Katie Lyons, LCSW - 2014 Best of Chicago Award - Psychotherapy,Mindfulness Training and Performance Enhancement
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My Life

"You Will Know When it is Time"

I first met Keno Memorial Day weekend 2001, he was four years old,  A good samaritan had boarded him for months prior to our meeting (to save him from being euthanized) and the first words out of my mouth, as he greeted me with his ferocious bark were, "I can't take this dog.  He is mean."  Within minutes he became my protector and I naively decided to take him for the weekend to give him a much needed break from the cage and expose him to the dog beach, park, etc.  Well, as most dog-lovers know, there was no bringing him back after the weekend because I was in love.  We were in love...meant to be. 
 
From the beginning, Keno's behavioral issues were obvious.  Perhaps because I am a therapist, I thought I could help him.  He had been abused, yet hard as I try, he would not talk about it (LOL).  I worked with several dog trainers and Behavioralists, but the bottom line was I needed to manage his "issues" and that I have done for the past twelve years.  I have replaced soccer balls, shoes and apologized, on his behalf, to many rollerbladers, joggers, and skateboarders for his unpredictable lunging over the years.
Some of my greatest joy has been swimming with Keno and playing with him at the beach, but he is almost sixteen now and those days are sadly over.  I have been doing the best I can to prepare myself for Keno's good-bye, while at the same time BEING IN THE MOMENT and enjoying every minute with him. His back legs have been getting progressively weaker but his Vet and I are fairly certain he is not in pain. I had been experiencing some anxietyfor a while around not wanting him to be in pain and how I will know when it is time to say good-bye.  I have heard from many dog owners who have said good-bye to their beloved pets, "you will know when it is time."  I have come to feel peace because I now feel confident I will know when it is time to euthanize him.
 
This morning Keno struggled with standing and walking for the first time.  I got him up, out and back in his bed --  thinking today could be the day.  I left work early and came home early thinking it was probable he would not be able to get upon his own, but he did.  We walked around the block and he started to speed up and gallop as we approached our home.  Today is not the day, but I do believe I will know when it is time and I am acutely aware that time is likely very near.  In the meantime, I will do my best to be in the present moment and enjoy every minute. 

35 Comments to "You Will Know When it is Time":

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carole schmidt on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 5:38 PM
So beautifully written...especially touching since we came to "that time" last June, saying that sad farewell to Dixie after 15.5 years. I still have tears when I think about her--I miss her terribly, but being able to decide when it was the right time was so important. You're right, we just knew. It doesn't really make that experience much easier, of course, but its nice to remember that you gave her every quality minute you could and minimized the pain. It's a gift we should be able to give to the humans we love, too.
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Marilyn Shrout Beckley on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 6:09 PM
Katie, this is so beautifully written and having dogs my entire life I can say you will know when it's time. As difficult as it is take some comfort in knowing how wonderful his life was because of you. If he could talk he would tell you that.
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Cheryl on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 8:57 PM
Katie, we all have our time to exit, and you truly will know when it is Keno's time to become a Heavenly dog, just as we know when it is our time to join our loved ones! What a lucky twosome you both have been blessed with, no regrets, only wonderful memories. Go in peace, Keno, when your time has come.
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Annie on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 12:39 AM
Sister, I wish I were with you and Keno as I can only imagine that these time are tough. Your story tells of such memories that you've had with Keno and the humor and love you see in everything; despite what can't feel like a good situation. But, dear, you'll know. You'll know. Love, Belle.
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