It’s so easy to take people for granted, that they will always be there. This applies to pets too. Dogs have a way of working their way into a family I think that is unlike other pets…though this is admittedly coming from a ‘dog person.’
When I was little I was dead-set on being a vet…that was until about the age of nine when I realized how much schooling was involved. Later, being that I really can’t stand vomit (blood not so much, I think I would have enjoyed surgeries and such) I know it was the right choice…I really can’t stand vomit, and poop too.
I always begged my parents for more pets, when I was just starting high school we got our first Boston Terrier. We named him Kikko, after the soy sauce, because my dad is half Chinese-Hawaiian and we had rice about every single night for dinner and the Kikkoman Soy Sauce was as much a staple on the table as a fork. (Yes, we stink and don’t go ‘all the way’ and use the chopsticks…lol.)
Kikko started the Boston Terrier ball in motion. My dad was adamant with: ONLY ONE DOG. But he fell in love with Kikko off the bat and it was then him talking my mom into letting us have more. Three more dogs later, and yes by now I’ve moved out and away.
When I was up in Portland those visits were actually pretty far and few between, so come Christmas or whenever and I did step foot into the door this was the usual scenario: dogs rush up in a stampeded of paws, snorts, sneezes, gas attacks, and barking, trying to asses if this was a stranger or not. Not Kikko though, he didn’t bark like the ‘stranger’ kind of bark, it was more like a bark of recognition and greeting, like, “Hey you, it’s been awhile.”
The others realized it was me after a bit and plenty of pets. We called Kikko the ‘old man’ and he was getting up there in age for dog years. He got slower, didn’t put up too much of a fight if another dog wanted the ball; he reminded me of the old soul who watched from the deck in his rocking chair, content with life and watching over his brood.
Every time I came home to see them I felt a lot of guilt. Guilt over the fact that I didn’t see them more, like I abandoned them. Those first ‘stranger barks’ only exacerbated that.
When I moved out I got a cat, Baily; like I said I’m actually a ‘dog person’ and wanted a dog but I lived in an apartment that allowed no pets at all and getting a cat was a stretch. When I moved back to Cali, I’d be lying if I didn’t harbor fantasies of getting a dog; my sister was the one who got the fourth Boston and I was asking all up and down about where she got hers.
Kikkoman was the old soul in the rocker, but I still never really thought of the day his chair would stop rocking. Sort of like it would be on an infinite pendulum; it’s easy to take people for granted and feel like they’d always be there.
A week ago my dad texted me that Kikko was at the vet’s; he hadn’t been eating or pooping for awhile. Back and forth to the vets, it ended up that he had a very serious infection and had to have surgery on his intestines to remove 4 growths and 4 inches of intestines. He was put into ICU and as of yesterday at 5pm my dad let me know that he’d seen him, that he was doing better, but had to stay at the vets for another 3-4 days.
I think we all though, started to breath sighs of relief, as it looked like the trooper would pull through. A little over an hour later my mom let me know that the opposite was true and Kikko’s rocker had stopped rocking.
They always say that when anyone dies to remember the good times and focus on those. Looking over pictures has helped, but it hasn’t killed the guilt. I’m guilty I wasn’t able to really say ‘good-bye’ and that’s my fault.
When I was up in Oregon there was an excuse for not seeing him, but now I’m only miles away and I should have gone to visit him. Yes, he was in the vet’s some of those nights/days. An excuse. Yes, I was in the midst of a fight with my mom and that’s why I really didn’t want to go to the house. An excuse. Yes, we kept getting ‘good news’ that he was getting better after every time back from the vets and thought all would then go back to normal. An excuse.
I deal with things a lot with words. I talk too manically fast and scattered to make much sense sometimes, but writing I am able to be more concise, get to at least some of my points, and express a bit better what I’m thinking or feeling. Is a blog the best platform for this, I don’t know, but I tend to write about enough other things on here (farts, gurgly guts on runs, random tangents) that I needed to pay tribute to my little guy.
Kikko, I’m sorry. I hope you know that I love you, always have, I never failed to notice that you never forgot who I was or thought I was a stranger if months and months went by and you never saw me. Your departure hit me hard; this sounds horrible and I hope PETA doesn’t come after me for saying it, but your loss I think hurts more than if my cat died…we aren’t supposed to admit favorites between pets I suppose.
But I will remember the good times; picking you out as a pup, posing with you for our Christmas card, taking you on that one awful walk you reeaaaallly wanted to stop so you just laid down on the pavement but the momentum of the other two dogs still dashing forward made you sort of drag along before everyone stopped, herding you into the crate at night, and hearing your not-so-soft snoring.
It’s easy to take people for granted, that they will always be there. Your rocking chair may have stopped but it will forever still be sitting out on the porch right where you left it.
<3 you Kikko.