July 3, 2010

Happy Birthday, My Kiva

Today our sweet Kiva is 12 years old. We met her at six weeks...


and took her home at eight weeks old in a cat carrier.


As a puppy, she liked to eat toes,


and socks.


Now, I can't say she's had the same level of training as Ruby, but she's had her share!



Right from a pup, she was very clever with such a sense of humor. She is totally attuned to us and utterly perfect for us. It's funny; someone once told me that when you dream of your perfect dog, you need to be realistic and adjust your expectations. I have to laugh because this black and tan dog so vastly exceeded any expectations we ever could have had.


When Kiva was six years old, she got cancer. To say we were devastated is an understatement. We found a compassionate vet who was familiar with her type of cancer and we asked him what we could expect. We were given a good one-year chance for survival, a not-so-good two-year chance, and he could not even discuss a three-year chance.

She had her surgery and for the first month or so, I wanted nothing but to care for her. As she healed I began to worry about recurrence. For the two years following her surgery, she recovered while I waited for the other shoe to drop.

There are so many lessons to learn from dogs if you just let them teach you.

On her eighth birthday, I finally accepted what she had been trying to show me for the past two years. She was enjoying her life while I was agonizing with worry over when it would end. She taught me the most important lesson I will learn in my lifetime: Live in the moment.

Of course, it's a much easier thing to say than do and as a world-class worrier, it took me two years (and 30 years prior to that) to understand. But she showed me. She showed me.


From her eighth birthday on, I stopped worrying about how many days, or months, or years we had left together and just enjoyed every single second. And while we lived in the moment, we received the remarkable gift of a whole second lifetime with her.

Happy twelfth birthday my precious girl. Your patience, grace, and spirit constantly inspire me. Together we share all our silly secrets, we tackle our troubles, and you have brought me more laughter and happiness than I ever could have dreamed.

21 comments:

Kari in WeHo said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Lori Jablons said...

This is one of the most beautiful and inspirational things I've ever read. Thank you so much for sharing it and Happy Birthday to your wonderful girl!

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

What a sweet post!! And a good lesson for our mom who always worries about Phantom. Kiva looks so happy and it is easy to tell how well loved she is. Happy #12 to her from us.

Woos - Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

Heather and Ellie said...

Happy Birthday, Kiva! It's hard to imagine a wise old girl like you was ever that tiny :)

JGausman said...

Thank you. On a day when I greatly needed to remember to enjoy life, this post brought happy tears to my eyes and a smile to my face.

Buckley said...

Happy Birthday Kiva, hope it's a good one with many, many, many more to come. I remember when your folks brought you home, I was so happy to have a new girl in my life. They would bring you over and we'd play all day. We'd run around the yard till we were both exhausted. Those were the good ole days. Hope you're having fun in Colorado.
Love from, Buckley

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Happy Birthday to Sweet Kiva!

Sometimes humans take a while to khatch on...

But when they do ;-)

Hugz&Khysses,
Khyra
PeeEssWoo: Will there be KHAKE???

Carly Findlay said...

What a beautiful story. It made me choke up with tears. Kiva is such a wise dog.
Happy birthday Kiva, you bring so much joy to your parents and Ruby :)

Alphini's Puppy Raiser said...

Happy Birthday, Kiva!
Yes -- live in the moment with gratitude and joy for what you have. Dogs teach us so much!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Kiva!!! You have always brought us so much joy!!! Here's to you Demi!!! Great post...needless to say it brought happy tears to my eyes..

1000 Goldens said...

Happy Birthday sweet and beautiful girl! We can see why your humans love you so much, and we are grateful you defied the odds :)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Post. Happy Happy Birthday To our precious Kiva. Everything written about you is so true and more. You also gave us so much love & joy in our lives. We thank you for that and being there for your Mom and Dad.
We love you, Grandma, Granddpa, & Maggie

*misskitty* said...

Happy Birthday Kiva! I hope that you had a wonderful day filled with lots of celebrations and love and laughter. What lovely photos of your time with your parents as well :)

Amy@GoPetFriendly said...

Happy birthday Kiva!! We hope you had a fantastic day. We're so looking forward to meeting you when we're in Denver in September!

Lisa, Ellie and Hosta said...

that is such a sweet birthday tribute to a wonderful girl! Happy Birthday!!! Here's to many more!

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Kiva, you are such a lovely dog! Thank you for the lesson you teach, Kiva.

( and of course you already know, but just in case, her name means "nice" in Finnish, I think it is very right for her!)

Margaret said...

Happy Birthday Kiva! You are so beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story. Carpe diem.

KatieEGriffin said...

Happy Birthday Kiva. Doggy birthdays are great and your story made me tear up a bit thinking about my own dog. Ruby better have been nice to her big sister Kiva on her birthday.
-Katie

The Thundering Herd said...

Sorry we are late (holiday weekend and all), but Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday Kiva. What a great story and a great lesson.

AVCr8teur said...

Happy belated birthday! Awww, what precious moments in those photos!

Star said...

Thanks so much for this message. It's the true meaning of "CARPE DIEM": live each moment to the fullest trying to be a better person individually and socially.