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Story of the Month - April 2006    



I had recently moved into a new home that was huge and I lived all alone. My family kept telling me "you need a pet to keep you company," "you need a little dog." I took their advice and began my search for the perfect pup. After the heartbreak of never being "one step ahead" in the adoption process at our local animal shelter's (I was always 2nd on the list of adoptions), I decided to look in the paper. That's when I met the sweetest, little old lady who had 5 doxie pups. I sat right in the middle of them all in hopes of finding the right one for me.... I decided immediately on Dakota (or Koda for short) who was the runt, the one with the most personality. When my friend Amy came to meet him, she laughed and said "he is so cute and so little, little" and thus, his nickname became "Little." I think we actually call him that more than his real name.
Koda and I bonded immediately. He quickly became my best friend and I noticed myself having conversations with him as if he was a real person. I have to admit, he would listen intently and often would talk back! I swear, sometimes I really think he can understand what I am saying and he definitely knows when someone is talking about him. We used to go for walks in the early evening's to a nearby graveyard which might sound creepy, but it was the most peaceful place. I used to visit a special gravesite there where my "adopted" grandma, Esther, was laid to rest. After Koda was done running around all over the hillsides, he would come over to where I was placing Esther's flowers and would lay down with his head on her headstone. It was the sweetest thing. It's funny how that little guy knew. He really was sent from God, I believe that in my heart completely.

In October of 2003, Koda and I were in a car accident. I was driving with Koda by my side when another vehicle and my vehicle collided. We ended up going head on into a tree. The impact of the crash was so powerful that Koda ended up on the floor up under the dashboard. I was pinned up under the steering wheel/dashboard and was banged up pretty bad, but my first instinct was "I have to get Kody, I have to get my little dog!" I managed to pull him out and place him outside of my broken window. I know I should have not moved him, but something told me I had to. Moments later the windshield and dashboard caved in where he was once trapped. My boyfriend Pat lived right up the street and heard the whole thing. Thank God he came straight to our rescue because I don't think Kody would have went with anyone else but his "daddy." Pat took Koda immediately to the Animal Emergency and I was off in an ambulance to the hospital ER. We ended up ok, but a very scary day I will never forget. A learning experience indeed! He is such a brave little guy. Fearless as a lion! To this day, I am so amazed at how much Kody still loves to go "bye-bye" with momma. Needless to say, I now am a firm believer in pet carriers.
On June 30, 2005 Koda, 7 years old, went down with IVDD causing total paralysis of the rear legs. I was not familiar with IVDD so when he was crying and reluctant to move, I really had no idea what we both were in for in the next few days. In my mind, I thought I had let his anal glands go too long without being expressed! I was not ready for what I was about to hear! My regular vet was out of town so she referred me to another vet in my area. I was horrified when she diagnosed Koda with IVDD and recommended I get him to UC Davis for surgery as soon as possible. He was put on anti-inflammatory medication and I was out for a 2nd opinion. On July 3rd, 2005 Koda was brought in for surgery at The Animal Care Center in Rohnert Park, Ca under the care of Dr. James Lavely, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM, Neurology. Thank God my vet put me in contact with this wonderful facility. They explained to me about the surgical treatment and the decompression of the spinal cord in which they would actually be removing the ruptured disc material. The location of his injury was between T11/T12 and L1/L2. It was all so overwhelming and scary, but I would do anything for my baby. The cost was another shock I wasn’t ready for. With the help of Care Credit and my parents I was able to come up with the $6,000. The worst part was leaving him there for 4 ½ days and waiting by the phone for the dr.’s calls. I swear, I didn’t sleep until he finally got to come home. I found comfort, help and friends at Dodger’s List. Thank God for all of you.

Koda has done very well with his recovery. He is back to being that spunky little dog that loves to play chase. Some of our best times are on sunny, warm days where we can lay on the lawn and I am down on his “level.” He loves to “nose around” in my hair! He is my little miracle. He has been there through what seems like every major event in my life, my good times and my bad times. I suppose I have been there for him though his major events too. I guess that’s the joy of being best friends isn’t it?


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