Friday, May 22, 2015

Our Adventure Dog, May She RIP...

She was born on a farm in the country outside of a small town surrounded by other small towns in the the middle of nowhere in the Midwest of the United States. She was born of mixed breeds, Austrialian Shepherd, Keeshond, and Border Collie. She was gorgeous.
She was chosen because when we knelt to pet the puppies  in the litter they all ran away. But she stayed. She rolled over on her back for a belly scratch. She was ours immediately.

We named her Keesha. Her full name was Keeshandra, but at one point she was named "Keeshandra Sky 'da Bomb' Anderville" as named by one of two roommates who wanted her to have an amalgamation of her and the other roommate's last name. Everybody loved Keesha immediately, and it would be the same through her entire long life. She had a wonderful, gentle, yet protective disposition...and she was a bit batty sometimes and not at all graceful. You couldn't not fall in love with her.

Keesha started off life a princess among cats. About 16 to be exact. They, of course, were Mother's cats. It was just a year after high school graduation when we got her. We had moved up North, a few hundred miles away from where we had been evicted and left with no place to go, for what would be one of many forays in adult life involving living with Mother.
Sometimes it was as if Keesha thought she was a cat, crawling into your lap, as a full grown dog, rubbing her head and pressing her body against you in the way that cats do.

She got all the love and attention she wanted as she chased ducks across the yard and dug holes in the middle of potted plants. Later when we'd moved across the road to a derelict old farm house, she spent hours running in the fields, often bringing back something dead to bestow proudly on the doorstep, much to terror of the roommate who had only experienced city pets.
In the snow she'd dive, coming up for air, covered in powder. Nothing kept her sitting down, she wanted to be everywhere at once.

Alas, she was to move away from the vast fields where she spent her days running and playing, just under a year after she came to live near them. In a little two door Honda Civic, with her two human "mommies" and as much of their belongings as possible...and two cats...she headed west.

When she got there she had to live in an apartment, but it wasn't all bad because despite the rules she got let out to run free in the complex and have all sorts of new adventures. She didn't adapt to the potty training though, which took her almost four years to figure out. Nor did she ever take to a leash. If she was going for a walk, SHE was walking YOU.

She made many dog friends, some she went camping with near mountains and big lakes, swimming for the first time, running everywhere, her tongue hanging out in sheer happiness.

After her mommies weren't friends anymore and she moved to a new place with her two cat friends she had to say goodbye to them because the her new "daddy" didn't like them. She got a new sister, a horrible beagle mixed breed named Dolly who would be mean to her all the time and hit her with her front leg, which had a metal bar implanted in it. She was a spoiled dog who didn't take kindly to her new housemates. But at least she got to go to dog parks, swim in the streams there, and play Frisbee. She had endless love and energy for playing catch.
It wasn't long before she had to say goodbye to the big green mountains and lakes she loved, and go on another long road trip to a new home. She and Dolly moved East and she became a Chicago dog. She finally got a big backyard to play in and all sorts of new smells to experience.

She may have thought her big adventures were over, but it wasn't before long that her human mommy packed her up and took her away from her new family. Which was fine with her, because she didn't like them anyway, and loved adventure.

Unfortunately she had to live in a kennel for a couple of months before moving west again. Her human mommy packed up all of the things she could fit into a Ford Bronco II and they set off for something new. This time there were mountains to explore again, but these were more brown than green, and sadly there were no lakes. But there sure were adventures!

In the span of a year she got to live with a whole new set of people, tattooed and pierced people, and a little person.
And then just a few months after she had arrived, she got to move to Florida for awhile that included adventures sleeping in the Bronco II at a muggy Louisiana gas station, and then again in Kansas at a cold snowy rest-stop after it had been decided they should return to the mountains.
And then she lived in an old pool house in a bad part of town where her yard was a filled in swimming pool full of dirt. It wasn't the greatest of places and she wasn't allowed to go for walks, but at least she still had her human Mommy, and her mommy's tattooed friend, Body Piercer, to keep her company.
One night, while her human mommy and her roommate were trying to skip out on the rent in the middle of the night, to move to a better safer neighborhood, she almost got taken as collateral by an angry land lady! Luckily she was saved from being separated from the people who loved her, and she went to live in a new place...but that wouldn't last long...

