The boys grew up and went off to college. Katie’s life became quieter, and she grew older. There were still moments of excitement, though. I woke up one morning to the sounds of Katie barking. I looked out the back door, and Katie was playing with a small furry object. A black furry object, kind of like a kitten. Only this black furry object had a white stripe down it’s back. I went back into the house and grabbed my .22 rifle. The poor little skunk was half dead, and Katie was taking her time finishing the job. So I got Katie out of the way, and killed the young skunk.
Wife’s parents died, and left their house to Wife, her sister, and our two children. After much debate and prayerful consideration, Wife and I decided to buy out the rest of the family and move into the home. We really had not considered that to be an option, until the neighbors began asking us to please move in.
It took quite a bit of doing to go through her parents’ belongings and decide what was going to be kept, who would get what, and what should be sold or donated. Then the process of moving our stuff into the old house began. Finally, we were moved into the 80 year old house. And Katie was introduced to her new back yard. She now had a house with a chain link fence so she could see what was going on in the world.
She had lost some teeth and could no longer hear. She was a lot older, but she could still remember how to dig and how to follow her nose. We looked out into the back yard one day, and Katie was gone. There was a busy boulevard between our new home and our old house. I was fearful that Katie would try to find her way back to the old house and get run over. I started a search, going up and down alleys and streets. I called her name, although I wasn’t sure she could hear me. Thankfully, I found Katie across the street and down at the end of the alley sniffing around a trash can. She was next to the boulevard, but had not yet crossed it. I brought her back home, and made the yard a bit more secure.
Katie lived out her last days resting under a large oak tree. She could no longer climb. The squirrels were still of interest for tracking, but she no longer risked life and limb to give chase.
Katie had to be put down when she was 13. We were the grateful recipients of many kindnesses at this time. Katie had let Wife know that it was time to go one Sunday morning. She had become lethargic and it was obvious she was in pain. I had recently undergone surgery and my wounds were not yet healed. I was unable to lift Katie or carry her to the vet, much less dig a grave. One of our church members came to our house and dug the grave for us. With great kindness the vet came out to our home with an assistant and put her down. After Katie was dead, the vet surprised us by offering to bury Katie. She placed Katie in her grave and covered her.
We had Katie buried under the huge oak tree where she spent the last couple of years of her life. We would look out of our back door and at the ancient oak tree and remember Katie, and remember all of the years of faithful service that Katie had given to us as companion, playmate and protector.
1989 - 2002