I watched Katie be born into this world. She stole my heart that very moment.
I watched her grow into an adorable puppy who loved to play and get dirty. Who even at only three months old would lay next to me when I sat on the top step of the porch with her head on my knee. Her puppyhood was effortless. She potty trained within days, and rarely chewed anything she wasn’t supposed to. Inside at any rate. She and her sister did demolish a full set of outdoor chair cushions. I have to give them credit, they made certain those evil chair cushions could never rise up from the grave and take over the world.
As an adult she followed me everywhere. She was my shadow, my friend, my walking partner, my heart dog. She slept every night on her dog bed right next to mine, preferring it to sleeping on my bed. She would get too hot on my bed.
But no matter where I was, Katie was always there. She laid beside me while wrote, occasionally getting up to bump my arm to remind me she was there. I would always pause in my writing to reach down and pet her for a moment. When I stepped out for a cigarette, she would follow me to the front porch and lay quietly.
Full of life and full of fun, she was the instigator of play among the dogs. She had a big squishy ball with a squeaker in it outside that she loved to chase after or pick up and run with while shaking it to entice her mother and sister to run and play too. She loved to wrestle with the other dogs and if they wouldn’t play, she would throw herself around like a goober. She loved snow and could run and leap and roll in it endlessly.
She was always happy, quick to wag her tail and respond to attention. Even as a full grown dog, she still loved to climb in my lap with her front paws. I would take her head in my hands, put my forehead against hers and kiss the top of her nose and tell her she was the bestest, most beautifullest, wonderfullest, dog in the whole world and always would be. And she would wag her tail and snuggle closer.
She even took part in my author photo.
Last spring, Katie had gained quite a bit of weight. I switched her to a better dog food and restricted her people food intake. Something that took some work with three kids in the house. After a few months, she started to loose weight. I thought this was a good thing.
Around November, she started slowing down. She didn’t play as much. When we headed inside, she didn’t bound ahead of me to the front porch and wait for with a smile on her doggy face and her tail wagging. But she was over four years old at this point I thought maybe she was just maturing.
By January I was getting concerned. She had continued to lose weight and seemed to be drinking more. In February I took her to the vet for a round of blood tests. She had lost more weight and when we got our big snow, she showed no enthusiasm. In fact, she started to bound through it and collapsed, too tired to go any farther.
The blood tests revealed she had a blood sugar of over 400. My vet didn’t recommend treatment. She didn’t come right out and say it, but she knew something I did not. She knew she would be seeing me again soon. The diabetes had already damaged her internal organs.
I brought Katie home to love her for the time I had left with her.
Over the next month, she wasted away, the bones on her head becoming more prominent until she had a minor seizure. She had more throughout the night, each time it scared her and she would press herself against him, her beautiful eyes big and fearful.
And I knew.
I knew it was time to say goodbye to my beloved Katydid. I wasn’t ready, I don’t think I would have ever been ready, but I would have liked more time. She was only four and half. I should have had at least eight more years with her, preferably ten to twelve.
But I didn’t have that and Katie needed me. She needed me to love her enough to let her go. So I drove her up to the vet the next morning. The vet gave her a shot that would put her sound asleep. The same medication they use to put dogs under for surgery. She send Katie over the Rainbow Bridge after she was asleep, after I had a chance to say goodbye.
After the vet gave the shot, I took Katie’s head in my hands and placed my forehead against hers and I kissed the top of her nose. And for the last time, I told her she was the Bestest, most beautifullest, wonderfullest dog in the whole world and always would be. As she slowly sank into sleep, I told her I loved her, that she would always be my bestest, and I thanked her for being in my life.
And then I watched her go. On March 23rd 2013, I said goodbye to the absolute best dog. I had watched this beautiful, perfect dog born into this world, into my life, into my heart and now I watched as she passed from this world and my life, but never my heart.
My beloved Katie will always be in my heart, running, playing, wagging her tail and full of life.
Run free my beloved Katydid, until we meet again.