Her human mommy went a little extra "crazy"...and she was stuck in one room with her for many many long days, and then was asked to move out. Having no place to go at the drop of a hat, it was back to the Bronco II for a few nights of sleep while things got figured out. But it was pretty cool, because she got to sleep at a park with a great view of the mountains, and got to run and play way more than she had been able to. And she got a new human daddy. The best human daddy a dog could ask for.

So she was packed up again, this time with a trailer hooked to the Bronco II, and they all headed east towards the Midwest to live with her human grandma, where she would spend the remaining years of her long life, in various different homes in the same city. She got to go on rides into the country ,and long walks in parks where she would play fetch and catch Frisbees and chase squirrels.

Her human mommy moved away after a few years and couldn't take her with because it was a whole other country; and her human daddy moved away too. She was left with her human grandma and grandpa, who loved her very much, and got a new giant yard for her to play in and took her to the lake every weekend from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend. She would jump around in excitement the minute she saw the coolers and suitcases emerge from closets, knowing that it was her favorite time of year. Her human mommy would visit, sometimes not so often, but in the last few years of her life she lived in the same house again, and went on lake trips with her...and then, one day, her family had to make a really hard decision involving her...

She lived to be 17 years old. Her birthday had just passed. Last summer we had talked to Mother about what might have to be done, because she couldn't hold her bowels anymore (turns out she had been eating all of the cherry tomatoes from the plants in the garden and they were causing her to have accidents) and had started to lose her eyesight and her hearing, and we wanted a summer at the lake to be the last thing she remembered. But because she was still really active at the end of last summer, and despite her deteriorating senses she still managed catch toys, her "eternal rest" was postponed.

She made it through the winter, and this Spring had still been taking nightly walks. But then about three weeks ago it became apparent that she couldn't see or hear almost anything anymore, she stopped playing fetch, she no longer pulled on the leash during walks, she stopped eating and lost half of her body weight. She no longer enjoyed the things she had enjoyed her whole life and each day you could see the deterioration.

So it was decided that she should be given her final rest. She had the most amazing life almost any dog could have had - this story was but mere highlights of her many adventures - and lived longer than most pets, and it would have been cruel to let her continue to be in more pain, starving until she couldn't move anymore at all, just because it was going to be hard as humans to let go of her.

We took her into the vet yesterday. The scale read 20 pounds as they weighed her one final time. We were left to say our final private goodbyes before the vet came in to explain what would take place. Mother paid extra so Keesha could have a morphine shot before the euthanizing shot because it's a more relaxing way to go.

We cradled her head in our hands and held our face against hers, tears streaming, and whispered in her ear, telling her that she was the best dog ever, and that everybody loves her, and that it'll be okay.
Even before they had inserted the needle her eyes looked so tired, and before the full shot of morphine was injected she was gone, her head heavy against our hands.
It was probably one of the hardest experiences we've had over the last few years, and unlike any we can recall.

We've never had to put down a pet before, not as adults. As kids, growing up on a farm, those kinds of things got handled differently, or the pets died of natural causes because farm life is much closer to the life an animal lives in nature, and in nature animals don't live as long as house pets...especially those mother cares for. (Mother says the secret is water, plentiful water, as much as they want.)

Keesha was Our Adventure Dog. She was a constant loving and patient road companion. She was one tough hippie broad of a dog with the disposition of an angel.
She will be cremated and returned to her family. We have requested that some of her ashes be sprinkled at the lake she spend so many summers playing at.
And some of the ashes we want, so we can take small amounts on our travels, so she can keep having adventures, and forever be Our Adventure Dog.


RIP, sweet angel dog. <3