Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Goodnight Koko

A letter to my two youngest children, not yet old enough to understand.

Emily and Braedyn I am sorry I was not able to tell you the complete truth. I told you a story as close to the truth as best I could to spare you the pain that your mother and I are feeling. We did try to share with you as much as we could. We didn’t want you to just wonder where Koko went, or lie outright. So we did our best. When we told you that Koko was leaving, you yelled at me, you told me you didn’t like me anymore and that’s ok. At that moment, I didn't like myself very much for going down the path I chose but I had no choice.

I told you that she is in a place where she is happy and has other dogs to play with. I told you she is in a place with no children and no one to bite. I will continue to tell you that until you are old enough to read this, until you are old enough to understand. I hope you will forgive me and understand I did it because I didn’t want you to hurt or be hurt.

The truth is, she is gone. The truth is although Koko seemed to be the perfect dog, a gentle dog there was something in her that we just could not see. Something that we could not predict. Something we never saw even when you were putting your underwear on her head, or throwing a blanket over her.

The first clue was when she bit the vet and drew blood. This was nearly enough to put your mother and I over the edge. Koko almost went away then, but I convinced myself and your mother that it was the situation, the stress, the fear, the feeling cornered in a strange place. She bit the vet to protect herself. That’s what I told your mother. That’s what I told myself. But we both knew there was something beneath. Something we could feel.

The final straw that something was not right happened this last weekend. Koko bolted out of the house and attacked the neighbors dog. A small fluffy animal no larger than a child’s stuffed animal and she took it in her mouth and shook it like she meant to kill it. She shook it so viciously that I was shocked by it and was sure she would kill it. I was appalled that my gentle Koko would do such a thing. Then the owner of the dog stepped in to save his pet and she tried to bite him.

And I stepped in.

And she tried to bite me. She had never done that.

I want you both to know that the the fury in her bared snapping teeth and wide eyes staring at me, staring INTO mine scared me. I had never had a dog of my own ever scare me like that.

It was not any easy decision for us and it was not one made in haste or without discussing with the vet or the trainer.

In no way did I ever want to have a dog in my house that could hurt you and I didn’t want to give her away knowing she could hurt someone else. So we decided to have her put to sleep.

I have only had to do this once before when my dog Bear was so sick she was dying and it was to stop her pain that I chose to put her to sleep. Never have I consciously chosen to put an animal to sleep for any other reason. This breaks my heart to tell you that she is gone because of this. Because I called the vet. Because I drove her there. Because I gave her the tranquilizers.

I did this because I love you all so very much.

And I loved her very much. And I sat with her. I held her and I talked to her until she was gone. And I cried over our loss. And it breaks my heart. And I will always remember her as a loving member of this family as you should too.

From September 2008

Remember how she slept with her paws crossed.
Remember how she ate your Bubbles and drank from your baths no matter how dirty and soapy they were.
Remember how whenever we played on the floor she wanted to play too.
Remember how she would NEVER bring back the tennis ball when you threw it.

Remember the good things about her. I will because there were so many more great times with her than bad.

From 1-18-2009

So when you are old enough to read this and to understand, I hope you can forgive me and understand why I did not tell you the truth.

Understand that it hurt me to say goodnight to Koko one last time.



  1. Man. So sorry. You do the best you can, with what you know, and you make the best decisions that you can for your family - and Koko is part of your family.

  2. Hate to comment on a sad post...but check my blog when you have a moment - I gave you a callout -

  3. Oh no, guys, I'm so sorry :(

  4. I know the feeling of putting a sick animal down, but I can't imagine how tough this decision was. I'm sorry.

  5. So sorry about Koko. Our thoughts are with you all.

  6. I can't tell you how sorry I am. Much love to you both.

  7. That sucks. What a hard, hard decision to make.

  8. I'm really sorry you had to go through this, I'm sure it was an incredibly difficult decision. For what it's worth, there is no doubt in my mind that you did the right thing for your family.

  9. A vet once told me that "it's your responsibility as a pet owner." This was that and the responsibility as a parent. Your children will understand someday. Lots of hugs....

  10. I am very sorry for your lose. You are the bravest and strongest parents I know. Anything I can do for you all, please just call. All my heart!

  11. I'm so sorry for your loss. I understand how you came to the decision as we had a dog put down after it tried to bite our then 3 year old. May had been a part of our family for years but we just couldn't take the chance. I'm sure your kids will understand in time but you've definately made the right decision.

  12. I'm so sorry. It is clear that you felt forced to do this and gave the dog every chance you could.

  13. Been there done that. I am so sorry. It's a terrible thing to go through.
    Just stopped by from Lulu's Sandbar to say hello. Nice to meet you. I'll be back again soon.

  14. I cried while reading this post, it really got to me. You did the right thing, but I know that doesn't help you feel better right now.

    Hang in there.

  15. Oh, I'm so sorry about this. It's such a hard thing to do.