Shinny, black, and soft, Kaydee was not your typical Labrador Retriever. She was So calm and easy going. She loved to snuggle and be close, yet was so happy to just lie at your feet.
Although we knew her from age 8 weeks, we didn’t have the privilege to call her ours until she was 7 and 1/2. After keeping her for a week, while her parents who were professionals were away on a trip, we fell in love with her, and knew we had the time for her that because of their professional and busy lives, they didn’t. They allowed us to have her and she stole our hearts.
She was ours for three years and almost four months, and she would have been 10 had she survived just one more month. We knew from her annual exams that her platelets had been low for the last 9 months. Searching for why, the vets discovered she had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which we didn’t understand because she had been on flea and tick control. Never-the-less, in an effort to cure that, something went wrong, and in a week’s time, she was gone.
So how do you help your other pets and yourself move forward? A good question. It seems for us, learning how to be good dog parents is a journey. To go from a dog family of three, to two is a shock. Not just for us, but for the pups left behind. Animals grieve too.
In the past when we have lost a pet, my husband and I were both still working, so we had a distraction, and didn’t see the daily lives of our pets. Now home, and with Covid 19 a reality, home a lot, we saw first hand that our boys grieved for their missing sister and friend. For days they didn’t get the toys out and play, they didn’t engage much with one another. They just laid around and slept.
Let me back track to explain how despite my own sadness and grieving, I attempted to ease the pain for them. First, I brought some of Kaydee’s hair home with me. From the moment I came up the stairs and through the door, I let the boys smell the hair, and Kaydee all over me. They saw her leave, and they saw she didn’t come back. I sat on the floor, and let them smell as long as they needed to do it. My shoes, my shirt, my hands, and shorts, my face, tear stained and red, they smelled, and bless them, they licked.
That night they both laid in the bed with us, and we snuggled, and rubbed and petted. My husband had already taken her crate and bedding out. It was different for them, and us. We grieved together. It was hard, but we are a family, and we grieved together just like families do.
The next morning, I noticed them looking for her, and it broke my heart. They went to the places she would normally lay, and smelled. Our routines, slightly changed, because where there was three, there was now two. However, they were resilient, and adjusted to the difference. We added in more walks, and I started doing some training sessions to get their minds on new ideas and changes.
We started taking some adventures to the park, which we had not done in a good while because Kaydee wasn’t up to it. Oh so many smells, sights and sounds! It was sensory overload, and hard on these two parents, who were hurting inside. However, the park visits were good for all of us.
The slight changes to the routines, the training sessions, the extra love, and a few new adventures actually lifted all or our hearts, and I could see a difference. After four days, the toys came out again, they engaged with one another in play, and the enthusiasm for life once again showed in each of them.
To adjust from the beginning having two Golden Retrievers, to a sweet Black Labrador Retriever, was a fun change. Retrospectively, it was a new world, because we had never had a Lab before, and as I previously stated, Kaydee wasn’t like other Labs. Her gentle sweet spirit was something that just enveloped us. All of us, and to be quite honest, it’s that sweet spirit that we miss, but with life and love, come loss. And we are moving forward, while thanking God for allowing us to experience her sweet loving, gentle spiririt which will life forever in our hearts, as she will always be “The Sweetest Dog We Ever Owned” and has left, Paw Prints On Our Hearts forever.
We are adjusting to our life once again as a family with two Golden Boys, who have a new zeal for going to the park, playing with new toys, and training to be better at doing life with two retired adults, who still love living and exploring life with their four legged children.