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4 Feb 2011
It's been almost three years since I lost my most precious little girl, Kahlua. She was a ##er Spaniel who was with me over 17 years. I posted on LS in the months leading up to her passing on:


I know I'm finally ready to take in a new furry companion, but I need some help determining what breed I want. My criteria:

- Between 25-40 lbs.
- Female
- Good with small kids and other pets
- I live in apartment, lots of exercise at nearby park when I'm home, but no yard to play in while at work
- Healthy breed, I want one that can realistically be with me about as long as Kahlua was (17 years)
- Not an alpha-dominant breed that attaches most with a single person, must accept all people as more alpha than dog

I think that's about it, maybe more to consider will arise, but any advice will be appreciated. I may end up going back to breed I knew and loved all those years, but I want to learn about others to make best decision - I know it's one that will be with me for a long time!

Thank you!!
22 May 2008
After 17+ years of wonderful companionship and unconditional love my beloved Kahlua has moved on. Last night her little body began to dramatically give in to her years and this morning I took her in to help her go peacefully.

You read me write about her and the special little creature she was. I already miss her dearly, but these past months and past few weeks have been especially difficult on her and me. I know she's off chasing squirrels now and in a better place than her body would let her be.

I'll be going camping in the mountains in a few weeks and will spread her ashes in some of our favorite settings we visited.

Thank you all for being an ear through this. She had a wonderful life and loved to share it with everyone she met. This online community has welcomed her like she would have welcomed everyone in it - probably with a big sloppy kiss before her health started to fail.

I know I have many peaks and valleys ahead in my grief process. Such a special little life I was blessed to be touched by, I wish it could have gone on forever.
3 May 2008
My little Kahlua turned 17 a month ago. I looked at her and thought we might have a shot of getting her to voting age. But the past few weeks have been bad, and the past few days even worse. Her appetite began diminishing a few weeks ago, I tried altering her diet, giving her different things to get her to eat, she accepted food up until about 3-4 days ago. She's only eaten enough food to fit in my fist since then. I took her to the vet today - her urine was deep yellow, the vet said she is dehydrated to, we gave her an IV. She was 26 lbs, now she's 19 lbs.

The vet said it would be okay to let her go today, but I said I wasn't ready. I'm just not ready to lose my little girl. She means the world to me. This news devestates me. The vet was able to get Kahlua to take some food by forcing it on her tongue. I'm going to try to do the same thing. The vet said if she takes a small can a day she'll be okay, but the end is approaching and there's not much we can do about it.

I am so not ready for this. I've tried to steel myself and mentally prepare for a long time, first posting here 6-8 months ago. This is going to tear me up something fierce. I just want to hold her and hug her and spend every last minute I have with her while she is of this earth. I'm in so much pain and anguish now. I don't want to torture her by watching her starve to death out of my own selfish needs to hold on. But I'm just not ready to call it. This will kill a huge part of my insides. I hope to have the wisdom and compassion to recognize when she's crossed a humane line and make the call. Oh, dear God, why, why, why, I love her so much.
14 Jan 2008
I've come across a few posts here that suggest recounting fond memories of the journey through life me and my little girl have shared these past 17 years while I still have her. I do this with much enjoyment, there are so many wonderful moments that bring smiles to my face as I look at her ever-smiling mug.

But, when I do this it is inevitable that I get taken back to the darkest, ugliest moment of my life I also shared with her - that I am responsible for. When she was about 5 months old she had a particularly destructive day chewing things and destroyed some irreplaceable family antiques that had been passed down to me by my Grandmother. I lost it.

Up until that day I had regularly spanked her for soiling or other bad behavior (I know, I know NOW I know better). I had not been the best daddy. I was 24, working 15-18 hour days, had adopted her at 6 weeks which was a couple too early so she had major separation anxiety issues. I did so many things wrong. And on that day when I came home from work and saw some possessions in tatters I became a monster. I spanked her. Hard. I picked her up, shook her, yelled at her and threw her down. Several times. Until one time either I threw her down with such force or she just landed badly, but she tried to move and her poor little front paw was just dangling. I had broken her leg.

I was stunned. I couldn't believe what I had just done. I had harmed a beautiful, defenseless puppy so badly. I crawled out of my home as an unworthy member of the human race, and rushed her to the emergency vet. I told the vet she had jumped off the stairs from too many steps and landed wrong. I don't know if the vet believed me or not, but he mended her, assured me that her injury was a clean break and that since she was a puppy she should heal fine. But I knew I had just been guilty of the worst violation of trust a human being ever could commit.

I never again spanked her or laid my hand on her in anger. I learned other behavior modification techniques. I did a complete 180 in how I interacted with her and elevated her value and meaning in my life to levels that friends and family think of as unhealthy. I never have shared this story with friends or family. I never told my wife. I'm glad I learned about this dark capacity I had and how to control it before I had my child, heaven forbid I ever lost it like that on a baby.

