Friday, February 20, 2009

My Heart is Broken

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.

26 comments:

High Desert Diva said...

Oh jeez. I am so very sorry to hear about Kana. Sending big hugs and a sloppy wet kiss from Trux.

Leah said...

its so hard to hear that Kana passed. rest in peace Ka Ka

T.Allen-Mercado said...

My heart breaks for you, while it may do little to comfort you now, I'm sure Kana loved you just as much as you did her. That day in the basement was no accident, you two were meant to be. (hugs)

Kass said...

So sorry to hear about Kana.Its gonna hurt for a long time- but she was blessed to have you and her -you. There's something about a dog that you have rescued. They know it. And love you even more because of it..

Hi ! I'm Cindy said...

High Desert Diva's got your back!! Here's some bloggin' love for your loss.....i know it hurts, and that it will take along to replace Kana in your heart... I had a dog Chaz that we raised from a puppy. Chaz was the best child a person could have, but he liked to take runs to my BIL house to stay for a couple days, his last run he didn't make it. I swore I would never get another dog to replace him!! But I did... I went to the pound to rescue a dog that needed me just as much as I needed him........ another child to love!

Karine said...

This is a beautiful post. I think anyone who is a dog owner can relate to the way a dog changes your life. I know I would be lost without my dog, and my heart goes out to you for your loss. Pono sends a warm wet lick your way. (High Desert Diva sent us over to help you.) Hang in there.

p.s. your jewelry is beautiful

Lisa B. said...

Hi Judi,

My heart is breaking right along with you...I know just how you feel. It's been almost a year since I lost my girl Sam...kind of sudden like you lost Kana. Looking for comfort in my overwhelming grief I found one thing that helped to ease the pain a bit.

Native American Prayer For The Grieving:

I give you this one thought to keep -
I am with you still - I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not think of me as gone -
I am with you still -
in each new dawn
~~ Author Unknown ~~

I hope those words give you some measure of comfort.

I'm so sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts.

Lisa B. ~ another friend of Diva's.

Kate said...

I am so sorry to hear of your beautiful dog's passing. I'm caring for a terminal dog also, and it is heartbreaking at times. I spend each day with him as if it will be our last, because, well, you just never know.

You have a lot of blog love going on, thanks to High Desert Diva. We are here for you...

Kate (Shiborigirl.blogspot.com)

Victoria said...

Heard about you and Kana from Charmaine of High Dessert Diva, and just want you to know that my heart truly aches for the loss of your beloved Kana. Your story deeply touched me and confirms my belief that some souls are simply meant to find one another, and despite all odds, they will. The unconditional love that you both gave to one another will live forever. I completely relate to your whole post. My most cherished companion, Mo, was diagnosed with a terminal cancerous sinus tumor a few months ago. Preparing myself for the eventual loss of my best friend has been a deeply emotional experience. She to loves belly rubs, and I also sing made up songs to her, (in my horribly off pitched voice) and have a zillion nicknames for her as well. We are two peas in a pod, and life without her will never be the same. My heart goes out to you, and I send you much love and many hugs at this most difficult time. xo Victoria

Sweet Repose said...

Yup, I'm here from the Diva too...so sorry for your loss...I had the Itchy and Scratchy show for years, but lost my lil' Itchy 2 years ago, but my lil' Scratchy more than fills that void.

I will never be without my constant companion and when Scratchy is gone, it's put on my brave face and go directly to the pound for another poor creature.

There are too many lost puppy souls out there to greave too long. The happiness of the new mug will help fill the void...

You're in my thoughts...good luck!

sharon

Mrs.French said...

I found you for HD Diva as well...my heart goes out to you and ached as I read your story. We also have a dog, that has become such an important part of my family...I understand this love, but could not possibly understand your loss...your relationship was so obviously meant to be....thinking of you...xo t

Cecile/DreamCreateRepeat said...

Heard about your loss from Diva...

My condolences. Dogs can enter our hearts in such amazing ways and then live there forever.

Jenn said...

Also a Diva Devotee here and the picture alone made me stop by to send hugs your way. Losing a member of the family is so hard, Kana sounds like she was well loved and cared for by you and the memories you made together will make your heart smile forever. I offer many hugs for your loss.

