We lost our little pal Kasey today. For six years, she has been a huge part of our family. Now she is gone, leaving a big hole in our household, and an even bigger hole in our hearts.
We inherited Kasey from Kish’s Mom. Kasey was a rescue dog that Kish and her siblings found at the Erie County Humane Society to serve as a companion for Kish’s Mom, who had just lost her dog and was dealing with her final illness. It was a match made in heaven. Kasey was perfectly suited for that role, and Kish’s Mom delighted in her company. When Kish’s Mom passed, we added Kasey to our household.
Kasey immediately made an impact. Even though she was much smaller than our other dog, Penny, who was a large, lumbering lab, Kasey immediately assumed the position of lead dog in the Webner pack. And yet, her small size and big eyes inevitably caused Kish to pick her up, deposit her in Kish’s lap, and manipulate her paws to wave goodbye or do some hand jive or engage in other antics that made us laugh. Kasey endured this terrible indignity with good humor and a perfectly deadpan expression that made us laugh even more. From time to time she would puff out her cheeks in what we interpreted as a clear sign that her patience was wearing thin. It was just one tiny, but memorable, example of her very distinctive personality.
When Kasey left the lap and got to be a real dog again, as when we took her on walks, she fearlessly strutted through the neighborhood as if she owned the place, barking at dogs 10 times her size with a raspy woof that one dog-sitter called a smoker’s bark. She wasn’t a biter, but she wasn’t afraid to mix it up with any other member of the canine species, either. When she first joined the family, as shown in the picture above, the brown in her coat was dark, and she was full of spunk and energy. She stayed that way for years, as if she was somehow immune to the ravages of time.
Because she was a rescue dog, we never knew precisely how old Kasey was, although we think she reached the ripe age of 17 — which is pretty darned old in “dog years.” Gradually her coat got whiter and whiter. It became too painful for her to put weight on her back leg, cancerous growths broke out on her face, and her eyes got rheumy and her hearing failed. Her sleeping increased until she was dozing 23 hours a day, and she was losing all semblance of bowel control, besides. As the end neared, she was more like a stuffed animal than a living creature. Her appetite declined, and when it got to the point when she wouldn’t even bark for a piece of meat I was having for a meal, we knew the time had come.
If you have a dog in the family, you’ll know how difficult the decision is, and what a mixture of emotions it provokes — sadness at losing a great friend and companion, relief that their period of suffering is finally over, and hope that, somewhere, your dog is out romping on a grassy field, running without pain under a sunny, bright blue sky. That’s what we’re feeling about Kasey. We’ll never forget her.