We knew, from the beginning, that she was just passing through. This little girl had suffered terribly in life and her eight years in Mexico had been hard spent. No one knew it at the time but Kit was dying when she arrived here. It was clear she wasn’t well and the obvious concerns were treated but so much more lay, literally, below the surface.

Kit arrived in June and in July she was diagnosed with Diaphragmatic Hernia. The crooked scar on her side and dislocated rib led our vets to believe she was attacked by a large dog and held in its mouth while being brutally shaken. This caused her abdominal organs and intestines to be pushed into her chest, compressing her liver, kidneys, heart and lungs. Nothing functioned well and she breathed as if through a straw. The prognosis was to keep her happy for as long as we could.

Kit didn’t know how to trust or belong and at her age she wasn’t sure she wanted to. She was a scapper though and a survivor. She allowed herself to depend on one person and, out of necessity, that became me. To be honest, I would gladly have had her attach to someone else. I had just lost my little dog Trillium and I resented Kit taking her place, so quickly, at the foot of the bed and accompanying me everywhere. Kit didn’t help me heal but she did distract me. She wanted to resist me but couldn’t and I wanted to resist her, but couldn’t. We were a pair.

Of course affection and love grew out of the time we spent together and my wish became that Kit live long enough to share Christmas with us. I wanted her to know the beauty and abundance of the season and I needed her to be spoiled.

Over her six months with us Kit had good and bad days. The look in her eyes, even through the worst of times, told me she wanted to continue though. The little dance she did when I returned after being away showed the delight she had come to know. Kit remained stubborn and difficult with others and she growled at all the dogs but I was her one indulgence it seemed. When we went places she was constantly looking up at me to ensure we were still together. Kit is looking upwards in almost every photo I have of her and I am on the receiving end of that gaze.  

Kit recently went through two bad days and while that was not unusual for her, we both knew it was different this time. Her eyes told me she was beaten and I understood. She seemed to want me to know that she had no choice. I held her and her weak little body rested against my chest. I told her we had both known this was coming and that the time had come for her to let go.

As it turned out, Kit’s kidneys had failed her. There was nothing we could have done but knowing she had run out of fight was enough for me. I whispered sweetness and joy in her ear and she was gone.

Can dogs grant a wish? Was Kit’s determination so powerful that she lived until just after Christmas for me? If so, should I have asked her to stay for my birthday too, which is just days away? I wouldn’t doubt any of it for, if it could be done, it would be done by a dog.

The little dog I named Kit-and-Caboodle because of all the burdens she carried triumphed in the end. She found love and discovered that even a sad and lonely heart can both feel and return it. Rest safe sweet Kit.