For years I wanted a puppy, never having had one of my own. And I wanted a puppy that was going to grow into a big dog, preferably black.
This was amazing in itself because large black dogs were the things of my childhood
nightmares … literally. When I was
growing up, I had a recurring dream of being attacked by a pack of large black
dogs. The ensuing fear this instilled
in me stayed with me into my early twenties, to the point that I would not get
out of the car if there was a black dog within sight.
I love Black Labs, Golden Retrievers, St. Bernards, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and
Huskies. Like I said…big Dogs.
One day my husband informed me that someone he knew had puppies that were almost
old enough to leave their mother. The mom was a Golden Retriever; the dad was a St. Bernard. We found out from this woman that when a
Golden mates outside the breed, the puppies will be black.
It was at the beginning of December when we made the drive to Marge’s house. A light snow was falling, giving the
darkening world an old-fashioned feeling of Christmas.
I am a great believer in prayer and the knowledge that if we leave things in
God’s hands He will work it out in the best way possible. I had been praying, since the day Bill first told me about the puppies, that God would take a hand in this and get the
‘right’ puppy for me. I was so excited
at the thought of finally having a dog to call my own.
I am one to back the underdog in any fight, always wanting a fair, even playing
field. I love the small, helpless
creatures that need the care and love of someone else. I guess that is why I fall in love with
every baby that I see.
So, I had already decided I would probably favor the runt of the litter; but I
wanted desperately for her to ‘pick’ me.
I prayed for a connection between us, a definitive bonding that left no
question as to whether she was mine.
When we arrived, Marge led us down the hall to the bathroom and opened the door.
Immediately, eight tiny black bundles of fur came running and tumbling out into
the hallway. I knelt on the floor and
picked one up and tried to cuddle it; but she squirmed and cried to be set
down. I picked up a second one, which
did the same.
Marge set her down on the floor and said, “She is the runt of the litter.”
I set the puppy that I held down on the floor and picked up this little
baby. She immediately tried to cuddle
into my neck. I held her for a second
or so, and then set her down to pick up another one. As the one that I held began to squirm to be put down, the ‘runt’
was trying to crawl up my knees and into my lap.
I gently set the squirming one down and picked up the littlest one. She again tried to cuddle into my neck. When I set her back down to turn my
attention to one of the other ones, she tried to climb up into my lap
again. This happened two more times,
until I finally picked her up and felt a love so strong it brought tears to my
Bill looked at me, smiling, and said, “I take it you are picking her.”
“No,” I said, “She has picked me.”
That was in 1999. Bill brought her home to
me two days before Christmas … my Christmas present.
Through the following years, Kayla and I were almost inseparable. She loved to ride in the car with me, and to
walk down the road to go swimming in the lake.
She loved to go to McDonald’s for French fries, and the local ice cream
stand for a doggie cup of vanilla topped with a dog biscuit. She was my protector, my friend, my “Baby Girl”.
April of last year we began to notice that she was not moving as freely as she had
been. We chalked it up to old age and
maybe a little arthritis. When we took
her in for her checkup, my world shattered.
I watched as the vet began the exam, watching her face as she ran her hands over
Kayla’s neck and shoulders. I watched
her face change, saw the concern and distress take away the impersonal
detachment that had been there. When
she looked at me, I knew there was something terribly wrong.
Kayla had lymphoma; with only weeks left, maybe a few months at most.
I still remember sitting in that cold, sterile room as if it were yesterday. I looked at the vet, unable to believe what
she was telling me; but I could see my pain reflected in her eyes. My own eyes filled with tears as I reached out
and dug my hands into that black fur, as if by holding onto her, I could keep
her with me longer.
The vet murmured something and stood up to leave the room. I reached for Kayla and pulled her against
me, sobbing into her neck. As always,
when I was upset, she leaned her head against my shoulder as if to comfort me
with a hug.
We were given medications to take the swelling down and to make her more
comfortable for the time she had left.
We took her home and prepared to wait it out.
A few weeks later, she woke one morning and fell when she tried to stand on her
back legs. We went back to the vet and
were told that arthritis had fused her spine together and that the nerves to
her back legs were pinched.
We waited a few days, praying that God would step in and do something to help
her. By the following weekend, she did
not want to move; and had bitten both Bill and I when we tried to help
her. She lay on the rug in the living
room, not eating, not being able to get up and go outside. That Saturday I was forced to make the most
difficult decision of my life when I called to make arrangements with the vet
to come to our house.
I firmly believe that God directed her to make that
connection with me all those years ago.
There is too much evidence for me to think anything different. I thank Him every day for those years I had
with her, knowing she was the one He had chosen for me.
It has been just over a year, and I miss her as if it were
only yesterday that I lost her.
© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2011