Life With The Red Girls

It’s been almost a year since Kali crossed over the bridge. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her, reminisce, or just flat out miss her. I find myself looking at photos of her more often and for longer periods of time. I’m finding that the longer she is gone the more I miss her. I long for her smell. I miss our nightly cuddles before lights out. Full disclosure: Kali was a great “spooner” and I miss spooning with her as she lay on the floor at the foot of our bed! I miss the subtleties of her body movement. Like when I’d call her. Her eyes would fix on mine and then her head would tilt slightly down and to the left as she started walking towards me.

Even in her final days, which were spent mostly sleeping, Kali was up for spending the morning with me in my office which is located across the driveway from the house. As I headed towards the door she seemed almost puppy-like following me out and galloping towards my office sometimes skidding and slipping making a soft landing near the door. As I walked towards her she would look up from a spread eagle position seeming to say, “Oops, I slipped”. This always made me laugh out loud and my heart swelled with love to see her so animated. I have so many fond and funny memories it would be impossible to enumerate them. But this one would be towards the top of the list!

I feel the absence of Kali’s presence some days more than others. Although Holly loved her deeply I don’t think she feels the loss in the same way I do. How could she? Kali was “my dog” and was always with me. She was always at my feet. Even when I wasn’t home she was with me laying by the door that I went through when I left expecting me to return through that same door. And when I did she’d be there waiting. Kali’s level of dedication was unwavering and humbling. I wrote a post about this a year after Kali joined the pack. It spoke of a real life dog named Hachiko and how like him Kali would probably wait forever for me to come home.

When Kali passed, the sub-title of this blog became “Life At The Golden K Without Kali”. Life has gone without Kali. She will always be special and this blog will always be her legacy. She inspired this blog the day after she arrived from Taiwan in 2014 and went on to inspire me in so many ways. Our home is Tuolumne is called The Golden K for Kali initially and then later to include her two sisters Kloe and Koda. But life has also gone on with Kloe and Koda, our “Red Girls”. The Golden K torch was passed down from Kali when she crossed the bridge. Kloe and Koda are learning to be good stewards of Kali’s legacy. And like me they each learned a lot from her!

But recently I realized that after almost a year without Kali it’s time to look back less and forward more often. Posting about Kali over the past year has been cathartic. She will never ever be forgotten or have any less of my heart or mind. But it is with a nod to Kloe and Koda that the sub-title of this blog will now be, “Life With The Red Girls”. There will certainly be more posts about Kali in the future. But this is the time of the Red Girls and that will be the focus of future posts. After all, they are pretty darn special too!

One of my favorite photos of my Golden Kali!
The Red Girls, Kloe and Koda

All In – Happy Gotcha Day Koda

Koda, Koda, Koda!

This week marks four years since Koda joined our pack. She was four months old when we welcomed her and she came in with guns-a-blazing! Koda very quickly made her presence known. I remember driving her home in my truck and pulling up to our property. She was just 90 minutes separated from her two litter mates who had not been adopted yet. Koda hopped out of the truck and followed me through the gate where her new sisters were “waiting”. Koda 18 pounds at the time was greatly over matched by her new sisters – Kali at 60 pounds an Kloe at 80. There was about five minutes when Koda seemed a little intimidated and she acquiesced to the “big girls”. But she quickly made herself at home and began romping around the yard chasing and being chased by Kloe. Kali went off to sleep and resent the new whippersnapper that dad had just brought into the family without her permission.

The aforementioned five minutes of being intimidated was the last time I ever saw Koda be intimidated by anybody or anything.

Koda is a tough pup who initially made up for her size with loads of attitude.

It was immediately evident how vocal Koda was. Tilting her head slightly down, butt up in the air, and a mouthed puffed up with air she exclaims, “A roo roo roo”. This was just day one/hour two and she had already established her spot in the pack. She was not be the oldest or the biggest or in charge of anything but she always made here needs, wants, and opinions known! To this day Koda speaks her mind and always gets her point across to her intended audience and anyone else who will listen. As if they have a choice… If she could speak english she’d use what might be considered “salty language”.

Early on there were some very touch and go periods.

Holly: “Get that dog out of my house. Send her back”!

Me: She is such a loving girl. She’s doing so much better. I just need a little more time to work with her.”

Koda: (Looking directly at Holly) “A roo roo roo! Roo roo rooooo….”

Me : (Turning to Koda and under my breath) “Koda – work with me here.”

Koda: (Thought bubble over her head) “Hey – where did mom go?”

