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Thank you, Karma and Dexter

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by ScriboErgoSum, Oct 4, 2015.

  1. ScriboErgoSum

    ScriboErgoSum Contributing Member

    Aug 5, 2002
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    It broke my heart today to say goodbye to our beloved Karma and Dexter. She would have turned 16 in a few days, and Dexter was knocking on the big 1-5 in October. We were so incredibly blessed to have such amazing dogs live to such a ripe old age, and in the end, the decision to let them both go at the same time was a no brainer. The two of them were thick as thieves and spent their final months spooning together as they took increasingly long naps. I don’t know if either one of them would have lasted long without the other, and now they are resting peacefully together.

    Karma was our Y2K dog. I first saw her for sale on the side of the road as I was headed to office to back it up for the impending digital disaster the new millennium would unleash, and I was struck by her beauty. The next day when I returned to the office to discover Y2K had been overblown, I saw her again on the side of the road and stopped to pick her up and play with her. The next morning, I fast talked Lauren over lunch that we were ready to get a dog, not that she needed much persuasion. When we returned to buy that precious dog, I was horrified to see a young boy holding her and asking his parents if they could buy her. As soon as his parents said no and he put her down, I scooped her up, and she became a part of our family for almost 16 years. I usually don’t believe in fate, but this once it definitely intervened.

    Lauren and I had a blast with our new girly girl, and she was a 100% spoiled little dog. However, our neighbors complained that she barked and whined whenever we left out of loneliness. I was at work one day when Lauren called to inform me that a co-worker had a chocolate lab puppy for adoption and did we want to look at him. I told her the question is did we want to own a dog because I knew we would be powerless to resist the charms of a lab puppy. Sure enough, we played with the big eared, pouncing ball of energy for a few minutes before we handed over a check and set up a 15 year partnership between Karma and Dexter.

    I’ve had so many memories flooding through my head this past week of these two over the years, remembering them in their puppy years in Houston, their adolescent years in Seattle, and the golden years after we had two children of our own and rocked their pack lifestyle.

    Dexter used to be so damn athletic. The kids listen in wonder when I tell them how that dog used to leap high in the air to catch Frisbees and snatch tennis balls launched as far up as I could throw them. He earned the nickname Fly Hunter when he turned his aerial athletics into an indoor sport of trying to catch flies in the house. Over time he lost that ability to jump and eventually his eyesight deteriorated where he couldn’t catch even underhand balls tossed his way. But he never lost his love of the ball. Even in the end, he longed for a few rounds of fetch before he’d plop down and rest his aching bones with that ball clutched ever tightly in his teeth to prevent anyone from taking it. And of course, we gave up growing pumpkins because once they grew to tennis ball size, Dexter would pluck them out for us to play fetch with.

    Dexter was a dog of many nicknames. In addition to Fly Hunter, he also answered to D Man, Dex Man, Cocoa Caliente, and the very appropriate Cocoa Loco.

    Karma was always the smart one. She loved to find a sunny spot where she could watch people walking by the house. We used to make up stories about her keeping tabs on everyone and being the neighborhood gossip. This is what certain dog owners do before they have children: invest their dogs with humanlike backstories. We were certainly this type of dog owner.

    We used to joke that Karma was aloof because unlike her brother, she didn’t constantly need to be petted. But that dog had an absolute heart of gold. She was so patient with Dexter when he was a puppy and acted like a surrogate mother in many ways. We once found a stray kitten, and I watched amazed as she laid back and let that cat try to nurse on her before licking his face to clean him up.

    They were a bedrock of comfort in our family. Lauren was working the day my grandfather died, and I was on the couch crying my eyes out when they both came and nuzzled me on either side. That was one of the hardest days of my entire life, but the two of them helped make it bearable. They were always there whenever I needed a pick me up or was having a bad day. Dogs are so intuitive to our emotions, and I was lucky to have a pair that could read me and give me comfort when I needed it. Damn, I wish they were here tonight because I could certainly use a snuggle with them to lift my spirits.

    I’ll miss being able to talk to those two. They were always great listeners when I needed to get something off my chest. Dexter was the one I went to for Bro stuff like sports and advice on chicks, but I saved the intellectual and philosophical material for Karma because she’s smarter than me.

    Karma was always a gorgeous dog, and we got comments all the time on her beauty. We knew she was a Chow mix, but could never tell people her exact breed. I used to have a Karma’s Diva page on my website, and Fox contacted us through it to see if we were interested in entering Karma in their America’s Most Beautiful Dog competition. When we answered Yes, they sent us a questionnaire about how sociable our dog was. Now in her early years, Karma showed her true Chow roots, and was protective of us. This meant snapping at others if she perceived them a threat. We reluctantly had to back her out of that competition when I informed them Karma was a sweet dog who might bite their host’s arm off.

    I think my two children are the most beautiful people in the world, but Dexter as a puppy was the cutest thing I have ever seen. He used to run full tilt and slide 8 feet past his target on our hard wood floors, his tail wagging and his ears flopping. He was such a livewire bundle of awkwardness with the softest pink tongue.

    Lauren and I, and by that I mean me, devised a long running scheme called the Dex Man Plan that he was working on. Eventually this came to be a robbery of a ball room like you’d find in a Chuck E Cheese. The wrinkle was that Karma was going to set him up and make off with the loot. I once drew schematics.

