I am interrupting December Views to pay a small tribute to my mom’s yorkshire terrier, Kirby. If the dog year:human year ratio is 7:1, then this dog is 105 years old. Kirby’s long life drew to a close this morning. It has been a rather long goodbye, and for that I am thankful. Kirby started showing signs of renal failure this summer. Medicines slowed its impacts, but could not cure it. Kirby also had canine Alzheimer’s (yes, there is such a thing) and so it was with heavy hearts that we watched him grow slower, older, and more confused in his familiar surroundings… sometimes getting lost in his own yard, and in these last couple of weeks, in his own house.
I admit that my feelings for most dogs range from indifference to like. I find dogs amusing and cute, but I am not one of those people who fall in love with every furry face and tail-wagger I meet. And yes, this includes even my own dog. I care about Tula, and my affection for her grows daily, but generally my feelings for her are in direct proportion to her good or bad behavior. It will take awhile for her to really get deep into my heart. To me dogs are dogs, and I can’t imagine that I will ever get to a point at which I put dogs par with people. But that is okay. I am committed to her, and I will never question that pets become part of the families to which they belong, and tonight I feel a little Kirby-sized hole in my heart. He was not my dog, but he has been a part of my life, if only peripherally, for 15 years.
Mostly, though, I feel so sad for Mom. He was a gift to her, and a constant companion to her and her best friend, Mary, at home and in the RV. Except for the fact that he was never crazy about kids (but he never, ever hurt anybody… he just avoided them by hiding under the couch or on Mom’s lap), he was as about as good a boy as they come. I look at my own pup and hope that we can give her half as good a life as Mom and Mary gave Kirby.
So, Kirby, I hope that wherever you are tonight, there are plenty of squirrels, and falling leaves, and birds flying overhead for you to chase. I hope that whatever your experience is, you feel whole and well and young again. I will miss you.