at a rapid pace.  I even blogged about it.  Often I would hope she simply wouldn’t wake up one morning.  That never happened.  Last Friday when she had trouble standing I took her to the vet for their assessment of her condition.  When I dropped her off I knew deep in my heart that “this was it.”

Sure enough the vet called later and informed me that she was severely anemic and it would cost approximately $500 to determine what her maladies were and even then there might be nothing to do.  Hastily I hung up the phone and called Husband.  Pet euthanasia clearly falls in his division.  He and I didn’t speak again until he got home from work.  I lied to Bruce all afternoon as to when we would pick up Katie.
Here’s where parenting is  no fun!  Bruce being so visual, inquisitive and literal accepted that Katie and died and Husband had told him.  BUT – he wanted to know EXACTLY where she was.  “When can we go to the cemetery to put flowers on her grave?” he asked.  I ran from the room at that point.  Husband asked that the vet take care of Katie.  I wish he’d done differently, but then I shouldn’t have charged him with this task if I didn’t want him to take care of it.  I understand Husband’s reasoning -it’s 105 degrees outside.  We’ve had NO rain.  Our backyard is comprised entirely of rocks.  He’s got 3 fires burning on the National Forest and 3000 hippies occupying the north end of the forest.  Lastly he said as if it was an afterthought – he didn’t want to do a dog burying event with Bruce right now….  That made me feel better.  He was sad too. 
Last photo of Katie
Questions from Bruce keep coming.  Maybe we should have done this differently, but that’s being parents. 
As for me:  Friday night I had a long overdue breakdown.  Initially because of the death of the dog in the end I guess it was for lots of reasons.  Sometimes we need heaving, cleansing sobs to surge through our bodies.  Katie was my reason on Friday. 
Many are FAR better interpreters and scholars of the Bible, so I won’t argue that.  But in my feeble mind I can’t see that God wouldn’t have a place for the animals who we have loved, who have given us pleasure and comfort through the years.  Husband worked many, many nights and weekends during our marriage and Katie certainly saved me from loneliness.  She kept all my secrets. She gave me peace and peace of mind.  She slept on the couch with me each evening.  She slept in my bed with me each night, something my kids aren’t even permitted to do.  Katie even caught my tears on the back of her neck many times.  Of course it’s not like the loss of a person, but she was my dog and I was her person and I’ll miss her. 
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."  Will Rogers

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