It has now been two weeks since we lost Kirby. I cannot stop thinking about the purpose of his little life.
No one knows how old he was. When I adopted him four and a half years ago the rescue thought he was about five or six. But all you had to do was look at him to know he had to be older than that.
Even before he could go to my vet for a first checkup upon adoption, he was rushed there in an emergency situation, three days after I brought him home. His medical journey began early with this first adventure and continued throughout his four years with me.
That first week, he had major surgery to remove eleven bladder stones! He almost bled out as he had started passing them.
At that time our vet thought he was at least eight years old based upon the condition of his skin when operated on and other factors vets use to age a dog.
Through the years Kirby had so many procedures to keep him healthy and strong. Each time he took it in stride and dealt with casts, stitches, bandages, medications, limitations. He was always a real trooper.
And he was the quickest dog I ever had when learning new things and adjusted so readily to riding in the stroller when he could no longer walk long distances. He knew anything that made his life easier should be welcomed.
Kirby joined our family when Coco was twelve years old and they had two good years together. Kirby looked after Coco and in turn Coco taught him how to be a good dog, a strong dog. Coco herself was blind and deaf when they met so she was able to show him how to get around in the house and world with these challenges. When Kirby’s time came to have profound hearing and sight loss, he did what she did – hug the walls in the house, stop every few feet outside to sniff, stay close to Mom and follow her lead. Coco was a good teacher!
The life cycle continued as we lost Coco and only a week later introduced Benny to the home. Kirby was not too sure about this young dog, only fourteen months old, but he did his best to stay out of his way!
So how can we sum up only a few years with me and a life we know nothing about before me for sweet Kirby?
Maybe his greatest purpose was to show us all that an old dog can indeed learn new tricks!
He became a Pet Partner therapy dog in his later years, he showed everyone that surgery after surgery was no big deal and he could bounce back every time, he taught us about courage and pride and strength.
Kirby was the quintessential therapy dog. There was no assignment he did not excel at, nothing I could ask of him that he could not lovingly and willingly achieve.
Kirby’s greatest joy was being held and snuggling REAL close.
When that touch was no longer comforting or nurturing or pleasant, it was time to let him go.
When the best Love Dog of all could no longer hug back, it was time to let him go.
When the light in his eye no longer shined, it was time to let him go.
His greatest purpose?
To teach us all that life is fleeting and we never know how long we will have a human or animal with us.