Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Status Update:

About Kylie In my adult life, there were three Labs. Siren, Caper, and finally, Kylie. I didn't want Kylie. I had to be talked into getting a third Labrador—two just seemed plenty. But my wife wanted another dog to do agility with, and we knew the breeder, and Kylie had a sad story. Born in the summer of 1999, she'd been adopted already by a family down south, but had come back to Massachusetts to be bred. She had one single puppy (I call "the lit"). Then, her family down south decided they didn't want her. At age two, she got left be the family that trained her. So into my home came this fat little sausage of a yellow lab with her pig-snout and dirty ears and hanging teats. We bonded immediately. Before long she was in fighting trim and doing agility—she got more titles than Siren and Caper did. We moved in 2002 to Ithaca, and that's where Kylie spent the majority of her life. She liked to drag Siren around the hardwood floor by the scruff of her neck to "play." She loved Frisbee, right up until her dying day, even if she hadn't caught one in years—she was content to chase Madison around lately, as the little dog bobbed and weaved around the old lady. She loved to hike outside, and was okay off-leash until she couldn't hear; she didn't hike at the end because gravel hurt her feet. She liked to fetch at the off-leash park, but I stopped taking her there, because she was such a push-over that the other dogs would literally push her over. She loved to be brushed. Learned to hate hate hate her nails being cut. She'd attack a hose or sprinkler with gusto. She had warts more than fatty tumors (unlike her late older half-brother Caper, who was made entirely of fatty tumors by the time he passed last year)—one cyst we had taken off her forehead and she looked like a Frankensteinian monster for weeks. And she loved to eat poop. Kylie wasn't prone to adventures. She did disappear on me in the woods once early on, before she had totally acclimated to us, and after 45 minutes of my blind panic, she turned up with a look like, "okay, what next?" She didn't sneak out, steal food, or tear up toys or furniture. She didn't even stick her head out the window of the car. She was just happy to be lazy, occasionally play, loved to swim (though she didn't like falling in the pool face-first last month), and Christ did she love to eat. We had to toss her treats, or risk fingers. Kylie was key in keeping my head above water at a dark time for me—without her and Caper, I really feel like I would have been lost. They both kept me going at a time when 'going' wasn't a priority. Six months ago, aging somewhat gracefully, Kylie had a fainting spell in the snow. After that we confirmed she was in kidney failure, and changed her diet to help her out. She'd been having typical old-girl problems long before, and didn't seem much the worse after that. Until yesterday. After two faints in one day, we decided to let her go rather than let it get away from us. Or her. So last night we said good-night to the stinky old lady for the last time. It's one of those decisions that's a gift, because you can make it for a friend who is suffering, but one rifled with doubt and worry, because you never know if you did the right thing—the thing they wanted. I live with that every day. But I remain glad to know that she's resting, thinking of eating some poo, and dragging her sister around the floor.

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