Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mika Louise, 1999?-2013

The day I have long dreaded has come. My darling brindle pit girl, Mika, died this morning around 6 a.m. Over the past year or so, she had been living the reduced life old age brings: she couldn't walk very far or very fast anymore (let alone run, her specialty for years). She had much less energy, she slept more, ate less. But it was the last few weeks where I knew her advanced age (13 years and change, but who really knew? — she was, of course, a rescue).

Early this morning, her weakened body - her rear legs had been giving way, and she had not eaten anything in three days - surrendered. As last night wore on, I knew today was going to be her last day. I  kept my hands on her most all night, comforting her as I readied myself for the vet hospital to open at 8 a.m. But by 5 a.m., I could see that she was in distress. I called the emergency vet and bundled her in the car. She died en route, so that was a saving grace: I didn't have to make that decision. She went out on her own.

Mika was my first dog, and I marveled at her every move the way a child might marvel at a wild animal. Look — she's yawning! Isn't that adorable, how she rubs her snout with her paws! Watch her wipe her butt on the grass! How does she know to do these things? And of course I anthropomorphized her like crazy. She was like me, I was sure: sociable, but wanted her own quiet time (she was always ready to wind down after an evening of company). Knew her own mind. Self-reliant, like when she would jump on the counter to devour a whole baguette or quarter-pound of cheese. And above all things: resolute. I read this once about pit bulls — they can be resolute about being fierce, and equally resolute about being gentle.

Mika was resolute about everything to do with food and humans. Till last week, she was a tireless observer of humans preparing and eating food and (with luck) sharing any leftovers. When she was younger, her hallmark when hearing the doorbell was to run in circles till I opened the door, and then race down the steps to greet guests. They sometimes assumed she wanted to get out the gate and onto the street. Never! She wanted to guide them up the steps so they would come into our home to fuss over her and hang out with her. She loved nothing more than being underfoot with human friends.

I am going to need some time to understand that she's really gone. She won't be at the door. She won't be sleeping in in the mornings as I head to work. She won't be there to lick the plates. Perhaps in preparation for this awful day, I have already had dreams about Mika, so with luck she'll come back to me again that way.

Meanwhile, what I know to be true is this: She is the only creature who gave me joy every single day of our lives together. Which makes me think of Eugene O'Neill's famous "last will and testament" he wrote in the voice of his beloved dog Blemie: "It would be a poor tribute to my memory never to have a dog again."

I hope to, sometime. But for now, what I said to her every day for 12 years holds: You're my Meeks. There is no other Meeks. There is only — Meeks. I love you so.


Anonymous said...

Sweet Mika. Karen, what a beautiful tribute (and naturally, tears were streaming down my face as I read it.) I'm so glad she went out on her own terms, but my heart aches for your loss. She had a great, great run and I am thankful to have seen your old girl just recently...what good luck for me.

My most enduring image of Mika is from the days when I would show up at your door and (always) brace for a brindle cannonball of dog joy, leaping into the air and landing full-smack-force at chest height. I loved all the ways she was like you (totally get that), and then the ways she was just like her, unique on the planet.

I look forward to the day I can travel without leaving big hunks of my heart at home, our three big mutts lumbering around. There is that much to look forward to--but that is cold comfort in the face of losing a big warm beloved true friend.

Mika was a force, and you were her person, and that was both of your great good fortunes. Big hugs to you, K, and thank you for sharing this wonderful remembrance. Jenean sends condolences and big aloha.

love, Annie

Unknown said...

Mika was such a good girl and the two of you were such a perfect pair. This is a great tribute. Thump thuump thump goes my heart...full of love for you, knowing how broken is your heart right now.


Lisa S said...

Karen I am so sorry to hear Mika is gone. I know you loved her and this is a terrible blow.
My sister just lost one of her cats. He was quite old but still a heart breaking experience. If this is any help, Jackie has taken to blaming Lola's death on any available event.
"Sorry I'm late, but you know, my cat just died."
"Oh I didn't mean to forget your birthday, but you know, my cat just died."
It's a dark joke, but one way to get through a rough time.
I'm thinking of you friend and glad to know you have support close by to help you.

Unknown said...

Karen so sorry to hear about Mika. I know it can be so heart breaking.

Craig & I lost our Princess, an Italian Greyhound, a little over a year ago after being soul-mates with her for almost 17 years. We've found comfort in knowing and appreciating and focusing on all of the wonderful times we were fortunate to share with her, that she lived a very full and blessed life, and that pet's spirits continue on through all of the people they've touched. I'm sure you can find similar comfort when you think of Mika. I continue to see Princess in my dreams (I sometimes think she is back visiting), and it's fun to just let those spirits do their things. I'm sure Mika and Princess and many other loved friends are running and dancing and having a wonderful time.

The heart does heal, as slowly and difficult as it is. Sounds like you two shared many wonderful, loving times together, and that is exactly what our lives are for. I'm sure Mika is missing you too. Condolences.

- Wendell & Craig

Viola said...

Ah, Karina. Take your time. Expect to have unexpected and unworldly visits - out of the corner of your eye, a brush across the back of your hand. You could never forget mika, you could never "replace" her. Your tribute to her is a beauty, as it should be - beauty as a tribute to the beautiful soul who was your Meeks. Hugs, V

Readhead said...

Dear Karen,

I will always remember Meeks as a major tho inadvertent threat to my testicles. She loved to jump on me and her paws, backed by the momentum her muscly frame landed exactly on my sweet spots, so to speak. Eventually I learned to swivel my hips sideways to avoid testiculus castratus. Still, I mourned when our ritual ended, as she could no longer jump. She was a sweet-faced, happy dog who didn't know her own strength but did know she made you happy every day.

Love, Tom