Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Written in memory of my Kayla Bear..09/03/2006

I have been really having a hard time of it lately! I meant to post about this on Labor Day weekend, but it was just too painful then to remember.

If I do have readers, I apologize for not writing sooner...

See, 1 year ago Labor Day weekend, I had to make the very painful decision to put my 17-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel down due to health reasons.

There are 2 pictures of her at the top of this blog entry. The one to the far right was taken when she was 6 years old. I took her with me when I had some professional shots taken of myself. Doesn't she look regal and queenish? ;)
The one beside that was taken when she was 17. It was in the month of July. She was playing with our German Shepard, Chewi, on the front porch. If you didn't know better, you would swear she was still very young, no?

Her name was Kayla Bear. I got her when she was barely 6 weeks old, and I was blessed with her presence in my life for 17 beautiful years.

Were you aware that Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have a genetic issue in that most of them will be born with or develop a heart murmur by the time they reach 6 years old?

Kayla's heart murmur was discovered when she was about 5 years old. At that time, the vet told me that it would not interfere with her quality of life because it was very minor. He said it was a 1/6 murmur, with 6/6 being the worst type of murmur. He also told me at the time that her breed's life expectancy was approximately 12 years old. Of course, I asked him all sorts of questions then and learned all that I could about this medical condition from a pet owner's point of view.

About 3 months later, she developed a minor case of leg tremors/shakes, possibly epilepsy as well. My vet told me that in her case, it was stress related. He said that if she noticed that I was upset for a long period of time, that she could very well have the tremors that she was experiencing in order to cause my attention to shift from whatever she perceived as a bad situation to her situation. He said that when it happened, that she would drag herself to my side, be shaking all over, but it was not an actual epileptic seizure. He said her back legs would not work until she was calm again. He said it would not effect her quality of life in any way.

I had no idea at the time that our pets were so into their humans that they would try to divert attention from stressful situations. Does anyone realize that? So, I started watching when it happened. It would happen if I was having an argument with my mom. It would happen if loud music was playing, or if there was any situation going on where her lifestyle would be affected.. for example, moving from one place to another.. She was a very smart little dog. :)

Anyway, the vet said when this happened with her, I needed to get in the floor with her on her level, pet her continuously, rubbing her back legs for a long period of time until she calmed down and returned to normal. Hence, I would be calmed as well because I was worried about her.

After that time, her seizures only happened about 4 times throughout the rest of her life. They did not happen at all during the last 7 years of her life. I was very thankful for that. I managed to find out the reasons for my own inner turmoil and thereby stop the stress that I felt on a daily basis then.

Anyway, Kayla was the light of my life for so many years that I ache for her even a year after she passed onto the Rainbow Bridge. I know she is no longer in pain there, and that she is playing with other residents of Rainbow Bridge. I pray that I will see her again one day in the future.

She weighed about 19 pounds, and if there were other dogs in our household, she made sure that they knew that SHE was the queen of the pack.. Ya'll should have seen her ruling 5 German Shepard puppies that were born to our 2 German Shepard mixes when she was about 7 years old. She was SO much smaller than they were, and she totally ran the pack with grace and a few growls here and there. :) It was amazing to me to watch her round all of the puppies up and walk them out the door in a line to go potty outside when they were old enough to walk. They took to her like a 2nd mommy, even though their own mom was right there. She would keep them from Cynda once their teeth came in, and I think that she had an agreement with Cynda when it came to when they nursed and how they would do so. It was like the 2 of them worked in conjunction with each other. She would nudge them away from Cynda after they fed to keep them from continuing to grab onto her nipples with those razor-sharp teeth of theirs. I was so amazed at how that worked.

She also like to play with those huge rubber bands that you see in the office supply stores. She would bring one to me, and get me to hold one end of it while she backed up and stretched it out as far as it would go.. then you could see her ears perk up and she would get this totally mischevious look on her face right before she let the rubber band go! Can you say OUCH!!! It was one of her favorite games to play with anyone that she could get to engage in it. I did not allow her to keep the rubber bands once she bit them into for safety reasons, but she could entertain herself and her playmate for hours with that one thing.

She also liked nuts.. you know how you get assorted mixed nuts in the shells at the holidays? Kayla loved nuts! She could crack them with her jaw, even the Brazil nuts in the shell! My mom was insane about nuts at the holidays. She would buy several pounds of the mixed nuts and use them as a centerpiece with some fruit on the dining room table from Thanksgiving through New Years. One day, she was cracking them while watching TV and she noticed that Kayla was waiting patiently for a nut. So, she would crack one for herself, then crack one for Kayla.. She got tired of doing that rather quickly, and threw a whole one on the floor beside Kayla. It took Kayla about 1 minute or less to crack it and eat it.. She would even leave the bitters in pecans and only get the pecan nutmeat!

So, she liked nuts so much, that one day the nut bowl was left on the floor over night.. I know you know where I am going with this, don't you? :) My mom left about 3/4 of a bowl beside her recliner when she went to bed. She did not think that Kayla would mess with them. Boy, was she wrong.. :)

When she got up the next morning, all that was left of that bowl of nuts were the empty shells all over the floor around that nut bowl. From then on, she was nicknamed the Nut Bandit.. :)

The stories about my Kayla Bear could go on and on.. I will continue them on future blog entries as a tribute to my baby.. I so miss her.. I am going to be seeking out another little dog in the next few months.. I think that I am going to go with a Shih Tzu this time. Long, long story..

Thanks for reading this far.. I hope to hear from you soon!

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