I came home today to find Koda laying in the blue chair in our front room. She looked at me and then proceeded to sleep. In the matter of 30 seconds I smiled and then felt sadness. I smiled because she looked so peaceful. Sadness because I know she won’t be with us to much longer. It’s hard to believe she will be 13 years old this month. How is my little girl a senior dog? Typing senior dog out literally made me tear up. It breaks my heart to see her as a senior dog. Don’t get me wrong, she is a great senior dog in good health. I’m being selfish on wanting her to be young again.
It seems like it was a few years ago when I left work on my lunch hour to go to a farm to look at puppies they were wanting to get rid of. I didn’t expect to fall in love on my lunch hour and that’s exactly what happened. When I got to the farm the owners took all the puppies out of the barn and let me interact with them. They did tell me that all the puppies that are left are males. They were adorable! They were holding a long stick and going in circles together. I picked Koda up and knew she was the one that I needed in my life. Remember how I mentioned I was told all the puppies were left were male? At this moment I still thought she was a male. I remember thanking the owners for letting me take one of their golden lab puppies. OMG…..I have a puppy! I brought her back with me to work. Remember I was on my lunch hour. This was a totally spur of the moment thing. That afternoon my co-workers and I were on the hunt to find the best name for the cutest little puppy ever. During this time one of my co-workers offered to take her outside to go potty. This is the moment we found out we had a girl dog. I was so excited. I had a Girl! After a couple google searches a co-worker found the name Koda. She then proceeded to share Koda is a Native American term for “friend” or “companion”. From that moment on Koda was her name.
Have you ever had a pet that has taught you so much? I don’t even like to consider her as a pet. She is my Koda girl. We survived her puppy years with only chewing on a lamp cord. Good thing the lamp wasn’t plugged in. She liked to explore and show me everything that was left out in the apartment. At a young age she thought she was the leader. When I would head home to visit my parents I would bring Koda home with me. At this time my parents still had our family dog, Trece. Trece was a senior dog that didn’t want anything to do with Koda. Trece was an interesting dog. If you left her leash on while she was in the backyard she would stay in the yard. The moment you removed the leash she would take off. So we would have both dogs outside playing, Trece with her leash and Koda free. Koda would pick up Trece’s leash and try to pull her to come where she wanted. Trece was a German Shepard Collie mix that wasn’t moving. Koda was so persistent and kept trying. I often think about this and apply it to certain times in my life, never give up.
I would describe Koda as a social butterfly. She is perfectly content on staying in her yard until she hears a neighbor say something. She immediately thinks they are talking to her. At this moment I keep my fingers crossed that they don’t have their door open to their house. Yup, Koda has invited herself into multiple homes. This is when I send my husband to get her back. I get so embarrassed that she invited herself into someones home. I also feel like I failed as a parent on not teaching her better. She used to be the first “person” to greet you when you walked in the door. Her wagging tail lets you know she is so happy to see you.
Koda is an all or nothing girl. She would go on short and long runs with my husband and I. If we decided not to take her we would hear her bark as we ran away from the house. She knows the sound a garmin watch makes and still to this day gets excited. She is a ball lover. She is great about going to get it and terrible about giving it back to you. She wants you to work hard to get it back. She is the athlete in our family. She absolutely loves swimming. She has swam in lakes, rivers, and pools. It’s so hard to pull her away from water.
In March 2009 Koda’s only child came to an end when we brought Koda with us to pick up Conan. We wanted to make sure she would get along with her brother. Their first meeting he wanted nothing to do with her. Once we brought him home, they were best friends. She took the puppy training off our hands and trained her brother. She taught him to sit, where to go potty, where the snacks come from and more. Seriously, she is the best big sister. It was so fun to watch her try to show Conan how to climb stairs. She would keep going up and down the stairs while he sat on a step and barked. She wasn’t giving up, she knew if she kept going he would do it and he DID!
Koda is our bathing beauty. She loved the sunny days in Arizona. A little to much for my liking. We would have to go in the backyard and try and pick her up in order to get her to come back inside. She loved getting a sun tan and still does.
She is not afraid of anything. While in Arizona we would run and hike as a family of 4. In the desert we would come across rocks and caves that I wouldn’t want to poke my head into. Koda on the other hand wanted to check it out. It would give me a heart attack and send me over the edge while my husband would be cool and calm and remind me she’s ok. I was always fearful that something would come out and get her. While we would run and hike these trails we got to see her love for exploring. She would charge ahead and climb a hill and look back at us to make sure we were coming. She then proceed to let us pass her while she checked the area out.
She has a mind of her own. No matter how many times you call her name, she decides when she wants to come. She is stubborn like her dad. I often remind my husband how much they are alike. They have a bond that is unbreakable. I’m so lucky that I have been able to see how this father daughter relationship grow. She is more his dog than mine however, when he isn’t around she loves her mommy and wants to cuddle. The moment dad comes home she forgets about me until I head to the bedroom to go to bed, then she follows me.
The past few years we have seen a difference on what she is able to do. It started with not wanting to climb up and down stairs unless she knew we were staying upstairs. She used to follow us everywhere, now she will wait and see if we are coming back into the room. She is more white than gold. We have to force her to go outside to go potty. She will walk to the end of the driveway and then want to stop. Her activity level is not there. She gets more lumps each year. She loves to sleep. She is no longer the first one to finish eating. With all of that said, she is still a sweet girl.
Koda is our first child. We have had to make safety, healthcare, and life decisions for her. She has taught us how to work together as parents. Even though she has fur and 4 legs she is our big girl who is loved with our whole heart.
It’s hard to swallow that a dog’s life is so short. You see them through all the stages of life, which for me is hard. I have a huge heart and struggle when I notice the changes. I know her time is slowly coming to an end. Until then, I will continue to learn from this girl who has taught us so much in a short amount of time.