Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Katie- Five Pounds of Love

Today my sweet baby Katie-Cakes, aka The Cakers, aka Caker Pies, aka My Little Black Barrel with Legs, will have been gone two months. I am trying my best to remember the good images--sliding down the carpeted ramp on her butt, sitting on her butt and spinning for her other Mom and me, getting caught in forbidden territory in the yard and streaking back to Mom with that precious tongue hanging out, naps next to Wee, sleeping on her back and snoring like crazy, settling into my left hand after lights out so that I could rub her ears and then going to sleep with my hand on her back, that funny little jerk that meant tummy rubs, playing patty-cakes on the bed, that quack-a-duck bark to tell Patch Man what to do, her excitement over crumbled up treats, her stacks of little stuffed toys that she wanted but never played with, frogging on the bed, and helping Wee help Mom make the bed so that she could be first on the clean covers....

Katie had had a happy, good ten days, full of energy and adventure, before she woke up coughing really badly. Sometimes she faked a cough for attention, but this was different. The doc said she had fluid around her heart and he gave her a shot of lasix. That perked her up really well for two or three more days, but when we started on it orally, it didn’t go so well. She ran out of steam. 
She like to look out from a taller perspective from my arms, and I always picked her up, especially in the yard, so that she could see more of the world. She liked to sit with her back feet in my hand and her head under my chin and that is the way she passed, so quietly, next to my heart, that I didn’t even realize it. I had told her that I loved her, holding her next to me that morning, and I had rubbed her little tummy and kissed her little head as she lay against me.

I will take her Christmas tree down today and put her angel by the beautiful little box that holds her ashes. I have her sweater there and her Easter bandanna and her collars there and the bear and bandanna I got her for Christmas that she never got to see. Her little bitty moose with the red scarf is there, too. I know she is okay and wouldn’t be so happy about Mom crying every day, but I miss her more than I can say. I had a special connection with Katie--One of my friends said that she was a “very special spirit in the guise of a small dog.” That she was, but most of all, she was my sweet baby Katie--missing from our home but not from my heart. Caker Pies, may you bless the angels with your spirit as you have blessed ours.  You are in your Mom’s heart forever. I love you.

Kiss-Me-Kate "Katie-Cakes" 10-12-99/12-12-12

12 January 2013

A month ago, at 7:20 in the morning, my blessed Katie-Cakes died quietly in my arms. She was 12. I had just taken her out, and when I stuck my head around the corner of the patio, she was just sitting on a stepping stone. I picked her up and brought her in and put her in her spot on the bed. As I got to the end of the bed, she cut her eyes at me in a way that made me stop, go back, and pick her up. I propped up on the bed with her against my heart and her feet in my hand --she only weighed 5 1/2 pounds--and I stroked her and kissed the top of her head and told her that I loved her. I rubbed her tummy as she lay against me. We must have stayed that way for about 10 minutes. I thought she was asleep and I looked down to see if her tongue was out--I was going to tuck it in--and that is when I realized that she was dead. Her eyes were closed and she was warm. But she was gone. I sat and held her for a few more minutes while I tried to absorb what had just happened.

Katie was a special girl. She had survived about 4 years in a puppy mill and then was rescued and sent to Second Chance Poms in Lake Jackson, Texas. I saw her picture and she had such a hard look in her eyes that I knew I had to adopt her and love her until that look went away. She was solid black, but she was supposed to be a black and tan, but the lady in Lake Jackson said she might never get her tan markings back after what she had been through. She had lost 9 teeth already from having so many babies--it leaches the calcium out of their bones. But Katie slowly got her markings back just as she slowly inched up the bed from my feet into my arms. She didn't bark for about two years, and the first time she did, she sounded like a duck. I think they may have cut her vocal cords and they partially grew back. It was a very funny bark.

Her personality began to emerge and she was a fun, funny, gentle loving little soul. Her job in the morning was to wake me up. She would come over and gently tap me on the shoulder. If there was no response, I got two taps. Then we would all get up and thank Jesus for another beautiful day. That was the signal to go out, and off the crew went.

She didn't like outside too much except in Phoenix. She decided her job there was to patrol the pool in the morning. She would walk all the way around the perimeter, checking everything, then come back to me, satisfied that all was okay. Here, Katie and Wee told the boys to take care of things, but sometimes they would go to "forbidden territory" together. When I would catch her there and call her, she would come streaking back across the yard with that little tongue hanging out, very proud of what she had done. She had her favorite treats and her favorite spot on the bed. No trespassing. And she wasn't shy about telling the boys to buzz off if they encroached. Her most favorite thing besides treats crumbled up were fresh bed covers. She claimed them first every time. Her favorite game was playing patty-cakes with my fingers on the bed. I would pat and she patted back. When she wanted attention, she would do this funny little jerk-took me forever to figure that out. That meant she wanted tummy rubs, and she got them. She didn't play with toys, but when I brought them home, she would take each, one by one, to the bed and make a neat little stash. Then she was done. She had made her point. She also had decided that the threshold at the patio door was an abyss, and she waited for me to help her over it except when she got excited and forgot it was there.

I loved Katie more and in a way that was so different that I can't quite find the words to capture what I felt. I can't imagine, coming from what she did, having the love and trust to die next to her Mom's heart. I've learned about a loving trust from Katie, one that was unconditional, open, and freely given--a love rivaled by no other human, although my Mom came close.

May I wish a Katie for all of you and when you look up and see a star, say 'Hi' to her. I am sure that she will twinkle back.