Monday, April 20, 2009

The Decade with Dakota

Back in 1999, a German Shepherd mix puppy showed up in our driveway with a swollen belly, with most of his puppy teeth broken in two and covered in ticks. He was terrified of our Shih Tzu and screamed at the sight of her. It took 1/2 an hour of waiting to get him to come out from his hiding place under our car. He ended up in my lap with his head buried under my left arm. We intended to take him to the Humane Society. A dog this large deserves a farm and a boy to play with not two working people and 2/10s of an acre. It turns out that the Human Society and the pound are the same here and he would not have been put up for adoption. So he came home and there he stayed until today. Dakota likely had been hit as a pup. That's why the teeth were broken, but the injury has manifested in other ways. He had one hip that never developed right, but then there was this neurologocal disorder that slowly took over his hind quarters. We dealt with pain management for years, and even went so far as to get into laser treatments. There is no telling how much pain he was in. He never truly let on. True to his species, he took the happiest, most forgiving view on life he could. He loved my husband and they were best friends. For the past year, the good days out weighed the bad, but the bad kept increasing in numbers. In the last month, he started to give up trying to go anywhere and in the last week he made it clear it was over. So his best friend ended his suffering today. Dakota is now free to run, wag his tail, sing, and be all that a dog can be.
That tells you why he's gone, but oh how I wish we all had the time to talk about the last decade with Dakota. For my sake I'm sure I'll add posts just to record memories as they come up and when I'm home to post more pictures. For now here's a few of his last days and a couple of his glory days.


Rebecca Mezoff said...

I'm so sorry Jennifer. Dogs are such important members of our families. It is hard to let them go. I'm glad you can remember all the wonderful times you had together for an entire decade.

K Spoering said...

Jennifer, I know how important our pets are in our lives, and how difficult it is to see them suffer, and then make that hard decision to end their suffering, and begin missing them. What a good ten years you gave Dakota, in return for the blessings he gave you! My thoughts are with you as I shed a few tears for your loss.

KaiteM. said...

Vale to a beautiful happy Dakota. He's been well loved and will be truly well missed by all the family, including the other furry ones. K.

Theresa said...

Jennifer and Dakota's Best Friend,
I'm so sorry. It's at once the hardest and easiest decision to make. Big hugs go out to both of you and of course Dakota is sending all his love from over the bridge free from pain and all the other earthly cares.

Valerie said...

I'm so sorry for your loss of a best friend and loyal companion.

Jennifer said...

Thank you all for your kind thoughts. I keep focusing on his being free and on the good memories of when he was here.

Thanks again.

Davis Jackson fiber art designs said...

I know how hard it is to lose a best pal. Rest in peace Dakota.

T Scanlin said...

Jennifer and Mark, my heart goes out to you both. Nothing will ever replace him in your lives but, there are stars in heaven for you especially reserved for the love and care and kindness you showed Dakota in his life--and he's there waiting to give them to you.

Life Looms Large said...


I'm so sorry for your loss. Your post brought tears to my eyes.

I'm glad that Dakota found such a good and loving home with you guys, and that you gave him such good and loving care right up to the end of his life. It's good that he's not suffering any more.