From the first day we brought our little pup home, he brought so much joy to our lives. His chocolate brown eyes proved ready for adventure…and adventure we had. We walked from the Pet Smart parking lot and placed him in a shopping cart in the store as we selected all of the items we would need to care for a brand new puppy. We bought a crate, a blue plastic puppy dish (which was eaten within the first week of his arrival), a leash, a collar, food, and of course a stuffed bunny. Because that is what an Australian Shepherd needs. When we arrived at home he bounced around the back yard full of inquisitive interest. .
On our first night with him, we had a camp out in the basement of our home. What more could a bouncy new puppy want but tons of blankets and lots of hugs from a 7 and 11 year old. We didn’t want him to feel lonely and knew we needed to replace his litter. What we didn’t know is how much more company he would be for us than us for him.
The first thing we discovered was his love of food and his desire to eat. This was his primary motivation. Being a bored little puppy that was teething and inspecting the surroundings of his new home, he began a little “reign of terror” by eating the siding off of the house. To this day, there are little puppy bite marks on the back side of the house that will forever make us laugh. Another time, the entire family was upstairs in the office on a Skype call. We had just pulled out a pan of very yummy, chocolaty and also very HOT pan of brownies. These were set on the counter to cool. About five minutes into the call, Koda walks upstairs into the office with pieces of chocolate brownie in his fur. The puppy had eaten the entire pan of brownies in a matter of mere minutes. His stomach never ceased to amaze us! He was truly a bottomless pit!!!
He was also such a good play mate. We would always play games with him such as tug a war with a rope or hide and go seek which were the funniest times ever. He never did and he never would stop making us happy and would never stop giving everything he had to make our lives better. I knew he would give his life for ours and he was truly our best friend. Nothing in this world will ever replace him or the joy he brought to our lives.
Koda was a master protector of his backyard. That was his domain and it was his job to protect it. This meant protecting from the other neighborhood dogs as well as his arch nemesis “The Squirrel.” This one particular squirrel would run around the trees in the backyard and just drive Koda crazy. Koda would stand at the base of the tree and just bark incessantly at this squirrel. The squirrel and neighborhood dogs provided endless hours of entertainment for Koda all seven years he protected his yard.
One of the best things about Koda was that he was a medium to large sized dog weighing about 60 pounds, but yet he considered himself to be the size of a small lapdog and would curl right up in your lap and sit there. He didn’t care that he didn’t really fit well on your lap; he just wanted to be as close as possible to snuggle with you and get a good belly rub. One of the best things about this was the famous “grunt”, the one that said “I am so content here in you’re lap”. This grunt would happen without fail, every time he plopped his head (or bottom) onto your lap. It made us laugh every time. We will never forget that this was where he was really happy, in the laps of his family.
Koda gave us endless bouts of laughter. He filled our hearts with love and he was the best friend any of us could have asked for. He fit into our family perfectly because he understood what unconditional love meant. And he was darn good at sneaking onto beds and couches and keeping his family company. No matter what we were doing, shoveling the sidewalk, wrestling each other, or eating, koda was always right there beside us. He had that gaze too that made you wonder if he understood more than you realized. He was an amazing listener. We all had a soft spot in our hearts for Koda, one where we’d sneak him that extra treat or let him up on the couch with us. Koda was a part of every holiday, including Christmas when he’d sniff out his own present from under the tree. Being the good dog that he was he would look at us with inquisitive eyes every year, as if to ask “is it ok for me to tear this present apart?”.
Koda was loyal. Anytime one of his family members would be gone for longer than a few days he would tackle them at first site upon return, his little nubby tail would wiggle and he would shake head to toe with joy.
The last week we all spent with Koda, I think he knew we were sad. Even while he was not feeling good himself, he always managed to give a couple quick licks to your face and wipe off the tears of sadness. He truly always wanted to please his family and show us how much he loved us.
On Koda’s last day with us, his love for our family, loyalty, and never ending commitment never wavered. Unable to use his legs to their full capacity, we chose to spend the entire day with him in his most favorite place in the whole world, his back yard. We lay in the grass with him and tried to return the love he showed us the entire 7 years he was a member of our family. We fed him a pancake and scratched his belly. Even on that last day he still managed to get up for one last time and walk the parameter of our yard. He did this to ensure we were all safe and would continue to be safe; for I believe he knew it was his last day with us. Even in his last moments of life, he attempted to lift his head as if to ensure all was good and that we knew he loved us. It was impossible to deny how much he gave to us on his first day with us and to his very last breath with us. We love you Koda forever and always.