Last week she had a check-up at the vet. It was so different from the first time I took her! This time she found a quiet place in the corner of the waiting room and laid down. She curiously watched everyone come in and kept looking up at me to make sure it was ok. She was watchful and nervous, but not terrified. She got up to eagerly greet another dog who came in.
Recently she has begun sleeping in the bedroom. She is still a bit unsure about it and often gets up in the night to stand and stare at the door or go check on things in the living room, where she used to sleep, but with time I think she will get more comfortable and sleep better. She really wants to be with her family all the time. What a change from a year ago when her primary goal was getting AWAY from everyone and everything .
It is amazing how carefully she watches the other dogs and copies what they do. The other day I watched her squeeze herself up to lay on the arm of the couch, because that is where Mocha always lays. But Mocha is 15 lbs. and Kira is 55 lbs…. its not a comfortable place for a collie to lay! When I posted this picture, a friend commented, “but she’s a dog…and Mocha is a dog. And she is still learning all of the things that a dog gets to do.” That is exactly it. She is still learning how to be a dog.
Obi is slightly neurotic at times and when he thinks it is going to rain he paces endlessly through the house with a toy in his mouth. Kira is not at all concerned about storms, but she follows him on his laps around the house because she thinks that is what dogs do. If she notices that he is carrying a toy, then the next time past she will have her stuffed duck in her mouth too.
She adores playing with the other dogs and she is almost always the one initiating and trying to entice one of them to play with her. She has a joyful, happy, bouncy play style and it can’t help but make you happy to watch her. She loves to play with squeaky toys and throw her stuffed toys around in the yard.
After closely watching the other dogs take toys out of the toy basket, and spending many months just standing over it and staring curiously at it, she will now very gingerly and tentatively pull a toy out and go lay down with it. I sometimes play “hide and seek” games with the dogs. I put them in another room and hide treats and then they come out and have to sniff around to find them. Kira has watched these games for a long time and has now started to participate! She is pretty good at sniffing out the treats!
Summer has brought new joys: Kira LOVES to roll in freshly mowed grass and kick her feet around in the air. She likes to stand at the fence now, with Obi and Mocha, and watch me working in the front yard. She will even stand and watch the neighbors as long as they aren’t too close. The dogs get frozen peanut butter Kongs and frozen peanut butter/yogurt ice cream cones on hot days. Kira is still only comfortable eating in her spot under the steps, but she loves special frozen treats!
As always, the best thing about life with Kira is watching her engage with the world and seeing how happy she is. She is the most expressive of all my dogs. When she is happy, she is SO very happy. Her eyes sparkle, her tail wags, and her whole being exudes an effervescent lightness.
I am reading a wonderful book by Kathleen Dean Moore called Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature and this passage made me think of Kira:
“I’m thinking it’s a paltry sense of wonder that requires something new every day… To be worthy of the astonishing world, a sense of wonder will be a way of life, in every place and time, no matter how familiar: to listen in the dark of every night, to praise the mystery of every returning day, to be astonished again and again, to be grateful with an intensity that cannot be distinguished from joy.”
This is what Kira brings to every moment. A sense of wonder and gratitude that bubbles up from the core of her being. How such beauty could have endured so much darkness and remained intact is beyond my comprehension. I will forever be grateful to get to be the person who was there to witness her tender spirit emerge into a safer, gentler world.