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LoveYouKito

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Posts: 4
 #1 
Yesterday I had to put down my beloved dog of almost 17 years, Kito. I am 28 now and got her when I was 12. She was with me through all the toughest times in my life.

I was a pretty happy kid up until I turned 13. I can say that I never had any major problems in my life before I got Kito, and I know I'm fortunate for that. During my teenage years I struggled a lot with depression. I had a rough time in school. Kito was with me for that. She knew when you were sad. Whenever I started crying she'd run in and snuggle up to me and kiss me so much.

My first few years of college were rough, too. Kito was with me there. When I lost my grandma, and my grandpa, the cousin I was closest to, and my friend from high school, Kito was there. I don't think I've ever had a major problem in my life that Kito wasn't there for - until now. I'm having so much trouble coping with her loss. I dread going back into work because I know that first day of work knowing I won't have her to come home to is going to be painful. I'm not just worried about coping with this, I'm worried about all of my future troubles she won't be there for.

I feel so much regret about my time with her, too. Along with the depression I had, I had Asperger's. Kito lived a wonderful life. My mom walked her for 3 hours a day most days. She was well-fed and loved and rarely left alone for long because my mom came home at lunch to be with her, too. But I was distant, a lot of the time. Instead of going on those walks with her I just wanted to stay at home on the computer, a lot of the time. I did take her for some walks with mom, but woefully few. During summers home from school I was supposed to take her for a walk by myself and stopped doing it because a neighbor once screamed at me for letting her poop on his yard (even though I picked it up) and I was so afraid of that happening again that I just didn't want to take her out alone anymore.

I'm much better at dealing with my mental health now and know it's unhealthy to isolate myself and let my fear of certain unpleasant social interactions ruin the pleasant ones. But it's too late to give my more positive attitude to Kito. She was stuck with me during my mopey, miserable, and isolated teenage and early adult years when I often just didn't want to leave the house. If I could start over with her right now I'd go on every single walk, but it's too late. I know that she had a happy life and that a dog who got as much attention as she did could in no way be considered unfortunate, I just wish I had chosen to be a bigger part of her life because she was such a huge part of mine. I wish I could go back and tell myself to be better. I feel like I took her presence for granted. I wish I'd known how fast she'd go from old-but-healthy to old-and-can't-do-much-but-eat-and-sleep.

I did love her a lot, despite my mental health making it difficult to express. She was MY dog and in her final years she always chose to be near me even though it was mom that did a lot of the actual work with her. She loved to be in my room and she loved to sit by me, wherever she was. She spent the last few months of her life sleeping beside me and I held her as she died and I hope I was able to comfort her. We have two other dogs that we got much later (Kito we got in 2001, the other two we got in 2009). Those two are very much mom's dogs. Kito, despite everything, was mine. I've read about people with asperger's having emotional support animals and Kito became that for me even though we didn't get her for that purpose. I don't even think I realized that she was my 'support animal' in that way until she died in my arms yesterday morning and there was this big empty hole left where I was completely alone. I still feel completely alone now. There are so many things I wish I could go back and do.

I know I wouldn't be feeling so upset if I didn't have a ton of happy memories too. I know it's unrealistic to expect anyone to spend 24/7 with their dog and that Kito was very well cared-for. I know I might never have pushed through and developed a healthier mental state if she wasn't there to help me through my dark years. I just wish I could have given her my best years, too. I feel lost about where to go without her. My house is so empty now. Through everything else in my life I'd hug Kito. Now I'm just holding the blanket that still smells like her and wondering where to go.

