May 26th, 2010
Our dear doggy Kenya has died — we took her to the vet this morning. She had a good long life, nearly 13 years, which is old for a German Shepherd. Kenya is the doggy who went everywhere with me, touring the state for whatever meetings, off to Delaware to get acquainted with Alan, chased agency and utility personnel across parking lots, and for years she slept under my desk in my office in Northfield, with apples or carrots for friends and visitors to placate her.
Kenya was a rescue, from the now defunct Badger German Shepherd Rescue in Wisconsin. After I lost my Katze in a most gutwrenching death, an engineer, “whose name I can’t recall,” was in rescue with BGSR and he found her for me, and I picked her up from her foster mom, Kelly, and we’ve been together ever since, nearly 8 years. Kelly had had her twice as a foster, and she loved this dog. Ken was just a pup when she climbed over a cage and got her leg caught and fell and broke her leg and hung with that broken leg until someone came in. A woman who worked at the vet saved her and adopted her, and Kenya’s mangled leg didn’t slow her down as she grew up. After a couple years, her first owner got divorced and couldn’t find a place to live that would take a big shep, so Kelly fostered her, and then a man took her to Indiana and then a couple years later, same story, divorce and no home that would accept a dog, so back to Kelly she went. Then I got her and Kelly wanted to make sure I wasn’t married because Ken shouldn’t have to go through that again, and then Ken hopped in the car, which became her den, and we hammered west. I’ve kept in touch with Kelly over the years, updates about Kenya and our other doggies, particularly about Ken’s progress in being a dog. This is the most difficult update. In the time Ken and I were together, she grew so much and learned how to fit into my life — no easy task.
Kenya loved being in the car, loved to go for rides with the wind whipping her firmly shep ears back (means we had to go fast) and taking naps in the car when I was trying not to do the same in some boring meeting. She loved the car, shout “CAR!” and she whips her head, finds it, and takes off full bore. Above is the Delaware van, where she always begged to spend the day, hanging out in the yard, watching the world out the back door. We got the new van just to cart them cross-country, a platform so they could see the world go by and bark at everyone waiting for the train in Chicago! Alan’s love for the dog is obvious, and he’s the one who carted her around the last few months, carrying her down all the steps to the car here in Red Wing, and carrying her so she can sleep upstairs and then down in the morning. Despite her infirmities, we continued to take her most everywhere, for a ride, to lay in the sun on a picnic, and to lay in Lake Byllesby. He’s also the giver of the chicken, her concentrated protein favorite, and a frequent provider of ice cream and donuts for her vet ordered diet.
She’s seen the world, well, much of the US, been back and forth and back and forth and back and forth to Delaware, has peed in Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Itasca, the Canisteo Pit, the Delaware and Mississippi and Rush rivers, the Delaware Water Gap and and particularly liked Frontenac Beach and Lake Byllesby. She wasn’t much for fetch, but she loved to have her own Wubba and run circles around Krie when Krie was fetching (and Krie was one fetching dog).
Ken had been significantly declining for over two years, and July of 2008, she was diagnosed with early renal failure, and we’ve been nursing her along with a special diet and some drugs, pee pills too, which helped a lot until maybe two months ago, when she lost ability to walk and then, to get up. She was incontinent more and more often, first peeing, and lately pooping. She was eating and eating and eating and drinking and drinking and drinking, and what goes in comes out. Oh, did it… Prednisone helped her pain, and we took her to the chiropractor, but there are no miracle cures, and though her pain was better, that was obvious and a relief to us all, the rear half of her body was shot. She couldn’t get up without help (unless we were heading to the door with car keys in hand), needed to be held up in her sling to get around and go outside, and needed nearly constant attention. And today, off to see Brent Born, Kenyon Vet Clinic — our favorite vet — the one who helped us have two bonus years with Kenya.
We miss her terribly and there will be a big hole where Kenya was for quite some time… it’s been a rough year…