Seven years ago an angel came into my life and wrapped his paws around my heart.
Time is moving much too fast if I count by Kirby's birthdays. I want to keep him close forever so it's a double edged sword. On the on side there are so many wonderful memories of this sweet boy. His mannerisms, his foolishness, his gentleness, his silliness, his eagerness, his whole being. He's so in tune to me it's as if we know what the other is thinking. I know his likes and dislikes. He knows my routines. We are always in sync. Sometimes I just scoop him up off the floor into my arms and cover his face with kisses. In return he's ready to play.
He's always a happy pup. He's always willing to pose for a photo or taste test a new recipe or take a trip whether it's to the corner store or a thousand miles. I love the sparkle in his eyes, the way his whole back half wiggles when he wags his tail, and how his ears lift up when he's excited. I love how he gently paws my arm and talks quietly when waking me up in the morning and how he jumps up on the side of my recliner when I'm working with a bark and then just a look towards the backdoor to tell me he wants to go outside. I love how he likes to sit in my lap or squishes into the recliner between me and the side while I work on my laptop. His silly antics make me laugh, so many moments I missed with my camera, like the time he fell in the toilet, or the time we were in the recliner and I surprised him with a quaking toy which literally made him fall off the chair.
I know I have been blessed with such a good dog. He never chews up what he shouldn't, in fact he never destroys his own toys. He listens and does as he's told. He follows so well we were told he could have been a champion rally dog but for my anxieties. He's practically fearless which helps me in many ways. He's a wonderful therapy dog for our fosters with his gentleness, laid back attitude and willingness to learn.
On the other side is the fact our time together is getting shorter since seven is the age a dog is considered a senior. In many ways he looks and acts like a two year old which I contribute to a healthy lifestyle of good food, physical exercise, and mental stimulation. I can count the number of times he has been sick - lethargy from eating a bowl of dressing with onions (before I knew what I know now), a large bite from a dog resulting in 5 inches of stitches in his groin area, diarrhea from eating vienna sausages, vomiting bile from eating some chews from China, and lethargy from eating a recalled kibble. We did have the scare with his blood work not long ago but once we realized it was the cat food he was eating the retest showed everything was in the right ranges. Overall, Kirby is the picture of health. Trust me when I say this dog eats better than I do, probably better than most people.
He is protected as much as possible - a harness and leash, a car seat, a fenced back yard, a gated playroom when he has to stay home, clothes and coats in the cold months, regular massages so I'll know if there is ever a lump or bump that shouldn't be there, baths with a safe shampoo I make myself. steps to get on my high bed, and a life vest for swimming at the lake.
He has pet insurance coverage, a decision I made when he was bit by that dog. In the event he should ever become ill or injured, I never want to be in the position where I can't get him the help he needs because it's too expensive.
I've been warned I need to get another dog just in case because the trauma will be so devastating when I lose him. Maybe one day I'll adopt one of our fosters or happen across a dog that touches me in that indescribable way. Of course I have loved all of my fosters but never as deeply as I love Kirby which seems unfair to any other dog.
I thank God for bringing this amazing little guy into my life. He has challenged me to find the safest and healthiest foods to nourish his body, he has become my muse to create another recipe tastier than the last, he has pushed me to become a self taught canine nutritionist. He has helped me open our home to dogs in need, he has taught me to be patient, he has taught me to be courageous, he has helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel, he has enriched my life in such a myriad of ways for which I can never thank him enough.
He is my heart dog and I pray he has many, many more barkdays.