Kiley Jo

Here is a story of a beautiful, 10-year-old, golden cocker spaniel named Kylie Jo. She was an athlete.

Kylie Jo was my first baby. We got her when she was two years old. She belonged to a family with kids who could no longer keep her because the mom was allergic to her and had to start taking shots.

Kylie never cried for her original family, it was as if she knew that she would be the light of our lives. My husband, Reed, and I are childless by choice and we were able to lavish full, undivided love and attention on Kylie Jo.

I'm a runner and over the years, Kylie Jo loved to run with me. When Kylie was four, we brought her a companion, a female black cocker spaniel, named Shadow. At first, Kylie was very jealous of Shadow. She pouted for about a month. When she realized that Shadow was here to stay, she accepted her and they became sisters. Shadow started running with Kylie Jo and myself when she was old enough. Each summer we go to the Pourde Canyon in Colorado and rent a cabin. Each day, Reed would fish and Kylie Jo, Shadow and I would hike for about three hours each day. Kylie loved to hike the trails. She had to stop and sniff each new smell. She pulled us along as she explored, never tiring until the trip back down the trail.

In April of this year, Kylie started turning away from her food. One of Kylie's favorite things to do is eat, so I became worried when one day turned into a week. At first, the vet said that she had a throat infection and gave her antibiotics. After a week of medication, she was not getting better, she was worse. After a return trip to the vet, he said that perhaps she had an underlying infection and gave her yet another antibiotic and took blood tests. The blood tests showed that she had a liver infection and he promptly put her in the hospital.

After two days of IV's and medication, Kylie's fever went down and her liver enzymes showed almost normal. The vet said she was ok and let us take her home. That evening we noticed that Kylie was breathing very weird, so we rushed her to emergency. The vet took x-rays and said that she had low lung density and he thought that he saw a mass. We were given Lasix for her to drain the fluid off her lungs and she went home with us, again.

Well, Kylie began to improve that week, she was eating like a truck driver and she was even able to take a couple of slow walks with us. A repeat x-ray showed that her lungs were almost completely clear. We were cheered and thought that we had a close call but that Kylie was on the mend.

After she finished taking one more week of antibiotics, Kylie again began to refuse food. My heart sank. I called the vet and he said that the infection was pretty tough and he, again, prescribed antibiotics.

On Friday of that week, May 21, Kylie started to shake violently and threw up. We rushed her to emergency, where they determined she had a temperature of almost 106 and she was breathing badly again. Another x-ray confirmed that her heart was enlarged due to a tumor in front of it which was causing her lungs to fill with fluid. At this time, the vet gave us the distressing news that her condition was terminal. We left there with Kylie and yet another batch of medicine.

On Saturday, May 22, Kylie's health deteriorated drastically. All she could do was lay on the couch. She couldn't eat or keep medicine down and we knew that the fever was raging through her body and she couldn't breath. I held her close and worried that it was near the end. In the afternoon, I took her outside to go to the bathroom and she was so weak, she couldn't even stand up. That did it for me. She had suffered enough the past month and we weren't going to let her suffer anymore. That afternoon, her papa and I took her to the vet for the last time. We held her and told her that we loved her with all our heart and soul and that she didn't have to hang on any longer for us. We helped her into heaven that afternoon.

Although our hearts are broken, we know she is in peace now with no more pain. Shadow misses her and runs all over the house looking for her every time we come in the door. Yesterday, June 1, I picked up Kylie's ashes and I have them in a secure place until we can go to the cabin in August. There we will spread her ashes on her favorite hiking trails, where she can be a part of them forever.

One last thing, Shadow and I miss Kylie terribly when we go running now, it's as if I have a missing arm.

Good bye, my athlete, mama, papa and Shadow love you.

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