This post is a bit more personal than usual, but I am sharing because, well, that’s what I do.
Today we put our beloved dogs down after 14 years of their love and affection. They were both showing signs of their age, and it was time. However, in spite of knowing this, it has not been easy for me. They were our kids before kids, and in some ways, they grew up with me. I married young, at the age of 20. Over the years I have realized I didn’t know as much about life as I thought I did. Saying “Goodbye” to my girls has been difficult.
Both dogs were born in 2000, Kiana in May and Jenna in August. We had Jenna first, and Kiana joined our family by divine intervention. At 18 months old, Jenna was still having accidents in the house. She would do fine in the evenings and on the weekends when we were home, but during the week, we’d come home to a wet mess. We took her to the vet because we thought she was having kidney trouble. The vet told us her symptoms were that of loneliness, and he recommended we get another dog so she wasn’t home alone. TJ and I wanted to get a German shepherd puppy, but before we had the opportunity, the Lord intervened.
One day I was at work and the woman (named Yumi) whose position I filled stopped in to say hello. We began talking and she mentioned that she had a dog she was going to take to the pound. It was a German shepherd that she had gotten as a puppy for her kids. The boys were getting older and no longer wanted to commit to caring for the dog, and the poor dog sat at the back door with a ball in her mouth, longing for someone to play with her. My heart melted as I pictured the dog in my mind, and I told her I was interested in taking the dog to live with us. I called TJ at work and he agreed we could go and check out the dog. We made arrangements to go that evening, and after work, we loaded up Jenna in our truck and headed over to Yumi’s house.
It was love at first sight! Jenna and Kiana ran around together in the back yard, and neither barked or showed signs of aggression toward the other. TJ threw the ball a few times, Kiana brought it back to him, and she left with us that very night. She has been part of our family since, and she and Jenna are like real sisters.
Kiana and I have always had a special bond. I think she knew her fate, and I think she knew we rescued her. Before TJ and I had kids, both of the dogs slept in the bed with us. When I became pregnant and getting comfortable was difficult, we moved the dogs to the floor. Kiana slept right next to me, and if I got up for any reason, Kiana was with me. Whenever she had the opportunity, she would come up and lick my face. If I was sad, she would lay her head in my lap. She was my faithful friend, and I will miss her terribly!
Over the years, our family has grown, we moved across the country as well as across town, but our dogs have remained a constant. So many of our happy memories and life changes include them. They experienced their first thunderstorm just outside Little Rock, AR during our cross-country move to the East Coast. They were both petrified and none of us got any sleep that night- the girls were hiding under the covers in the bed of our motel room! The birth of my first child, Thomas, brought about a change in family dynamics. The dogs were gentle and loving as they inspected their new “brother” when we introduced them after I came home from the hospital. When we got Tanner a cat a few years ago, the dogs reacted just as we expected– Jenna didn’t really care and Kiana thought they could be friends, but the cat didn’t really go for that!
Jenna and Kiana are sisters not by birth, but by heart. They are our fur babies, and they will forever hold a special place in our hearts.
Run free, girls, run free….