Ode to a Canine

Let me tell you about the dog who saved our family.

Puppy School Graduation Day!

Kabi Jo was found wandering in a park near my mother’s home on Valentine’s Day, 2008. Less than four months after losing my dad. We advertised to the hilt and checked her for an ID chip, but no one came to claim her. So she claimed us and we claimed her. We called her our Valentine from Daddy. She made us laugh in the midst of our tears and gave us kisses and cuddles when we needed it most. She introduced us to other neighborhood dogs and families on our daily walks. She protected us from strangers (and from male uncles and cousins!). Every night she would burrow under the covers of my mom’s bed and warm mom’s feet. She was a saving grace when we needed her most.

Campaigning canine

Last year my mom headed out on her own adventure as a Peace Corps Volunteer. And Kabi found a new home with my grandparents. She was already attached to them – Papa was guaranteed to have jerky in his shirt pocket and she loved hanging out on Grandma’s lap.

A few months after our third anniversary with Kabi, she was diagnosed with kidney failure. Our grandparents lovingly took it upon themselves to give her regular fluid infusions and medicine, hoping that her labs would turn around and we would all have more time. There were some touch and go moments, but stick around she did.

Doing what she does best...snoozing under the covers

Then we lost Papa in June. And Kabi again became a lifesaver. She was there for Grandma during the saddest, darkest days. When we scattered to our respective homes after the memorial service, Kabi was there. When the cards and phone calls started to slow down, Kabi was there. She kept them both going through daily walks and lots of snuggle time. And Kabi started to get better herself. Her labs returned to almost normal and she again had pep in her step.

We got to spend Christmas a few weeks ago with Grandma and Kabi at my cousin’s house. It was clear to us all that our beloved pup was declining again. Some days she wouldn’t eat at all, and she was content to sit on her blanket and keep watch over her family (and of course yip at us if we got out of hand). When we left on Monday morning, I hugged Kabi tight and she gave me a kiss. I was pretty sure it was the last time I would see my Valentine.

I was right.

We got the call today. After a rapid decline and a miserable weekend, Grandma had decided it was time. My siblings and I called each other and Grandma to offer words of comfort and made plans to Skype with mom and deliver the sad news.

Rest in peace, Kabi Jo. We love you and we appreciate you so much. You were there when we needed you most.

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