Kitsune by John and Sara Shepard / Dad and Mom

Kit was a healthy 6 year old when she came to us. She was a Malamute-Shepherd mix. One of my wife’s housecleaning clients had her. Since the client cared for retarded people, she was kicked out of the house. Then she ran through some flowers and the clients boyfriend put her in a 6 x 10 ft. pen. There she stayed for two years. She was not allowed into the house anymore, and her pen was rarely cleaned out. When Sara came to clean, Kit (not her name then) would yelp happily, just crying for some attention.

Sara always talked with her and petted her for a few minutes. She started bringing dog treats for her. One day, Sara had to move her car, and Kit went crazy crying for attention. The client told Sara that she always did that when Sara left. It seemed that Sara was the only one who payed any attention to her. Sara said, “Debbie, I’m taking your dog.” Debbie said, “Well……OK.” It’s a good thing, too. If Debbie hadn’t said OK, then Kit would have disappeared in the middle of the night. Sara called me, terribly anxious that Debbie would change her mind. “Hurry up to Debbie’s house RIGHT NOW and get this dog house!” “What dog house?” I replied intelligently. “Well, I can’t fit both the dog house and the dog in my car!” “What dog?!” I queried.
“Just get up here NOW!” So I went.

I didn’t even get to see the dog until we got home. She was filthy, but so happy to be with us. We got her groomed and were shocked at what a beautiful dog she was. She had the Malamute body and coat, but a Shepherd’s coloring. She was huge; 125lbs. The first thing everyone said when they met her was, “How beautiful.” The second thing they always said was, “How big!” Sara had originally planned to send her to a friend up in the mountains who had a dog and a wolf, but it didn’t happen that way. We fell in love right away, and she was renamed soon after. She would never respond to her old name again. We told her that there were new rules to live by. She had to share the house with two cats. We were a bit afraid for our cats, but when we explained to Kit that our male cat was the king of the house, and that she had to get along with him, she understood.

She lay down on the floor, and put her head on her paws in front of King Osiris in a submissive posture. Whoa! I have never seen a dog that intelligent and cooperative before. Too bad the cat wasn’t as intelligent. He would jump and bat at Kit’s face when he didn’t get his way. Our other cat, Isis, was much mellower. She never seemed to mind having this big, walking carpet around the house, and as the cats got used to Kit, Isis would walk under Kit’s nose and get a kiss from her.Kit was a confirmed house dog after she got here. She only wanted to go out for the bathroom. Every minute she wanted to be in the house near us. She always got some of whatever we were eating. I used to tell people that she was half Malamute, half Shepherd, and all appetite. We spoil our animals rotten, and they love every minute of it.

She really fell into the daisy patch when she came to live with us, and seemed to know it. She didn’t seem to have any mental scars from her years in that awful pen. She was a very happy dog.

One day, Osiris was in a snit and went for Kit’s face again right in front of Sara. Kit went after him. I came running when I heard the growls and cat screams. I got there after it was all over. Kit had gotten Osiris in his jaws, and Sara was sure that the cat was a goner. But kit only held him for a moment, growling, and then LET HIM GO! She just gave him a little attitude adjustment, and it worked. Osiris never seriously attacked the dog after that. He would still bat at Kit’s face once in awhile, but Kit just jerked her head out of the way with a disgusted look.

Kit loved rides in the car. She was such a good traveler. She would go anywhere, anytime, and wait patiently while we did the shopping or had a meal. She always got treats when we were done. She never understood when summer came around and it was too hot to take her anywhere except her nightly walk. We even took her on an overnight trip once. She was so perfectly behaved. The hotel staff loved her, although she frightened a guest while I took her for a walk. The poor guy must have thought a wolf was coming around the corner at him.

A month and a half ago, she was having bladder control problems, so we took her to the vet. After some blood tests it was determined that she had Cushing’s disease. Cushing’s is a tumor on either the pituitary gland, or on the adrenal glands. It pumps massive amounts of cortisol into the body, and the effects are like steroid abuse. We put her on medication, and she seemed to be responding to it, but it wasn’t to be.

Last Friday, Sara and her sister went shopping and took Kit with them. When they came back from lunch Kit had had diarrhea on the back seat. She looked so ashamed and upset. Saturday, she started having diarrhea and vomiting. From Saturday afternoon to Sunday she couldn’t keep anything down, and by Monday she was having difficulty walking. We were pretty sure it was her time to go, so we got her into the car and took her for a long ride. She seemed very content to be with us, but she was too worn out to even lift her head and sniff out the window. By the time we got to the vet, she couldn’t even walk and had to be carried in.

The vet said that there could be two or three things wrong with her, but it was probably her pancreas failing. We could put her in the hospital and bring her back, but she would require constant care, IV’s, shots, and all kinds of unpleasant things. We decided not to put her through all that and let the doc give her the final shot. She never even moved a muscle. She probably would have died within hours even without the shot.

We miss her so much. Both Sara and I keep trying to put our plates on the floor for her to lick, like she always did. We almost wrap up goodies from the restaurant to take out to the car for her. She’s left a very big hole in our lives.

May she go to a big house in heaven, with a big yard and people food everywhere. May there be no cats to torment her, and cool floors for a heavy coated dog to sleep on. May there be lots of walks in the park, and cars to ride in whenever she wants. If reincarnation is a fact, as I believe, I hope she comes back to us. She left way too soon.


We miss you so much,
John and Sara Shepard