And then I wake up and a moment later the realization hits, you're gone. I lie in the dark and let the reality sink in. Again. it was only a dream. We're not together. You're gone and I'm still here, heartbroken, without you. Then I feel even more sad and upset than the dreams where I couldn't find you.
The realization that you're not at the foot of the bed or snuggled up beside me in The Glampette and the gut-wrenching feeling of loss hits me all over again. It's like that movie Goundhog's Day, but in a bad way. Apparently this is how I've chosen to grieve you. . . Night by night, dream by dream, bit by bit, hoping against hope that losing you was just a bad dream.
These pictures were from your last truly good day before the cancer began to take your strength. Do you remember? We met up with Bennie and Anja at Vasona park and our friend and neighbor Rob (from our old neighborhood), you know, Murphy's dad, came and met us there to take pictures of you. I think your smile in this picture says it all. You were on top of the world that day.
You sat on the big rock and on the tiny railroad train tracks for pictures. You were such a good boy. Always. Truly the best dog ever. Grandma said the other day she'd never have a dog again because they're just too much work. I reminded her how perfect you were and she agreed, if she could have a dog just like you she said she would have one again.
Sometimes I see you on the internet. Your Halloween costumes continue to go viral online. Sometimes I'm on Pinterest or Facebook and there you are, someone sharing your picture because you were so adorable! I guess the costumes are part of your legacy, helping to show people how wonderful your personality was and that there isn't necessarily anything wrong with a dog in a kill-shelter except that he or she needs a home.
You seemed fine in January, became sick in February, and in almost no time at all you were gone. There are days when I still can't believe it. Or don't want to believe it. And days when I wonder when I'll ever have another dog again. If anyone had ever told me I'd go a whole year without one I would have said they were wrong. But, it's been a year now and I still don't feel ready. I pet other dogs and for a moment they fill that doggie-shaped hole in my heart but they aren't you and it's not the same.
You were truly a once in a lifetime dog and I was incredibly lucky to find you.
A lot has happened and changed since we parted ways and through it all I've missed you. When I'm sad I wish you were here to hug. When I've been happy I always realize I could have been even happier if you were still beside me.
My new friend Brian McNulty, a very talented songwriter I met at ArtPrize last year, sent me a song titled "You Stole My Heart" when I told him about losing you. It's a love song. . . But you don't realize it's a human-dog love song until you listen to the lyrics in the verses. He wrote it for his dog Molly but I think it will resonate with most dog lovers. This is the chorus. . . "You stole my heart in so many moments. You made me love you. You stole my heart. And forever I will be Better because you loved me. You stole my heart"
For now I'm taking it one day at a time. I truly do believe that somehow, someday, some way we'll be reunited. Kisses and hugs to you my little fuzzalumpa and thank you for being one of the best parts of my life. I will always be grateful that I found you in the shelter, that I was able to give you a second chance when nobody else wanted you, and most of all for the very special 11 years we had together.
Each day I look at the surprise painting our friend Cheryl made of you. It makes it feel like you're still here with me and heals my heart bit by bit to see your smiling face.
To learn more about Kitai you can visit his website www.CutestDogEver.com
Photos of Kitai by: Murphy Dog Studios Rob, I can't thank you enough for the pictures I was able to share here. Thank you for your time and for realizing how important it would be for me to have some special images taken in what little time Kitai and I had left last year. They are precious to me and I'm incredibly fortunate to be able to have had you as a neighbor and a friend.
Thank you Cheryl for Kitai's portrait. Your talent is only equal to the kindness and empathy in your heart. I am very lucky to have you as a friend and will treasure this painting always.
The album "Country Alright" contains the song "You Stole My Heart" by Brian McNulty and Friends CLICK HERE to purchase on iTunes Or CLICK HERE to purchase on Broadjam.com Brian your song touches my heart each time I listen to it. Even though you never knew Kitai I know the feelings of joy and loss we have for our pets are shared by all who have had their heart stolen by their pups.
Previous posts on Kitai's Condition:
What was left of my heart is being put to the test - February 10, 2014
Kitai Update: Lymphoma and Prednisone - February 13, 2014
True Love: A girl and her dog - February 21, 2014
Kitai Update: Looking for signs - February 26, 2014
Kitai Update: Hanging in there - March 9, 2014
Kitai is almost out of time - March 17, 2014
A once in a lifetime dog. . . RIP Kitai - March 19, 2014
It's been four weeks since you left me - April 15, 2014