When I brought my new puppy home in 2001, I named her Kuma because she looked like a little bear cub (Kuma means bear in Japanese).
She came to be known by many other names, including Kumba, Kumbaya, Kumonkey, and especially (and perhaps most appropriately) the Kumonster. But to me, she will always just be the best dog in the world.
Kuma died unexpectedly on Friday from liver tumors that caused her to bleed internally. She felt sick in the morning, so I took her to the doggie ER, and had to put her to sleep later in the afternoon. She was 7 1/2 years old, too young. I thought I would have her with me for at least another few years. She was my best buddy.
Ever the optimist, I do have things to be thankful for. I am thankful that she got be spoiled in often ridiculous fashion for over seven good years. I am thankful that she got to snack on fancy dog treats from her nonna during visits at least several times per year. I am thankful that she got to sniper-lick the faces of many an unsuspecting house guest.
I am thankful that she got to hang out at the beach a lot.
I am thankful that she got to chase (and lose) many tennis balls in the ocean. I am thankful that my students spoiled her constantly at my house and at the field site:
Snoozing after a long day in the pool at the field site:
Playing volleyball with my grad students on Thanksgiving:
Staring longingly at the turkey remnants on Thanksgiving (and she got more than her share of scraps, if you call breast meat scraps!):
Hanging with Auntie Laini and dog brothers Darwin and Anakin.
Checking out the German Shepherd socks mom got from Auntie Christy for her birthday :
Hiking in Arizona with mom and Darwin:
Resting during a hike on the Central Coast:
Feeling nice and cool after a clean shave on a hot summer day:
Just laying around being beautiful:
I have a permanent reminder of Kuma, a "present" she gave me when I broke up a fight between her and Christy's dog. A broken finger that never healed right! (Kuma started it, by the way. :-)
I am thankful that she was loved by many people.
Last but not least, I am thankful that I had a couple of hours to say goodbye to her.
A last wrestle (kisses included, as always) with Marty:
I made a donation in Kuma's honor to the Woods Humane Society, our fabulous local no-kill shelter. Now some doggies, who weren't as lucky as Kuma to have a loving home, will get some nice holiday treats.
You can visit Kuma on Dogbook and virtually pet her. :-) http://apps.facebook.com/dogbook/profile/view/5263415#
Rest in peace, little baby. I hope there are lots of nice people to lick and quail to chase in doggie heaven.