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Old dog, new tricks

Dakota gets his 3rd chance at age 9

One year gone

December15

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Dear Dakota,

A year ago today we lost you. And we really lost you. It doesn’t seem like a year, even though a lot has happened. But the loss of you is still pretty big. I’ve lost other dogs, D, which you know–but your absence has felt bigger to me. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to decide why that is. I think it’s because of what I felt from the start: You got cheated. You had more years in you and you didn’t get to use them. And I got cheated out of you.

I am still satisfied with your life. You had a wonderful life and I know that. I know absolutely that we took good care of you and that you had a ball. For all but the last year of your life you had 38 acres to explore, and you marked every inch. You had your precious meadow that was your private playground, and you policed it mercilessly, keeping every rabbit, field mouse and vole in line. And when we moved and gave up acres, you gained territory with more rabbits. You had a good life.

You had a Man who rescued you, who didn’t blink over how much lopping off your leg would cost, who said repeatedly that you were family. You had a Boy who intrigued you and provided you with things to wonder about. And you had other dogs to love on. You had Evelyn to love, and she had you to absolutely worship. And you had me.

And I still miss you. I wish you were still here tripping me at the top of the stairs so I could cuss you. You were a pain in the ass in many respects but you were my sidekick and the nicest pain in the ass I’ve ever known.

Love,

Your Woman


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by posted under Life without you | 9 Comments »    

A birthday

August10

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Dear Dakota,

We are having a birthday pawty today, and I’m sorry you aren’t here for the sardines. Evelyn is 5 today. I know you don’t care because your relationship with her was often ambivalent. I don’t blame you for that at all, sweet boy. She is the best worst dog we’ve ever lived with. We will give her the sardines today and remind her to think about you, but I can’t make any promises that she will. The humans, however, think about you often. How could we not? If you have celebrations where you are, go party hard for the worst roommate ever and have fun. You deserve that and so much more.

-Your Woman

005

by posted under Uncategorized | 3 Comments »    

i ketched a fly

June17

not much to report, but i am so awesome. i just went outside and ketched a fly in my mouth. it was ez. so, that is all. i am awesome and here is a pitcher to prove it.

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by posted under just fun | 6 Comments »    

Remembering you, 6 months gone

June16

On the sixth month anniversary of your death, I am practicing remembering your life with gratitude. It is a deliberate choice and it’s hard. It is easy to feel anger at those who abused you but harder to think it’s their loss that they didn’t know what you could become. For me, anyway.

Part of my exercise in deliberate gratitude has been to look at many pictures of your life. They do make me smile. I want to share them with everyone here so they can smile, too, and help me remember how lucky we were that you chose us. Thank you, my golden sweet potato. (And how fitting that the pictures I chose are snow pictures. You loved your snow so much!)

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The night before you became a tripawd, asleep with me in our hotel room. You trusted me completely, and I thank you for that.

The night before you became a tripawd, asleep with me in our hotel room. You trusted me completely, and I thank you for that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by posted under Life without you | 4 Comments »    

scaring the humans is fun!

May23

the other nite i scared the humans. it was a lot of fun! we all went to bed. then i started coffing and choking. i did it on purpus. my momma lady getted out of her warm bed and watched me and talked to me and paid a lot of tention to me. i liked it. so i kept doing it. i hid from her, though, and she could not see my face and that made her worried. she opened my mouth to see if something was stuck in my throte but i did not like that. it made me barf some.

my momma lady taked me outside and i paced and paced and pretended to be rilly uncumftra, um, not feeling good. i don’t knoe how to spell it, but i pretended good. so she put me in the car and taked me to the mergency v-e-t. ┬ámy plan backfired. i did not want to do that. i only wanted pets and kisses.

i was so nervus at the mergency v-e-t. shaky shaky shaky. slobbers all over the place. i had a miracle! i made the coffing stop. they still taked a picture of my lungs and neck. they said i looked fine. now please pay $250. then they say if you wanna leave her we can watch her and you can pay more money. my momma lady said no thanks i can watch her for free.

so now i am a mystery. cept my momma lady is pretty sure i was pretending and went too far. i can’t tell. if i do, i mite get in trubble.

that was my intresting nite. how was yours?

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love, evelyn

by posted under just fun | 7 Comments »    
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What came before

Dakota is our Golden Retriever mix, and he was likely born in February 2002. His full name is South Dakota Watson, and we found him on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in August 2002. The area we discovered him had no homes, no structures, no bodies of water, no shelter. He had his permanent teeth but was still a puppy, so we assumed 6 months was a reasonable age guesstimate. He weighed 12 pounds, which was grossly underweight. Two weeks later, he weighed 23 pounds. He was too weak to eat much so we fed him 6 times a day. Sometimes he would just collapse at his food dish and fall down, and I would have to feed him by hand.

I wish Dakota could write this page because he is the only one who knows the beginning. From his birth until the day we found him, we have no idea what he endured. Well, that’s not entirely true. We know some of it, and other bits we can infer from his behavior. For instance, we know for a fact that Dakota was suffering from malnutrition, sarcoptic mange, assorted internal parasites, flea anemia, dehydration and dental enamel hypoplasia (pitting and staining of the teeth commonly resulting from distemper as a puppy before the teeth emerge). We can infer that Dakota had distemper from the hypoplasia. We can infer that he was deliberately dumped. And we can infer that a man in a baseball cap wearing sunglasses hit him with some kind of stick and chased him off with a hose. Dakota has problems with all of those things.

Dakota has every reason in the world to hate people, but he doesn’t. He’s very mistrustful of strangers, but he is beyond loyal to his family. Once he meets someone and gets the ok from us, he opens his heart to them, too. He is very attached to me, probably because he was isolated (due to the mange) for the first 11 weeks we had him. He had nice digs set up for him in our house, but he could only look at our other 2 dogs and not touch them. I was the one providing all his care during that time, as we found out the hard way that mange can be transfered to humans. To protect our young son, no one but me played with Dakota during those 11 weeks.

Because we feel pretty sure that Dakota survived distemper, and he survived being abandoned, surviving cancer should be no biggie for him.

We know Dakota’s cancer is not an osteosarcoma, and his chest films were clear, one month apart. We are very optimistic about his long-term prognosis in light of those facts. Hopefully we have several more years with him and he will grow old with us, just as he should.

Right after we got home with Dakota, all 12 pounds of him.

Eyes swollen shut, ragged ears, and just as calm as could be.