Friday, June 5, 2015

Kimber's Story

In the winter of 2008 my dad found a black lab roaming his hunting grounds in White Cloud, MI.  He decided to drive her miles away to a different section of land so she'd stop spooking his deer ... but she came back.  This continued for a couple of weeks, driving her further away each time - until I got wind of what he was doing.  I told him to bring her home and help me find her family.  So, on a December evening my grandpa found her and brought her over commenting that he was sure that she was left behind from a neighbor whose house was foreclosed on.  We never found her original family so we decided to take her in; we fell in love instantly.

On the morning of June 3, Kimber wouldn't get up off of the floor to go outside; her normal morning routine.  Knowing she is stiff in the legs from time to time, Andy carried her outside and helped her go to the bathroom.  She wouldn't walk up the two concrete steps we have in the front entrance, something she's been able to do ever since we moved into this house.  Andy had to help her again.  Once her feet touched the tile floor we have inside our walkway she immediately stopped scared.  She couldn't walk any further and could barely keep her balance without her legs sliding out from under her.  If that wasn't enough, she wouldn't eat her breakfast, something she had always jumped up and down for in excitement every morning and evening.  We knew something was wrong with our precious girl.

Later that afternoon Andy and I headed to the vet.  We had high hopes that they could fix her, but also knew that being realistic is sometimes better than being positive.  The vet wasn't concerned at first, but suggested x-rays.  Two techs came into the room and carried Kimber out on a stretcher.  She seemed to love it, Queen of the Office, I thought.  A few minutes later the vet came back and said Kimber did great and was being super sweet, but the news we received was nothing we expected.

The vet showed us a significant growth in Kimber's abdomen, a tumor, possibly cancer.  She suggested we check her liver function (via blood work) immediately and if all was ok we could put her on pain medication for as long as we'd like, but it wouldn't shrink the tumor.  She explained to us that the tumor was a "ticking time bomb" and could be punctured or could burst at anytime, especially if Kimber is having a hard time walking and could collapse at any moment.  She didn't recommend removing it via surgery because of Kimber's age.

Kimber's liver enzymes were off the chart; so high their system couldn't even read them.  We were told that we would not be able to put her on a routine pain medication for her arthritis, and unfortunately, that there was nothing we could do to extend her life and take away the pain.

She was the first animal I was completely responsible for.  She taught me so much about love, laughter, and life.  She was everything to me and became quite affectionate towards Andy when we moved in together.  They became best friends instantly.  I know we have given her a great life and she has given us so much joy.  This decision has been hard, but we couldn't see her in pain anymore.

This morning at approximately 9:30, Kimber took her last breath.  It was an exceptionally difficult decision, but the memories and photos we have will last a lifetime.  RIP Kimber, we love you and it won't be the same without you.

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