I'm laying on the floor of my office. Mikenna is in her crate - her choice. Makes it hard to cuddle with her as I want, but her comfort takes precedence.
I know you know. It's not like i haven't posted about it everywhere social media will let me, in between outbursts of tears. Mikenna will die tomorrow. I hate the phrase put to sleep. Makes sleep so ominous.
I never wanted to be in this position, of having to choose. But it's not really a choice. There is no doubt that her quality of life has diminished rapidly and permanently. I can't question if we did it too soon. My only hesitation is in whether the vet was right that we bring her home tonight.
I looked it up a while back, how to make that choice if you have to. I wanted to prepare myself in advance to make a rational decision. The rule of thumb seemed to be, make a list of ten things they love. When they fall below half of that list, maybe it's time. Looking at her tonight, there's nothing left for her to enjoy. She seems too uncomfortable for cuddles, even. Not necessarily in pain, but not right.
Matt and I have done a lot of talking today. We have eleven years of shared Koo memories. Other than my parents, he has known her the longest and best. I'm not sure you could ask for a better dog. Maybe not by the textbook - we never did completely iron out potty training, and she would only sit on command if she really found a reason to. But she has had enough love for a lifetime. If you knew Koo, you couldn't help but love her. She made you.
She loved to attack boxes delivered by ups. Friendly to the guy, would viciously maul the box. Patient as a saint as kitten Aeris used her as a jungle gym, or when the neighbor kids got out of hand and smacked her. That made me so mad for her. She loved food. Bananas, pizza crust, french fries, yogurt and eggs were favorites. I was obsessive about only giving her little bits, because I wanted to watch her weight. She tried to stalk squirrels, as if they couldn't see a bright white dog coming. Never did catch one. Was a master at getting on the kitchen table, and took us years to master getting the chairs pushed in just right. Scones, Oreos, danishes and a stick of butter all fell prey to her at one time or another. She would look at you, then her ears would go flat back and she would climb up you and start mauling you with kisses. Whatever made her think it was time for a mauling is beyond me. I've never had a better cuddler, either.
Mikenna was a little over a year old when my cat Maggie died. Maggie had been my comfort whenever I cried. I told Koo that she would have to fill that void, and she did in spades. I'm not sure who that will be now. Neither of these cats really seems to care when I'm upset. I guess the legacy of Maggie ends here.
I told Mikenna that she couldn't leave me until she told me how I'll live without her. She has been such a big part of my life for so long. I make so many decisions on a daily basis based on her. I run to the kitchen and prepare food quickly if she doesn't follow, trying to get back before she barks at me. I set up my computer and office in a Koo friendly way. I've taken many, many naps just because she wanted me to lay on the bed with her. She is so bossy! What do I do if someone isn't in the kitchen flipping her food bowl over because it's empty?
I don't know. To some extent, I'll be starting a lot of my routines over. When do I go to bed if she's not there to yell at me to go to bed? When do I get up if not for her getting me out of bed to take her out?
But staring this in the face, the day I have dreaded forever, I feel okay. Well, let me try that again. I burst out in heaving sobs and little acts of kindness are melting me into crying mush. But I can see that life will go on, even without her. Koo has taught me so much patience, and that it's okay to love unabashedly. She will always be with me, even if her body has given up.
It will be hard to lose her. I will mourn her deeply and for a long time, but only because of how deeply i love her. Even in this deepest of pain... I wouldn't trade it away. I would rather love greatly and mourn deeply than to have lived without her. She is the puppy love of my life. I'd have had it no other way.
Thank you, Mikenna Oncha, my beloved mighty dog, for thirteen years, one month and six days of love and laughter and stubbornness. You will never be forgotten.