Remembering Dakotah

Hi, everybody, it's me, Tucker.  Today, January 12th, is a sad day for us, because it's the third anniversary of the day that our brother, Dakotah, got his wings and flew to heaven.  It was time for him to go because he was sixteen years old (actually 15 years and 364 days) and even though his spirit was strong, his body was just too used up to continue on anymore.  Dakotah was the best big brother in the world.  He looked after me, and also Olivia and Tanner, and always made sure we were taken care of.  So we loved him a lot and we still really miss him.  Mom does, too, even more than we do.  And since she knew Dakotah (we called him Kody) for almost sixteen years and I only knew him for five, I think it might be a good idea if I let her finish telling you about him.

Hi, everyone.  As Tucker said ... it's a sad day. Dakotah was a Malamute/Chow mix who was the first dog I ever had as an adult.  I was twenty-one years old when we met.  He was eight weeks old.  It was love at first sight .. at least for me.  Our relationship spanned fifteen years, some of them the most pivotal of my life, and not a single day of it was boring.  Although unfailingly gentle and sweet (I trusted him implicitly with any being smaller and weaker than himself, including, once, a baby common marmoset I was raising who weighed about four ounces and whose face was about the size of a quarter), he was a handful in terms of his energy level and athleticism.  I had to work to keep up with him. He also had a pathological fear of thunderstorms, and jumped out of a second story window not once but twice during a particularly bad storm.  Both times he was completely unharmed, and both times he met me in the driveway, soaking wet, but smiling his sweet smile, and leaping and wriggling in celebration of my return.  The stories I could tell about him could easily fill a book, and recently I've been jotting down notes, just so that, as time passes, I don't forget them.  It's hard to believe it's now been three years since I've seen his beautiful face or have been able to reach out and touch his fine head.  Time does heal, of course, but while the searing grief of his initial passing has faded, the ache remains.  I suppose this is normal.  After all, he was a huge part of my life for close to two decades, so it's hardly surprising that the reality of his loss still hurts.

Tomorrow won't be easy either - as it would have been his birthday were he still with us (though by no means did I ever expect that he would reach the nineteen year mark), but though I might be morose for a few days, it won't be long before I'll, if not forget, certainly push the reality of the loss to the back of my consciousness.  Yet I know that next year on this date, I'll feel much the same as I do today:  sad, a bit lonely, and missing the sight of my boy's sweet face, the sound of his soulful howl, and the lustrous feel of his beautiful red coat under my caressing fingertips.  There will always be a part of me that will miss Kody, I think, but that's ok.  To my mind, it's just testament to the great love I had, and still have, for him, and proof of the close bond we shared for so many years.  I choose to believe that one day we'll meet again somewhere beyond this earthly plane.  Until then, rest peacefully, my sweet boy.  You were the gift of a lifetime for which I'll always be grateful, and I hope your heaven is full of endless beaches where you can run forever without growing tired, and where there are never any thunderstorms.  I hope, too, that you always knew how very much I loved you, and always will.

This is Dakotah at about a year old, at Bathtub Beach. Before the age of off leash dog parks, this was one of the only places I could let him run free off leash, and he loved it. 

And this is him (with Tucker) at fifteen years old, at his last Christmas, less than a month before he left us.  He still looked so beautiful, and with the same gentle, loving eyes I'd fallen in love with when he was an eight week old puppy.


Sam said...

" He also had a pathological fear of thunderstorms, and jumped out of a second story window not once but twice during a particularly bad storm. Both times he was completely unharmed, and both times he met me in the driveway, soaking wet, but smiling his sweet smile, and leaping and wriggling in celebration of my return. "

So beautifully well said. I do think a book about Dakotah is in your future, if you've got stories like this to fill its pages!

This honestly is one of the most touching posts I've ever read in my time of blogging. I know how you feel.. and many of the things you said sound as if they could have come from my keyboard about my horse, Taco. Every anniversary of such a hard loss makes the pain seem to come back for a bit, makes the day a little more cold and lonely. It's a hard thing to go through.

Thank you for sharing your story of Dakotah with us. I'm so glad that you were able to spend so many years with him. It sounds like you really cherished and valued that time.

Caren Gittleman said...

I agree with Sam (above) I think you should write a book about your dear Dakotah....my eyes are still tearing from reading this beautiful tribute to such a wonderful dog.

We have so many correlations. My cat Bobo, passed a day after his 18th birthday. I know what you mean about having him for nearly two decades...you had a "soul doggie" and I had a "soul kitty"....trust me, your Dakotah KNEW how much you loved him. There is no way you could have felt this emotion and not conveyed it to him.

I now have a "Dakota" and a cat named "Cody"...you called your Dakotah, "Kody"...

I am like you where I believe one day I will be reunited with my beautiful and loving soul kitty and you will one day greet your "soul doggie" with open and loving arms.

Thank you for sharing these beautiful memories with us! xoxoxo

William said...

What a wonderful tribute to a beloved boy. To have shared his life with you of course was special, and his absence leaves a special void that can never really be filled.

Spitty-the-Kitty said...

What a sweet remembrance of your dear boy. I think each animal we cherish gives us more to give to the ones who come after. Tucker and the clan are lucky :-)

Mr. Pip said...

Thanks for sharing Dakotah with us. That last picture is precious and his personality shines through.

Your pal, Pip

Old Kitty said...

Oh adorable Tucker!! Me and Charlie feel very priveleged to know a little about angel Dakotah here - thank you so much for this beautiful remembrance of a wonderful much loved and much missed doggie angel.

Take care

Admiral Hestorb said...

That was a dear and sweet remembrance of sweet Dakotah. We moms and dads always remember our loved and cherished fur family members because they are just that..family and always and ever in our hearts. I feel that way about Hopping John, Jack, and Robin. I love them still and miss them terribly.

Trixie, Lily, and Sammy-Joe said...

Kody is beautiful! Our Mama had two dogs that died and she still misses them so much. Time does heal... but it still feels weird to not be able to reach out and pet them and cuddle with them and smell them and everything. Our Mama says she still feels like Chopper and Zip are with us and that they sent us to her to be with her now that they can't be. Tucker will help you, too!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tucker, I found your blog through Wordless Wednesday and I just read and enjoyed your Pet Blogger Challenge Q&A. I have to tell you, though, how touched I am by your mom's tribute to Dakotah. What a beautiful boy and what a beautiful bond they have.

Dakotah and my dog, Daley share the same birthday. Daley passed away in November 2009, when he was 13. Daley was a gift for my 21st birthday, the best I'll ever receive in my life. From nine-weeks-old on, he was my best friend, sidekick, source of comfort and great joy and fun.

Without a doubt, Dakotah knows how much your Mom loves him. He keeps her love with him just as she keeps his with her. Until they meet again.

Inspired by my relationship with Daley, I blog about senior dogs. Last year this time, I was still numb from loss and can't really remember how I spent January 13. I started blogging four months ago and today I wrote a birthday post for Daley. I said that he was probably giving high fives to his angel pals over not having to wear a birthday hat for my silly pictures. I bet one of those pals is Dakotah.

-Chandra at Daley's Dog Years

Cats~Goats~Quotes said...

Sweet, sweet memories... Beautiful post..
~ Malachi