    We used to sing with the two of them. Karma could howl at a beautifully high octave while Dexter sounded like a boy fighting puberty. It was a sad day for me when her throat couldn’t hit those notes any more, and in the end she grew deaf and couldn’t even hear my howls. But I still have blessed memories of singing along with the sultry voiced Karma and warbling Dexter.

    My other favorite dog sound was Dexter grunting contentedly. Besides being a ginormous goof and a 65 pound lapdog, Dexter was also one giant erogenous zone. He would groan when his belly was rubbed or if we scratched his head, but that dog loved to have his ears rubbed something fierce. Tracy called him a little piglet when we rubbed his ears. He’d lean all of his weight on my hand to get more pressure then finally flop down on his bed and bask in the afterglow. He always looked like he needed a cigarette afterwards.

    Their final days in Houston were nearly marred by an escape. Shortly before we moved, the two of them escaped early in the morning. We were able to track their movements through a string of bemused witnesses as they crisscrossed all over the Heights on a grand adventure. Eventually we returned home to make posters only to find Karma yawning on the porch with no sign of Dexter. Once again, Karma was always the smart one. Lauren did find Dexter a few blocks away while hanging signs desperately trying to navigate his way back home without the aid of his sister.

    The two of them adapted to Seattle and its abundance of dog parks quickly. They loved to walk around Green Lake, and Dexter was in love with Magnuson Park. One of my favorite memories was Dexter making a beeline for the water as soon as we entered the park. We figured we’d catch up to him no later than the gate to the water, but he apparently conned someone to let him in. When we arrived at the water, I was horrified and bemused to see 8 labs in the water with eyes as wide as saucers tracking a tennis ball with the realization that I had no idea which insane lab was Dexter.

    Lauren and I were naturally concerned when she was pregnant how the dogs would react to a human baby in the household, but our worries were for nothing. Karma would lay by the crib as a protector of first Kirsten then Ian, and Dexter wanted nothing more than to give them an occasional kiss and for them to get big enough to throw him the ball. They went from protectors to wary but enthusiastic playmates to tired friends glad for a hug from the kids as they spent the back half of their lives with these new playmates. There was never jealousy even as we were able to spend less time with them. Instead they welcome those kids as part of the pack.

    Towards the end it became really hard to see them struggling with so much. They couldn’t walk as far then they had trouble with stairs then there was incontinence, but still they were there to greet me and the kids every morning with kisses and wagging tails. Karma figured out the lever on my office chair and in the last month, she’d nudge it with her nose if she wanted me to pet her. It was cute and aggravating to be working then have my seat drop 5 inches suddenly, but it always made me smile before I scratched her head.

    It’s so quiet in the house tonight as I sit here and write this. I keep expecting to hear a sigh from one of the dogs or Dexter whimpering in his sleep as he was chasing a tennis ball or Miss B in his dreams. I’m half guarded against my seat suddenly dropping, but it’s just the clattering of my keys in a very empty house.

    I was glad we were able to have an exemplary celebration for the dogs yesterday. They got to have one last trip to Magnuson to see other dogs, smell the aromas of the dog park, and see that blessed water they so love. Most importantly, they also got to spend a day being spoiled by their whole family. It was the perfect way to say goodbye.

    Despite the heartache and grief tonight, I can’t imagine not having those two in my life these past 16 years. I’m a better man and my life so much richer for it, and my kids got to know what it’s like to love and be loved unconditionally by a dog.

    Dexter and Karma, thank you for everything. I love you. You will be missed.

    4 people like this.
  2. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

    Nov 8, 2002
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    Sorry for your loss. They remind me of my old dogs a little bit
    1 person likes this.
  3. Richie_Rich

    Richie_Rich Member
    Supporting Member

    Jul 17, 2009
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    My sincerest regrets.

    There is no pain like losing family.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Mr. Brightside

    Mr. Brightside Contributing Member

    Mar 27, 2005
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    sorry for your loss, bud.

    your dogs lived a full healthy life. can't really ask for more than that.
    1 person likes this.
  5. Eric Riley

    Eric Riley Contributing Member

    Nov 18, 2002
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    Being a good reader means you're also a good writer. I enjoyed reading this, as it was very touching. I'm truly sorry for your loss.
    1 person likes this.
  6. RedIsen

    RedIsen Member

    Nov 23, 2008
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    That was an excellent read. Seems like you and your dogs had a very special bond.

    Sorry for the loss, but i'm glad you were able to give them a special goodbye.
    1 person likes this.
  7. Blurr#7

    Blurr#7 Contributing Member

    Dec 12, 2007
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    Sorry gor your loss.....gave me the feels!!
  8. Buck Turgidson

    Feb 14, 2002
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    Man that is strong, I feel for you. I still think about Sonny, Ripley, Otis and Caesar. Gonna go hug Ruby the wonderdog right now.
    1 person likes this.
  9. FTW Rockets FTW

    FTW Rockets FTW Contributing Member

    Jun 23, 2011
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    Sorry for your loss

    I don't own any pets but your reading your post almost makes me go get one now.
  10. Rocketman95

    Rocketman95 Hangout Boy

    Feb 15, 1999
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    That sucks man. A lot. :(
  11. Pipe

    Pipe Contributing Member

    Mar 2, 2001
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    Your dogs were very fortunate to have such a loving home. Condolences.

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