Thursday, October 2, 2014

According to my dog

My dog passed away yesterday morning... and it has left me completely heartbroken. (I feel like I was run over by a giant 18-wheeler that keeps coming back for more.) 

I'm not missing a dog though. I'm missing her - my crazy, neurotic, reliable dog. Kinley was a really unique and special dog. And she lived like one. There are a lot of articles out there about what dogs teach us and why dogs are better than people. But Kinley gets her own list because she was truly a unique companion and because she epitomized things no other dog ever could.

These were some of the rules Kinley lived by that everyone could stand to learn from.

When you find what you love, spend your life doing it as often (and with as much intensity) as you can. 

The few things Kinley loved, she did as often as we'd let her (and sometimes even more often). She was so into balls that she would sit in front of one and shake until you threw it. Did she care how insane that was? Of course not. Just throw the damn ball.

Tunnel vision.

Always be there. Even if it means staying up until 3 in the morning.

One of the things we loved about Kinley was that she would always stay up with us. Our other dog, Scarlet, would go up to bed with whoever was retiring earlier. But Kinley? She stayed downstairs until all parties were accounted for. When Lauren would work late on a big project, she'd be downstairs keeping him company. When I made my first wedding cake and was up until 3 a.m., she was with me the entire time. It's going to be pretty lonely at night without her.

When in pursuit of a goal, ignore all obstacles and perceived boundaries. 

Most people don't do this. They come up with excuses, reasons or problems that prevent them from pursuing their goals. They stop short once difficulties arise. They operate within an invisible safety net and don't push themselves. Not Kinley. She lived without limits. We used to joke that she was going to die fetching balls because she had absolutely no regard for her own body while playing. It was pretty common for her to get injured (sometimes even fairly badly) while playing, and to ignore it until she was done. We wouldn't even know she was hurt until afterwards when she finally started limping.

We still have no clue how she got up there.
What was she doing? Looking for a ball Lauren threw. Of course.

Be selective about those you love. 

She didn't give love to just anyone. You had to be pretty special to get her affection. Which made it mean so much more when she gave it to you.

Make your presence known.

When this pup was around, you knew it. She barked - at mail trucks, people with dogs, leaves in the wind... you name it. She demanded attention when she wanted it. She incited riots with dog #2 and a mimicking toddler. She added so much life into our home. She wasn't an easy or quiet dog. But that just makes us miss her more since her absence is so obvious. It has been so quiet around here... and I just keep waiting for her to fill that silence.

Be a leader. Even if you don't know where you're going.

Kinley had two speeds - off and full-steam-ahead. There wasn't much in between (which was why she loved sprinting for balls but couldn't stand jogging at a moderate pace with us). It didn't matter where she was going or what she was doing. She was forging ahead with all the intensity she could muster (which was always a lot!). 

Never underestimate of the importance of a heartfelt greeting.

No matter what, Kinley would rush down the stairs to greet whoever got home. It didn't matter if we had been gone ten minutes, if she was tired, or even if she was injured. She greeted us each and every time we walked in the door, coming up to us with sweet eyes and a sincere tail wag. And if it was Daddy getting home from work? Watch out. Fireworks were going to explode because she just couldn't contain that excitement. 

Ready to pounce on Daddy.

Be who you are. Unapologetically. 

Nothing was ever as clear from my dog as this. Kinley was quirky, crazy, loud, neurotic and just insane. And she never changed. Not for me, not for Lauren, not for anything in the world. She was going to be herself and she wasn't going to be sorry. She embraced her quirks; she embraced her faults; she embraced everything that made her unique. She couldn't have changed if she wanted to.

Kinley hasn't even been gone two days, but her absence has left me with a giant void. She was an amazing dog and companion to our family. She was there for so many milestones in my life (first house, the birth of my two children, job changes...). She added so much joy and crazy into my world and it just won't be the same without her. The only other thing I can possibly say is that I'm so grateful to have had six amazing, joyful years with such a special friend. 


  1. I just want to point out that, in the picture where Kinley is up on the riverbank buried neck-deep in shrubs....

    ...she found the ball. She always found the ball.

  2. I'm so sorry for your loss. I think we must be crazy to get these dogs that we love so much but just don't live as long as us (though they live far better!). We just got our first Vizsla and I already don't know what I'd do without her. Sending hugs your way.

    1. Thank you so much. It's been a rough week.

      Enjoy your pup. They're the best. :)

  3. I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost my beautiful girl this past May in a horrible freak accident. I grieve for her every day. Your words are very touching and so true. We think that our girl (Aurora) was part vizsla and are now patiently waiting for a vizsla puppy. I think the only way the sadness will go away is when a new light shines in our home :)

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words. It really IS hard to love these dogs so much and have them taken away. I'm sorry for your loss as well, and hope you enjoy your new bundle of energy (when you get one). :)

  4. Kinley looks adorable, you must miss her so much. Some people don't seem to understand what it's like when you lose a dog you love but they're a part of your family. She will stay in your heart forever but it will start to feel easier. Hang on in there.

    Kelley @ The Whole Hound