Early Sunday, we had to say goodbye to our sweet Kota – it came quickly and unexpectedly, and we were most definitely not ready. The vet determined a brain tumor, and we are thankful his suffering was not long.
At almost 14 years young, Kota had woven himself into every aspect of our lives. From the moment my SEGSP peer Beth recommended him to us as a foster until his last moments – he was a dedicated family member. Kota came from an illegal puppy mill operation; after the court case was settled in 2010. He immediately became best buddies with Lola, following her every move. He experienced his first trip to the ocean with us Christmas of 2010 and I can vividly remember how quickly he pulled his paw up once the ocean water hit it.
He was my most dedicated running partner; joining me for most daily runs from 2010 until he retired in November 2022. He then looked forward to his daily walks, car rides and any other time he could spend with us. Reflecting back now, I see the small ways we modified our lives to accommodate his aging – keeping his beds exactly where he knew they were, adding a ramp to help him get in/out of the car, our sweet neighbors and family checking on him if it stormed while we weren’t home, and I even relocated my work from the upstairs office to be with him on our main floor when stairs became too much.
If I’m being honest, a part of me is gone in some way. He was an extension of me in many ways – and anywhere I went, he was there. That loneliness is hard. On his last days, we spent time soaking up the sun at the beach, walking and letting him explore, and most importantly, lots of time with his people. I’ll forever be indebted to my dad, who was with him when he first started struggling, my parents for helping us, and to the folks at the ER vet who guided Dan and me for the last bit. Kota knew he was SO loved, and he loved back even more.
If you have ever considered getting involved with a rescue, I urge you to do so. Even if it is to transport, ID a dog, or foster – the time, the love these dogs give and even the heartbreak is SO worth it.
Thank you, Kota, for letting us love you for so long.”
“Love is an invaluable bond that enriches every good thing in life. It gives each hug a tenderness, each heart a happiness, each spirit a steady lift. Love is an invisible connection that is exquisitely felt by those who know the joy, feel the warmth, share the sweetness, and celebrate the gift!” Douglas Pagels