My mom thinks it would be a good idea to bond a bit more with the other two dogs but I'd feel bad doing more for them than I did for Kito. Every time I look at them I just see Kito. I've been crying nonstop for the last 24 hours because I just miss Kito so much. I can barely think of and be thankful for the happy moments we had, I'm just so consumed with regret. I can't eat and I feel like there's nothing more I have to look forwards to. I was so sure she had one more summer left in her and I wanted to make it the best summer of her life but her health declined rapidly over the last week and she died before the snow melted...I'm so sorry, Kito, I love you so much, baby girl.
dhaight71

Registered:
Posts: 13
 #2 
Sounds like a very special dog - I'm truly sorry for your loss
grievingmom

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Posts: 639
 #3 
The fact she died rather quickly..went from old but healthy, to old and declining is a startling blow to anyone who hasn't experienced it. I have experienced it and was thrown off balance by it. I had never experienced that before and seeing my golden girl deteriorate was beyond my capability to experience without profound sadness and anxiety and despair. Her death then made it even more severe. The entire package threw me for a major loop. One I am still recovering from. To be there with someone I loved more than life...to be with her from a puppy who couldn't yet walk up stairs and had to learn how to walk on the side of the road with a collar and leash. Who cried when I left her the first time I adopted her (left the apartment)..she was my car companion. Always in the car with me. Even for short runs like picking up a pizza. Never missed a beat. From that baby to 16 years old and unable to walk and showing sings of dementia with hearing loss was so painful and stressful that it is one reason I am not strong enough to ever adopt again. So your story does not shock me. Only I wish I could put my arms around you and hold you tight because that's what you need right now. Someone to tell you that you are going to be OK. And you are going to be OK. Just not now. And not for a very long time. It took me 10 years before I could be normal when I lost my first dog Shad. With Tum's death, I am still recovering and she died in 2013. Am I typical? I don't know. 

You have lost so much at one. That's one reason this feels the way you do. As you described your life with Kito, she was so many people and so many sources of comfort to you, wrapped up in one dog.

You have lost alot. And loss feels just like what you have happening to you. Loss of this kind anyway.

I will be thinking of you in the days ahead. And I am really sad to know that Kito has died. Kito sounds like she was one of a kind. Not an ordinary dog. I wish I had known her.

Peace and blessings to you.

Your friend, Stephanie
LoveYouKito

Registered:
Posts: 4
 #4 
She was a special dog. Part of the reason this is so difficult for me is that she was a dog that grew with me from childhood to my teenage years and into adulthood. That's a relationship I can never replicate, but also one that hurts so much to let go of. I know there are other dogs and other people and I'll definitely have other relationships I treasure, but this one is finished and will never come back. I want to hug the dog that saw me through my tumultuous teenage years. I want to hug the dog that sat with me when I was home sick from school. I want to hug the dog I sat in the back sit with while my mom drove me and my childhood best friend to art class. I want to hug the dog who shared long and carefree summers with me. But that dog is gone and those experiences aren't part of my life anymore.

I talked with my mom about the feelings I was having, about my regret for not spending enough time with her. She told me that, while Kito was always happy to have me along for walks, but that she got walked whether I was there or not. She wasn't cooped up and restless and lonely just because I wasn't there, and that walks aren't the only thing people and dogs share. I held her during long car rides. I played with her. I sat with her and pet her and brushed her and rubbed her belly. I was home more often than mom was, especially during those summers in school, and Kito was so happy for the company all day long. She used to cry and look for me whenever I went away overnight, something she didn't do when my mom was gone. She came to me when she was frightened (usually during a loud thunderstorm). I was the only one she ever wanted to be with when she was scared or upset. For most of her life she usually went and slept in mom's bed (mom went to sleep earlier than I did) and then switched to mine in the middle of the night, but in her final years, she always chose to sleep in the same room I was in. I wasn't the person who went on long walks with her most of the time and I regret that, but it seems like I was her "comfort person" in the way that she was my "comfort animal", and as long as I added happiness to her life I'm happy about that.

There are still things I feel guilty about. On Friday my dinner got cold because I let her outside just as I was finished cooking and she slipped in the mud and I had to bathe her, and I felt frustrated about that because it was a long, rough week for me and Friday was my relaxation time. If I'd known the poor baby would be out of my life entirely less than 48 hours later I'd have held her close as I bathed her and threw my damn dinner in the garbage can. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to eat that particular meal again, I feel so guilty about how annoyed I was with Kito over something as simple as a grilled cheese sandwich that got cold. I know that she didn't know and my feeling annoyed didn't change anything for her, and I know that even with old dogs we just can't treat every day with them like it's our last, but I do wish I'd have known this was my last weekend with her.

