Ten years’ ago, when I was almost thirty, a beautiful soul arrived to keep me, and the rest of the creatures at The House in the Middle of the Street, company. Little did we know then what a joy she would be, how much love she would give, and how much love she would elicit out of pretty much everyone and everything she met.
Kida, the black labrador, with a slight overbite and brown eyes that looked like Winnie the Pooh’s. Kida, of seal descent, with her sleek black coat and predilection for water of any kind. Kida, with a heart so filled with love that it literally poured out of her in a steady stream for the next ten years that she blessed us with.
Each morning when I got up, she’d come rushing through, tail wagging, lamb-like bouncing, with sheer joy. Just at the fact that I was up. Each afternoon, when returning from work, she’d be waiting, tail wagging in the driveway, joyous at my return. And her joy was not limited to me only, it was with everybody that ever stayed here or visited here. Everybody. Or that she met in the street, or through the gate, or… you get the idea.
For a couple of years there was a young boy who went to school down the road who’d come past every day at lunchtime and chat to her at the gate. One day I was home from work and saw him. We invited him in, his name was Sage. He was about eight years’ old and lived in a flat, so couldn’t have a dog. He visited every day for a long while, coming in for a cooldrink and a chat with Kida, until he moved schools. Kida made friends easily.
She got lost only once in her life. I received a call from someone saying they’d found her in the road. It turned out we’d forgotten to close the gate, and she’d ambled two doors down to the house with two little girls and a pool. A pool! I offered to fetch her immediatey, but he said: “No, please let her stay the afternoon. The kids are having so much fun together. They’re all swimming in the pool.” She got invited over for play dates after that.
This morning I woke. I got up. There was no excited clip-clipping of her paws on the wooden floor, no excited tail wagging bashing against the door. My heart is broken. I made the decision yesterday to let her go. She was old and sick and tired. I wanted to keep her, to have her at my feet, always there, tail wagging, joy-inducing, love-overflowing, but I knew I had to let her go.
Hardest decision on earth.
This is her Stalkbook obituary:
My heart is broken, after making one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make today: letting our beloved Kida, the Big Black Dog, go. She was old and struggling and incontinent and sore. She is no longer.
Farewell to the gentlest, kindest creature who loved everyone. From adult humans (even burglars), to children-with-fingers-sticking-in-her-ears-and-up-her-nose, to her own cats, BabyCat and Little Cat, to other cats, dogs, squirrels and butterflies.
And then water, of any description – from a muddy puddle, to anybody’s pool and her favourite, the leiwater furrows and her pool in the Gats River next to the Karoo Lamb of Nieu Bethesda. Her somewhat shady ancestry (there was definitely an illicit affair between a great, great grandmother Labrador and a seal, anyone who saw her sleek seal fur and body can attest to that) showed clear-as-day with her pure, unadulterated water joy.
She only had vast quantities of love, for everything and everyone, as if her whole Labrador body was made solely of heart. I hope she felt as loved as she made us feel. She was SO loved.
The butterflies (and their shadows) may not miss her boundless, lamb-like jumping to catch them (as gently as she could) between her teeth, but the rest of us will. I’m devastated, but glad she’s at peace.
R.I.P. darling Kida Chism, our angel-in-a-black-suit. 2001 – 2014 xxx