Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Goodbye Nekita

This will be my one and only blog for this month, simply because this has been the most difficult month of my life.

On March 8th 2016, six days after her 11th birthday, my oldest dog, Nekita, passed away.  Sadly Nekita had developed an unknown tumor on her spleen that ruptured.  There was nothing we could have done.  Her death was very unexpected for me.

Nekita was the most wonderful, loving dog I have ever known.  Her and I had a very special relationship.  I first got Nekita as a new college graduate after starting my first real “professional” job.  For three years, it was just her and me.  We did practically everything together, including an hour hike every morning and night, visiting friends and family, and even visiting my work on several occasions.  The bond we shared was very close.

When Nekita was three years old, I first met my husband.  When we first started dating, he used to joke about how he actually fell in love with Nekita before he fell in love with me.  That’s just the kind of amazing dog she was.  Everyone that met her fell instantly in love.  In fact, she became known as the “Gateway Dog.”  So many people that met her and fell in love with her then went on to adopt a dog of their own, including my husband (then boyfriend).  He loved her so much, my husband adopted his own dog, Caravaggio.

Nekita continued to be her amazing self and mothered Caravaggio as a puppy.  Their bond grew even more when my husband I first moved in together.  Over the years, our two dogs became inseparable.

After we got married, my husband and I made a huge life decision and moved to Maui, Hawaii.  Both Nekita and Caravaggio were flown from the mid-west to Hawaii.  Nekita has always been a huge fan of swimming and instantly fell in love with the ocean.  Going to the beach and playing in the waves quickly became her new favorite activity.

A few years after living on Maui, we decided to adopt a third dog, Devo.  When Devo was a puppy, Nekita decided to pass the torch to Caravaggio for the “puppy raising” assistant.  Caravaggio stepped up and became the favorite big sibling for Devo.  Although it was obvious that Nekita loved the new addition to the family, as she was getting older she just didn’t have the full energy to keep up with him.

Although her passing did come as a huge surprise to me when it happened, looking back I think it may have been coming.  Over the past few months Nekita had started to really slow down.  I just assumed that she was starting to feel her old age creeping up on her.  Now I can see that her slowing down was probably due to the tumor growing inside her.  I wish I would have made more of the time we had together.

Dealing with the death of a pet is a very difficult thing for any family.  Although I have lost other pets in the past (my childhood dog, 2 cats, and several smaller pets), the loss of Nekita was the worst of all.  The bond we shared was one I can not fully explain.  She was my girl.  She followed me into another room in the house all the time.  She automatically came to the bedroom with me when she knew it was time to sleep.  She was and always will be my baby girl.  I will miss her more than I can possibly say.

When she first passed away, I cried all day for about 5 days.  Worst 5 days of my life.  After that I finally gathered the strength to compose myself and return to work.  It has now been 3 weeks since she passed, and I still have not gone an entire day without crying.  It is getting easier as time goes on, but the pain has not gone away.  I’m sure the pain will not go away for quite some time.

In the meantime I am trying to focus on loving and being there for my other two dogs.  Caravaggio took her death just as hard as I did.  He has been very sad.  Devo is still young, not quite 2 years old, so I think he may not fully understand what happened.  He has been a great in helping keep his big brother happy though.  To help both of them, I have been trying to keep as close to our “regular schedule” as possible.  This has also been difficult for me.  About a week after she passed, I finally returned to my regular morning hour hike with the boys.  As I said before, Nekita was nicknamed the “Gateway Dog” because so many people fell in love with her and then got their own dog.  Along with that, many people on our morning walk know all my dogs and would always stop to pet them, especially Nekita with her happy smile and exuberantly wagging tail.  As if venturing out into the world wasn’t difficult enough, I had to field numerous questions of “Where’s Nekita?”  I broke down and cried every time.  Her fans were very nice and offered their condolences and told me how much they loved her and that they’ll miss her also.

In the end I’m just taking it one day at a time.  That’s all I can do for now.  

I miss you Nekita…and I love you forever!