And so it went.

Koda has matured and has (mostly) learned to temper her enthusiasm. She is lovingly referred by a close friend who also has Golden Retrievers, as my “wild child”. A spot on characterization! But Koda has learned to be a (mostly) respectful and responsible member of the pack. She is very smart and learns things the first time. Whether she chooses to adhere to the learning is another matter. But she does learn it and then makes her choices. I (mostly) respect that.

Did you notice all the “mostly’s” in the previous paragraph? So yeah lot’s of mostly’s. But the all-ins” far outnumber and outweigh those mostlys.

Koda is all in on Loyalty. She is all in on loving her pack members. She is all in on recall – where ever she is, if I call she comes.

Koda was all in on Kali, her Sissy Mama. During the last year or so of Kali’s life when she had a hard time getting around Koda looked after Kali. A great example was a time when Kali got stuck in a corner of the property and couldn’t get up. Koda came running up to us barking and alternating looks from us to where she wanted us to go. We followed her and found Kali OK but stuck in a small hole and unable to get up. Talk about a Lassie and a “Timmy’s stuck in the well moment”… wow!

Koda is all in on being Kloe’s wingman. Kloe, “Protector Of The Golden K” – often sees, smells, or hears potential bad guys. Bad guys like cats, deer, squirrels, someone walking along the road at the bottom of our property, and so on. If Kloe stands up and barks, Koda does too; even though she doesn’t know what she’s barking at. She looks to Kloe for her cues. If Kloe takes off running in the bad guys direction Koda follows even thought she has no idea where she’s going. To Koda, if Kloe is barking, upset, or on the prowl Koda is by her side to provide all necessary back up. Koda is definitely all in on Kloe.

I’m so happy to Koda in my life and part of our pack. My sweet “Koda Koda Koda”, my “Sugar Beats”, my “Kodachrome”, my “Kode-Red”. Oh, yeah and full disclosure of another often used nick name for Koda: “Damn it Koda!” 🙂

Happy Gotcha day sweet Koda. Dad will always be all in on you!

Sissy Mama

As Kali grew older I began referring to her, in relationship to her two sisters Kloe and Koda, as Sissy Mama. None of my girls were blood related but they were and are sisters (sissies) no less. So we would always refer to them as sissies. “Koda, where is your sissy”. Or, “Kloe, go get your sissies for dinner”. Yes we well I speak to them as though they are my kids. Because they are!

But Kali was much older and she became the Sissy Mama.

Six years shouldn’t seem so long ago. But if I think in “dog years” it is quite some time. Like six years ago when we brought Kloe home as a nine-week old puppy. That was a long time ago. Looking at her now, as she sleeps by my feet (filling in the empty space Kali left under my feet when she crossed the bridge), it’s hard to think that Kloe was ever a wee pup of 16 pounds. Green, fearless, and ripe for schooling by an older dog. Enter Kali.

Since Kali has been gone I find myself looking at pictures of her from over the years. Like today when I came across some pictures and videos of the first day we brought Kloe home. After the initial few minutes, when Kali made it very clear that Kloe was not welcome in her house, she quickly warmed up to Kloe and was every bit the surrogate mama we hoped she would be.

I had forgotten how inseparable Kali and Kloe were when Kloe was a pup. Mostly because at only weeks and months old Kloe adored Kali and followed her everywhere she went. There were so many tender moments sleeping side by side or on top of one another. And there were periods of play when Kali exhibited great patience with her new little sissy and also delivered lessons when needed.

In retrospect I now realize that Kali became the Sissy Mama the moment we brought Kloe through the front door in Livermore at 9 weeks old on May 7, 2016.

Sissy Mama In Action

Sissy Mama Gallery

Memorial Weekend Eight

Long time followers of Golden Kali may recall that she was one of 23 Golden Retrievers that arrived at San Francisco International Airport via China Airlines on Saturday evening, May 24, 2014. Holly, my daughter, and I drove to the airport that evening and waited for her crate to be unloaded from the plane along with 23 others. We took her crate to a staging area in the parking lot and I met her for the first time as I opened the crate door, leashed her, and watched her as she took her first sniffs of America. She had been in the crate for around 14 hours and was very anxious to pee. She took care of business and sniffed around some more. We took care of some formalities with the rescue organizers and volunteers and drove home to Livermore, CA would Kali would begin her New Life in America.

Since then Memorial Weekend has very been special to me. It marked the beginning of Kali’s new life in America, a new chapter in my life, and what turned out to be a seven and a half year journey Kali and I went on together.

