April 11, 2003 to March 27, 2017
A tail wagging ball of gold and white fluff entered our lives and hearts almost fourteen years ago. Enthusiastic loving baths of our faces ensured that this adorable puppy would be our fourth Shih Tzu. Her habit of hopping on her hind legs resulted in her name “Kanga.” Kanga LOVED, with all the love that a dog could give: JOHN AND ME; FOOD!!! Treats; people, particularly children; toys (with her own twist on playing: we threw the toy; WE retrieved it!) and walks. With a show dog prance and tail held high, Kanga’s walking song could have been, “Pretty puppy, strutting down the street…” as she enthusiastically greeted all in full expectation of winning their admiration.
In addition to John and me, her extended “family” included daughter Beth, our grandchildren and their father Bob, Joanie and Linda (who were her second family when we traveled), her groomer Gerri (whose patience slowly convinced her that grooming was not lethal) and our neighbors in Greenbriar and at the shore. The annual book club luncheon meant LOTS of company and the certainty of FOOD!! In addition to a dog friendly block on LBI, the beach offered a great opportunity to run free, stopping to dig for China, while avoiding the ocean. Days were spent perched on a bridge table so she could watch the passing world. In John’s last months when he was in assisted living, she comforted him and made new friends who loved to see her (she would have made a great therapy dog). And an integral part of her “family” were the vets and staff at Ridgewood Veterinary Hospital.
About ten years ago, Kanga collapsed. A rare autoimmune disease (probably from a tick borne disease) destroyed all her red blood cells. A blood transfusion gave her a temporary lease on life, but most dogs with this condition do not survive or live only a couple of years. Careful and loving monitoring and treatment meant she was a regular visitor to the vets which she LOVED. After all, she pranced in expecting (and receiving) admiration from staff and other clients, many treats and Dr. “Tasty-ears,” Dr. Dean Cerf. Dr. Cerf (and in his absence Dr. Joanne Healy) as well as the entire staff gave her devoted care. She and Dr. Cerf established a routine: BEFORE, her majesty would allow herself to be examined, she received treats, some scratches in just the right places and the opportunity to lick Dr. Cerf’s ears!! (when one vet who didn’t know the pre-examination routine started to try to examine her, she refused until he complied). What was wrong with regular blood tests and poking and prodding when she was so spoiled?? For many years, she led a full, happy and healthy life.
Age, and ten years on steroids took its toll. A congenital condition resulted in her slowly going blind; that and arthritis took the joy from walks. The last months, she was on six to ten medications daily to treat a variety of conditions. In spite of this, she remained a happy sweet dog whose love remained unconditional. Happiness was food, treats and snuggles and pats. But, her health continued to decline.
On March 27, with the loving care of Dr. Healy, Kanga went in peace. She gave so much and will be so missed. In spite of my grief, John and I were fortunate to have had her for these many years. She enriched our lives in so many ways with her unconditional love, joy and sweetness. And she will be part of my heart always.
Her loving mom, Julie