Friday, 23 December 2016

A four-pawed house guest - bye bye Kiska

My husky neighbour spent the long weekend with me. We also had a play-day in the week and another the week before. Celliers doesn't like animals to be in the house; I do. I found Kiska to be very well behaved inside and good company sprawled in the tiles of my home-office floor. Celliers consented, I think more for seeing the happiness that this fur-friend brought to me than from delight at having a fur-shedding husky in our home.

Over the weekend he (Kiska, that is) slept over on Friday and Saturday nights and I  had him with me the whole time. I did let him sleep outside, which is what he was used to at his home. It also meant that I wasn't stressing at night about the dog needing a pee or wanting to run around - I don't know his routines. Instead he had a cosy shelter om a blankie, under a table.

Kiska in our house was much like a human house guest. We were unfamiliar with each other's routines. He was slow to settle and lie down, not sure whether he needed to do something or be somewhere or to move to another spot in the kitchen. It was only when I was sitting down that he would settle nearby, falling asleep outstretched.

Over the long weekend we played in the garden. He doesn't do balls and toys but I did discover a game two weeks ago where we chase each other around the garden. He plays it for a bit and then decides that he has had enough.

We also went to the shops  - and the nice lady from SPCA, who had a table there doing Xmas present wrapping, held on to him while I ran in.

We went for a run-walk twice too. In this heat I couldn't let him run too much so we had to mix it up with walks. And we also went to walk along the river.

On Sunday morning we went walking to my mom's house and along the way we stopped to talk to a friendly couple who were asking me about the town.

From out of nowhere a dog attacked Kiska, going for his side. Kiska is not a dog - friendly dog but he certainly doesn't go for other dogs. He stays on a lead the whole time and minds his own business. This Jack Russell-type dog was off lead and he attacked unseen and without warning. I think Kiska got in a bit but knowing that Kiska could potentially rip the rat-dog to pieces we tried to keep it away. It went in again. Fortunately Kiska's thick fur didn't allow the fiend purchase.

The Jack's owner caught up and retrieved his dog, by which stage my little friend was crying. It looked like he'd hurt his left leg, but was actually his left shoulder. We didn't see any bite marks or blood and within a minute Kiska could walk gingerly on his leg. The kind people gave us a lift to my mom's house.

After an hour or so there Kiska was doing better and we walked home. But the leg was definitely not normal and by feeling I could tell it was his shoulder that ached. He spent the rest of the afternoon looking glum and lying around - totally not his normal behaviour.

His dad got back by dark. His dad told us that he had decided that this was the week that he would be putting Kiska to sleep. This wasn't a surprise as he'd been considering it for some time and had consulted his vet too.

At 13 years old, Kiska was on the upper range for a husky and the vet suspected that dementia was to blame for his howling. The moment he is left alone, he starts howling. A symptom of old age of needing his people with him all the time and possibly feeling anxiety when left alone - even for five minutes.

On my return from Spain at the beginning of November, I had noticed how much weight he'd lost. His harness was hanging where it had been tight.

Last week Kiska's dad got married and his adult children came to town. The whole family was together and so they all said goodbye to this dog that had been in their lives since he was a six-week old puppy.

As I was leaving early the next morning to go away for a week, I went over to Kiska's house on Sunday night to say goodbye. I felt terrible that he had been injured while under my care.

On Wednesday morning my fur-friend went to the Land of the Long Sleep.

Although I agree that this was the right decision by his dad, I have been very heart sore nonetheless. I have never been much of a dog person although some dogs have definitely touched my life.

From the moment we saw each other through his gate back in July, Kiska and I had a connection. We enjoyed our runs together and I loved taking him hiking in the Dome. Having him over for a play date or sleepover was a special treat for me.

Dear Kiska-boy. What a joy you were in my life, even though only for a few months. I know that it will be a long time before I can run, bike or drive past your gate without looking for you - or to gaze out of my office window and not be checking for you at your gate. Thank you for your excited greeting howls and two-footed bounces that always made me smile and for being the tug on the end of the lead on our runs. Kiska, thank you for being my friend. Goodnight, sweet boy.

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