Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them
– Thom Jones
Three years ago, on Blue Monday 2019, I saw a scruffy and forlorn German shepherd staring out at me from a Rescue site on Twitter, and I knew in my soul she was already a part of me.
She was advertised as a five-year-old with issues and EPI, a life-long health problem. We spent a couple of weeks persuading the Rescue centre she should be ours and on 10th February she was.
Her age ended up being fairly ambiguous, as she’d been advertised as five for two years on social media, so it was more likely she was around six or seven when she got to us. She’d been rescued from a home of neglect when she was three, so her early years were troubled, and then she spent at least two years in a rescue kennel miles away from anywhere and pretty much alone. She was fostered and rehomed several times, but always returned because her anxiety was too much to deal with. Nicola, a foster carer, did her best to save Kia and gave her love and training, but wasn’t able to keep her. A year later Kira came to us, her forever home.
We thought we’d have longer with her, not even three years, but she filled a lifetime in those few years…
She was a dreamer – always staring off into the distance and looking romantic. She was my soul mate, she was everything.
We soon realised that her anxiety was too great to be able to walk her locally, she was too reactive to other dogs, so it was off to the forest and she loved it there. Like us she loved solitude and the purity of nature.
Flowers, they were as beautiful as she was. I could never get over how pretty she was, she blew me away every time I gazed at her. She was like the stars in the sky, the flowers in the hedgerow, the water flowing in the river, she was uncontainable.
There was a gentleness that only we saw. She saved it for those she loved and felt safe with, and there weren’t many people in her life that gave her that. She was a teddy bear, a soft cuddly baby, and a dog that loved with everything she had when she loved you. She only trusted a handful of people in her life, and if you were one of those, you were truly privileged.
She was never happier than when she was out exploring. She always walked at the furthest point her lead let her, but if you took her lead off out on a walk, she panicked. She needed to stay connected and it gave her security and comfort.
Kira loved her cuddly toys. Elephant was her first and favourite with us. Kira’s toys were generally not for playing with, they were for comfort. She decided what happened with her toys. If we tried to take her indoor toys outside, she’d shake her head at us, and immediately take them back indoors. She wasn’t one for fetch either, throw a ball and she’d stare at it then back at you, and ask why?
The day it snowed on New Year’s Eve 2020 was one of her best days! She loved the snow, eating it, catching snowballs, and racing about with us in it. It was beautiful, and her smile says it all!
Back in Brechfa she was her true spirit, a fae of a dog, a forest dweller, and a creature of magic…
She had a wild heart that filled you with wonder.
Then it all went wrong. She slowed down a little, but at what we thought was nine-years-old dogs do get a little slower. She had an ear infection, which got sorted at the vet. Then in September she started reverse sneezing, didn’t seem much to worry about, but it didn’t go away. In October it got worse and she began coughing. The vets were lovely, Kira’s a very difficult dog to take to the vet due to her high anxiety and panic, but the vets saw her outside and dealt with her with incredible care. At first we thought she had kennel cough and she was treated for that, but it didn’t get better. She lost her voice, lost her bark, and I knew something was really wrong. Kira was a chatty dog that talked all the time, and now she couldn’t.
After six weeks she had scans, x-rays, and a biopsy. At the back of her throat was a mass. It was an aggressive malignant salivary gland tumour. We were devastated. We hoped we’d have longer with her, but eating became difficult. We gave her tins of salmon, her favourite, until one day she couldn’t eat anymore, and the tumour was too large to allow comfortable eating and breathing. We knew the time had come.
Sunday 14th November was the hardest day, and she passed peacefully away in our arms.
Our hearts broke but we let her go to run free in far flung fields, and to find Roxy who would mother her like we did. There is nothing like the pain of losing your soul mate.
She is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog.
You are her life, her love, her leader.
She will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of her heart.
You owe it to her to be worthy of such devotion.
– Agnes Repplier
Kira – our German Shepherd – May 2012 – 14th November 2021