Friday, July 16, 2010

The Passing of an Old Friend

Disclaimer:  This post was originally a journal entry written two days ago.  I let my mom read it and she said I should share it with others.  I decided to post it here.  It's not designed to be entertaining or funny, because it was written for the purpose of recording some thoughts and memories, but I share it now with all of you.

This morning I got a phone call that I knew would eventually come, but that didn't make it any easier to recieve it.  Mom called to let me know that Kloey, our family dog was going to have to be put to sleep.  To be honest, I though this call would come years ago.  She was 91 in dog years.  She lived a long and full life, but she will still be missed.

There are those who would say that she was "just a dog" but to me she was an old friend.  Even more than that, she was a member of the family.  We all joked that mom was losing her favorite child.  I don't think any of us would be offended even if we thought that were true. 

Kloey joined our family when I was 15 or 16 years old.  At first I didn't like her.  Our cat, Jasper didn't get along with her at first and I was on Jasper's side.  For a time I referred to her as "spawn of darkness."  Mostly, it was my wierd sense of humor, but I also wasn't quite warmed up to her yet.  As time went on, my nicknames for her changed.  I called her "yellow dog" and later, as I started to learn spanish she became "perro amarillo." 

More important than what I called her was that I started to love her.  Teenage years are difficult for everyone.  It seems that during those years the world seems like it's much more volatile.  Emotions run high as you try to figure out dating, school, and how to grow up.  Kloey would always sense when I was having a hard time.  She would nuzzle up close and be there to comfort me.  She couldn't talk, but she could communicate.  She always communicated that she cared.  Sometimes it was nice that she couldn't talk, it made it easy to talk to her without being interrupted.  Those who can't talk are always excellent listeners.

By the time I went on my mission I figured we were nearing the end of Kloey's lifetime.  We had never had a dog longer than 4 or 5 years.  I figured she wouldn't be alive when I got back.  When I did get back, I was greeted by my family at the airport but when I got home to the house, Kloey came out to inspect who the stranger was that came into her home.  At first she regarded me as a stranger, but then after a few sniffs or a good look at me (I'm not sure what attributes she knew me from) she suddenly recognized me.  I have never seen her so excited, she started wagging her tail like crazy and she wouldn't calm down.  It was as if she had thought I was dead and was overjoyed to see me alive.  It was clear that she knew who I was.

Kloey was always very intelligent.  She knew a myriad of tricks.  She could beg, sit, stay, dance, even hold something on the end of her nose until she was given the word to toss it in the air and catch it in her mouth.  For some reason she hated to roll over.  If you held a treat in front of her and told her to roll over she would perform every trick she knew in hopes of earning the treat any other way.  Of course, as she got older, her ability to perform various tricks got less and less.  She started to develop severe arthritis so that standing on her hind legs or performing other manuevers got to be too painful.  Her favorite trick was "shake" she would hold out her paw and let you take it in a hand shake.  That was something she could do right up until the last day.  She would also place her paw on your knee or your leg to let you know she was there.

My favorite trick was the "where's mom" trick.  Whenever I would come over to my parent's house, Kloey would always come to the door to greet me.  Mom could be anywhere in the house, but I would just ask Kloey, "Where's mom?" and she would lead me right to mom.  Sometimes it would be awkward if mom was in the bathroom or something because Kloey would push open the door to lead the way to mom.  She always knew exactly where mom was.  If mom wasn't home, she would lead me outside and show me where the car had been.

As time went on, her health started to really go down hill.  She started to lose strength in her legs.  At first, she just didn't like to go up and down the stairs.  This was a problem because in my parent's house you have to use the stairs to go outside.  She would go out to go to the bathroom and then it would be a major ordeal for her to make her way up the stairs again.

Last night, according to mom, Lorien (the cat) kept jumping up on my mom's bed and meowing to get her attention.  My mom would wake up and pet her thinking that's what she wanted.  But as soon as she got my mom's attention she would walk over to where Kloey was.  Kloey wasn't asleep, she was just in pain and somehow Lorien could tell that something was wrong.  Lorien was trying to get my mom to solve the problem.

