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Pet Stories: In Your Own Words

Kiva

By: Mimi H.

Kiva, our beloved German Shepherd, died last week. It was time because he was in so much pain and our family could finally survive without him. Fifteen years ago my husband died, leaving me with a three-year-old son and three-week-old baby girls. In a way, my son Josh lost his mom too because I was so overwhelmed with grief and the work of taking care of newborn twins.

Throughout his preschool years, Josh was angry, sad and had a hard time making friends. I was falling apart trying to meet everybody's needs. Then we got an eight-week-old puppy named Kiva. With his huge ears and constant joy, he saved our lives. Sadness, fear and anger turned into laughter and silliness. I'll never forget the hours that Josh and Kiva would spend in the backyard, side by side, surrounded by a flying cloud of dirt, digging a hole to China. Over a hundred pounds, Kiva became Josh's best friend and our protector. He was the "other male" in the family. I used to get so worried because Josh would say, "When Kiva dies, I'm going to die." I wanted him to go to a grief counselor ahead of time, but he never wanted to go or even discuss the fact that Kiva might die. It was an unbearable thought for most of his growing up years. I used to tell people, Kiva's assignment is to stay alive until Josh graduates from high school. And then once Josh graduated from high school (last spring), I wanted Kiva to wait until he graduated from college. But Kiva knew Josh was ready to handle it.

Two weeks ago, he died in our living room, on his favorite blanket, surrounded by his family. He picked the perfect time. Josh is 19 now and 6'3". He has plenty of friends, a girlfriend, and a job. He ended up comforting me! Thank you Kiva for your loyalty, love and protection all these years. You taught Josh that it was okay to love again after the loss of his father. You helped me raise my family. I'll be forever grateful for your sweet presence in our lives.

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