Our dog Kira’s health has been very poor lately and yesterday we had a heartbreaking appointment with an internal medicine specialist. We were told that Kira’s gall bladder has likely ruptured and the only hope would be surgery that would be excruciatingly painful and would only give her a 5-10% chance of recovery. She is weak from previous illnesses and not a good candidate for surgery. Last night with broken hearts we prepared to say goodbye to Kira this evening.
Kira has always been a challenging dog, from the moment we took her home and she paced around our TV room continuously for hours. We had dogs when we got her but I was not yet a trainer and her behavior was far from what we were used to. At 7 months old, when she came home with us, she thought it was okay to use the bathroom in the house and jumped over any gate we put up as if it were a fun obstacle. She was indifferent to us and would stand and stare at us while we called and tried to entice her to come over. She lunged and barked aggressively at other dogs – anything that wasn’t another German Shepherd – and horrified us and our neighbors.
She taught me to look beyond her scary display of aggression and see the fear underneath. She taught me to find new ways to help her when nothing I knew was working. I learned the value of working to form a relationship with a dog that was indifferent.
Finding ways to help Kira led me to meet some of the best people in my life. Through classes and training and becoming a trainer I have formed friendships with amazing people and I feel so lucky that Kira led me to them. My desire to find a way to work with her without force pushed me to learn more, read more, train more. It made me want to share what I learned.
I am so grateful for this crazy, strong, willful girl. It has not been an easy ride. But it has been worth every second.
This morning, after a tearful evening, Kira surprised us with her bright eyes, desire to enjoy the sunshine and trying to steal Roka’s ball. We will give her her wings when she is ready. But we are on her time and we are taking it one small step at a time.
Please think of Kira today and if you can, enjoy some sunshine with your dogs.
Kira this morning, deciding this is a day to enjoy