That was Memorial Weekend One.

Kali laid by my feet in our backyard in Livermore as I started this blog. I knew during this first weekend and during the weeks to come I would need to be watchful and present to make sure Kali was successful. The rescue group cautioned me to not go to fast and to give Kali time. They said it may take time for her to be comfortable in her new surroundings and that she may have accidents and need to learn what her boundaries were. They suggested no visitors for a few days. This was of course a reasonable expectation. After all, there would be new sounds, new smells, new people, new food, new places to sleep, and on and on… It would take Kali time to adjust and we needed to respect that and give her space and time.

Except she didn’t need it!

Kali was still on Taiwan time when she arrived and it was expected she may have problems the first few nights. Except she didn’t. She slept by my bed tethered to the leg of the bed frame that first night, Saturday. She nuzzled me around two in the morning and I took her out to pee. I brought her back to bed and re-tethered her. She slept the rest of the night and every night after. Kali was respectful of the house from the very first day. She seemed to know her limits before we even had the chance to set them. She greeted visitors with a smile and love. She chewed on her toys but never furniture, shoes, or anything that wasn’t hers. With the exception of leash aggression that I found out about when we started our daily walks, Kali was a model rescue citizen from day one!

This is Memorial Weekend Eight.

The first Memorial Weekend that Kali is not physically laying by my feet as I write this Memorial Weekend post. As the weeks and months pass I miss her more and more. I long for her smell and the feel of her fur. I miss her at night when I wake up and remember she’s not there. I miss her when I’m in my office in the morning. I miss the ritual of walking with her from the back yard gate to my office when she would happily run towards the office door. Even though her physical legs were on their figurative “last legs”. Maybe it was something about going off with Dad in the morning that gave her body some spunk. Just for those few seconds, Kali was puppy-like as she pranced across the driveway.

Life at The Golden K Without Kali

That’s been the tag line of this blog since January First of this year when Kali crossed the bridge. She did so on her terms with the grace and dignity she earned. Kali was a truly special dog who I was blessed to know and love, and to have been loved by her. Kali will always hold a piece of my heart that is hers and hers alone.

So on this Memorial Day Eight, as many of us are remembering and honoring those who gave their lives in service of our country, I am also remembering and honoring my Golden Kali.

Re-Reading Golden Kali

A friend and recent follower of this Golden Kali blog told me that she read all the posts from beginning to current. She said she wanted to really know Kali’s story so she started from the beginning. Wow – that is quite a compliment that is not lost on me! It also inspired me to do the same – go back and re-read all my posts from the beginning. The beginning was the day after Kali’s arrival from Taiwan in May of 2014.

I’m currently up to July of 2016 and as I am reading these posts two things have stood out to me.

The first is how special my relationship with Kali was (and still is even though she is gone).

In my heart and soul I knew from day one that Kali was special. She was meant for me and I was meant for her! I knew it then, I know it now, and I will always know it. It was a once in a lifetime gift bestowed upon Kali and I from destiny.

Reading these posts again after so many years has reminded me in great detail of all the special moments Kali and I had together. For the first two years it was just Kali and I. We were almost always together. There were no other canine siblings and Kali had the full compliment of my attention 24/7. These early days – just her and I – established a foundation of mutual trust, respect, and love. And most importantly it established a bond that cannot be broken. I love Kloe and Koda as much as Kali but the relationships are a little different. There has never been just Kloe. There has never been just Koda. But there were two years when there was just Kali. Reading these old posts has reminded me of that special time in our lives with a renewed appreciation of what Kali meant to me and me to her.

The second thing that has stood out is the relationships and camaraderie that developed between fellow bloggers and followers of Golden Kali.

After each post I have also been reading comments made by these people many who have become friends over the years.

When my daughter was a teen-ager, in the early days of social media, she would occasionally refer to someone as her friend who she knew online from a social media site. As a parent this made me very concerned for obvious reasons. That my daughter was referring to someone as a friend who she had never met face to face or even voice to voice on the phone was a worry for me.

But later, through the Golden Kali blog, I realized that it was possible to make friends through social media. Comments resulting from blog posts created a basis for me to get to know the regular followers and vice-versa. While Kali has always been the “perfect” dog like so many rescues she had her set of challenges. I wrote about these challenges and many followers, offered empathy, advice, or simply shared a similar experience. I also followed their blogs and through ongoing dialogue and sharing of experiences – and life in general – we’ve developed friendships. For that I’m grateful.

