Kalli passed under my windows many times daily to either come here or to the neighbors on the other side. A few minutes later, she'd appear again, with Nutmeg the Golden retriever and the little Cocker spaniel who lived there too. They would go to Kalli's property and run in the woods and meadows there, putting a paw into the river at times. Then they'd all cross again and I would hear a light thump on the front porch. Kalli was there, laying in the sunshine on her bed or in the dog house I built for her with a heated bed. (Only for nights she came when I was at work. I'd go out to greet her, brush her, pluck the ticks or thistles and give her my thoughts on the day.
Fifteen plus years, my sweet friend came here. If she saw my car going up the driveway, she'd run the road to greet me. Up in the jeep she'd come and we'd hang out until 4:00 when her humans got home. She'd leave, go get her meal and be back in time for the next phase of the day. Kalli girl was happy with her big world.
As she became older, my concerns for her grew and I brought her into the house as often as possible. People out here have a different concept of the needs of dogs and I watched her rheumatism progress, wondering what her setting was like next door. You just can't ask because it could be death sentence for the dog. The last day Kalli came here, her limp was so pronounced that I knew her human would think it more humane to take out the gun.
That day, I brought her to my vet and it was determined she had cancer in her baby toe. I waited and sweated all day, while Kalli slept on her futon in the family room. When her human came home, I told him about Kalli. He had planned on shooting her that night. I was angry inside and humble on the exterior. The humble worked and Kalli went in for a very touchy surgery. It was a success and the recovery was a success and they said I could, finally, adopt my friend.
We were so close; we loved each other so much. Kalli girl finally had the right home, 24/7. What followed was 10 months of hugs and heart connections and relationship building. My class with Kathy allowed me to take this relationship all the way to the top. My communication with Kalli was so deep, so intense that I realized an entirely new level of my little old girl. She watched my moves, I watched her and listened and we had a dance of unison. Sometimes there were words; most often we just knew. Our eyes connected frequently and although the vet said she couldn't see much, that just wasn't true. Was she as deaf as the vet said? She heard everything, felt every loving massage.
It was a different kind of sight, a different kind of hearing.
It was simply a referral from a friend, the reason I looked into Kathy's class. It was her video and smile and country 'real' in the video which made me sign up. If I hadn't taken the FF, I wouldn't have known what I missed. The timing was right. I was able to connect with this wise angel dog and know a greater bond with Kalli than I knew possible before.
I've interacted with dogs and many other species, all my life. The chance to truly know my sweet girl Kalli and for her to find the perfect home so late in life was enhanced by what Kathy gave to us, through her wisdom. I would not let Kalli feel pain, and that last day I was by her side. It was quiet and gentle.
It was also the most difficult of all goodbyes. I learned how to connect so deeply but I didn't know how to live without that connection. In the past, I'd go somewhere, away, and grieve a day in solitary. This time, instead, I had a mentor in Kathy and wrote to her:
"Our hearts were bonded and I don't want to break that bond, but at some point I would like to do something. The something I'm referring to is what you would do if one of your beloved kids crossed over. What do you tell them? I know she couldn't go on the way she was, here on earth, but I feel as if I let her down. When she was leaving I was trying to tell her I'm so sorry to say goodbye. She didn't want to go; I know this. She was so full of love and life. She finally had what she wanted, these past 10 months. Our love is not in question.
I have been there when all my kids and other's kids have crossed over. The help I could use is to try to feel ok about it. It's as if there was unfinished life. She wasn't ready. She tried so hard to continue. Her heart and her mind were not ready. Her body was failing. I feel like a thief today and I have to fix this in myself. I believe she's with my dad who will give her all the love she could want."
Kathy gave me some words and I read them over and over feeling that I would break and crumble through the process. Learning to feel so deeply has it's difficulty. These were her words:
"The best thing you can do is to 'release her'...tell her how much you love her, and that you love how she is now free of pain and no longer being held back by her old body. Our dogs are reluctant to leave us if some part of us is not willing to let them go. I think that is what you are feeling. Once you intentionally release her from your physical life, that feeling will be released as well. She needs to know that you will be ok without her physical presence.
You will always be connected through your hearts, just in a different way than before.
... we can put aside our intense pain and grief in order to make our animals' transition not about us..but about their spirit's need to move on.
Light a candle for her. Have a celebration of her life. Celebrate her spirit. Celebrate your wonderful connection, and all that she brought to you...and all that you brought to her."
I chose to have a candle lighting ceremony in my garden at midnight on the full moon. I asked kind people who feel deeply for the dogs in their lives, to give me a candle from their home. The candles were lit. It was a dedication to this different bond with my girl. It felt right. It was just the 2 of us. The candles were then returned to the people and the goodness was spread to their homes, the dogs in their lives, from Kalli girl.