Your Pet Loss Diaries
'Regina & KC Sunshine'
About KC Sunshine
KC Sunshine was a very energetic and lovable Kelpie cross Whippet, brindle colouring with white toes and patch on her chest.
When did you lose KC Sunshine?
KC was put to sleep today Friday 29th July 2011 at 12 noon.
At which stage of pet loss grief do you feel you are currently at? Or how are you feeling right now?
When I got back home from the vets today, I knew she wasn't in the back yard waiting for me. It was quiet and empty. I can't stop thinking about her. Tears in my eyes again..... I don't seem to be able to function. I have lost my friend that trusted me for almost 18 years.
Regina and KC Sunshine's Story so far
There was always pets at home while I was growing up, so a few months after moving into my own place, I decided I'd get a furry friend of my own to keep me company. I told all my friends I wanted a cat and was going to the Lost Animal Shelter to get myself a Christmas present (it was early December 1993). The day that I went to the shelter was a heartbreaking experience, there were so many cats looking for someone to love them. I didn't know which one to choose.
I had to have a break from looking at these cats so I walked out of the cattery to sit in the garden area and think about which kitten I would choose. Walking towards the garden, I saw a row of cages in the distance that were seperated from all the other animals. On closer inspection, I saw signs on the front of each cage saying things like "I only have two days to go" etc. It was death row! These were the animals that were about to be put to sleep because they had stayed at the shelter too long and nobody had given them a home.
This is where I found a tiny brown puppy in a cage all by herself, hiding in a corner and shivering. She came running up to the front of the cage she saw me coming near. The sign on the front of her cage was "KC325, female, kelpieX. I have three days to live". Something about the way that this little puppy sat quietly at the bars of the cage and tilted her head, looking at me, that brought me to tears. This little puppy didn't deserve to be here, not that any of the other animals were either, they were older and mature. This puppy hadn't even been given a chance to know what it was like to have a home, an owner, and to be loved by somebody. So this is the day I met my first pet and best friend, KC Sunshine (KC because that was on the sign on her cage, and Sunshine, well ok, the band did influence me on this decision).
KC was a bundle of energy. Being part kelpie, she was very easy to train. She loved going for walks on her lead, playing in the park and fetching her ball. KC was the kind of dog that you could talk to and she would understand, not just one word commands. Sometimes she would be so excited about playing fetch with her ball that she would forget to drop the ball and keep running so I couldn't throw it again. I would say "oh well, we can't keep playing if you don't give me the ball", show her my empty hands and she would run straight up to me dropping the ball at my feet.
KC's best friend arrived one day almost 12 months after I adopted her. It was a tiny abandoned ginger kitten that I named Buddie. They were inseperable. Wherever KC was in the yard, Buddie wouldn't be too far behind. If I took KC for a walk, Buddie would follow, keeping up by jumping over fences and running across neighbours front yards. They even slept together. Buddie would curl up next to KC in her kennel and keep her warm.
KC went through the "terrible 2's", digging holes the size of swimming pools and even though she couldn't jump, she managed to always get the washing off the line to drag around the back yard. But as she got a little older, she was the most obedient dog, she was so well behaved for the amount of training she received. Her only problem was that she had so much energy, she never walked, always running around, getting excited and doing donuts!! She kept that energy level until she was 15 years old. I would take her for daily walks that were over 5 kilometres long, to try and wear her out a bit but after getting back home, having a rest for short while, she would running around the backyard chasing butterflies/Buddie/her tail.
At the age of 12, Buddie was tragically killed by a car one night. That was heartbreaking enough but to see KC walk around and around, looking in Buddie's favourite hidey holes, trying to find her friend, waiting for him to pounce everyday for the next 6 months was even worse.
To try and give her something new to do, I started taking KC along with me when I would visit my dad. He was suffering from cancer and I would go help clean his house and do any errands. She loved exploring his backyard and supervising him while he was gardening. Dad would chatter away to her and she would sit next to him and listen to every word he said.
I wondered why dad started putting 'Teddy Bear' biscuits on his shopping list, as he never had a sweet tooth but thought maybe they were so he could offer them to visitors that came over to have a cuppa with him. That was until one day he was sitting on a chair in the shade of a tree in the yard with KC sitting by his side. He was having a cup of coffee for his morning break. I didn't see he had earlier put two of the biscuits in his pocket. He chatted as always to KC like she was a human, then pulled the biscuits out of his pocket, broke them in half and gave them to her, "I buy the biscuits so she could have a morning break too" he explained to me later.
Dad 'babysat' KC for me when I had to have surgery on my knees. I knew I would be unable to take her for her daily walks for a few weeks. He happily accepted the responsibility, calling me up daily telling me of the adventures they had during that day!! He would always finish each call with telling me "she's the best dog in the world".
Dad lost his battle with cancer almost three years ago now. And I know this sounds weird but within a few weeks of his passing is when KC started getting "old". Her walks weren't as long as they used to be. She would still play fetch but would get tired from running after the ball and would just run past the ball, leaving me to go 'fetch'.
In the past 24 months, her hearing started to go, so she wouldn't hear me until I was almost right next to her. Her eyesight was going as well. She now slept in the laundry of a night because it was warmer for her. I would leave the back door open so she could go to the toilet during the night but I worried about the back step, she may not see it properly in the dark and fall, so I bought her a night light that automatically switched on when the sun went down.
KC was kelpie cross whippet so she was naturally a thin built dog but as she got older (around 16 years old) she got thinner. I tried feeding her more. I cooked her meals almost everyday. But she just couldn't keep any weight on. One day while I was taking her for a stroll, I was stopped by a lady who threatened to report me for starving my dog. I tried explaining to her that KC was an elderly dog and that her breed was small but this lady was persistant of my supposed neglect and would not listen to me. I quickly walked KC home and hoped this lady did not see where I lived. Going for walks after that were done very early in the morning so we would not encounter any more problems.
It has been in the past 6 months that I finally came to terms with the knowledge that my friend would not be with me for much longer. KC was a little old lady that liked to sleep on her heated blanket most of the day, with no interest to even walk with me around my yard anymore. Her legs getting so skinny from muscle wastage that she was wobbly on her feet.
My life came crashing down this morning when I went to give KC her breakfast. She lifted her head to smell what I had made for her but she could not stand up. I tried to help her up but she kept falling over. It was the hardest phone call I've ever had to make to the vets, knowing in the back of my mind that this was it. They would not be able to give her anything to make her "young" again. I wrapped her up in a big warm blanket and drove her to the surgery. She just laid there not even trying to move.
Dr Dean Newlands has been KC's vet for many years, and was wonderful, kind and empathetic. He let me sit alone with KC so I could say my goodbyes. He didn't mind that it took me two and a half hours to finally be brave enough to sign the consent form. I couldn't watch him give her the needles that would finally put her to rest but I know he would take the utmost care of her and would be gentle to her. I am having KC cremated so I can scatter her ashes at the site where my dad's ashes are, so they can have their 'morning break' together again.
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