The experience taught me important lessons, but I live with the guilt of what I did to this most precious little girl in my life. In recalling these dark moments I know I will have an even more difficult time making any kind of decision as to when she would be better off somewhere else. After I was the atrocious monster I was when she was a puppy I promised to always love and protect her from any and all harm, and can't betray her again. If nature doesn't intercede when her time comes I don't think I'll be able to provide the assist.

This is a confession. It is extremely tough to type out. I've never shared it with anyone before. I've worked for animal rights organizations since and never been able to share my sin to the leaders of them for fear of being ostracized and forever labeled for the act I committed 17 years ago instead of what I did ever since. These organizations have helped pass laws to criminalize and imprison people for doing exactly what I did, requiring vets to notify law enforcement when suspicious injuries are treated. Had I been carrying around a criminal record for my crime against my puppy these past 17 years my life would have been an empty shell of what it thankfully has become.

I've made sure my puppy has had a wonderful, love filled life and still care so much for her despite her frailties in her geriatric years. I can't imagine my life without her. I want to help prevent people from harming defenseless animals, but know from my personal experience that there is a difference between the evil people who do so for some enjoyment and the ones like me who just made a terrible, terrible mistake and who regret and attempt to atone for it for the rest of their life. I hope laws don't too harshly penalize the latter with a record they never escape from no matter what they do. I'm living proof that a bad act does not make a bad actor.

To wrap up, I love my little girl with all my heart and I know that some of you will read this in disbelief and will think poorly of me for it. I can't change what I did, Lord knows I wish I could. I wouldn't still be beating myself up over it 17 years later if I believed the sin I committed had been completely forgiven. But I love her, and when she looks into my eyes I know she loves me with all she is. I'm her daddy and she's my daddy's little girl. I just hope that when her time does come I find peace in all the good I endeavored to do for her, the sacrifices, the love without reservation I've shared with her, the inseparable bond we've had all these years. And that the disgusting, despicable actions I'm responsible for on that day don't become the memories I dwell on or always cloud the entirety of our lives together.
26 Nov 2007
My precious little girl is still with me. I've had her since she was 6 weeks old in 1991. She is a nearly all-white Co*cker Spaniel. Her name is Kahlua. She has been my furry friend, my playful pooch, my lovable and loving licker, my happy most bestest most amazing most constant companion in my life since college.

Kahlua will be seventeen in the next few months. I know I am very lucky to still have her. I've read many posts here from others who lost their most precious pets well before seventeen.

I don't know how much longer Kahlua has. I don't know for sure if she'll actually see seventeen. Then again, she may make it to eighteen or longer. The veterinarian says she is in "remarkably good health" for a lady her age. Kahlua can't hear worth a darn, hasn't been able to jump on the couch with me since she was fifteen, doesn't long to sit by my side touching some part of me like she used to, has a hard time getting up from a good sleep, can't control her soiling like she used to, is much more particular about her food and doesn't come to me when I wave her over anymore.

But, she still has great vision, has her curiosity about the world around her, plays with her toys, has a healthy appet*ite, walks over to me for plenty of pats, strokes and kisses and loves it when guests come over to play with her. When she does get her little muscles and bones going it is hard to get her stopped. And she's been medication-free until I recently decided to experiment with Selegeline, an anti-dementia drug the vet says has the possibility to help with her midnight pacing and staring at corners and walls she recently started.

I am posting not because I heard any bad news from the vet, yet, and I'm no where near considering putting her down yet. But, I've seen enough aging in the past couple of years to be keenly aware that day is out there, closer than I want it to be, but before the stark reality of it is shoved in my face. I want to continue to enjoy Kahlua without dwelling on the decision I will one day have to make. But it will be my first decision like that in my life, and I know I am currently ill-equipped to deal with the grief that will accompany it.

This thread is t*itled pet loss and impending pet loss. I don't know if Kahlua has three days left, or three years, so I'm not sure if this qualifies under the t*itle. But I know I need to begin to confront the journey with her that we have left together and I want to do it the best I can, without regrets or guilt creeping in. If I don't glean as much as I can from support groups like this ahead of time I know I'll be an absolute basket-case and will sink into a deep emotional abyss when the time comes for her to cross that bridge. When the vet is calling her a miracle dog I know it is too soon. Then again, I don't want to make her wait any longer than she needs and make her suffer when she wants to let go but is holding on for me.

Kahlua has lived longer than most of her kind born in 1991. How long can "miracle dogs" in "remarkable health" live as Co*cker Spaniels? What is the oldest the breed can go without indicting the owner for torture? I had a friend with a small mutt that he kept until she was 21 or 22. My friend's companion had been on medication since she was 12, was blind and deaf by 16 and only slept and pooped by 18, when she was incapable of reciprocating any affection in her last 3-4 years.

And, looking back on the loss of your treasured baby, what do you wish you had done differently with him/her when they were at a similar juncture as Kahlua is today? I look forward to your replies.
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