RIP Sweet Kira

*Please note: This was written on April 5th, the day after we lost our sweet furry best friend. But tonight, nearly 3 months later, I just cried for over 30 minutes with Cedella about how much we still miss Kira. Seemingly out of nowhere she asked me to sing Kira’s favorite song at bedtime. I asked her what Kira’s favorite song was, and she started crying, saying she missed her so much and didn’t want us to forget Kira’s favorite song. And with that we were both crying and talking about all the things we miss about Kira. At the end of the conversation she said she hoped that we would get another dog, even though it would never be Kira. And I sang “My Favorite Things” from the Sound of Music because apparently that was Kira’s favorite song. Our hearts are still quite broken. 

Last night, after a rather uneventful family movie night, while we were putting the girls to bed, our beloved dog Kira started having a seizure. Despite rushing her to the MSU small animal hospital they were unable to save her.

Last night I lost one of my best friends.

And I wasn’t even there. I didn’t know it would be the last time I saw her. I said I love you. I told her not to be scared and that everything would be ok. But I never said good bye. And now I will never see her again.

Kira came into my life just when I needed her to. She came to me at a time when I was freshly alone and heartbroken. I remember that day, 9 years ago like it was yesterday.

I had been obsessively casually stalking PetFinder for weeks, looking for a furry companion so that my life and apartment didn’t feel nearly so lonely.  Corrine, my coworker at the time and still a dear friend, had recently adopted Kira, but sadly Kira and her dog were not a good match. So Corrine walked Kira up to the WAB in Ferndale where I was having drinks with friends so that I could meet her.

Unassuming and sweet as she always was, Kira came right up to me, sat down next to me. She wasn’t one to lick or jump up on you, but she had a way of looking right at you and giving a little doggie smile. That doggie smile won my heart and sealed the deal. That was it. I fell instantly in love with her. I took her leash, water bowl and bed and that was that. She was mine.

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A few months later, after a crash course in Pet Care 101 and bonding with the sweetest dog who would lick my face clean, but only when I cried, I met Michael.

I remember the first night he drove me home and I introduced him to Kira. He said he wasn’t much of a dog person. In fact he didn’t seem to care for her at all. But Kira didn’t mind. She enjoyed the challenge. There wasn’t a single person with an aversion to dogs that didn’t appreciate her. She had a way of making everyone love her.

And he did. He fell for us at the same time. Michael, through teary eyes, told me how he remembered falling in love with Kira. And what a good dog she was.

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Poor Michael. He had to take her to the vet by himself. He had to give them the consent to put her to rest. But thankfully, he got to be with her. To say goodbye. To tell her what a good dog she was and how much she meant to us. He said in the end she was looking in his eye as he talked to her and licked the end of his nose as if to say goodbye.

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She was a more than just a good dog, she was the best dog. She didn’t jump or lick. She didn’t chase squirrels or pull her lead on walks. She could be without and fence and come home when she was called. And even though she was known to go on a few walkabouts throughout her time with us, she was never gone for long, never lost for more than a few harrowing hours, she was just really good at making friends.

I’ll never forget the time we took her camping with Tim and Amie. We decided to go kayaking for a couple hours, and left Kira on her post and chain at the camp site. We came back and she was gone. No tracks, no trace, just gone. We all panicked, because we all loved her so very much. Turns out she escaped her collar and was chillin in the truck with the Park Ranger. When we finally came upon his truck she was sitting in the cab, grinning like a jackal. He said she was such a sweet dog that if no one claimed her he would have taken her home and kept her.

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Thankfully she never got away from us on any of the other road trips we took her on. And she was fairly well traveled. She loved camping and going up to the cottage, though she was never ever interested in going in the lake. But she loved the car and meeting new people so road trips were her favorite. The last road trip we took with her was down to South Carolina a couple Thanksgivings ago and she was happy than a pig in shit for the entire car ride.

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She was just the kind of creature, with the ability to make anyone, even those not crazy of dogs, love her.

And man did people love her. I can think of countless friends that will be heartbroken to hear that she’s gone. Everywhere she went, every house party and BBQ she was loved.

Despite her extreme and room clearing gas, she was so loved by Kate and Chris that she lived with them after our house flooded and we didn’t have a home for a few months. And she became absolute besties with Juniper. For obvious reasons…

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On one occasion while visiting us in Hamtramck, Chris Thurber slept with Kira on her dog bed.

And Tim and Amie loved her so much that they adopted Jolisa because she reminded them so much of Kira.

So many others gave her so much love and attention, treats and pats on the head. She was very very loved.

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I will miss the way she turned around in circles when she heard her treat bag rustle any morning. I will miss the way she nudged your arm or hand when she wanted her head rubbed. I will miss the way she would wake herself up with her god-awful farts. I will miss how she would lick my salty tears off my face when I cried. I will miss how fiercely and lovingly she cared for and protected the girls.

For the second we brought Ella home from the hospital Kira was glued to her side. She would follow us around the house and lay wherever Ella was, as close as she could possibly be. They were never far apart in her first few years. And over the past year as she slowed down and became more weary, she would often still sit under Ella’s feet or lay right by her bed. And Ella would always pet Kira as she passed her and give her hugs and love.

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And though Isora never quite treated her as gently and sweetly as Cedella, Kira tolerated Izzie’s not-so-soft pets and tail pulls. Because Kira was a kind and loving soul that way.

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She was a deeply loved part of our family. And I can’t believe she is just gone. It is shocking and painful. We are SAD. But I know that when you lose someone you love with all your heart we often say we’ve lost a piece of our hearts. But I want to believe that we don’t lose a bit of our hearts, but rather our hearts grow a bit more as we absorb and archive a little piece of our loved one’s soul and memory.

Please hold your furry children tight tonight. An extra treat, an extra walk, and extra snuggle. They are so dear, so precious, so important, and they are gone too soon.

*Added April 6th – Just when I thought Isora couldn’t really understand or express feelings about losing Kira this conversation happened while I was putting her to bed.

Isora: I miss Kira Mommy. Do you miss her?
Me: Of course honey. I miss her so much already.
Isora: Me too. Don’t worry. I find her. She’s in the stars.

I don’t know how she knows that. I don’t know where the concept of Kira being in the stars was learned. I like to think that children know so much more than we give them credit for. And in this case I do believe she knows Kira has gone to another plane and that we will be with her again one day. Kids. They have the ability to simplify the most complex things, don’t they?

RIP sweet loving Kira. We all miss you so much already. By all of us.

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