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16 Oct 2004
Hi Everyone,

I cant even believe that Im writing what I am. For the past couple of days my husband has told me he wanted another dog right away..... I wasnt feeling the same. I was actually angry and feeling like it was WAY TOO SOON ! After all, I wanted my boy Dakota back , NOT a different dog. We decided to just go out today and LOOK ONLY , just to get us happier and out of our greif and kind of talk about what kind of dog we would like in the future.... I was not prepared to see the little boy that we saw today. We filled out adoption papers and will find out Monday if we get him. He is so adorable. He looks nothing like my Dakota and he will never beable to fill that void, but my children are so excited and Im hoping my other dog will not be so lonely after she gets adjusted. We probably wont get him for a while as he has to be neutered that micro-chipped, but Im finding myself really feeling the first little glimmer of happiness and excitement since Dakota got sick. My husband says we have so much love to give to another one and we have the room.....so why not !

Do you all think that this is ok? I know its only been days since Dakota is gone, but I dont think were doing it for the wrong reasons, were not trying to make him come back. We just love a full house full of animals !

Thank you !
15 Oct 2004
Im sure this is something that you all have gone through, but the last couple of nights Im feeling intense guilt and reliving the moments , the hour actually that we rushed Dakota to the vet and made the decision that he should be put to sleep. I keep thinking that maybe if we would have let him have the blood transfusion and another exploritory surgery it would be possible that he would be here right now. Dakota had Autoimmune Hymolytic Anemia and Degeneritive Myelopothy. We asked the emergency vet if this was ever going to get better with him before we could let them start blood transfusions etc or the surgery. She said she really couldnt say what the long term prognosis would be and that the transfusion could temporarily make him feel better, but since he had his spleen out already and was on streriods and chemo and they werent working that it wasnt likely. She said that what he would have to go through to get better was very extensive not to mention that his Degeneritive Myelopothy was complicating things. Plus she didnt really feel that any of it would work for him. I know what she said, but I keep rethinking that maybe we should have gone ahead and put him through one more surgery. But he was suffering so bad and his anemia was down to 10 ( the normal is 35 or higher ) I dont know, Im still rethinking over and over our decision. His regular vet called and said that we made the right choice, but then I wondered if she tells everyone that just so that they dont feel terrible. My husband said that we made the right choice for him, but although he could not walk or go to the bathroom by himself anymore ( we had to hold him up ) I feel like his face was so much alive. It was his body just gave out. I know that on this site I read that this is normal and you cant relive it, but its haunting me and I cant get past it. I know Dakota wouldnt want me to feel this way and Im trying to get past it.

Please help with your thoughts, and I would like truly honest replies. Do you think I did the right thing ? Like I said, its haunting me.

14 Oct 2004

As I turned my head to look at the cage behind me I saw him…… a perfect little tan and black puppy with eyes that seemed to bring you closer to God. He was adorable. He wasn’t yapping or spinning in circles like the other pups that day, he just seemed to look at us with longing eyes that said “ I’m yours, take me home” He was sitting there in total silence among the other barkers, head tilted down and big brown eyes looking up. None of the other puppies had that emotional effect on us that day and we knew he was ours. We scooped him up, asked a few questions like how big would he get etc, and off we went with our new furry member of the family. We named him Dakota. It was a cute name and he looked like a Dakota. The name seemed to suit him perfectly although we didn’t know why.

Dakota was a quiet and almost shy guy. He was more on the submissive side, but would play easily and hard when you wanted him to. He fit our family perfect. We are not hyper people and Dakota seemed perfectly content just sitting at night with us being hugged. He thought he was a person and often tried to sit on the couch with his front paws on the floor and hind end on the couch. It was hilarious to watch. I’m not sure he knew how large he was and often didn’t think twice about climbing onto someone’s lap who was sitting on the couch! All 100 pounds of him. We loved our “family time” and so did he. As a puppy he was potty trained in a week, and never did anything wrong. If he on the rare occasion he did do something like chew a rug by the front door his head would go down with his tail between his legs and you could tell he was truly sorry. His big brown eyes when you looked into them, really did make you closer to God , as if you could see his heart through them. They were truly the windows to his soul.

