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.