Friday, March 13, 2009

Lessons from Kota

Our three year old Dobie, Kota, passed away a few days ago. He had been acting not quite himself for about a week, so we took him in to the Vet. He was a little scared when we went in the exam room, so I sat on the floor and had him lay his head on my lap. Gave him a treat, and I thought he went to sleep. The Vet came in a few minutes later, and...he was gone. I didn't even know it. Still petting his head. Just gone.

The Vet did an exam. Kota had a heart attack. Congenital problems with his heart, liver and kidneys. His parents weren't supposed to breed. Cherish didn't know any of that when she rescued him two years ago. He was malnourished when we got him...covered in sores, and very skittish. Acted like he had been beaten. The Vet said with all that was wrong with him, if Cherish hadn't rescued him when she did, he probably would have been dead in a month.

So, we gave him two good years...and he died peacefully. His last act on this earth was eating, which was his favorite thing. Then he went to sleep...and woke up in heaven...probably at my Mom's feet in her kitchen. Knowing my Mom, she had a steak cooking for him on the stove...with gravy. Good deal for Kota. We should all be so lucky.

Everyone who knew Kota was aware that he wasn't the sharpest dog out there. Handsomest Dobie you ever saw, but not overly bright. People would stop their cars when we were walking the dogs just to admire him. We used to make jokes about how he might have been cheated in the brains department, but damn...was he good looking.

I try to learn from everyone and everything I encounter...I may be an old dog myself, but I like to think I can still learn a few tricks.

Here's what I learned from Kota:

  • You don't have to be smart to appreciate what you have.

  • A roof over your head, a hot girlfriend, a loving family and great food, should be enough to make anyone happy.
  • If you're only good at a couple of tricks, do them well...and be proud of them.
  • Enjoy every walk. Smell the air, look at everything, rub up against your never know if it might be your last one.
  • Cuddle the ones you love whenever you can...even if they don't want you to. They'll be glad someday.
  • You have no control over where you were born...or to whom...or with what. Let it go.
  • You can control where you are today. Make the most of it...and don't look back.
  • It's OK to walk in long as you're still moving forward as you go.
  • Howl when you feel the need. People may laugh at you...but sometimes they'll join in.
  • It's OK to be afraid of deep long as you're willing to jump in anyway.
  • Run, don't walk, run to the door when your loved ones come home.
  • Enjoy whatever is a treat to you to the fullest.
  • A warm fire is a good friend on a cold night.
  • If people you love give you silly clothes, were them anyway...and with pride. You'll make them very happy...and who cares what strangers think? They don't feed you or scratch you in just the right spots.
  • Don't be an asshole to the ones you love just for attention...a hard lesson for Kota...harder for me.
  • Be gentle with little ones. Dogs and people.
  • Protect your family from's better to bark at the wrong times than to be too afraid to bark at all. If they don't need your help right then, they'll tell you to shut up.
  • Give it one extra bark...just to make sure.
  • If your Mom tells you that squirrels are evil, chase them away from her whenever you can. She'll love you for it.
  • Try not to bite people when they wake you up. They don't know your nightmares, or why you have them...and if you love them, you don't want them to.
  • Never try to be somebody else. You'll fail twice, instead of once.
  • A collar and a leash are wonderful things...they mean you belong to someone...and they don't mind being seen with you in public.
  • A homemade sweater from your Mom...or one of your dad's shirts...both mean love.
  • If you hurt someone you love, go and lay at their feet with your head down. You may not be able to say I'm sorry, but they'll know what you mean.
  • Actions definitely speak louder than barks.
  • Loving...and being loved...are better than brains...better than looks...better than food...better than anything.

I know that when I close my eyes for the last time on this earth...they will open immediately in Heaven. I will be greeted by my Savior, my loved ones...and all of my wonderful dogs...and I look forward to each one...

I love you Kota Bear...tell Granny I said to pour a little extra gravy on your food...and tell her to get the fried chicken started...we'll all be there before you know it.


Polly B said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your beloved Kota. Your story really touched my heart...thanks for sharing it with us.

Lacy Blake said...

What a tribute to such a pure soul. I will miss him and remember him forever. He was such a blessing in out lives, and really did teach so much. I thank God for bringing him into our life, and blessing us and him with each other. I love you Kota Bear. And I love you Daddy. This was a wonderful post...

Christopher Blake said...

Thank you Polly...

My darling Lacy...
If everyone in the world had hearts one one billionth the size of yours...
heaven would already be here...
I love you...

Mary said...

Chris, that was really beautiful. I will miss Kota putting his head on my leg, just wanting one more rub on the nose. Thank you Chris...

Patricia said...

What a beautiful tribute. I am paging through all of your blogs and must say that this one tugged at my heartstrings. Love the lessons you learned from Kota. Animals and infants are the most intelligent creatures, aren't they? They only want what they truly need...and nothing more...
Thank you for sharing.


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Christopher Blake is a loving husband...devoted father...minister...crippled more than a little rough around the edges...