We lost our Kea girl a year ago today. And while it's only been a year, it feels as though it's been much longer since we last cuddled with our little "baby cakes".
Jody and I got Kea while we were still dating (we were both in the Air Force and living together in a basement that we rented from another AF acquaintance at the time).
We didn't mean to purchase her from a pet store...we were simply going to "look" to see what type of dog we wanted. And there she was....the smallest and unhealthiest looking puppy I'd ever seen. We knew we wanted her the moment we saw her. And we knew we needed to get her out of that pet store.
And so, little Kealoha Lani Des Roches joined our tribe.
We tried fattening her up as quickly as possible but as she continued to grow, we realized this was a typical boxer trait....to remain skinny and lean.
Kea was a delightful part of our lives, but in all honesty, she and I didn't have the best of relationships at the start. We were both females competing for Jody's attention. And she was MUCH cuter than me, so she often won those battles. ; )
Kea and Jody had a bond I'd never seen between human and animal before.
I'd grown up without pets so to witness the devotion Kea had for Jody....well...it was amazing...and wonderful....and completely endearing.
Nothing could keep Kea away from Jody. Nothing.
At one point (after I'd moved back home to Hawaii and Jody stayed in Colorado) Kea jumped out of the back of Jody's car while he ran in to a Home Depot. According to witnesses, she apparently ran straight for the Depot entrance to follow Jody in but someone saw her and tried to corral her and she ran off in the opposite direction. This Home Depot was many miles from where Jody lived at the time.
I remember getting the call from Jody that she'd run off....I'd never heard him so frantic in the 2 years I'd known him.
She went missing for days.
My heart hurt for Jody. I knew he'd be devastated if anything happened to her.
And then a few days later, I got another call from Jody.
A family had found Kea walking on the side of the road and took her in. She hadn't been wearing a collar but they checked with the local animal shelters (each of which had been called by Jody and given a description of Kea) and they were able to get in touch with Jody.
The road where the family found her was apparently half way between the Home Depot and home.
I truly believe she was making her way back to Jody.
When Jody and I got married, I'd had Gridgery for about a year. Gridge and Kea met for the first time in the back of Jody's car while we said our vows in a Vegas drive-thru wedding.
When the four of us moved in together....Kea and Gridge didn't really know what to make of each other...
They didn't really play, they didn't fight, they just kind of....tolerated one another.
Four weeks and a new bed spread later...they were inseparable...
We were a family of four.....
My relationship with Kea was drastically different at that point. No longer did we compete for Jody's attention. There were four of us. Jody had Kea, I had Gridge. And if Jody wanted to cuddle with me, Kea could cuddle with Gridge.
Though most of the time, both Kea and Gridge just wanted to cuddle with us...
Life with these pups was absolutely wonderful. Obviously we had our ups and downs....but they both taught us so much...
love, patience, devotion, responsibility.
We were so lucky to have two magical souls in our lives for the time we did.
A year ago today since her passing and I feel guilty in admitting that I haven't grieved as much over the loss of Kea as I did over the loss of Gridge. Obviously the bonds were different. Kea was Jody's dog. Gridge was my dog. But I think the other reason is because we've had so much going on.
When we lost Gridge to cancer, we had just purchased a house and while that was definitely a HUGE distraction from my grief, it only kept my grief at bay for a little while.
When we lost Kea, we were just heading to Hawaii for a 3 week stay, we were in the middle of infertility treatments, we had a LOT of recreational activities taking place, we'd adopted another boxer....there was just so much going on that I couldn't possibly let myself get lost in my grief. I don't know if Jody feels the same way. We deal with grief differently. But I know he misses his Kea-girl.
Thank you Kea and Gridge for loving us so well.