I love dogs. My parents adopted a Miniature Schnauzer when I was about 4 years old. I named him Muffin after my favourite character in my favourite show: Mr. Dressup. After Muffin, my parents adopted Hutch (a yellow lab), Maddie and then Christie (both golden retrievers). They were all great dogs.
For a year, I volunteered with the SPCA until it got too hard to leave the dogs in those little cages. Considered buying a farm and adopting all the dogs, but that was, of course, unrealistic. I have also worked at a kennel for a year, cleaning up lots of doggie poo, but I learned so much about the breeds.
In 2005, I decided to adopt my first dog, and I wanted a big one. One day, I was reading the classifieds and saw an ad giving away a puppy. I called the owner and she said Sheba was half lab and half poodle so I’m thinking a large dog.
When I got to her house, the owner was sitting on her front porch with little Sheba (what a terrible name for a dog) on a rope. I asked the woman about the dog and she told me she had never been taken on a walk, never in a car, never anywhere but the backyard. At a year old, she still wasn’t even house broken. I looked at her and her ribs were showing.
I realized I couldn’t leave her with this woman so I took her home and immediately changed her name to Kira.
The rope around Kira’s neck was so worn that it took 10 minutes to cut it off. I took her for a walk at Churchill Park, Westdale, Hamilton, Ontario. The park has a path through the woods with hills on either side so I thought this would be a good place to take Kira. When we got there, I let Kira off the leash. Poor thing thought she had died and gone to heaven. She has never strayed from me.
Kira is now 16½. She will be 17 in May. She is deaf and blind so can’t be taken for walks anymore. She loves to eat but is still trim at about 25 pounds. Because of her white and tan colouring, she doesn’t look her age, but she is a lot of work now.
I have to stay up until at least 11 p.m. to let Kira out. I have to wait that long because she usually will poo by then. I have to get up at 7 a.m. to put her out before she messes in the house, which, unfortunately, happens often.
I love Kira more than life itself, but I need to get away on a vacation. The first place I’d like to go is to an all inclusive somewhere in the Caribbean; I don’t care where. I just want to sit on a beach with a good book and a margarita, but I can’t go until Kira dies. She’s just too much work for my mother or anyone else.
When Kira dies, I’m going to take a break from pets to travel for a few years. If I miss having a dog, I can foster one for a few weeks, then give it back and travel. After I’ve been everywhere I want to go, I will get another dog, probably a golden retriever from Golden Rescue.
So, in the meantime, I’m looking after my sweet old dog, giving her as much love as possible.