I’ve always taken for granted that I love all my girls desperately and without reservation. So I caught myself by surprise recently when I was looking at Koda and realized that I had fallen in love with her. Not at that moment, or even on that day. But over the months I had fallen head over heals in love with the youngest of my three girls.
That’s not to say that I don’t love my other girls with equal passion. I do. But I realize now that the dynamics of adding a third dog placed more demands on the pack than I had anticipated. Like children to some degree adding numbers to your family has an exponential effect. One dog is like having one dog. Two is like four and three is like nine. Or at least that’s how it feels at times. My love is bottomless so it’s not really a problem. They put more in my tank than take out…
Koda, now 21 months, joined our pack at four months old. From the moment I brought her home it was clear that she was going to be
a force to be reckoned with a handful. She had tenacity both physically and vocally. In play with her big sister Kloe – who outweighed her by almost 60 pounds at the time – Koda never backed down even when Kloe tried to tell her enough was enough. When I told her I didn’t like something she was doing she would slink her body around puffing up her cheeks and letting out a stream of profanities vocalizations that sounds like “A rooo rooo rooo!” If I were to translate those sounds into words they would have to be written something like, “#@%&#*!!”.
Koda’s tenacity and determination was evident from day one. The Golden K sits on five acres and the girls have designated fenced areas for their safety. Koda quickly found that she could slip through the bars of a wrought iron gate that leads out of one of those fenced areas. In some ways it was endearing because the only reason she wanted to escape was to be me with who at the time was doing some work in another part of the property. I put chicken wire on the fence the next day to keep her from slipping through the bars. No problem for Koda – she scaled the fence, again in an effort to follow me to where I was going. There were several iterations of this as I experimented with various methods to keep her inside the safety zone. With each escape she would come trotting up to me smiling as if to say, “I found you. I’m here. I figured out how to scale the fence”, or “I missed you and I was able to slip under the bottom of the railing” and so on.
Koda was destructive at times chewing on furniture and finding her way to clothes, shoes, and other personal items. Some of that’s on me of course but still Koda seemed to set new household records for finding her way to trouble. The drip lines in the garden? No matter how deep I buried them Koda found them. Sprinkler heads? No problem. Apparently she knows how to twist them off the risers and with her jaw. Last summer was dry and brown in the garden to say the least!
Koda Koda Koda! The typical third child who believes the rules don’t apply to them. But over the months this tenacious pup has fallen into line (mostly). Through maturity and a lot of time and training on our part Koda has tempered her “enthusiasm” and is learning to respect the pack. She and I recently completed intermediate obedience training with our local AKC group. I was so happy and proud to see how eager she has become to learn and please me as her handler and as her dad.
Throughout much of last year Kloe was injured or recovering from her bi-lateral TPLO surgery. During much of that time Koda was challenging the status quo and finding new ways to test our patience. Much of our energy went into “managing” Koda and nursing Kloe back to health. Plus Kali is getting on in years (almost 11) and sometimes needs special attention and help. Distraction was definitely a theme for 2019!
I now realize that throughout these past and sometimes tumultuous 17 months I was falling in love with Koda. Maybe it was the aforementioned distractions. Maybe I simply took it for granted. Certainly I didn’t expect this deepening of love to be a journey. I don’t believe Koda will ever lose the tenacity she displayed from the moment she arrived home. Nor do I want her to. I believe it will serve her well over the years even if at times it is a challenge for me. In many ways it has helped me to be a better pup-parent.
As it turns out falling in love doesn’t happen over night. It really is a journey and I’m blessed to have Koda as my guide.
Koda then and now