So Kali, although physically gone, continues to very present in my life. I don’t expect that to ever change. Re-reading our story from beginning has been a great reminder (for my brain) of everything Kali means to me. This of course is something my heart always knew and will never need to be reminded of.

Life Goes On…

…without Kali.

Life does go on. It’s a trite saying. A phrase, usually well intentioned, thats used when something bad has happened to remind the person feeling bad that their life can’t stop because of the bad thing or event. And it can’t.

In the case of Kali it is true that life has gone on for the rest of the pack. But I would not characterize the fact that Kali is gone as a bad thing, per se. I do miss her. I still consciously look for her when I enter the room or am handing out treats. I wake up at night and remember that she won’t be there in the morning. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past two plus weeks reminiscing about her. I’ve looked at hundreds of photos of her. But in the grand scheme of life (and death) while it wasn’t a bad thing, it wasn’t good either. But, it was the right thing to do. And once I began listening to Kali with my heart, instead of my ego that told me I could be her superman and savior forever, I knew it was right.

The days since Kali has been gone have been mostly normal. The out pouring of love, empathy, and well wishes from friends, fellow bloggers that follow The Golden Kali Blog, and social media connections has been heartwarming to say the least! There were a lot of special messages that meant so much to me. There was even one very special blogger friend (you know who you are!) that did some super sleuthing to find my home address and sent a beautiful hand painted card with a loving message inside.

I didn’t know how the Red Girls (Kloe and Koda) would react to Kali’s absence from the pack.

Neither Kloe or Koda have had a life without Kali. Kloe was 9 weeks old when we brought her home and Kali was a great surrogate mama for her. When Kloe was down for almost a year with her CCL injuries and surgery she was often sequestered from Koda and Kali. During that time Koda and Kali bonded quite a bit. In recent months Koda seemed to know Kali was struggling and in need of help. She watched over Kali. Several months ago Koda came running up to us barking and doing that Lassie “Timmy’s in the well” kinda of thing. She coaxed us to come to another part of the yard and sure enough there was Kali stuck and unable to get up. So I expected Kali’s absence might have an effect on Koda.

But it’s been Kloe who seems to notice a difference in the Pack. There were a few meals early on when given the release to go to her bowl Kloe hesitated. She looked around as if to say “where’s Kali? We can’t start without Kali…” Or perhaps I’m just projecting.

I thought I might have some moments but really didn’t until…

There was just one time I became outwardly emotional. I went to pick up Kali’s ashes at the vet. The receptionist looked a little uncomfortable when I told here why I was there. Her voice became tentative and here eyes looked sad, or maybe scared that I was going to break down. But I was upbeat and told her it was all fine. I think I put her at ease. She came back with a beautiful dark brown wooden case with a gold plaque on the front with Kali’s name and a card.

I went to my truck and with Kali’s ashes sitting beside me I opened the card. The card told he story about the Rainbow Bridge and how all the animals are once again healthy, play and run together, enjpy warm sunshine, lots of food, and are happy. I’ve always enjoyed the imagery of the Rainbow Bridge. But as I sat reading the card the last part got the best of me. It says:

The day comes when [during play] one [of the pets] suddenly stops and looks into the distance. Her bright eyes are intent. Her eager body quivers. Suddenly she begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, her legs carrying her faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together…

Sitting in my truck with Kali’s ashes in my hands I lost it. I was overcome by the imagery and I weeped and cried out loud. It felt so good to have an emotional release for my special girl. A moment of retrospection and gratitude for all Kali gave me especially in the end when she gave me the courage to let her go and know that life does go on.

Until we meet again on the bridge sweet girl, my Kalimazoo, my Kalis Marie, my Golden Kali.

Life Without Kali

And then there were two…..

In the end it was not as hard a decision to make as I thought it would be. Not easy, but not hard because it was the right thing to do. This past Saturday my sweet Golden Kali took her final breath as she lay next to Holly and I in our home. It was very peaceful and she left this world with dignity and grace.

I’ve been preparing for this moment for quite some time as I’ve watched Kali age rapidly over the past year.

Kali had begun slowing down significantly over the past year with decreasing mobility.   It was mostly her rear legs and hips.  She started having problems getting up and down and staying on her feet several months ago.  When she did get up she would often times fall.   Cataracts clouded her eyes and the poor vision often left her confused as to her where-abouts.  Her appetite did remain strong and she enjoyed being with me on the days I worked from home.   But more recently she seemed confused and while in no visible pain, she was uncomfortable and restless when she wasn’t sleeping.  

