Even I didn’t understand why I recently agreed to take dogs from Mexico. The only thing I could say to myself and others who questioned the decision was that the dogs have always led us to where we are meant to be and I trust that. I simply follow. Well, yesterday the reason was made clear.

Kit came to us from the streets of Mexico as a scruffy, ill tended dog of eight years or so. When she first arrived we knew something was not right with her so we began the process of determining just what it was. She refused food and was lethargic. Bloodwork revealed she had some kidney issues and that she was suffering from pancreatitis. After a three day stay at the vets her blood levels improved despite the fact that she pulled her IV out the first night. We were hopeful that a prescription diet would be all she needed to maintain her new and improved health status.

I named her Kit-and-Caboodle because she seemed to have so much baggage. When she was groomed and the mop she wore was clipped we discovered a nasty scar on her side. There also seemed to be a dislocated rib in the same area and she would yelp if we picked her up a certain way. This little dog was independent and almost defiant even though she must have known she was no longer able to back up her growl. Still, the other dogs respected her. Kit became overly attached to me even though she didn’t like shows of affection or to be held. I just had to be in sight and she was happy. She slept on my bed at night and followed my every move during the day.

Kit’s appetite improved and she showed interest, if not exuberance, in her environment. We were optimistic when we had her blood work done again and we had cause to be. The pancreatitis had cleared up and the kidney functions were in the acceptable range. The prescription food was doing the job and she didn’t require medication.

Kit was posted for adoption and each night before we both closed our eyes to sleep I would explain that a new life awaited her and that she would have to be brave enough to trust just one more time. I was trying to prepare her for leaving.

Kit’s blood levels were tested after another two weeks and it was determined her kidney levels were up again. Her prescription food was changed and we were told if it didn’t correct her levels she would need medication after all.

I took her off the adoption pages planning to repost her when we knew just what care she would ultimately need. I continued to work with her in preparation for her moving on. I had tested Kit with our four grandchildren while at the cottage and she did well. I had left her alone for short periods of time to get her accustomed to having her person come and go and I thought our talks were going well.  

Two nights ago, however, Kit coughed throughout the night but more importantly she slept in the closet. I knew that something was very wrong and that, whatever it was, we had missed it. We arranged for her to see our vet once again and drove her to Parry Sound that day. I asked for x-rays of her trachea in case it had collapsed which is common in small dogs and I wanted every inch of her tiny body shown to us.

Sure enough, there was something very wrong with Kit. She had somehow managed until she couldn’t hide it any longer. I don’t know if she was simply stoic and accustomed to taking care of herself or if she feared becoming unwanted again.

Kit has a condition called Diaphragmatic Hernia. The scar on her side and slightly dislocated rib leads our vets to believe she was attacked by a large dog and held in its mouth to be shaken. The result is that her abdominal organs and intestines have been pushed into her chest compressing the liver, kidneys, heart and lungs. She breathes as if through a straw so the added exertion of following me everywhere caused her to cough after a period of time. This condition also explains her kidney and liver levels.

Surgery may not be possible for Kit because the apparent injury is an old one so her organs have had time to become attached within her chest. There would be no way to correct this. A specialist could do an ultrasound and that may still happen but even so, the prognosis for her age is not good.

So after tears and profound sadness for this little warrior the reason we had been led to Mexico was clear. Kit had to be rescued by a group that had the resources to get her the care she needed. Because we have been working at this for thirteen years and have built a reputable and successful organization with wonderful supporters, no decision we make on behalf of the dogs is ever based on financial concerns. Not every rescue is as fortunate as MPR so this is a time for all who lend a hand, dime or dollar to applaud themselves.  

The people who took Kit off the streets in Mexico are hard pressed to make ends meet because of the demands they face. They did their part by getting her to us and saving her life. But how long had this little mop of a dog hidden from harm and coped with her injuries. Where had she found the strength to not only survive but to overcome? I marvel, yet again, at the spirit dogs possess.

Our vets’ estimate, after determining just how worn and torn Kit is, that these past few months could very well be the only happy ones she has known. Imagine being eight years old and never having a soft place to lay your head.  No wonder she became overly attached and followed me everywhere. I now understand why she looked away each night when I asked her to trust again so she could move on. She knew far more than I.

This little girl needed help and we responded. I am proud of that. We will keep Kit with us as long as she continues to be content and without pain. I would very much like for her to know a Christmas but that may be asking too much. We’ll give her all we can and that will have to be enough. Sweetness and joy little Kit.