Wednesday, April 15, 2009


About 7 and a half years ago, Andy walked through the front door with a shaking mop of black fur and my life was never the same. I was never a dog person and was so nervous about being a dog owner. However, this little bundle of fur, known as Kelvin, grabbed my heart and became my best friend in every sense of the word.

Yesterday, Andy was with our beloved Kelvin as he closed his eyes and slipped out of this world.

The last couple days have been some of the hardest we've ever had to deal with...comparable with our miscarriage last June.

From the beginning, Kelvin was a nervous pup. He was nine months old when Andy brought him home because his cubemate's wife was expecting a baby and they couldn't keep the dog. Rather than seeing him go to the humane society, Andy offered to bring him home. It wasn't long before I fell in love.

Kelvin and I have had a special bond from the beginning. My favorite part of the day was coming home because he was so exciting to see me. His little butt would shake so hard that I thought his tail would fly off. He became my little Wiggle Butt.

Kelvin came into my life when I was extremely depressed. For nearly eight years, Kelvin has been there for some of the most troubling times of my life, including a five year devastating struggle with infertility.

However, Kelvin had struggles of his own. We don't know anything about Kelvin's early life and where he came from. It was apparent from the beginning that he had problems with dominance. We took him to puppy training classes and even met with a behaviorist. But Kelvin was extremely anxious. He barked at anyone walking by, hated when people came over and tried to dominate over Andy and I. Over the years, though, I became the alpha female in Kelvin's life, but that didn't stop him from lashing out at Andy and our lab Dakota. However, I constantly worked with him...trying to adjust his behavior.

Over the past couple years though, our training proved harder and harder, as Kelvin's outbursts became unprovoked. In a second he would turn into a different dog, not the sweet pup that curled up to me and licked my tears when I cried. He would go into a frenzy when anyone came to the door. If Dakota walked past him, he would strike out at her. Then he became extra protective of me, growling at Andy whenever he came near me, even biting him.

Then I finally became pregnant and we weren't expecting only one baby, but two. Many people say that dogs can tell when a woman is pregnant or at least know something is different. Both our dogs knew something was different. Each time we had a baby shower and brought more and more new stuff home, Kelvin became more and more anxious. He clung to me, never leaving my side and even wanting to come to work with me. Unfortunately, this made him even more hostile to Andy. Things came to a head on Easter Sunday when in "protecting" me, Kelvin snapped at Andy, then me for trying to correct him.

With the birth of our twins only a month away, Andy did some research on the Internet and read about Rage Syndrome, which is rare, but prevalent in spaniels. Reading the symptoms was like reading Kelvin's personality. Still, I wanted to speak with a professional. I made an appointment and after a long discussion of genetics vs. behavioral problems, we knew what had to be done...for us, our children and Kelvin himself.

God, I wish there could have been another way. I wish there was another option. For despite his problems, Kelvin, the TRUE Kelvin who struggled within his fears and anxieties, was the sweetest, funniest dog. If we could only rewire his brain! If only we could find a way to release him from the prison that was passed on to him from his parents.

The Kelvin I will treasure for the rest of my life is the puppy who looked up at me with those big brown eyes when he first entered our house and tried to hide under Uncle Steve's legs. I'll never forget his little Wiggle Butt dance when I got home. I'll never forget the time Andy brought him back home from the vet and he could barely walk, didn't want water or food, but when we brought out his ball, sprang into action, forgetting his charade. I'll always remember the time he dug into my knitting bag and found an apple I left in there and carried it around the house like a precious prize until I cut it up for him and Dakota to share.

Kelvin is the dog who turned an entire family into dog lovers. I grew up with an intense fear of dogs so we never had one growing up. But Kelvin was welcomed into my parents home for extended visits, even sleeping in their bed.

Kelvin, my buddy, wherever you are, you will always be my first baby. Daddy and I love you and will always love you and treasure you forever. I will never, ever forget you and everything you taught me. I'm so sorry, buddy. I love you.

Because I knew you...I have been changed for good.


Stephanie said...

I am so so so sorry, Melissa! I bet that Wiggle Butt you love is running around happy and carefree, wherever he is. xoxo

Gina M said...

:( I am so sorry Melissa. We put our family dog that I grew up with to sleep last week too. It's very sad.

Kelvin and Disney (my dog) are probably running around together right now, being they are the two newest members up there and all. ; )

I hope you're feeling good! We need a post about you with a belly picture!!!