After a nudge from a dear friend, and deep soul searching and discussion the day after Christmas with Holly, I decided to follow the advice I have given so many other dog owners when I hear of a situation with their senior dog.  And that is, “one of the last and greatest gifts we give our dogs is to take them out of their pain and let them go”.  While I don’t believe Kali was in any real pain her tank was empty and her eyes told me it was time to let her go.  So I did.

This past Saturday, New Years Day 2022, our vet Tanya, who has become as much a friend as she is the vet for our three girls, came to our home to administer to Kali. Tanya, Holly, and I sat with Kali who was very relaxed as the three of us just chatted and loved on her.   Tanya administered a sedative and we continued to just be with Kali as she got sleepy.  I whispered a lot of sweet nothings in her ear. So pretty much business as usual in that regard. 🙂  Eventually Tanya gave Kali the injection that put Kali down. I watched her eyes close and felt her take her final breath. As Kali left I harkened our Creek Trail in Livermore where we got to know each other so well in the days and weeks after she arrived from Taiwan.  Kali left this world on our collective terms and I am so grateful for that. I know other dogs and doggie parents don’t always have that grace.

It’s hard to believe that Kali is gone.  I think things may set in and maybe I’ll have a few moments in the days to come.  But for now, like Kali, I am at peace.

Footnote: The Golden Kali Blog was started on May 25th, 2014 the day after Kali arrived from Taiwan. The tag line of this blog at that time was “Kali’s New Life In America”. Two years later we moved to the Sierra Nevada Foothills and the tag line changed to “Kali’s New Life In The Mountains”. The Golden Kali Blog will live on and the tag line, at least for the coming weeks and months, will now be “Life At The Golden K Without Kali”. * The Golden K is what we call our home as a tribute originally to Kali herself and now to her and her two sisters Kloe and Koda.

Kali in her younger days

Kali and Kloe

Koda has been a great addition to our family. It’s hard to believe it’s been over three years since we adopted her at four months old. She and Kloe are almost always together and have grown to be good companions even though there is some sibling rivalry from time to time. It’s heartening to know that since only two years separate them they should have many more years together as they grow older.

But before there was Koda there was just Kali and Kloe.

Kali was seven years old when Kloe joined our pack at just nine weeks old. Kali was just the right age and had an ideal temperament for bringing a puppy into the family. She quickly accepted the new little whippersnapper and become a surrogate mother during Kloe’s formative years. They became great companions to one another. Kali was still young enough to have interest in playing. At first very gentle and then as Kloe grew larger and stronger more vigorous. It didn’t take Kloe long to become larger and stronger than Kali. By 9 months old she was 75 pounds surpassing Kali’s 60. As Kloe got older they became more of equals, never any competition or rivalry as there is at times between Koda and Kloe. Even as Kloe grew older and larger she continued to seek comfort from Kali as she did when she was a wee pup. I know that Kali enjoyed having a companion in Kloe and they were never far apart from one another.

Kali has slowed way down over the past year or so. She has wobbly legs, poor eyesight, hearing loss, and she doesn’t seem to have a good sense of smell any longer. Other than that she’s fantastic! 🙂 It’s become harder and harder for her to get around and at 12 plus years now she mostly sleeps. She’s earned it and she maintains a very special spot in my heart and in my day to day life.

Recently I pulled up some old photos of when it was just Kali and Kloe. It was fun to look back a photos of Kloe at 15 or 20 pounds laying on big sister Kali and then seeing photos from over the years with Kloe still using Kali as a pillow. And the photos of just the two of them hanging out together sometimes being a little goofy. Although the pack dynamics have changed over the past few years with the addition of Koda and with Kali aging, it continues to make me happy to know there is still a special bond between Kali and Kloe!

Kids and Dogs

Kids

I’ve always likened having dogs to having children. We do so many things for our dogs that we do or did for our kids. We feed them, educate them, entertain, love, discipline, and so on. We even refer to them as our kids, our fur-babies, or in my case as “the girls”. Our human children are all gown and have been out of the house for many years. There are many things I don’t know about their day to day lives. When they were very young I observed and knew every small detail of their lives. As they grew older I saw less and eventually knew less. Which is the way it should be. I know as I grew older into a young adult and beyond my parents knew less and less of the details of my life. I needed them less. They were glad I was independent. I feel the same way about my grown children.

