Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Losing Kootchi


"It's not supposed to go like that. It's not intended to end that way." The lyrics of a Rascal Flatts song kept echoing through my head. Kootchi is only six-years-old. She's supposed to be with our family for another 10 years. I'm not ready to say goodbye. I wish Spencer was here. It's not fair that he doesn't get to see his dog one last time.

Last Thursday my family said goodbye to Kootchi, our sweet smooth fox terrier. A back injury a month earlier had stolen the function of her back legs, painful soars had developed on her hind quarters, and a lump on her abdomen was suspected to be cancerous. Our little girl went from healthy to decrepit in a matter of weeks. We weren't ready to let her go but seeing her in pain with no quality of life was too much to bear. She was already gone.

Kootchi came into our lives when my younger brother Spencer adopted her from his friend Lydia in Salt Lake City over three years ago. A series of events led her to live with my parents for a short time and once Spencer was ready to have her again, my parents couldn't give her back. His princess was now their princess too. I bonded with Kootchi the summer I lived at home before I moved out to Chicago. Like everyone else, I fell instantly in love with her.

I've said many times that I wished we could clone Kootchi. Her disposition, sturdy yet small frame, and playful personality were everything you could ever want in a dog. She charmed everyone she met. We affectionately called her Smootchala and Smootchi thanks to her constant need to kiss your face. The neighborhood kids even made up a song. 

Saying goodbye to a beloved pet is never easy, especially when they're taken long before their time. We are all devastated. Because I was in town for two college friends' weddings, I was fortunate enough to see Kootchi one last time and be with my family when we took her to the vet to be put down. I pulled Spencer up on FaceTime so he could say goodbye. Oh the wonders of modern technology.

Despite the pain of losing Kootchi too soon, I am grateful she was a part of our family. She was a bright spot in the struggles that have beset us over the past several years. Kootchi and Brinkley were inseparable pals. Every time he comes inside he goes from room to room looking for his buddy. Seeing the sadness in his eyes starts the tears flowing all over again. You can't explain what happened to a dog, but I think he knows. 

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