Kira, you came into our lives to help mend our broken hearts. We had been looking for an English Setter, and we were given a tip on a dog that needed to find a new home. Her owners were moving and couldn’t take her with them. We couldn’t ever imagine making that choice, but lucky for us we found each other. We can’t imagine you now as anyone else’s dog.
You came to us with your favorite blanket, a nickname (Kiki—you accrued many others) and a colorful biography of your enthusiastic puppyhood. As a setter you had an incessant drive to run and flush birds, and we quickly determined we needed to fence in our back yard. We were told that you liked Golden Retrievers, so we got you one of those too. The two of you were inseparable buddies and everything was as it was meant to be. Though you were 4 years old when we found you, we took you to puppy kindergarten…and you passed! We have the certificate of pride to prove it. In spite of having your “degree,” you were exuberant on walks, needing a Halti for many years. You finally got to a point where we could let you off-leash (but with fingers crossed). Sometimes you’d disappear out of sight in the woods, but somehow you always knew where we were and thankfully returned.
You loved the outdoors, especially the woods and the water, and you wore a happy, infectious smile whenever you were exploring. Birds were meant to be pointed; ducks were meant to swim after; garter snakes were meant to be found (and tortured…oh, well, no one is perfect). Your keen sense of smell, sight and patience made you a mega mouser. You really were an extraordinary dog: strategically smart, fearless, fiercely loyal, sassy, bossy, sweet, expressive, cuddly and clown-like funny. We marveled at your spirit—living life in the moment, living a life of unbridled joy. If you could write the doggie version of Fodor’s Guide to Fun, you’d have enough material to write at least two volumes. You loved going on vacation; playing in your kiddie pool; going fishing, frogging and boating; scattering birds on the beach; celebrating birthdays and Christmas; sunning yourself on the chaise lounge; begging for pizza; playing with cat toys—with or without the cats; leading every visitor to the house directly to your biscuit jar; and snuggling in bed or on the couch. As a masterful communicator and performer, you did an amusing butt dance, made funny faces, had an astonishing vocal range and vocabulary, and even learned to “tap.” You were The Queen. It was your mission in life to entertain and be noticed. When we kissed the freckles on your nose one too many times, you’d cross your paws over it to try to hide it—all you managed to do was make us laugh and want to kiss you more!
You combated diabetes for the last three years of your life, but it didn’t stop you from being curious, vibrant and not wanting to miss a trick. You had a team of gifted doctors and special caretakers who kept you feeling as well as you could. You especially liked going for “spa” treatments of acupuncture and laser treatments to enable better mobility after years of playing hard and wearing out your bones. (You wanted nothing to do with the “geriatric mobile” we fashioned for you out of a padded yellow wagon. If you were going to make it around the block, you were going to do it on your own four legs.)
We treasured every minute we were with you, in full understanding of what a privilege it was to take care of you and learn from you. We couldn’t ever imagine a day without you, but sadly that time has come. Every day we wake up without you requires courage, something that you had in abundance. Silence deafening—hole large—canvas blank. Nothing is the same except our immeasurable love and gratitude for you. Zuma, Jasper and Charlie lost both a pal and a respected mother figure. You were the universe around which everyone else revolved. Now we float and stumble out of step, learning to navigate the empty spaces you left behind. We try to comfort ourselves by imagining you chasing all the bunnies you desire…romping around with your four-legged friends Sarah, Luna, Travis and Kayla…and getting lots of lovin’ from Grandpa Wally on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. You and Shelby are probably still comparing notes (“Did they ever take you to Cape Cod? What about the “archipelago” at Indian Lake?”)…and so it goes.
Thank you, Kira [Kiki, Kooky, Doods, Kooky Doodle] for sharing your gifts and ultimately making those who knew you better people. To Papa and Mama, you are and always will be our favorite work of art.
Anita and Tim Pariseau