Kanto (pronounced Can-Too) was a terrific dog. This is a quick little pastel sketch of her. Working from photos, I plan to do more.
A purebred German Shepherd, she was the first female dog that my husband Tom or I ever had. He had had many dogs in his childhood; I had only had one male dog in my college years. Tom was always amazed at how submissive she was to him during training. He only had only to change the tone of his voice slightly and her chin was on the ground, her eyes saying, "I'm sorry!" In her younger more active years, he was a very playful dog who lived for the "Ball" or the "Stick!" She knew what her job was and did it well: to love and be loved by our family.
In her last year or so, she became more and more like a shadow to me. When I was the only one home, she'd lie down right by my feet if I was working at the computer. While in the kitchen she'd lie at the doorway, watching. If I was standing, working on a painting, often as I stepped back to take a look from a distance, I'd find she had quietly sneaked on over to lie by my feet when I wasn't looking. (She got stepped on quite a few times doing that!)
We recently made the tough decision to put her down. She was nine years old by then, suffering from heart problems among other things. Life was beginning to become very hard for her. With the summer heat not far away, we felt it was the right time.
The process was simple. We took her to the best vet in the world, in our opinion, Dr James Bianco VMD. He owns the Ardmore Animal Hospital in Ardmore, PA.
(If you live in the area and you're looking for a great vet, look no further! There are also tons of information about dogs, cats, etc... on the website as well. Click the link to see!)
Kanto was given a blanket to lie on to be comfortable for her last nap, and after thoroughly explaining the process to us, we had time to say goodbye to her in a loving way. and then he administered the stuff that made her gently and painlessly fall asleep. Saying goodbye to a family member, even if a canine one, isn't easy, but Dr Bianco really made the rough road smoother and easier.
She passed onto dog heaven with her dignity intact and is now chomping on tennis balls in dog heaven!
One last story:
Kanto got her name even before she was born! After our last dog, Jack, passed, Tom was trying to brainstorm what a good dog name would be.
Then, when he kept hearing our kids say "But I can't..." then I would answer encouragingly, "You can too!" he pronounced "That's a great dog name! Our next dog's name is going to be Kanto!" And so it was.
Kanto will continue to live in our hearts and in the memories she left behind with us.