Written By: Charles - Apr• 01•23

Spring and Kep’s Moon

Saturday gratefuls: Kep with his girlfriend, Rigel. And Kate. Gertie. Vega. Jon. The Colorado move. Ruth, Gabe, Mia.


An after the fact note. Ruth and Mia took Kate’s role. Gabe and I sat in the car. I cried. They let me go. No shame. No judgment. I needed that. And it helped.

Ruth came up the first night Kate died. She was here with Gertie and in Aurora with her Dad. Now with Kep. My angel.

I first met Kepler in Warner-Robbins, Georgia at Joe’s house. He was a year old and had gotten into a scrap with a previous owner’s dog over the water bowl. There was a dog bed beside the couch in Joe’s living room and Kep stayed on it. Happy to be into himself, but close to Joe.

This was a time period of many deployments for Joe and he asked if Kate and I could keep him during a longer one. We said sure. We’ll add him to the pack. Not sure how many dogs we had then but certainly Vega, Rigel, and Gertie. Kep fit in. Which, given later developments, surprises me.

He fit in so well and since Joe had more deployments coming we asked Joe if we could keep him. Akita’s do not like to be left behind. Reluctantly, and probably a bit grudgingly he said, if you think that’s best for Kep. I still carry a little guilt about that. Leaving Joe without a dog. But he agreed.

Kep and Rigel bonded. He would clean her ears. They would sleep together. Play outside, hunt. When it came time for the move to Colorado, Tom and I loaded Kep, Vega, and Rigel into the Rav4 for the long trip to Shadow Mountain. Tom drove the whole way.

When we got here, they ran out into the new backyard, turned around, ran back in the garage, and jumped in the car. Ready to go home. That they were home didn’t dawn on them for a while.

It was not always easy. After the move, Kep took to correcting Gertie and Vega. With teeth. We finally calmed that down, then Murdoch came. O.M.G. Murdoch left for Loveland and Brenton White’s home.

Kep and Rigel and Vega ran the fence line with neighbor Jude’s black and white dogs, Zeus and Boo. Up and down, up and down. Yapping all the while. A ritual around the time Jude came home from his welding jobs. After Vega and Rigel died, Kep kept up the tradition and they were an oreo blur.

Kep became my loft dog, going upstairs when I did, coming down at the same time. When his legs became too wonky for that, I no longer went upstairs to work on my computer, but wrote, paid bills down in the house. Still went up for workouts, but that was it.

He and I were together most of the day and all of the night. Even after he could no longer sleep on the bed, I took a dogbed in the bedroom and he slept on that. When he woke up, and I hadn’t, he would come along the side of the bed and poke his nose under the blankets. Time to get up, Dad.

As his legs got even worse, he could not come upstairs in the house. We spent our time together on the lower level. Finally, and after a lot of good work by Dr. Doverspike on his pain, his back legs could not sustain him standing for any length of time. Yesterday he couldn’t get up at all.

When a dog loses mobility, their life is over. Kep hadn’t passed the tail wag test for a couple of weeks, too. That is, he stopped wagging his tailing when I came in the room. It was time. I hate euthanasia as many of you know, but there are times when it’s the right thing to do. Yesterday was one of those times.

I feared being in an empty house. No dog(s). I feel ok. Surprised me. A sense of relief is part of it. Kep’s no longer struggling each day. Somewhat similar feeling after Kate’s death. She was no longer struggling to get through the day.

Gabe said yesterday. Let’s not have any more deaths for a long time. I agree.

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