Friday, September 25, 2009

Remembering our Dakota Jo

Dakota at 5 weeks old.


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Upside down, her favorite way to sleep.
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Snowshoeing in the South Hills of Idaho 40 miles from where we lived. We snowshoed almost weekly in the mountains.
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Always a gentle soul, and the baby food on Nolan didn't hurt either.
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Colton was the one to always go and get her a toy to curl up with. She started as a puppy with a blue dinosaur that she would mouth, but she never chewed it and to this day, we still have it.
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Enjoying the sunshine this spring.
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Having a photo shoot with dad at the old studio.
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Dakota would have been 13 years old today. The grief lies just beneath the surface now, six weeks later. A scab has formed over the wound, but if you bang it just the right way it still bleeds raw. I still check the time when I am running errands. The constant feeling of "I need to get back to let the dog out," is a tough habit to release.

My Dyson Animal Vacuum cleaner is pathetically empty. I used to get a surge of joy in emptying not one but two or three canisters of dog hair. Now I barely get 1. Who would have thought a clean house could be such a disappointment.

It was the Schwan's man who most recently made me cry. He opened the door and then stepped back in the customary way. He peered inside and waited for the flash of gold to come bursting through the door. He then looked at me and said... Dakota? And all I could do was shake my head no. Oh, he said, Ohhhhhh. I'm sorry.

We've been told her ashes are ready. We haven't quite figure out how to bring her home. We just know the curiosity of one young man in our house nearly paralyzes us with inactivity. He would either open the box just to you know, "see," or accidentally spill them, or better yet, bring them to school for show-n-tell. If you're smiling at that one, than you understand Nolan.

Unequivocally, what I miss the most is having a soul in my house that just understood me. When Kota girl was just 10 months old, I started having gallbladder attacks. I eventually had surgery and when I finally got home from the hospital, Dakota would lay and whine on the floor next to the bed. She'd stretch up with her paws on the comforter trying to get up on the King poster bed we had. Then one day she decided to take a flying leap, dig in with her paws and up she went. She walked over to Rick's pillow and snuggled in next to me. She remained at my side until I was well.

After that she was my constant companion through bouts of morning sickness, through migraines and days when I just needed to rest, she knew. Somehow her faithful companionship and loyalty, were medicine to what ailed me. But as quickly as I'd recover, she'd go back to being her feisty, barky, treat-demanding, self, and all was right with the world again.

She taught me so much. About all the usual things that come with dog ownership, and some things you don't anticipate. Like how to open your heart just a bit wider and how to love a bit deeper. And it is the lessons learned about love, the unconditional kind, that lead me to know, she'd want us to know love for a dog again. And I believe in time we will.

Love ya and miss ya girl!

20 comments:

  1. A beautiful birthday post for your beloved Dakota.
    Every photograph is beautiful.
    I didn't want to cry as I read your tribute to her, but I couldn't help it.
    Love to you, Vicky

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  3. Blogger "double-posted"...and I deleted the duplicate.
    J.

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  4. Good morning friend! That was such a lovely birthday tribute to your sweet Dakota. It was impossible not to cry while looking at those pictures. It's plain to see that Dakota was a faithful companion to you. I know your grief must be terrible. Dakota was a beautiful dog.

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  5. Jackie, I can't help it either :) The heaviness isn't everyday like it once was, but it comes back so unexpectedly at times.

    Kaleena, so glad to have you here :) At times, it is... and other times I know we are doing okay :) Thanks for your kind words.

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  6. I have tears in my eyes...this is such a beautiful tribute to Dakota. There is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog. They instinctively know our down times, our up times and all those in between. The pictures are such a wonderful memory, but more importantly, the love she placed in your heart.

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  7. Every picture is just so beautiful. It makes me feel so very sad. That is why they say that "a Dog is a man's best friend". It is ever so faithful and understanding. The incident about Dakota sleeping by your side when you were ill was very moving. May God bless her whereever she is :-)

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  8. Alicia, thank you for your kind words :) My husband does the yearbook and school photos for the Ellendale schools. I love finding bloggers from the area and am so glad you found me :)


    Tranquility, it was hard to believe her instincts were that strong the times I was sick, but they truly were. I missed her the days I was sick a couple of weeks ago :)

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  9. WOW. Beautiful post indeed Vicky. The picture of a baby Nolan and Dakota is too sweet.
    There is nothing like the love for a dog...and nothing like the pain of losing a dog. Ugh.

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  10. I started off reading this post ok, but by the end I was crying. You have put this post together beautifully to highlight your Dakota's life.

    She truly was a great companion to you and a much valued family member.

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  11. Bonnie, thank you :) That is exactly what it is like!

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  12. Liss, I couldn't make it through myself the first time :) Yes, how do you capture almost 13 years? You try to hit a highlight or two and hope that does the trick. Thanks Liss!

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  13. Oh, Vicky...you bring tears to my eyes...It has been 7 years since my constant companion and doggy soulmate died...and I still grieve and miss him. They truly love us no matter what...I am so very, very sorry. You have written a beautiful tribute to an absolutely beautiful dog. Your photographs, as usual, are exquisite, and your tender words so heartfelt! Sending you much love and prayers for your entire family during the coming days and weeks~Janine XO

    P.S. On a lighter note, your new profile photo is gorgeous!

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  14. Vicky.....you made me cry. I actually put off reading this post because I knew you would. Not that it's a bad thing because that means I was considered worthy of love by animals SO dear to my heart. I'm just still raw from losing Kitty Baby in Januaary (can't read my OWN post about it and skip over it ever time I'm searching archives), and then JoJo is struggling with a serious hip problem and we don't know how much more time we'll have her.

    But would I change ANYthing about my time with them? Nope. And I know you wouldn't either. But life without them leaves the biggest hole. Sorry I didn't show up sooner. I was a wimp. :( And Dakota was beautiful with her knowing old-soul eyes. I'm glad you all had each other. I hope they meet us on the other side.

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  15. I'm sitting here with tears, wondering how I can have such an ache in my heart for you and a smile on my face at your sweet memories all at the same time. She was such a beautiful pup and an even more beautiful soul.

    And you're right... she would want you to have another snuggle pup. Hard to imagine, I'm sure, but once you love a dog it's hard to imagine life without.

    Miss you, Vicky :)

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  16. I feel what you feel...

    Dakota was a wonderful dog. It is the absolute best in the world having that faithful, always on your side, share anything with, just seems to know you, always happy, always there companion -- you will miss her forever -- trust me, not a day goes by that I don't miss my first...

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  17. Gitz, ah the beauty of life, yes joy in the midst of heartache sounds just right. So good to hear your voice here, and see your words again. I am truly soaring in my heart :)

    Kristi, she was indeed. I just know how much you get that :) Stay tuned for more little girl pics coming your way. BTW, I am long overdue for a Christopher post :) Am just waiting for you to say the word and you know how thrilled everyone here will be!

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  18. Oh my Vicky...I love the photos of Kota. She and the rest of you are still on my fridge from last years Christmas card. The pup was just beautiful and I love the fact that she adapted to all the little boys in the house. My heart just aches to think of your home without her.
    Hugs Sweet One
    Robin

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  19. I am so sorry! I am now having Ugly Crying Face! This has broken my heart for you!

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  20. vicky...I have no idea how I missed this post and it just broke my heart....

    I hope by now your heart has been healed and is filled with fabulous memories to stop the bleeding....

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