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In Loving Memory "We hold them in our arms as long as we can, then we hold them in our hearts forever."

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Old 02-11-2013, 10:10 PM
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Default My Precious Angel Dakota

Five years ago today my heart and soul Dakota left me and this world behind to join the Angels in heaven above. While she did not have Cushings, I was told that I could write an “honorary” memorial for her here. (Thank you, Marianne). I have mentioned a bit about her in a couple of threads, but wanted to honor her with a place of her own.

I picked her out of a litter of 7 black lab puppies, or I should say that she picked me. She was born in a barn (literally) in the middle of February, and on my first visit, she was the one who followed me all around the farm yard in the freezing cold and snow, untying my shoes at every turn. I brought her home at 6 weeks of age, a little fuzzy ball of black fur. She grew into the most regal, beautiful, shiny black dog you have ever seen. She was my first born, and she was my whole world.

She enjoyed the outdoors, water, snow, running, playing ball, and chasing anything that moved. A typical Retriever. And she loved laying on the couch watching TV with me, sleeping on my bed with her own fuzzy blanket, and in later years when she couldn’t get on or off the bed easily, her sheepskin pelt “bed”. She was what you would call a “velcro dog”. She had to be with me every minute and would follow me from room to room, never staying by herself for more than a few seconds. Even from a sound sleep she would get up and follow me to see what I was doing. She had separation anxiety, and hated being left home alone while I went to work. In later years she developed a wind phobia (as opposed to thunderstorm phobia), and on days where the forecast was calling for wind over 20 mph, I would give her a small dose of anti-anxiety medication to take the edge off. She tore both of her ACL’s through the years, one at age 8, the other at age 12, and had surgeries to repair both. She had occasional UTI's, a couple of episodes with some small bladder stones/crystals in her urine, and occasional bouts with colitis. Other than those things, she was a healthy girl. I realize now more than ever what a blessing that was.

We had a wonderful life together, her and I. We had many adventures, walks, fun outings, and lazy days. We were inseparable. When she was 10, we were blessed with her brother Jasper. That was quite the adjustment for her, but she accepted him with grace, even though he was a little hooligan. He was a very bossy and demanding puppy, and he pestered her mercilessly. I do not have children, so she was definitely my child and my parenting revolved around her, as it now does around Jasper and Shelby.

I took her with me everywhere I could. My family lives in South Texas, and I couldn’t bear kenneling her, so rather than flying, I would cut the visit a bit short in order to allow time for the 2 day drive each way so she could come with me. We made the trip 3 times just her and I. On her last trip to see Grandma and my brother, she had her baby brother Jasper along also. My Mom so enjoyed these visits, and called her “her Granddog”. We were quite the group on a long road trip. She had her own tote bag and everything!

When she was almost 14, we discovered a mass in her chest, which my vet felt was hemangiosarcoma based on all the symptoms. The prognosis was very poor, and it progressed very rapidly from the time she was diagnosed. I was devastated. She became so sick so quickly, that I was completely unprepared for what was to come. Six days before her 14th birthday, I faced the most difficult decision and day of my life, and had to let her go. Losing her brought a pain I have never known. It felt like my heart was torn out, and that I had lost not only my heart, but my soul as well; everything. I felt like only a shell was left. It was some consolation having Jasper, but at first I felt like I didn’t have anything left for him. Then he came to be my reason for going on, my savior. It didn’t take long to see that he was grieving also, and we struggled with her loss together. I know I will never be the same without her, but I have come to realize that the experience of her loss has somehow enabled me to have even that much more love and nurturing for Jasper and now Shelby.

While I love them both dearly, I still miss her so. I miss the light that shined in her brown eyes, her shiny black satin fur, her silky velvet ears, her cold wet nose, her big feet stepping on everything, her tail knocking everything off the coffee table with one sweep, the sound of her footsteps padding down the hallway, her entire body wagging every time she saw me, even if I had only gone out to the garage and back for a second, the deep sound of her bark, the way rain rolled off her back like a duck, the feeling of her body on the back of my legs as she crammed herself into the bathroom with me every day as I got ready for work, the peaceful sound of her deep breathing in a restful sleep, her hot breath in my face, her sloppy kisses, the smell of the top of her head and neck when I would hug her. There is so much more that I could say.

She was the most special of dogs, and everyone that had the privilege of knowing her could see that. My vet called her a “once in a lifetime dog”. There is no description that fits her more accurately.

