Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Big Kahoona

The first time I saw her she jumped up on the gate to her chain link kennel, stared me straight in the eyes and dared me to take her home!

If I had known then what that stare meant, I'd have wished her well and walked away. All I saw was big brown eyes an an underweight dog in a kennel too small for her. I loved her instantly and paid her adoption fee on the spot.

Kayleigh was the toughest dog I have ever known. Tough in every sense of the word. She was huge, tough to control, tough to confine, tough to train with a stubborn streak a mile wide. It took her a long time to realize she didn't have to defend herself here; that there would always be enough food; I would not forget to feed her and there were more tennis balls if she wrecked one.

Kayleigh pushed her limits her whole life. There were several emergency runs to the vet...she liked the taste of porcupine, she ate a box of toothpicks, her littermate who we briefly fostered tried to rip her throat out. There was never a dull moment in her younger years!

We were not the perfect home for Kayleigh. She was not meant to be a pack dog. She would not tolerate most dogs anywhere near her territory. Kayleigh had an out of control prey drive. If it was smaller than her, it was prey. She had been hungry as a puppy and she never forgot that feeling. Age mellowed her a bit, but she was always a 110 pound handful!

By the time we realized Kayleigh was not just having adjustment issues, that she had real issues that weren't going to be easy to fix, it was too late. We loved her and she had such a history of chaos that we could not have responsibly placed her in another home.

So we set out to give her the best life we could within her limits. My husband built her a pen more secure than the local jail; full of places she could dig with lots of room to stretch her legs, connected to the shop ; so she could still be an inside dog. I would sneak her out late at night in summer and take her to the quarries for a swim. She loved to swim!

Kayleigh was tough, but she was not tough to love. She was full of personality, vibrant and happy. She had a quirky sense of humor and more than a hint of mischief in her eyes. She firmly believed she was not too big to be a lap dog. She loved a good belly rub, a long cuddle and a good game of fetch.

Kayleigh turned 13 in October. Acute kidney failure stole her from us yesterday.

She taught me more in the 11 years we shared than I could have learned from 100 easier dogs. I will miss her dearly.

It wasn't a perfect life; I hope it was enough.

Kayleigh, the Big Kahoona
October 21, 1998 - November 23, 2011


NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! said...

It was more than enough -

More than she would have EVER gotten from anyone else -

I had forgotten she was the toothpick pup - that SiberNet story is one of the first ones I recall -

I've no doubts this special Big Kahoona is already letting the Wandering Spirits North of The RB know Big K is IN the house!

Hugz From PA

Phyll and Khyra

Biloxi and Siber-sibs said...

Dat was a bewootiful tribute.
We is so sorry that Kayleigh has left woo and your pack.
Woo gave her a loving home dat no one else may have been able to give her.

Dance among da bewoootiful stars North of da Rainbow Bridge. May your paws be furever upon your family's hearts.
Godspeed Kayleigh.

Husky kisses,

Biloxi, Maw and pack

Khady Lynn said...

She couldn't have asked for a more perfect home with a more wonderful family! You can tell by the happy look on her face that she knew she was loved very much.

I'm so sorry she left you so suddenly, especially when you were not there. Maybe that was her way to spare you the pain of watching her pass. She is running fast and free at the Bridge now. And, best yet, there are many others there to meet her and join in the fun.

Wear your silver harness with pride Kayleigh. You definitely earned it.

Holly & Khady

24 Paws of Love said...

I have a dog that sounds just like Kayleigh. Maybe Brut is her long lost sister. :)

Difficult. But not difficult to love.

I can relate. And I really needed to hear that today. That there was someone else who had a dog like Brut.

I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for giving Kayleigh everything she needed to be loved.

Jack & Moo said...

I think you got one thing wrong - yours WAS the perfect home for her! No one but you & Stuart would have created such an environment just for her - you filled her life with love - just look at that face!
Godspeed, Kayleigh- Kharry on, Big Kahuna!

Shane Kent Louis said...
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Keith Andrea said...
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Moondance Huskies said...

So sorry to hear of your loss. You were the perfect home for her! She was blessed to have someone who cared enough to accept her as she was and love her unconditionally. You can see how happy she was in the pictures. Her spirit will always be with you.
Run free with your silver harness flashing in the moonlight sweet Kayleigh! Godspeed!
Hugs and sad woos,
Skye, the Moondance Huskies, kitties and mom Joan