Friday, September 11, 2009

An End to Kofa



Once, the night before I was leaving to St. Kitts for Christmas, our dog, Kofa, ran off. It was a terrible dilemma. Do I leave with him lost or do I miss spending Christmas with my family in St. Kitts? I discovered how much of a connection Kofa and I had as I got sick confronted with the decision. I ruffled false feathers when he came back saying that I might have killed him myself had he made me miss the entire Christmas vacation. Now I am confronted with doing just that.

The quiet and mighty Kofa has lymphoma. About a month ago he was a 90 pound black and tan Doberman Pincher made out of steel. Today he is a ghostly shadow of himself. He weighs about 70 pounds, has stopped eating and struggles to stand up. In order to take him to the vet to confirm that I am awake in this nightmare I had to pick him up and put him the car. His suffering is such that we have to put him down. Even writing this, thinking about it and confronting the reality of having to actually do it is horrifically overwhelming. I was driving when I was explaining to my parents what the situation is and the grim decision we are faced with – deciding when to put an end to Kofa. In the middle of the conversation I was overcome with emotions and had to pull over as I could neither speak nor see.

People always talk about how dogs are man’s best friend and how the bond between people and animals can be profound. I have never dismissed those ideas, but I have not experienced their full truth until now. During the past eight years, as a function of long hours at home completing school, post doc and now working remotely, I have spent more time with Kofa than with anyone else. Needless to say we’ve developed a powerful relationship. Despite that, I am surprised by how deeply attached I am to my dog and how vicious the pain is at the prospect of having to put him to sleep in the coming days.

Our tradition says that man is man and dog is dog. In this case my dog is my man and it is killing me to think that I have to kill him. Just posting this, I'm wetting the keys.

kamau