Dakota, I love you and miss you so. In five years, not a day has passed where I don't think about you and talk to you just like I used to when you were here. I look up at the heavens above and know you are there in every sunny day and in every star that shines at night. I know your spirit is always with me. My precious Angel Baby, my beautiful Princess. My once in a lifetime dog. Always in my heart, never out of my mind. Don't forget me Dakota girl.

I love you and miss you so much,

Mom
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:24 PM
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Default Re: My Precious Angel Dakota

Tina. HUGS!!!

I am so glad that you decided to share you beautiful Dakota with us. What a special girl she was and how lucky to have such a wonderful mom as you. She paved the way for Jasper and Shelby.
I am so sorry that you lost her but I am very happy that you had her in your life. It sounds like a life full of wonders and joys. Quiet times and a few rowdy ones too.

Every day is precious and these who are so special to us, so loved by us and giving to us remind us of that. A child is a gift, Dakota was a gift to you and you are a gift to Jasper, Shelby and all of us and of course, to the beautiful Dakota.

love,
Sharlene
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:39 AM
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Default Re: My Precious Angel Dakota

Tina, I am so glad and grateful to read about your beautiful Dakota. Thank you for sharing her story with us, so that we can join you in honoring her, today and always. I look over at my own dear black Lab who is sound asleep beside me on the couch, and tears fill my eyes because I know what a privilege it is to share our lives with these girls, and also how quickly our lives with them pass by. If only we could stop the clock -- if only we could reverse the clock for just one hour to relive just a few precious moments together once again.

I know the memories are always with us, and they especially flood our thoughts and our hearts on these anniversaries. I send many hugs to you this evening, always in loving memory of your sweetest girl.

Marianne
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:16 AM
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Default Re: My Precious Angel Dakota

Oh Tina,

Thank you so much for sharing Dakota's story with us. Sounds very much like she is your soul doggie.

When you get the chance, please post a photo of her in your album as I would love to look into those sweet eyes.

Terry
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:14 AM
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Default Re: My Precious Angel Dakota

what a beautiful story about your forever girl,nice way to honor the life she shared with you.thank you for sharing...patty (milo)meka xoxox
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:42 PM
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Default Re: My Precious Angel Dakota

Happy Birthday my Angel Baby. Missing you so much today. You are forever in my heart.

Love you,
Mom
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:08 PM
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Default Re: My Precious Angel Dakota

Happy Birthday Dakota!!

Tina, the sweet words you wrote about Dakota sound like my words - all of it - down to missing the smell of the top of her head, and the feel of her at your legs, and the lazy days on the couch. And you write about her, ten years later, and I believe that in ten years I'll still miss Baxter every bit as much. Exactly, a once in a lifetime dog. We were so lucky to have them in our lives.
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:54 AM
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Default Re: My Precious Angel Dakota

It has been six years since you left me, my Angel Baby. It's hard to believe that six years ago today was the last time I touched your silky fur. So much pain that day, I still can't get it all out of my mind. I am crying now just thinking about it still. It is somewhat easier to think about all the good memories now, but I still feel like I can't get past how horrible things were at the end. I don't know when that will really get better. Nothing I can say can describe how much you are loved and missed.

I still talk out loud to you every single day, and say goodbye to you every time I leave the house, just like always. Just as if you were here. I hope you can hear me baby, I remember how much you hated to be left home alone. I miss having your head to pat and nose to kiss as I leave. I look at your pictures all the time, and I try to picture you now, happy and healthy and whole, in heaven. Running free, without a care in the world. I wish you would give me a sign that you are ok. I know I always ask for that, but I need to believe that you are ok and waiting for me. Even more importantly, I ask that you look after Jasper.

I know you didn't get to see this, but he has grown into the sweetest, most sensitive and loving little boy ever. He has been through so much with this illness and all that it has damaged in his little body. I know you would be proud of what a trooper he has been and continues to be. Please watch over him Dakota and give him strength to continue the fight. Help me to always do the right thing for him. I love him so much too. And the piece of my heart that you took with you, keep it safe. It will always be with you. I love you and miss you so much. You are always in my thoughts and in my heart.

Love,
Mom
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:04 AM
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Default Re: My Precious Angel Dakota

Oh Tina, "Amen" to your prayer, and huge hugs as we join you in honoring your beautiful, precious girl.

Always in loving memory of sweet Dakota ~
Marianne
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Old 02-11-2014, 04:39 PM
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Default Re: My Precious Angel Dakota

Tina,

I did not get a chance to get to know your sweet Dakota. If she is anything like her brother and mother, it is my loss. Bless you and your babies Tina. Xxxxx
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