Friday, March 23, 2012

A sad entry.

Kenna (1996-2012)

Yesterday was just flat out depressing. I came downstairs after getting Silas dressed and Dave mentioned that Kenna had pooped in the family room. He said her back legs weren't doing to well and he had to carry her outside. When he brought her back in, I could tell that something had changed. Her body was somewhat curled and her eyes were moving back and forth. Being the "want to be informed" dog owner that I am, I made the #1 mistake (which admittedly, I have made before)- checking the trusted source for all questions: Based on my extensive five minute research, I concluded that she had "vestibular disease" which is basically where your body feels completely disoriented, unable to tell up from down, left from right, etc. She wasn't able to stand, and I knew we were in trouble when she refused a bagel. Typically, when I have suspected she will go, I break down and cry, and take her to the vet, only to be sent home with some medicine. This time, looking at her, I knew it was her time, and that I would be coming home alone. I didn't cry for her, necessarily, I cried because I knew I would be screwed without her. For the past fifteen years, she has been through it all with me. Add to that that I pretty much cry at the sight of any dead animal (other than squirrels; those I just think that is one less squirrel that may end up in my attic), and I knew this would be hard. I told the girls to say bye to Kenna and surprisingly, they took it well. Even Ella, who has broken down at the thought of Kenna not being able to attend her wedding, kept her composure. She held Hanna's hand as my friend picked them up for camp and was strong for her. At that moment, she seemed years older than she is; I was proud of her. I prayed that I would be able to be that strong when I picked them up.

I took Kenna to the vet and didn't even ask to see the vet. I knew they would be able to put a band-aid on her ailment, but for how long? And at what expense? Her quality of life was only going down from here, and knowing her, she wouldn't have wanted that. She was seemingly human at times. Once, tired of overpaying for her haircuts at Petsmart, I bought a pair of clippers and went to town on her fur. She was so humiliated by my lack of skill with the clippers, she hid under my bed for hours, refusing to come out. I had to coax her out, telling her it really wasn't as bad as she thought it was. It was pretty bad. But she forgave me and allowed me to cut her hair from then on. She preferred it to the groomers since they always attempted to cut her nails, which she hated. We eventually resorted to filing them with a dremel tool, which is extremely time consuming; she hated that too. Newman on the other hand could care less about his nails, his fur, any of it. He is easily bribed with anything peanut butter. He, too, has been at a loss for the past 24 hours... yes, it has been just about that, but it feels like she has been gone for much longer. As sick as it sounds, I would clean up all the poop and pee she could produce to have her back. And it does sound sick. I miss her greatly and the house feels empty without her, even if for the most part she was a lump of fur either in the family room or in the living room.

We planted a tree for her in the backyard and will leave Newman in charge of the "watering". Dave spent a lot of time yesterday digging a deep hole for the tree. We made a border around it and filled it with stones. Then we each shared the thing we loved most about Kenna. Dave: that she loved me (Nina) with all her heart. Ella: that she always seemed happy. Hanna: that she always licked your hand when you put it in front of her. Nina: that she loved to be outside; on snowy days she would lay in the snow and just stick her nose out as if inhaling the cold winter air. She was playful and loyal.

After her memorial service, we cleaned up and looking at her tree, I noticed it was crooked. I didn't have the heart to tell Dave to redo it, so this morning, I dropped the kids off, and to commemorate the 24 hour mark of her passing, I redug up the tree and straightened it out. I told myself that if we sell our house at some point, we would have to note that the eastern redbud does not stay with the house. I can picture myself moving- all of our things packed in a UHaul, and a 12 foot redbud strapped to the top of our minivan. There is no way I can leave it here. It is connected to me now. Not in a "we are all part of the earth"/ hippie kind of way, but emotionally. I can picture her laying under that tree, her blue eyes staring off, waiting for an unsuspecting squirrel to wander into the yard. Actually, I see her out there with or without the tree. I feel like I should tell myself to grow up, and stop making myself miserable thinking about her. I have cried incessantly for the past 24 hours. Except in the presence of my kids. I will be strong for them. Losing her has been much harder than I thought. Actually I knew it would be hard. She has been through it all with me: boyfriends, marriage, houses, babies... my loyal companion. She even helped with the kids, herding them... sure sometimes they would get nipped on the heels, but she was only doing her job. I will miss her greatly and believe she is in Heaven. I've painted a great picture of a dog's life in Heaven, so much so that Ella thinks that Kenna is lucky to be able to be there. I tell myself that too. Lots of dog bones, peanut butter treats, and endless squirrels and sheep to herd. She is a in a good place, a better place, and free from the old age that limited her here.

I will miss you, Kenna. Now, go get those sheep!
Kenna's tree- don't tell me if it is crooked!


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. I, too, had a dog for almost 16 years. My sweet Brandy passed away 8 years ago, so I can tell you that, thankfully, the pain does fade away, but the love never will. The love and memories will remain in your heart forever and that's the most wonderful thing.

  2. Beautiful tribute....GRAMPS would be so proud of the tree also. Yep, your right take it along wherever you go!???