I decided I needed to get some memories down while I can still remember. You never know and every time I think of this first story, I still giggle....kinda
This must have been about 8 or 9 years ago, the boys were younger and all in school. I worked (still do) full time, so yeah, they were latch-key kids. What of it?
Anyhoo, I get a frantic call from home after school and it's C telling me that there is a dead dog in the backyard! Now, for informational purposes, you need to know that we had two dogs of our own at the time. A beautiful reddish golden retriever named Kodi, who seriously was the best dog ever. If I had the money to clone her I would have. And then we had the Rat. I called her the Rat, because, well, I hated her. She was a little mutt that we got for the kids when they were really little. I did no research, no studying, purely on impulse got her 'cause she was such a cute puppy. She grew up MEAN. Not just a little crabby but MEAN! Once she went after a neighbor boy and I told the kids I would have to take her to the shelter, that she was a liability and could harm others. C begged and begged. Promised he would work with her, train her and that she wouldn't be a problem. I relented. He held up his end of the bargain, and she was tolerable until she was a lot older and then refused to stay housebroken. I regret every day that we ever got her, 'cause we were stuck with her a REALLY long time. I used to say, when she died, it would be a tough 10 minutes. But I digress......
So, the frantic phone call
C: "Mom! There's a dead dog in the backyard!"
Me: "A wha?"
C repeats himself
Me; "Don't touch it! What does it look like? What is Kodi and Whitney (rat) doing?"
C: "I brought them inside."
Me: "Okay, don't touch it. Leave it alone and Dad will be home to take care of it in a little bit."
I am thinking, how in the freak did a dog get in our back yard? We have a high fence, our dogs are indoors for the most part, they couldn't have been outside for very long, so what happened?
Splenda gets home - addresses the issue and I get updated when I get home.
Me: "So... the dead dog?"
Splenda: "Yeah, weird. Looked like Whitney at first glance, but as I got closer, it was clearly not her, but similar."
Me: "What did you do with it?"
Splenda: "Threw it in the big garbage can, what did you want me to do with it?"
Me: "I don't know. Had it been dead a long time, was it bloody? What was it like?"
Splenda: "It was pretty stiff, so had been there a while and no real blood that I could see."
Big on details, these dudes are. Okay, so we think it through out loud. Doesn't look like any one's that we know. Certainly not a dog we've seen in the neighborhood. Splenda discovers a small hole under a board in the fence. We come to the conclusion that stray dog comes into our back yard. Rat dog is very territorial and starts something with the stray. They get into it (there were some telltale signs on rat dog) and Kodi, being the protective girl she was, ended it.
What to do? No tags on the body, not familiar, have no idea who to call or try to notify. Leave dead dog in the big garbage can, next day is garbage day. Que sera sera.
Fast forward to two days later. I am driving down the street and turning the corner and what do I see on the lamppost? A lost dog sign with what? A picture of a dog that looks eerily similar to dead stray dog now in it's final resting place of the local landfill.
CaaarrrrraaaP! Do I call the number? Do I tell this poor family that um, my dogs killed your little dog? Wow, what to do. I've got a real moral dilemma here now don't I? I mull it over all the way to the office and decide. Nope. No phone call. Here's how I justified it.....if we had lost a dog, I would be consoling my kids with a lie of how the dog probably ended up with a really loving family that was so happy to have it. That they had prayed and wished for a dog of their own, that when ours landed on their porch, well, it was an answer to their prayers and that probably their kids were sick with some terrible disease and the dog was going to be all therapeutic for them ..... blah blah blah. Yep. That is the bull**** I would have fed my kids about it, if we had lost our dog.
I totally took the chicken way out and told myself it was better for them to believe that crap about their beloved dog than to have to tell them that um, yeah, my dogs KILLED HER!
Is the story over? Well with THAT dead dog. And yes, I do still giggle.....kinda.
Fast forward to about 5 years after that. A rare moment of affection with me and the Rat and Kodi.
My beloved Kodi is getting old and arthritic. She's still as sweet and smart and obedient as ever. Really. I know people say they have the best dog, but she really was the best dog. As she and the Rat dog both aged though, they got a little impatient with each other. They really had a love/hate relationship. They loved to hate each other. The Rat was just more vocal and aggressive about it. Kodi tolerated her.
The boys and Splenda are playing basketball in the back yard. Rat dog being the pissy little thing she was, just starts barking and getting all annoyed and basically hollering about disrupting her backyard time with such foolishness. Kodi, being in heat and a tich impatient (imagine that), has had it with her. Enough. Enough of her yippiness, her bullying and her yapping/snapping. She goes over to the Rat, and grasps her in the "death shake". Shake, shake, shake, while Splenda and the boys are frantically trying to get her off and letting go. When Kodi finally comes to her senses, the damage is done. The Rat's back is clearly broken and she is near death.
Whoa. What the? What has just happened? Tough ten minutes turns into a tough 24 hours. And Kodi the beloved is now dubbed Kodi the Killer dog. Affectionately of course.
Buried the Rat in the front yard flower bed wrapped in C's favorite beach towel. We later, poured a porch over that flower bed and so she is now entombed.
As for Kodi-best dog, albeit killer dog? She carried on for a few more years. She grew terribly lonely after the Rat was gone. I think she liked her around purely for canine companionship and I am convinced that as much as your dogs love you, they also love other dogs. They NEED a canine companion. No offense to the humans. She was lonely enough that we got Kasey a year or so later for her. Well, for my son. Okay for all of us. The logic behind him? If she was such a great dog and all the research says Golden Retriever's are such good dogs, well by dang, let's get another golden retriever. Bad idea. But that's another story. Let's just leave it at "he is lucky to be alive after today at the groomer's. I am tired of being humped in public."
While Kodi loved Kasey and he really brought youth to her life and I believe added some time, there is no escaping the inevitable. Dogs die. They die before we do. They don't live as long and as much as people say, "It's just a dog", they are more than that. They are a part of your family, your pack. For true dog lovers, they become an extension of you and your family. Kodi was my dear friend, running partner and consoler. She was loyal to a fault and I only wish I could have cloned her into a mini size. Like a 10 pound version of her.
Did I feel bad about dead stray dog? Yes. I probably should have called. Or not. I really don't know. Maybe the fantasy of the dog being well cared for was the best. I don't know.
Did I feel bad after Rat dog died? Yes. Okay, it was more than 10 minutes. But I'll be completely honest. I think I cried more watching my children mourn than what I felt. I really hated her that much. And that is saying something considering what a dog person I am. I learned to never make an animal impulse buy again! Study, research and wait for just.the.right.one.
And when Kodi passed? Well, let's say we still miss her EVERY SINGLE DAY! I have her ashes on my mantle (yes, I'm weird - what of it?) and her ball and picture are beside them. She was my rock while the kids grew up. She was the baby I had when I couldn't get pregnant anymore. She was OURS.
As for the living canines we have now? Freakshow is freaky as always, but for some reason, we all still love the big dope. And my baby Jordan is practically perfect in every way. I should have named her Mary freakin Poppins. Except for her high pitched yap, she is just about the best dog ever. If she didn't have such large paws to fill.
When they pass? I can't say how hard it will be. I'll cross that bridge when it comes.