Today it got to the point where she couldn't even walk.  She was panting heavily, and always in pain.  The vet had given various pain killers but ultimately my parents decided that it would be inhumane to make her continue to endure.  My mom called this morning to let me know about the decision.  I went over there to say goodbye.  They had set out a blanket and a pillow for her to rest on.  They had had to carry her to that point.  While I was there, if everyone left the room she would try to get up because she enjoyed being around people.  So we tried to make sure we stayed in the room with her to give her company.

I laid down next to her to say my goodbye.  I cried as I petted her and told her I would miss her.  As she lay there, she lifted up her paw and placed it on my arm, as if she knew this was goodbye as well.  I spoke softly to her and gently petted her until she fell asleep.  I left as she lay there sleeping on her pillow and blanket.  That's the last memory I have of my dear friend.

Mom texted me today around 6:00 to let me know that Kloey was gone.  I'm not sure what the next life is like for animals, but I know she's not in pain anymore.  I also know that she will rise again in the resurrection.  D&C 29:23-25 states that "all things shall become new, even the heaven and the earth, and all the fulness thereof, both men and beasts, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea; And not one hair, neither mote, shall be lost." Joseph Fielding Smith said, "Animals do have spirits and that through the redemption made by our Savior they will come forth in the resurrection, to enjoy the blessing of immortal life"  The atonement of Jesus Christ will overcome death even for our animal friends.  I believe I will see my old friend Kloey again.


  1. I get to be the first to post a comment.That was very beautiful and a lovely tribute. I wrote a few things in my journal, too. I think reading this and others feelings will help us all get through this. Though my heart is heavy and the tears come easily I know Kloey is in a beautiful place. Maybe in heaven she can have a family of her own and raise a whole bunch of little Kloey's.
    Thank you for being so caring about Kloey and about me. I know I couldn't get through this without the love of my family. I never thought that I would be one of those who felt such a loss at losing a dog, but like you said she was so much more than that. She was a member of the family and so much a part of the spirit of our home. She always made it a better place to be

  2. This was so sad! I'm not even a dog person, but this post made me appreciate them more than I did. I don't think I've ever written that much in my journal when a family pet died. (I guess it's because none have died since I was a lot younger.) She seems like she was a great dog.

  3. Thanks, for bringing to light the greatness of God's Creations. Remember they say "All Dogs go to Heaven."

  4. Dude, same thing just happened to me a few months. Shadow our Black Lab whom we got when I was 11 was put to sleep because it needed to happen. It's so hard to make that choice when you see this loved one suffering so much and you just want to them to stop hurting. I think he was pretty old, too. 29-11=18 x 7= 126 years?! Crazy. Don't laugh if I didn't get the math right. :) I cried for a few days and even considered flying down to be with him as he passed. Isn't is wonderful that Heavenly Father created animals for us to love? I know my dog is much happier now and that we'll see him again :)

  5. Jeff -

    I am so sorry for your loss. I am one of those people that think of dogs as family. they are your babies and your best friend. I am glad that your dog lived a long life and was loved by your family.

  6. I am glad you chose to share this with others. I am a little sad that it took Kloey leaving for me to realize that I really had grown fond of her. I don't have as many memories, but I know how much she cared for your family. She really was a good dog, even if she did breath funny.

  7. You have a way with words, Jeff.

    Muffin died in October of 2007. I was in Washington, DC as an intern at the time. How grateful I was that it was Rebecca Keller who could shoo away our fellow interns as I lay sobbing in my bed.

    She's buried in our back yard. My dad placed a big rock plus four smaller ones in the shape of a paw. I still get emotional even almost 3 years later.

    The loyalty, sensitivity, and compassion of a creature of our God and King cannot be overstated and should not be trivialized. Thank you for doing neither. . .

  8. Thanks for sharing this. I am glad I was there while you were saying good-bye.
    She's missed. And I hope now she can run and bark and play like she used to.


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