Jeanne said...

My second husband gave me an Aussie-German Shepherd mix puppy, and when we split up a few years later, I got Esme. Night after night I'd cry into her fur until eventually life got better. She went everywhere with me -- she even waited in the car when I shopped (weather permitting). When she was 11, she got bladder cancer. After a year and a half of increasing loss of control (I figured I could replace the carpet, but I'd never be able to replace her), she got congestive heart failure and I cried into her fur one last time as the vet inserted the needle.

So, if it helps, I know how you're feeling.

Robynn's Ravings said...

Hello....Diva sent me over....

I'm SO sorry you lost your dear friend. It such a cavernous hole they leave with a thousand echoes...

Nothing fills the empty space but I have found the echoes have turned into constant reminders of love and comfort. I lost my very special Kitty Baby last month after 18 years and it was sudden, too. I miss her SO much. Don't know if reading about someone else's loss would be helpful or not but I'll link it here and let you decide.

http://robynnsravings.blogspot.com/2009/01/kitty-baby-love-story.html

Prayers and empathy for you...

joanny said...

Heard about you and Kana from Charmaine of High Dessert Diva,
My heart goes out to you and Kana, I am sure her spirit it still there & listening to your tribute acknowledging her life, and all the love and devotion she gave to you.
a beautiful partnering of spirits , I am happy you got to keep her --- you had a wonderful journey together...
Joanny
Portland

dolcechic said...

I read High Desert Diva's post, and wanted to come by and give my condolences. I am not a crier, but this had me in tears. I am so sorry for your loss. She was an important member of your family, and will always have a place in your heart. It's been a year and a half and I still miss my big guy, Ricky like crazy. You're in my thoughts and prayers. Candi

Junkstylediva said...

Kana was so lucky to have found you. Maybe her doggie fairy godmother arranged for the events to happen so you two could meet. I completely understand the pain of losing a beloved pet and my heart goes out to you. You gave her a fantastic life and she knows that. Her spirit will always be with you.xoxo Inge

Hey Harriet said...

Another friend of Diva here. I'm so very sorry for your loss. Kana sounded very special, and very fortunate to have you in her life. You both gave each other much joy. I dread the day my dog (Sophie) leaves this world...she's starting to go grey & is slowing down. Dogs make such beautiful companions, and hopefully the wonderful memories you have of your time spent with your special friend will be of some comfort to you now. Again, I'm very sorry for your loss. Hugs to you xo

DancingMooney ♥ said...

Dogs are such amazing animals, even the adopted ones. Wishing you well during these hard times.

Octavine Illustration said...

there's tears streaming down my face. sweet sweet girl. i will miss her very much. she had very much become a part of my life.
i'm so sorry. whatever i can do.
belle is sad too.

moxylyn said...

Judi,
I first came here yesterday to read your post, which I also learned of through HDD. I've already had an emotional few days, and reading this just brought back so many memories of my Kayla, who we lost last August. It brought me to tears and I couldn't even reply. Kayla's in my avatar with me.
I really hope you know what a wonderful person you are, really truly wonderful, for taking Kana in. A 6 year old pit bull found locked in your basement, you would think had no future. And for you to give her a safe loving home.. that is just wonderful. Knowing that they are going doesn't make it any easier. It's painful watching them slip away and not being able to help. She knew you loved her, and she knew that you were the one who gave her so many happy wonderful years.

Splendid Little Stars said...

Thank you for posting that sad and lovely story. I think it reaches right to the hearts of us who have lost a pet who has been dear to us.

Star of the East said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, they are like babies they give and need so much love. I hope you can find a new companion like that as that would be your only medicine.

Amanda said...

Oh Judi, I'm so sorry!! Every dog in my life is disappearing on me, and I feel a little lost too.

Kana was a beautiful dog, and a solid companion.

Sarah said...

Judy -
Mary told me about Kana (and your website)- I'm so sorry. I knew we hadn't seen you in awhile and I thought you might be out of town. Pika is very, very sad - you know how much she loved Kana - we all will miss her. Hope you're doing OK. Feel free to come love on Pika dog if you see her on the porch.
Take care,
Sarah and Pika