Today, my best friend and constant companion died. A few weeks ago Kana had been diagnosed with Lymphoma. She was doing pretty well and yesterday she was given a new medication. This morning she had a very adverse reaction to it and after several hours of intervention at the vet's, she had a heart attack and died. There is a giant hole in my heart.
Here's our little story: In 2002, shortly after my mother died, I was back in Miami to check on my father. While I was away, I was having some work finished up on my house in Oakland, CA. The workman was storing his tools in my basement, which had only an external door. Near as we could figure - because Kana never did tell us what happened - on Friday morning he was finishing removing his tools and when he wasn't looking, Kana ran into my basement. He locked the door and left. I returned from Miami late Saturday afternoon. While sitting in the house, I heard a noise downstairs and went to investigate. I went out the back door, down the steps and opened the basement door. I shone a flashlight around to see what was in there. Up comes this strange dog - not aggressively, more relieved - and goes right up the back stairs and into my house like she knew where she was going. Now I had a pitbull I didn't know in my house! Shortening this part of the story some: I found her owners who were going to have to give her to the pound. In Oakland, a six year old pitbull would be put right down, so I said I would find her a home. Well, I did. Mine.
I didn't want a dog, I was just trying to do a good deed for this very sweet, smart animal. I tried for a year and a half to find her another home. We put up posters, listed on Craigslist, asked everyone who would listen, I even contacted a no-kill dog sanctuary in Utah, but no luck. She was mine. We were incredibly bonded right from the beginning anyhow. Since I was her third (maybe fourth) family, she had found a forever home.
Kana and I had our ups and downs, but I felt amazingly luck to have such a beautiful, sweet, smart, well behaved, loving dog fall into my lap (sometimes literally - Kana never realized she really wasn't a lap dog). We went hiking, I took her swimming, we went camping and, of course, we played ball. As anyone who has a dog knows, your life revolves around them and mine certainly has. Having Kana changed how I lived my life, what and when I did things. She was my girl and she knew it.
The last few years, Kana's face had gone grey and she had slowed down a lot, but she still wanted to go to the park everyday to play ball. I feel glad that I've been working at home so I could be with her as she got older. Our bond grew very strong in the past couple of years. She literally followed me everywhere. If I got up to get another cup of coffee, so did she. Kana could mostly be found lying right next to my chair as I worked - sometimes rolling on her back for a belly rub. She loved her some belly rubs. I got smiles for calling her nicknames... Everyday: Kane-Kane, Stinky, Barkyface; Superhero: Belly Girl; Hawaiian: Ka-Na-Na; Native American: Poochessa. She put up with me singing her the wonderdog song which I made up, and barked and barked when I sang her mock opera. Kana sat in the front seat next to me and was my co-pilot when we were out in the car. Since I work at home, alone, she was not only my companion, she was often the only reason I left the house some days.
I know Kana had a terminal illness and was going to die fairly soon anyhow, but I wasn't quite ready for her to go yet. She has only been gone a few hours, but I miss her terribly. The house is very quiet without her presence. I keep looking around for her and know I will for weeks to come. Kana was my best girl.