Archive for May, 2010

In Remembrance of Katey

Creation of Light by Sparkle Girl

After I wrote about Buster, Margaret Love was one of the many people who sent me thoughtful notes. In hers she included a piece she wrote about Katey. Here it is:

“Today we said goodbye to Katey for the last time, and told her how much we loved her, and told her how much she added to our lives. Katey would have been 15 years old in April, so she had a very long life – much longer than you would predict for a dog of her size. Though she had a lot of years, it wasn’t nearly enough for our family.

We adopted Katey from the Guilford County Animal Shelter in July 1994 when she was a little more than 3 months old. The tag at the shelter said she was a “Golden Retriever mix” and she was a scared little puppy. She wouldn’t even let us get very close for the first few days and it was weeks before anyone else could get close enough to pet her. The folks at the animal shelter suspected that she had been badly abused. But love won out, and we loved her more than she will ever know.

She was 1/3 of our family and no decision was ever made without consideration of Katey. We built our current house when she was 2 years old. We picked out this location because the lot sizes are larger than most developments and we wanted a large yard for Katey. We moved in on a Friday and paid the fence guys extra to fence in the whole backyard over the weekend so she could have a big, safe yard for her new home. This became her empire and she knew every inch and every smell in the yard. In the early years she was a full-time yard dog but gradually progressed to a full-time house dog. When she was younger, she was terribly frightened by thunderstorms and couldn’t get quite close enough as she burrowed into our arms. It was a mixed blessing about 3 years ago when she pretty much lost all her hearing since she never knew when the storms came after that.

Katey was about the best hiking and traveling companion we could imagine. She loved to “go for a ride” and would jump in the car and wait for us to get ready. When we got deep enough in the woods to let her off her leash, she would run ahead on the trail just a little, then stop and run back or wait for us to catch up, but she never let us out of her sight. Being a retriever, she dearly loved the water and jumped into every stream and lake she could find just to go for a little swim. She loved to jump into the edge and lie down until she was submerged to the shoulders. On winter hikes, she would sometimes get frustrated when her water holes were frozen over. But she loved the snow. She always plopped down and rolled over until her beautiful golden coat was covered. The first time we took her to the beach on a camping trip, she thought the ocean was the biggest water bowl she had seen and she took a massive gulp before coughing and spitting as she learned her lesson. She still loved to jump and bark at the waves coming ashore but seldom tried to drink the salt water again.

As most of our family members and friends know, Katey endured our endless Christmas pictures. We posed her by the Christmas tree, by the inflatables in the yard, sitting in a rocking chair in front of the fireplace, and dressed her in ridiculous reindeer antlers. She was very patient with us because, of course, she knew treats were coming. There was always a Santa bag for her behind the Christmas tree and we only had to say the words, “Santa bag” for her to run to her bag and wait for a treat. That didn’t work very well the past couple of years, though, since she had lost her hearing, but the treats kept coming.

Everyone thinks his or her dog is the best and sweetest dog, but few people ever met Katey without commenting on how sweet she was. She had a very gentle personality and was mostly calm throughout her life, especially with strangers. As with all dogs, smells were her world and she had to sniff every new person, animal, and surrounding she met. She was never aggressive and learned early on only to bark when a stranger came into her yard. Her bark sounded pretty ferocious, though, and it came in handy sometimes when somebody trying to sell us something came to the door. Saying no was easier with Katey’s husky bark going on.

Recently her health had declined and her hips just couldn’t hold her up well at all. She slipped on non-carpeted floors very badly and didn’t have the muscles and strength to get back up by herself. She had lost a lot of weight so it was pretty easy to pick her up and carry her out to the backyard. She didn’t eat very well unless we gave her treats, and I think she was more interested in getting something special from us than the food content. She was having a lot of bad times and some bad days, and there didn’t seem to be much relief coming. Fortunately, Dan had 2 weeks off for Christmas and spent every day with her. After that time, it seemed her health declined until it broke our hearts to see her struggle just to move. We can’t say it was clear that the time had come, because it’s never clear when the end is here if you have to make that decision for a loved one. And we loved Katey more than we can put into words.

Remember, Katey was officially listed as a “Golden Retriever mix” and there were many guesses about the “mix” part. Some said maybe a little shepherd or a little chow. It didn’t matter to us what her heritage was. We always knew she was mixed with pure angel. She was our angel for almost 15 years and she is God’s full-time angel now.

We will always love her and her spirit will be with us every day for the rest of our lives.”

Dan & Margaret