In Loving Memory of Our Beloved Canine Companion Kita

On this day one week before Christmas, I’m varying my usual format for a special reason.

Our beloved canine companion Kita’s departure the week before Christmas four years ago makes this day a bittersweet one for us every year. Anyone who loves their furry family members and who has had to deal with their deaths, surely understands the heartache associated with this event.

 

One of our favorite pictures of Kita.
One of our favorite pictures of Kita in her younger, healthier days.
Our beloved canine companion, Kita.
Our beloved canine companion, Kita, in her final days.

Anyone who has read some of my blog posts may recall that I have posted about Kita, hubby’s and my 12 1/2- year-old black lab. Her “full” name as a purebred, on her papers, was Nikita Ebony, born on May 6, 2000.

 

She had a cancerous tumor removed over the summer; she seemed to have overcome that scare, but in early December, her health began deteriorating rapidly, suggesting the vet was not able to remove the cancerous cells entirely, combined with common senior dog health issues. It began with her not eating much of anything for a few days in a row; then she started having problems getting up from a prone position, and needed help from one of us to lift her back end and help her outside.

 

She was such a good dog, trained all those years to NOT do her business inside, even on stacks of newspaper–we couldn’t convince her it was OK. Instead, obviously with great effort and pain, she required our assistance to get outside. Hubby built a ramp, so Kita wouldn’t have to navigate the stairs.

 

Last night with Kita.
Me with Kita on our last night with her.
Last night with Kita.
Hubby and Kita (and kitties) on our last night with Kita.

We kept hoping she would recover, regain some strength – but signs of the inevitable end were too painfully obvious. The happy dog who used to wag her tail all the time and greet hubby at the door when he got home from work – or me, when I returned from shopping trips or errands – was no longer able to do that, although she tried to get up, but couldn’t without help. She could no longer get up on the couch or on our bed to join us; hubby took out the bed frame and box spring so she could at least lie on the mattress with us.

 

The day she made no effort to get up to greet hubby after work – followed by a 1am outing during which she collapsed in the snow and I struggled to get her back inside, as I wept and didn’t care who heard or saw me – convinced us finally  that we had to make that difficult decision to say goodbye to our beloved canine companion.

 

Hubby made the call to our vet, who had graciously made the offer to come to our house again for Kita’s final day: December 18, 2012. The night before, Kita spent nearly the whole night on our mattress with us – all of our cats joined us at one time or another, as well, obviously sensing the end. They loved our Kita girl, too.

 

The compassion of our vet and vet’s assistant, from Lewiston Veterinary Hospital, was wonderful and comforting on our last day with Kita; they allowed us all the time we needed to prepare, and then to say our final goodbyes. Kita’s “cremains” returned home on December 26th, in a beautiful cedar chest urn. We set up a “Kita Memorial” in our den.

 

Part of our Kita memorial
Part of our Kita memorial
More special memorial items.
More special memorial items.

The wonderful family who operates Fluke’s Aftercare (named after their beloved deceased canine, Fluke) also included some tufts of Kita’s fur, a pawprint, and this beautifully worded certificate.

Fluke's
Fluke’s certificate and compassionate message.

 

Rest in peace, sweet Kita girl. You were a big part of our lives for 12 years. There was a void in our lives until we adopted two more sweet canine companions over the four years since your departure. They will never replace you, but we believe you would have wanted us to give another dog or two a home, to love and share as we did with you, and perhaps facilitate the healing process for our broken hearts.

We love you and miss you!

Thank you for your many years of faithful companionship and protection.

I made this memorial pillow –just so hubby and I could hug “her” once in awhile!

(I also have it listed at Etsy as a sample for anyone else who might want to order one

with their own beloved pet’s photo).

 

So how about YOU?

Do any of you have some bittersweet memories that tend to mix sadness into what is otherwise a season of joy?

 

               Or let go of the fur baby you love…

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. So sorry for your loss. My sister and her family just lost a beloved dog a few weeks ago. I keep telling my sweetheart, Scout, that he can’t die for at least 10 years as I’m going need him when my boys leave the nest. 🙂

  2. I have to say that I also miss Nikita. And Buddy! …And Brandy!

    We said goodby to Lisi’s family dog Weston early this year, and that was quite difficult. He was a white west highland terrier, and one of the sweetest pups ever. At one point, about three years before he passed to the Rainbow Bridge, he actually brought in a baby bunny he found outside- Never hurt it, just picked it up gently in his mouth and smuggled it inside. Put it on the bed and started snuggling and licking it.

    Then this last summer, I and my adopted family out here bid a fond farewell another beloved furbaby- Amber. She was a pomeranian mix, but was lacking the small dog syndrome. She was incredibly intelligent, and and an excellent judge of character. I remember the last day I saw her was a very good day; she seemed to sense that she was not long for the world and just wanted to love on everyone. In spite of her physical pain and disability, she made sure to spend time with everyone as best she could: Licking hands, cuddling, and even trying to play.

    Our pups are wonderful examples of true, unconditional love. I believe that is why it takes so much out of us when we have to say goodbye. Here’s a sweet bit of writing that helped us through the hard goodbyes:

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

    ~Author Unknown
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