The year was 1999, sometime in May. I had moved from Florida to Indiana for a job as an animal control officer. I lived with my sister, Steph, and her husband, Brian, until I could find a place locally.
There was this puppy at the shelter that was being housed with smaller puppies in a puppy pen. He was always at the front of the pen trying to get attention whenever someone walked by. I would take him out so he could pee and poop because he didn’t want to in the pen. If I knelt on the ground, he would bury his head in my tummy for pets.
I so wanted this cute, adorable pup. I asked Steph and Brian if I could adopt this little guy and they agreed. He almost got adopted before I made up my mind, but that one fell through. Lucky me!
Kota taught me a lot. He helped me through some really hard times. I was in a new town where I only knew a couple people, had no friends and a job that wasn’t the best. But there was Kota.
We took training classes together. We went for walks, hikes and he stole all our hearts.
He was good with everyone. Even cats, of which he lived with 4 different cats early in his life. Niko who I took in as a stray and died a year later from Feline Leukemia. They were buds.
In 2001 I adopted Tasha and she and Kota were best buds thereafter.
They were my best friends. We did lots together and they loved their aunt and uncle, Steph and Brian. Kota has moved with me 9 times in his 16 years. He’s traveled from coast to coast and put his paws in water in both oceans. He has even been to Florida, though I don’t think he got to see the Gulf down there.
He and I started agility together in 2005. He became my main agility dog and he was competing at the Masters level in USDAA when he tore his CCL and was retired from agility.
His first USDAA agility trial.
It took us 4 years to get through Starters, 1 year to get through Advanced and just started a year in Masters when he tore his CCL. He really loved agility and travel and the new sites and sounds.
Even after retirement I would let him run agility every now and then with low bars and low contacts. That’s how he completely tore his CCL in the other knee. 🙁 He then had surgery to repair it but was never 100% after that. He was 11 years old after all.
He taught me so much about reactive dogs and kinder, gentler training. He loved to learn new tricks and was always willing to perform them.
In December 2013, he was diagnosed with nasal carcinoma and was given 2 to 4 months. He kicked that statistic in the ass by living another 13 months to the day. He had a few nose bleeds and some bad breathing spells but he did really well for 11 of those months. The last 2 months he really slowed down and had more breathing problems but he was a fighter. He still enjoyed agility and playing with us when he had the energy.
He will probably be best known for his Say Hi trick, which I made the other three learn.
He was my fluffy little man, best bud and little brat. My first dog. My first agility dog. My best friend. I will miss him.