My kids many years ago. Left to right Michael (now 34), Jessi (now 30), and Jonathan (now 37). Wow! In some ways I wish they could have stayed just like in this photo forever. But time marches on. They are independent with full and robust lives of their own.

Dogs

But with our dogs it’s a little different. They never become independent in the way our children do. They rely on us their entire lives for their care and well being. While there are many similarities between a puppy and a human baby, the baby grows to be a toddler and beyond and they puppy grows to be like a toddler and mostly plateaus there. As dogs mature and age we continue to not only know, but also mostly control all the details of our their lives. When they eat we know it. When they walk we know it. When they find themselves into some sort of trouble or problem we not only know it but also correct it. Our dogs become moderately independent for short amounts of time but they can’t be (or shouldn’t be) left overnight by themselves. And as they grow older, like my 12 year old Kali, they need us more and more.

My “girls” a few hours ago. Left to right Koda (3.5 years, Kali (12 years), and Kloe (5 .5 years). Koda has finally matured into a toddler, Kali’s hips and eyes are deteriorating, and Kloe’s muzzle is graying. Like their human siblings they also have a full and robust life but rely on Holly and I to make sure of that. They are very dependent and we are ok with that.

So having dogs is like having kids but way different.

The Golden Kali Blog

Newer followers of Golden Kali can get caught up to speed about each of my girls here:

Thanks to everyone who follows Golden Kali! We’ve been away for a while busy with pack life but will be posting much more often. Tells us what you think about the Golden Kali blog and what questions or interests you may have about life in the mountains with three Golden Retrievers.

Time Moves Faster For Kali

The canine stages from puppyhood to adolescent to adult and finally senior is very much like us humans. I’m sure there is a more scientific and accurate manner in which to define stages of life for both canine and humans. And there are probably more than four stages. But this not a scientific blog. This is a blog about Kali, her sisters, and our collective life in the mountains. So I’m gonna stick with these four stages that serve my purposes in this post.

As a father I’ve watched all three of my children through the first three stages; baby/toddler, adolescence, and now adulthood. I observed my mother go through the last two stages: adult to senior. When she was in the senior stage she initially was quite healthy. She had her physical and mental facilities intact and was capable of caring for herself. Then, over time, her health declined and she began requiring increased help to get around. She began losing her cognitive ability. Eventually she was diagnosed with and ended up dying from dementia.

Hang in there. I’m getting to the part about dogs now… 🙂

What stage are my girls in? Koda at two and half is my adolescent and Kloe at almost five is my adult. Kali at almost 12 is my senior. But wait a second. When Kali joined the pack seven years ago she was an adult. And so was I. I felt as though we were contemporaries. My best friend was the same age as me and we’d share a long life and grow old together. But now Kali is a senior and I’m still an adult (although my wife might argue otherwise at times…). The average life expectancy for humans in the United States is 78 years. The average life expectancy for a Golden Retriever is around 12 years. Time moves faster for Kali and at times it makes me sad.

I observe similar characteristics in Kali that I saw in my mom as her health was declining during the final stages of her life. At first walking with help, then with a walker, and eventually a wheel chair. Kali has hip dysplasia. It is increasingly hard for her to get up or lay down, she walks very slow and wobbly. Under certain circumstances I have to pick her up to get her where she needs to be. Other than for meals my mom spent her day in her chair looking at the TV and out the window. Kali spends the majority of her day sleeping and watching the world go by around her. Over time my mom forgot things, repeated herself, and eventually had limited awareness of where she was. She eventually stopped talking, only nodding her head in response to questions. Kali at times is disoriented and seems confused. She has stopped responding to commands. Her hearing is either very bad or very selective. And her eyes are clouded with cataracts that diminish her vision. My mom lost her appetite and had to be coaxed to eat. Good news here for Kali is that meal time is still her favorite time of the day and she remains very passionate about food!

My mom was 97 when she passed away far exceeding the average life expectancy. At almost 12 Kali is creeping towards the outer edge of life expectancy for Golden Retrievers. In spite of her advanced age Kali still exhibits some of the same behaviors as she did seven years ago as a much younger dog. Like the fixed stare she gives me about 30 minutes before meal time. Like head butting me as I prepare her food. And in spite of her bad legs and poor sight at times she still sits at the gate waiting for me to return home or comes looking for me in the house if I’m in another room. This is heartening and encouraging to me. It reminds me that my Kali is still in so many ways the same dog that came into my life seven years ago as an adult, as my contemporary, and as what turned out to be my best friend.

Time moves faster for Kali. I wish I could slow it down.

Adult Kali
Senior Kali