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Kwali In Sanctuary

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Originally posted Monday, 9 November 2009; 20:42:10

Kwali in Dr. Amanda'a arms

[c103986czop-kwamand43.jpg] Kwali in Dr. Amanda'a arms

Kwali Corazon Houdini Porcupine Twinkletoes

Notes by Carol
Evening, Tuesday 3 November, 2009

Kumbi and I lost our Kwali Corazon Houdini Porcupine Twinkletoes to what, on brief post-mortem, appeared to be lymphoma. Kwali was just short of 14.5 years old, and had come to me just short of 1.5 years old.

Though Kwali had had a really rocky start to her life, once she came to me, she began to improve, and we took things slowly, over the years, so Kwali's liveliness and affection developed into their natural capacities. She was a very affectionate dog, though not all observers noticed that! Kumbi and I, and DogDaddy George, and scatterings of humans who know dogs as the Dogs They Are, knew it, though!

Kwali had been deteriorating physically from spring through summer, and then getting worse this fall. All spring and summer, and well into autumn, Kwali appeared to be her usual lively self most of the time - this is so typical of her breed (Australian Terrier) and lines. But despite all my vets and I could do, she continued to deteriorate. We couldn't determine just what the problem was. Dr. Amanda Booth and Dr. Carla Bell (Saseenos Veterinary Services) and I agreed that at her age and in her condition, it was too much to ask of her to endure scoping and surgery, even if I'd had the money to do it. So what was left to us was to keep her as comfortable as possible.

All the staff at Saseenos know us, too, and were as compassionate and supportive as the doctors. When we'd go to the clinic, Kwali would insist on going in to say hi, even if it was only Kumbi who had an appointment.

We managed to keep Kwali passably comfortable the last few days, during which she became worse each day. Tuesday, mid-morning, Kwali told me unmistakably that it was Time, so I phoned for an appointment. We got one for 12:10 p.m.

Dr. Amanda, who owns the clinic, was the doctor on duty, which pleased me, because she's known us the longest. We've been with her for over 20 years. She's seen Kwali and Kumbi through everything. She, Dr. Carla and the staff work as a team, which benefits all clients and patients. The clinic specializes in kindness to all animals. Kwali had a thick, padded quilt on the floor to lie on. No tables for this event.

Kwali died in dignity and bliss, thanks to Demerol preceding the lethal juice. We brought Kumbi in to check her out afterwards. He sniffed, then turned away, took another sniff, and was done.

Dogs vary so much in how they respond to the loss of their companions. Kwali and Kumbi have been the best of buddies, always caring for each other, but happily, Kumbi is not grieving unduly. He misses Kwali sometimes, but is determined to go on with his life. This is a great boon for me. Now with only one dog left, I need Kumbi to be happy and well. So, we miss Kwali together - now we're a pair, with a ghostly third accompanying us in our memories.

It became clear to me that Kumbi was fully aware of Kwali's illness and condition. Oh, good, clever Kumbi; this surely eases things for him, as it does for me.

Kumbi and I share many happy memories, and we also continue with our usual routines, with those memories accompanying us. We remember Kwali's musical sniff-snorts along the verges on our road-walks. We remember Kwali and Kumbi walking shoulder-to-shoulder, striding out. We remember both dogs jumping up to occupy the sill at the Bay Window that overlooks the long driveway and whatever wildlife - and domestic-life - travels that grassy way. Kwali used her eyes and ears; Kumbi, his ears, to track Driveway-Doings.

We remember when Kwali had a mild stroke a year ago June, and, disabled, veering and reeling leftward, she followed right behind Kumbi on walks, tracking him, as she would do for fun with humans, too. So, this was the almost-totally blind, striding out straight and true, leading the disabled. Kwali recovered gradually, and was almost back to normal by four months later, though she retained a slight leftward head-tilt for the rest of her life. And the dogs strode out shoulder-to-shoulder again.

We remember the cuddles and the back-rolling and the bed-clothes-rumpling, during playtime after supper. And we remember Kwali's snores, as musical as her sniffs along the verges, as she snoozed in her open crate, or among the quilts and pillows on Our Bed.

Kumbi remembers checking out Kwali's eating-area in her crate, after meals. He is still checking there, but he isn't spending much time, since there hasn't been food there since Kwali died. I don't know how long Kumbi will keep up that routine, but I'll leave the crate in place, because Kumbi may enjoy using it.

All our routines continue as before, with Kwali's memories cheering us and keeping me from dissolving into oceans of tears. I have to stay solid; cannot care for Kumbi if I turn liquid. That is a blessing for me. Kumbi clearly thinks well of that, too. He too is staying solid.

It's time to fix Kumbi's evening injection. He still comes for his shot, even without Kwali to lead the way, as she's done all along.

We are blessed. We MISS Kwali, but the timing was right, and we will have her in our memories as long as we live.

Meantime, from her lofty position in the skies, Kwali watches over all diabetic dogs and cats, wishing them well, and sending out harmonies of the Universe to all.

Notes edited and completed Wed, 4 Nov 2009 18:52:13 (PST)

P.S. On our grief and coping

Just because Kumbi and I are coping doesn't mean we aren't grieving. When I fixed Kumbi's syringe, Wednesday evening, at the last moment, adjusting the dose to perfection, I dropped the syringe. It went clattering to the floor, somewhere behind me, where Kumbi was standing! Luckily, it didn't spear Kumbi on its own! It needs guidance to place the insulin!

I couldn't find the fallen syringe, but didn't want to be late with the insulin, so after making sure it wasn't where Kumbi might step on it, I prepared a fresh one, and, dear Kumbi, even without Kwali to aid him, came for his shot - and got his post-shot treat, too.

Then I crouched with a flashlight, scanning the floor - and there was the fallen syringe, between the two water-dishes! Kumbi might have stepped on it before long, had I not found it first!

Body-disorientation, for me, is part of grief. Maybe it is for Kumbi, too, though the only difference I perceive so far is his sometimes slightly slower gait on walks, without Kwali at his shoulder. Kwali gave me 12 years and 2 months of her life. Kwali ComeDay was 4 September, 1996. Kumbi wasn't even born then! He was born 19 November, 1996, and his ComeDay is 21 July, 1997. So Kumbi has had Kwali's companionship all his life with me.

I will be leaving both water-dishes, which are two-liter measuring cups, available for Kumbi, as he is accustomed to drinking out of either, same as Kwali was. The cups are part of the furniture, and I don't move furniture if I can help it; otherwise, Kumbi might have trouble finding his way around for a time.

Notes completed Thursday, 5 November 2009; 07:57:35 (PST)

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