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Kasey, My Heart Dog

I don’t even know where to begin to describe Kasey and our relationship – calling him my best friend doesn’t even approximate the bond between us. He was my soul mate – Kasey understood everything about me; he was in tune with every one of my emotions. When I felt joy he knew it; when I felt despair he knew that too. However, when Kasey came into my life, the days of despair seemed to disappear. Now when I need comforting most, he is not here to be with me.

Kasey came into my life as a 7 week old puppy. I remember when I first saw him, chewing on the strings of a backpack, while his proud mom looked on from her perch on the sofa. We were told that although his official birthday was January 18th, the day his litter was born and registered, Kasey actually came into the world a few minutes to midnight on January 17th, the first pup born in the litter. He moved into our home and our hearts immediately, deciding where in the house he wanted to call his “home” – not the kitchen that we had decided on. No, Kasey wanted to live in the bathroom, so he rearranged it to his liking and that was where he stayed. He was housebroken in no time, and wasn’t a chewer, so he quickly had the run of the house.

He spent the first 7 years of his life on the Upper Eastside of Manhattan, where he was known and loved by everyone in the area. He romped happily in Carl Schurtz Park, had play dates at friends’ apartments, and stole food from passersby on the street. The Con Ed workers would stop their truck to play with him; the school children wouldn’t get on the bus until they had pet Kasey. Everyday the morning doorman had a bagel waiting for him, and the evening doorman entertained the neighbors by playing tug-a-war with him, using a giant rope toy. Several toddlers learned to walk, pulling themselves up on Kasey in the lobby. He attended classes at the ASPCA, just blocks from his home, and earned his CGC there. He even tried agility, but we always joked that he had ADHD. Instead, he became a certified therapy dog with the Good Dog Foundation and visited sick children in the hospital. Family vacations centered around him – where could we go so that Kasey could come along and have a chance to swim.

In 2001, Kasey’s life changed. Mom and Dad were retiring to Florida, and Kasey, who loved snow, was going to become a southern dog. Mom posted a message on the AOL Golden Message Board, looking for advice on moving a NYC dog to south Florida. The first phone call received in the new house was from “Aunt” Marlene, and the rest was history, so indirectly, Kasey was responsible for me getting involved with rescue. In Florida, he continued his therapy work through the Therapy Dog Foundation, going to a nursing home with Dad, and working with children in the library with Mom. His picture and story appeared in the Sun-Sentinel and an article was written about him in the GRNews. Everyone in the neighborhood here loved Kasey too, and because of him, in our early days in Florida, we met many neighbors, who have become good friends.

Kasey lost his “only child” status when Mollie came to live with us. He never had to feel lonely again, and the days of Kasey staring out the window for an entire evening when we went out, were over. He and Mollie would sleep, just inches away from each other. She loved him dearly, and he loved her as a big brother would love a pesky little sister, who always wanted to kiss him.

Sadly, our Goldens do not typically have long lives, although Kasey surpassed the average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. He celebrated turning 12 with “Dogsters”, a week before his death. Up until the last 2 weeks of his life, he looked and acted like a much younger dog. We always joked that Kasey was part cat – that he had 9 lives. Whenever something would go wrong, and things would look bad, he would spring back, better than before. I could never imagine that the end was near, but without much warning, he started losing his balance, his eyesight, and his sense of orientation. He was looking and acting like an old dog. Dr. Butzer continued to hope and search for something that was “fixable”, but that was not to be. Without his dignity, Kasey decided that life was just not worth living, and he finally gave up at about 1 A.M., on July 26, 2006. He saved us the agonizing decision of having him put to sleep. Just as Kasey did everything in his life his own way, so he did this too. Kasey, I miss you terribly. You were my heart dog – there will never be another like you. Thank you for getting me involved in rescue because without that, I just don’t know how I could go on.