I took a year off for maternity leave, and in July of 2010, I returned to dog training as a business owner. As an eight year old dog, Kayla had slowed down a little bit but was still great at her job. She was eager to get back into it, and was happiest when she saw the car seat come out of the back and she got to hear the command "up". She went into forced retirement in 2012. Kayla is the inspiration for my logo... look closely, she's the dog in the logo. The name of my business...Puppies Are Wonderful Sidekicks... Kayla has always been my sidekick. More than anything, I want the families I work with to feel that way about their dogs. Kayla wasn't just a pet.
I have two children, and the relationship I have with them is very different than I ever had with Kayla. As a mother, I am preparing my children to one day leave the nest; to go out on their own. All my time spent with Kayla was about preparing her for a life WITH me. I love her, but not in the same way as my children. She wasn't my furbaby.
Kayla was my friend. She was gentle. Kayla was incredibly loving. She was so very very sweet. She was loyal. Kayla was protective, but not over-protective. She was trusting. She was strong. She was brave. Kayla. Was. Magnificent.
Kayla is missed so much!
A few of my favorite memories with her....
She simply LOVED the ball. She possibly loved it more than me... but I'm going to hold onto that it was a close second. She would chase after the ball until she dropped from pure exhaustion. My arm would tire long before she would tire, and that is why the chuck-it was a must at our house. First I used tennis balls for her, but quickly she would break the ball in half before the game of fetch was even over. While the ruff dawg ball has been indestructible, Lucy lost several of them. Talking about losing things, she once lost a tooth trying to get a ball, and it didn't stop her... she still got the ball. If Kayla couldn't find the ball right away, she wouldn't give up. She would very systematically search back and forth in the area she thought it should be until she found it. It was pretty easy to see the grid in her head of where she had looked and where was left. All the help she would need is a simple point of the arm in the right direction and she would quickly find the object of her desire. I had a hand signal for her that meant find the ball, and she would immediately drop her nose to the ground and find the closest ball. Her last game of ball was hours before she passed, and she was smiling throughout.
Car rides were a huge favorite of hers too. She didn't care where she went, as long as she just got to go. She knew the difference of my regular clothes and my training clothes. As soon as she would see me put on my training shirt, she would get excited and hover close to the door waiting for the opportunity to tag along. Kayla was so quiet in the car I often forgot she was even in there. I could easily leave the windows all the way down, and never fear of her trying to go anywhere. The only danger was if someone other than me attempted to get in the car. You never doubted her intentions if your tried to enter without permission.
French fries and popcorn were a serious guilty pleasure. Forget about the most expensive dog treat, she would have done anything for either. As much as she loved food, she would very rarely steal it. You could leave your plate on the floor walk out of the room and expect it to still be there when you returned. While on vacation, (our honeymoon I think) she did help herself to a nibble of a cake that was cooling on a coffee table. She didn't eat the whole thing... just a little nibble around the edges.
She really loved the water. Sprinklers were the best. She would run in them just like a child, biting at the water as if she could somehow catch it. Of course playing ball in the lake was fun as long as she could touch. Kayla was probably the most awkward swimmer I've ever seen. But fetch on the beach... there was no stopping her.
While I have many, many more...I'll leave you with those, and a few pictures.