Thursday, June 12, 2008
Katewind of the Lake
April 19, 1993 - June 14, 2008
Fifteen years ago today, my DS brought home a puppy he named Kate. After being a loyal and loving dog for all those years, she died today.
These are memories I have of her.
Riding home in DS's lap from where she was born.
Wagging her whole body along with her tail.
Running down a dock, sailing through the air to dive into the water.
Appreciating a good meal and a special treat.
Tearing through the paper to get to her Christmas bone.
Traveling so far in the car, with no complaints.
Running like the wind across a field.
Holding her head high as she brought back a pheasant.
Circling around and around to make the best bed out of weeds.
Learning and following so any commands.
Wiggling all over to see me, even if it had been a long time.
Talking with her squeaky ball.
Using her nose to nudge under my hand to ask for just one more scratch.
Sleeping with her head on my lap.
Helping out a cat and another dog.
Being the best mother to a new puppy.
Making valiant recoveries from cancer, cuts and poisoning.
Knowing how good she looked after a bath.
Holding a biscuit on her nose until given the command to toss and catch it.
Helping DS tell a joke.
Kate was a family pet and also a working dog. She was a Springer Spaniel and born to hunt. There was nothing that she loved more than to work back and forth across a field looking and smelling for pheasants. She was the smartest dog I ever knew. She followed so many words and hand signals. In the field, she responded to different whistle messages. Even for a non-hunter, it was very special to watch her work.
Not only was Kate field and obedience trained, she could figure out how to get what she wanted. As I said, she was the smartest dog I ever knew, even if sometimes it got her in trouble. When Kate was a puppy, DS trained her to go to the door and bark once to let him know she needed to go outside. DS was eating pizza in the living room. Kate was never allowed to eat people food and she knew this. She went to the door and barked. DS got up and went to the door to let her out. When he got there, she whipped around and ran to the living room to eat the slice of pizza he had left there.
Kate would take a squeaky ball in her mouth to make many rapid sounds. She would bring it to me and wait for me to squeeze it to make sounds back to her. Then she would talk back to me. We carried on quite a conversation this way.
Kate did not have any puppies of her own but when she was five years old, a puppy joined the family. Kate quickly adopted her, mothered and taught her. When Kate was ten years old, she did this again for another puppy. It seemed like she thought the puppies were brought home just for her.
I remember when Kate was a young dog and was staying with DH and me. This was before Kipper's time. We had a cat and he would go stand by the back door until someone noticed and let him out. If we didn't notice, he would finally come get someone, but Kate didn't know this. Kate started coming into the living room where we were and then ran toward the door. I said she sure made it clear she needed to go out. When I opened the door, the cat walked out and Kate turned around and ran back into the living room to lie down. And she did this for the cat that had taught her, by a quick scratch to the nose, who the boss was.
Once Kate and Tess were in South Dakota hunting pheasants. They were busy running their back-and-forth pattern looking for birds in the deep grass. Suddenly Tess fell off a steep cliff that DS didn't know was there. Tess rolled down and after a bit got to her feet. DS and Kate watched her try to climb back up but it was hopeless. DS was concerned about how he was going to get to her. When Kate realized Tess couldn't get back up, she ran some distance along the ridge until she found a place where she knew Tess could climb back up. Kate went back and barked to Tess to follow her to that area. Tess went along the bottom of the ravine but was too afraid to try the climb. So Kate worked her way down the embankment and got Tess to follow her back up.
Kate liked to play the tricks that DS taught her. DS would have her hup (sit command for hunting dogs), then put a dog biscuit on her nose. When given the command, Kate would toss the biscuit in the air and catch it. DS also taught her a joke. After sitting and looking at him, DS would ask Kate if she would rather be married or die. At the word "die" she promptly fell down to play dead.
During her life, she had her share of close calls. When she was seven years old, she got a lump on her hip area. It turned out to be a very aggressive cancer and even with surgery, the future did not look good. DS took her to a university veterinary school and a marvelous doctor did successful surgery. Once when hunting, she made a big leap right into some barbwire. She was hung up in the air on the wire but she was smart enough not to struggle. She waited for DS to come get her. She had to have many stitches. Once she dug into a heavy sealed cardboard box. Ignoring the other things in the box, she chewed into a new sealed plastic bottle to eat many dog aspirin. When found, she had bloody diarrhea. The vet said she probably wouldn't make it but she did.
Some people don't believe dogs go to heaven. I believe Kate is there and, after a joyful reunion and a good scratching, she is walking down a path with DH heading for the field to again run like the wind.