In a way, I guess it's a blessing that I got to have "normal days" with her where we lived our normal lives together right up until the last few hours, even if it resulted in me being annoyed when I wouldn't have if I'd have known. I had the most possible time to just be happy and normal with her instead of knowing the end was near.

I just hope she left this world happy and knowing that she was loved with everything I've got. Mom said that instead of regretting that I didn't give her my best from the perspective I have now, I should know that I gave her the best I could at the time and that growing as a person and learning from my regrets doesn't mean I did wrong by Kito. I've grown with her and, in many ways, because of her, and she was a happy, happy dog who got everything a dog could want even if I wasn't always the one to provide it.

Thank you, Kito, for being with me through my most difficult years and loving me, imperfections and all. I hope we can meet again someday,
LoveYouKito

Registered:
Posts: 4
 #5 
Some more thoughts about Kito.

I've been thinking of her younger days and the feelings of guilt have returned. I got her in November 2001. Up until that point I had begged and begged and begged for a dog, specifically a Min Pin. My mom told me it was too much responsibility, and definitely exaggerated it in the hopes that I'd stop asking (she told me a dog was so much work that I wouldn't even have time to watch TV anymore and couldn't have anymore sleepovers, for example). I didn't care. I was too enamored with the idea of a dog. Mom eventually relented and Kito came into our lives.

About a day after getting her I was overwhelmed with the weight of the responsibility and wanted to give her back to the breeder. I thought about not being able to spend Christmas Break at my best friend's house, and I thought about missing out on TV for the next however many years. The excitement of bringing a new puppy home had worn off and I dreaded what life would be like with her. I thank my lucky stars that mom had already gotten extremely attached to Kito despite her earlier protests and insisted on keeping her. It was a huge fight, one of the worst we ever had. I never told her it was because of the fake responsibilities she'd made up to turn me off of the idea. I assumed she knew that, and she assumed I figured out that it was fake and of course dog owners still watch TV. We kept her. God, how much emptier my life would have been if we didn't.

It still took me about a month to bond with her. Mom made me take her along when my dad and I did our annual Christmas activities. I resented her for that, because it was supposed to be just me and my dad. She chewed up a GameCube controller and I was furious. I spent hours picking out a special Christmas present for a treasured friend and she chewed it to bits underneath the tree. I really hate admitting it now but for our first while together I simply did not care for this dog. I don't know when that changed. At some point I began to realize that caring for her was work, yes, but it was not life-consuming. I slept over at my friend's house just like usual. I watched TV, played video games, and went online. I went to all my after school activities. Kito never interfered with that. She was never going to. One day I saw her happy little face as I came home from school and felt her cuddle up to me at night and realized that I loved her and wanted her and she was my dog and I was her person.

I know I was a 12 year old with Asperger's who didn't cope well with change. I know I wasn't diagnosed with Asperger's until a year later, and I know that if I'd been diagnosed earlier, my mom wouldn't have told me all those fake things about having a dog. She couldn't possibly have expected me to internalize them so badly that I'd react poorly to the new puppy, and I don't blame her. If Kito could talk, I imagine she wouldn't blame me for taking a month to open up and give her sixteen years of warmth and love. I know that dogs live in the moment and there's no way Kito held onto my initial cold treatment for the rest of her life. She knew I loved her, right? I really, really did. I'm sorry it didn't happen immediately. If I could go back to then with the wisdom I have now I'd embrace that little puppy with my whole heart.
skleck

Registered:
Posts: 5
 #6 
I also recently lost a dog that I'd had for most of my life. Shelby was a cockapoo and is now a puppy angel. My family got her and her sister when I was 11, and I'm 22 now. Shelby was with me or all the high school drama and middle school wierdness. I was always an awkward kid, but taking Shelby and my other pups out for a walk always made me feel good. I could talk to them about anything and everything. It's been 2 months now and I still miss her so much it hurts. I can only hope that all those special dogs have an easier time watching over us now because they're angels. 
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