Monday, March 3, 2014

Keziah 1998-2014


On February 22nd I had to put down my best friend of almost 16 years. It was the most horrible, hardest thing I've ever had to do and I miss him desperately. I couldn't even post anything until now for fear I'd just sob my way through writing this.

I got Keziah at an adopt-a-pet in Rock Hill, SC, where I used to live, in the summer of 1998. He'd been born around May 10th of that he was about 10 weeks old when I brought the tiny boy home. He hated his leash and had issues understanding that both forms of potty belonged outside. I specifically remember calling his trainer (after stepping in another indoor pile of poo) and saying I was going to hang him like a piƱata. But he eventually got the hang of it and we quickly realized he was a smart boy.

Since we'd been dog owners for around 24 hours, my boyfriend at the time (J.J.) forgot about him once in the back yard. We were playing with him and the phone rang. So I ran in to get it...but it was for J.J. I thought he'd brought the dog in with him...he didn't...but I didn't realize since the call was rather an urgent issue. When J.J. needed something in my car, I opened the front door of my apartment (one of many doors in a long building), there sat my 10 week old black furball of a puppy, smiling like a loon at me. I was like, "Uh, J.J., where'd ya leave the dog?" His response, "Oh shit, in the back yard." To which I replied, "Not anymore, come look."

He'd somehow just found his front door after only being outside of it maybe once, and boy howdy was he a proud kid! LOL! I was like, "Good boy! Get your butt in here!" He trots in and flopped on the kitchen tile. He LOVED a cool kitchen floor. And that never changed.

I thought he was a Border Collie...but soon realized he was a mix of a black lab and a BC. Fearing he'd end up over 100 lbs, I hired a company called, "Dog Training in your Home." They came out once a week and trained me how to train Keziah...and he picked up really quick on everything. His trainer was impressed and very soon, we had a very well mannered dog (even if he did like to jump up to smell newcomer's ears).

Three years after I got him, I found myself moving to NYC and he blended in perfectly. First we lived in Brooklyn, then Queens, and then to Manhattan...where he thrived due to all the parks and the dogs in the area. The first two years I owned him, our apartment was the hub of activity. Everyone hung out there...stopping by whenever, knocking, and just walking in. Keziah became a very social dog and a fan of humans almost more so than dogs. I'd take him to the dog run and he'd sniff about but then come sit with me and the humans. Sometimes he'd play with a few of the dogs...but he prefered to listen to humans talk. If my roommates and I would gather in the apartment to chat, he'd lay down in the center of us.

Sadly, not all dogs liked him. He was big, black, wolf-like, not fixed (until he was 12), and they saw him as a threat. He was attacked more than once at the dog run in Inwood and so I couldn't take him anymore. But he never attacked a dog himself or a person. He was sweet, loving, of an even temperment, obedient, smart, athletic, and protective. I remember once, when I was still in was night and I was on the computer. I heard Keziah begin to bark like crazy and rush the back door (sliding glass). I look up and at first I couldn't see...but then I noticed there was a big man standing there with a beer, watching me. One look at my dog growling and puffed up the size of a damn wolf, and the man about fell as he rushed away.

 That wasn't theo nly time he made sure people knew he had my back...and I rewarded that by haing his as he got old and needed me to be his protector.

At the age of two he was diagnosed with epilepsy. Medication didn't seem to help, but he didn't have them often so he and I got the routine down: shake, vomit three times, walk away fine. I'd hold him and spread plastic in front of him and put a towel around him for the drool. He dealt with this his whole life and I believe was the sweeter for it. He had no other ailments until he was 12 and I found a tumor on the base of his tail. It was cancer; a parianal tumor. Luckily I found it in time and we got it all...but he needed to be fixed. Then he had thyroid issues...severe UTI's...arthritis...and then, sadly, in the summer of 2013 we noticed mouth tumors. He was just too old to give chemo we kept up his multiple pain meds, arthritis, cranberry chews, and thyroid meds. The tumors even magically disappeared (which is nuts cause they were the size of 50 cent pieces and thick) by January.

But sadly, by Feb 12th, he collapsed on his walk that evening and I fought to get a car that would take me and him to the vet. I didn't put him down, wondering if he'd be better the next day. And he was! He and I spent the next week together...fighting to get his meds down him...getting him to eat...etc. I was having to carry him a lot or use a special item to help him up the stairs (where I still pretty much supported most of his weight) and on walks.

Then, he stopped eating. Even rice and chicken. On Friday when I got home, he'd not moved and he'd pee'd himself. He barely could hold his head up...even though he smiled at me. I knew I needed to let him go. He'd given me a week extra...he's pushed himself to the limit for me so I could prepare to let him go.

On February 22nd, at 2pm, I said goodbye to my fur-baby. The kindest, most loving, dependable, caring "man" I'd ever had the honor to know. As they gave him the shot, he bumped my face with his nose to say goodbye, and drifted away. I felt his spirit leave and I held him for another half hour at least. In fact, it was harder to walk out of that room than it was to take away his pain. For he was dying of cancer that coated his throat/esophagus/stomach. But damn if he didn't hold on to the end. Till he couldn't walk. Cause he didn't want to leave me.

His last night, I dragged him from room to room when he'd bark...because as a Border Collie, he monitored the apartment all night for us and when he couldn't get up, he cried on my cool kitchen floor. So I found a doggy bed my step mother had given me (that he wouldn't use before), lay him on it, and used it to drag him around every hour or so. He'd given me so much in almost 16 years, it was the least I could do to help aleviate his anxiety. Till the end, he did his job...he was loved....he was medically cared for...and when he left, I told him to go find Paul (my friend who I wrote about before who was killed in September)...for he was a HUGE animal lover and his birthday was only two days previous.

So I say goodbye to my best friend....I miss you more everyday. I know the pain will fade...but I'll never stop missing you. Ever.

I love you.


P.S. There are tons of more Keziah stories to tell....but I didn't want this post to be THAT long....I'll share more as we go...for his life should be remembered and told.....for he had a wonderfully long life for a dog his size....and he gave back all he was given, and more.

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