Dakota by Paula / Mom

Dakota was just a 1yr. old youngster when I first met him. I started dating his daddy and eventually married him 13 years ago, but I didn’t only meet and marry a wonderful man, I met and married a wonderful dog also. Kota was my bestfriend and we managed to have a special kind of bond that I’ve never felt before. His personality was a true one of a kind and his golden brown eyes seemed to always know
what I was thinking or feeling.

We had many wonderful times together, even those times of chasing him down every time he decided to jump a fence and roam the neighborhood, he would always look back at me grinning as I knew he was doing. He always knew when I had enough, and would stop and walk back to me holding his head down, and as soon as I gave him a smile, he would come running to me waving his big bushy tail.

As years went on he didn’t care much to jump fences anymore; he was more into lounging in the sun and then quickly finding a deep hole to sink into when it got to hot for him outside, but the funny thing is, he managed to dig his own deep hole somewhere in the flower garden, and yes, at times that Kota really fired me up, but all it would take for me was one look in those eyes of his and I couldn’t stay upset at him for very long. He had this remarkable way about him when he looked into my eyes, that just said, “I’m sorry mom”, and “I know you love me”! He always knew what I was thinking …..when I was sad, when I was stressed out about everyday life, and when I was happy, no matter what, he would know what to do. Times of sadness, he would sit next to me and lay his paw on my leg or place his own paw on my hand, like he was trying to hold my hand to let me know things would get better.

When the kids were born, he grew protective of them just like a parent. He was the first pet my two youngest kids knew and the bond between them grew more everyday. As our family grew and we added more dogs, Dakota would train the new babies and teach them to respect us and he would inform them that the only one allowed to dig in the yard was him. He was the wiser of them all, and they all looked to him for guidance.

Things started to slow down for Dakota when his arthritis set in and although he was still trying to keep up with the others, he just couldn’t manage to run around and play hide-n-go-seek anymore like he used to. From there things got worse for him year after year…slower and slower and harder to get up and down.

We put him on Rimadyl for his arthritis and that seemed to give him a another year of mobility, but the beginning of 2004, things just seemed to be on a down slope for our Kota. I tried everything for him and for the last month we had with him I was getting up at 5:00 am every morning and staying with him while he took his medicine. We had made the decision to put him up at night so he wouldn’t fall and hurt himself since he was so fragile.

Kota was not much of an indoor dog; he loved the outdoors and as long as he could see his family close by, he was happy, so we tried to keep him close to us in the garage at night. He was my first and last thought of everyday. Being his mom, I just kept telling myself that I could keep him alive. It seems like hours and hours that I spent in the garage with him before I went to bed every night, hoping that if he happened to pass away in his sleep, that he would know how much I loved him.

On our final day together, for some odd reason, he chose not to take his meds that morning and I pleaded with him over and over to take them, but his stubborn streak won out of course. After an hour or so he was walking outside from the garage as he normally does, and took a fall head first on the step. That was when my heart broke.

I heard him cry out and as I bolted outside to check on him, he just looked at me with those eyes and in his own way, he told me he couldn’t handle it anymore. I knew that he knew it was time, but no matter how much I fought that whole idea of letting him go, there wasn’t anything any of us could have done.

His arthritis was so bad before the fall, there was no way he would be able to recover from a broken leg. I made that dreaded call to the vet and asked him to please come to our home “Dakota’s” home and save him from anymore pain. I sat with him for an hour
until the vet made it to the house.

I tried to tell him how sad I was and how much I wish things could be like they used to be, but when he looked into my eyes, he told me he was going to be okay. The kids had some time to say goodbye to him and when the time came for me and dad to say goodbye, it was all I could do not to pass away with him. The heartbreak was overwhelming and no matter how much time may go by, my heart will always break for my Kota. I still look for him out in the yard and at the sliding glass door at dinner time waiting for a treat. I love you Dakota and I hope there is a way in heaven to feel the love I have reserved just for my Kota man.

I miss you dearly and until we meet again my friend, you will forever be in my heart. Daisy , Prince and Si all send their love and they are missing you also. They don’t quite understand what happened to the old wise man, but you will all be reunited again one day. I send my love dear one and I will never forget the love you showed all of us. And don’t be digging up that beautiful garden up there too much. I love you Dakota…………….miss you always.