Goodbye my sweetest Kayah. Kayah passed gently into the great beyond on Tuesday Nov 7, 2017. After 14 glorious years together, I have lost my special girl. Her registered name was: Delana’s Queen Kayah. Purebred through and through.

She was my dog. She claimed the whole family to love and protect, but she was my dog.

Kayah’s life did not start out well. The person who adopted her had the wrong idea of what a Golden was. They are not guard dogs, they are not mean, and cannot be made to be so. This person was taking this beautiful puppy to the dumb friends league, when my friend intervened and brought her to our house instead. It was a meeting that was destined to be. I fell in love with her. The family agreed, and she became my dog.

So fuzzy, so adorable, so ready to give love. She was my dog. She rode around with me everywhere. I did not mind the constant hair that she left everywhere. That was a small price for the love I was given.

I was fortunate enough to meet Kayah when I was 46 years old. We literally grew old together. For the last few years, it has been hard for her. She had arthritis, cysts all over her body, one that had exploded on her back and had become infected. Her back hips would not let her go potty without often getting it all over herself, falling down often. Her legs were spindly and she had growths all over her face and body. One growth on her lip tormented her terribly. She started having seizures when she was 5, and we dealt with them for 9 years, keeping her safe and alive, sitting with her through the episodes, and calming her down when she came out of them. In the last few years, we know she had many seizures that we did not even know about.

I was selfish and probably kept her around for too long, but how do you say goodbye to the best dog in the world. She was my dog. We have had other dogs, but she was my dog. She loved me in a way only a Golden Retriever can, with her whole heart. My wife would often say: She thinks the sun rises and sets on you. And she was right. Kayah loved me, I was her human. She was my dog. I can’t say that enough or with the proper emphasis. She was my dog.

I knew it was the right thing to do at this stage, and if the doctor would have given me even the very slightest impression that she was not ready, I would have paid her and told her to leave. But it was the right thing. Sad as it makes me, she deserved to go in quiet peace with her family around here, and me holding her head and talking calmly to here. Then the tears started. I am 60 now, and I have not cried in years. I did not cry when my mother passed. I did not cry when my father-in-law passed, being strong for everyone else in the family. I cried like a baby, and even now, writing this, I have tears in my eyes. I loved my dog like no pet I have ever had before in my life. She was MY DOG.

14 wonderful years we had together. She watched my sons grow up and leave home. She watched as vehicles came and went, she watched us as a mother cares for her children, taking all the changes into account and adjusting as we did.

Smart? I know she knew at least hundreds of words, and she knew what “D-I-N-N-E-R” spelled. She was a monster eater. She would eat anything, and at times did. Once she cleaned out a full coffee can of grease I was supposed to have tossed out, but instead left on the bench in the back yard by accident. We discovered the cleaned can the next day, and the poor girl felt bad for at least 2 days after eating all that grease. Even that did not stop her from eating. I always said, when she stops eating, we’ll know it’s time. Kayah would never stop eating. EVER.

On her last day, we made sure she had the best day possible. We played outside with her favorite rubber chicken (I called her a face kickin’, chicken lickin’ Dog, she would kick her right ear with her right rear paw whenever she was overwhelmed with emotion. That was her way of dealing with her feelings. She would kick her ear. She loved rubber chickens, and her favorite toy was her rubber chicken).

She got to go for a short walk, that’s all she could manage any more. She got to eat anything she wanted, and she even got to try olives, which I would never have let her eat otherwise. She got a special chew toy and even got to bring her rubber chicken into the house. We put her bed in the back room so the whole family could visit her. She fought and played with Jack, bashing him with her massive paws, and grabbing him by the collar and holding him down. That was her favorite way to calm Jack down.

She even had special friends that I called to warn them, that made the trip to our house to say goodbye. She knew she was special on this day. She was loved by anyone and everyone who met her. Strangers would come by the house just to bring her a treat and pet her. She was special. We don’t really have a back yard, just a huge front yard we divided with a fence. The yard was exposed to the street, so anyone who walked past our house was a friend to Kayah. They all loved her. The last straw was when a stranger knocked on our door, when Kayah was outside enjoying the sun, and told us our old dog had fallen down and was unable to get up again. I ran outside and helped her get to her feet. Then she was as happy as always, wagging her tail and thanking me for the help. Even then she never wavered from her happiness.

I will miss my baby. She was my dog. Darnit, she was MY dog. I have a hole as big as Wyoming in my heart. I don’t know if I will ever fill it.

We have her good friend and protector Jack, a tiny Lhaso Ahpso that adored her, played with her and would boss her around. She was so caring and gentle, she would just do what he wanted, even though she could fit his whole head in her mouth. He is Alpha, and she did not mind. There was at least a 100 lb. difference between them, as when she was at her fattest, she weighed in at a whopping 120 pounds. They loved each other very much, and Jack does not know where she went. He’s been sad, and has searched the house and the yard every day. Breaks my heart.

I thank Caring Pathways for giving us the chance to care for her at home. She was too feeble to make a trip to the vet. She was not capable of getting into the car herself anymore, and lifting her caused her pain and she would cry out from the growths on her belly. I decided she had taken her last ride with us. Caring Pathways allowed us, with the utmost care and patience, to say goodbye to my baby in peace. Oh, it still hurt like the devil, but I know now she is at peace, and I really hope she does not hate me now for saying goodbye. I regret my decision even now, but I feel in my heart it was right for her. It was me it was wrong for.

She was MY dog. I prayed and prayed that I did the right thing. Please forgive me my precious companion. I’ve never loved a dog as much as I did you. My heart is broken. Goodbye, my dearest Kayah. I’ll take your fond memories with me always. I pray I’ll see you again in the next life.

God Bless you Caring Pathways.
Mike Hammontre