By January of the year we go him, we had moved into a new house with lots of room and a fenced yard for him and the kids. He would run and chase the kids and play with them. He seemed to love his life and loved our family. Dakota’s size was becoming larger and larger and we couldn’t believe the size he was becoming. Although they were not sure of his breed at the pet store we were told he was Shepard mix and would probably weigh about 50-60 lbs. At his largest Dakota ended up being almost 120 lbs! He was enormous, but the gentlest dog you could ever imagine. He was knick named “Gentle Giant” and “Moose Paws” by us. We didn’t care what he weighed or what mixed breed he was. We loved him, and so did everyone that met him.

Dakota loved us all and would protect us to his death. Although he was very gentle and submissive in nature he would become like a father bear if a service person entered the back yard or came to the door. I had to make sure that I reassured him, by saying “Its ok” with a happy tone. If not, he would jump up on his hind legs and would look as if he was a bear ready to attack. I must say it gave me a chuckle every now and then when I would see the look on some poor guys face standing by the front door. I knew how gentle he was but I knew that he loved us and would protect us at any cost.

Dakota loved us all deeply but there would be one person in our family that he lived for and that was my husband Steve. Dakota loved him so much that it would make my heartache and still does when I think about it. He would become depressed when Steve would leave for a day at work and would often go hours without eating and drinking. He would wait by the window almost every night as I started fixing dinner, just sitting and waiting for his master to return. When Steve’s car would pull in I would sometimes say “Daddy’s home.” Dakota, with a strange sound that was only reserved for only Steve, would begin a happy, but desperate whaling. Steve would come in and the kids and Dakota would run to him. Dakota’s tail thumping loud and knocking into everyone or anything that came in its path. I often thought he would break his tail off with the strength that wagged it with. After he knew that Steve was home and safe he would begin the routine of gulping down water, food and going outside a few thousand times. As if he was celebrating another day of his masters return. I have truly never seen a dog love someone so much. I think because Steve and him were so much alike. Both kind and gentle souls.

These past few years, Dakota has grown older and more weary. His legs didn’t work as well as they once did and he wasn’t able to come upstairs as much. He didn’t run and play like he used to, but he was always such a presence in our lives. Almost human in nature. His face turned grayer and we knew his time with us was limited. You could almost sense it in his eyes. Dakota loved us everyday and gave us something that no one in this world has….the most unselfish and unconditional love that we could ever imagine. He has grown with us, and with our children over the years and enriched our lives beyond belief.

Dakota died yesterday as we held him in our arms and told him one last time that he was a “Good boy” It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to witness in my life. As I sit here writing this with tears streaming down my face, I know that he was sent from God. I believe that animals are sent to us for reasons, and that through them we see the unconditional love and unselfishness of the man above. Our family will never again be the same without him, but though the pain is unbearable, we would not have changed a thing. It was a blessing to have him in our lives and we still feel his spirit with us today, even in our grief.

A few months ago, before he died, I came across something that made so much sense to me. Its funny how things work out and how things have so much meaning. I came across something that said that Dakota in the Native American people’s language means “Friend.” At the time he wasn’t sick, but I thought about these past 10 years and and its intense meaning that it had for me and our family. Little did we know why that name seemed to suit him so... He came here with a purpose and he did his job perfectly.

We miss you and will always love you boy!

August 20th 1994 - October13th 2004
Love, Daddy, Mommy, Tara, Joe and Nikki.
14 Oct 2004
My dogs name was Dakota and he was a 10 year old Belgain Malinios. He was a huge presence in my family's life. We unexpectedly had to put Dakota to sleep yesterday morning due to Autoimmune Hymoletic Anemia and some other problems.He also had degenerative myelopothy and could not stand anymore. He had sugery to remove his spleen 2 weeks ago and was on many medicaitons. His anemia seemed to be getting better and we thought he was on the mend. Little did we know that he would take a horrible turn for the worse and no other medications would work.

We layed next to him as he died and was put out of his misery. It was the hardest thing Ive ever had to do. My family is heartbroken and we are in so much emotional pain. We are missing a part of our family. Ive only been morning his loss for since yesterday morning and people are already telling me that I need to get on with things. I just cant. I miss him so much and feel such desperation. I want to somehow go and get in the car and bring him back. Im angry and just want my boy back. I want to hold him and smell his fur and hold his face in my hands and I cant. This pain is unbearable and so much worse than I ever thought it would be.

Please someone tell me that it gets easier.
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