What’s the saying again? You plan and God laughs. That has been such a common theme in this journey of bringing Kimba to greatness. So it should come as no surprise that the one thing I thought was going to be an easy “for sure” is not to be. Since I found out that My Diva was graduating as a Mobility Dog my mind has been whirling and my heart has been jumping up and down. I have told everyone I know about the good news even strangers who are fawning over Quickly…”yeah, she’s cute isn’t she? Listen, my first dog Kimba is graduating on 10/24!”. I had been thinking about her gifts, planning my outfit (would wearing a shirt that says “Team Kimba” be weird?), looking through the box of mementos that I have kept for her (how tiny her first collar was!) and reveling in the joy that is success. I was excited to bring the whole Kimba Krew out to Can Do Canines to see just where I spend so much of my time. I wanted them to see for themselves what we all just can’t accurately picture in our minds–Kimba is an assistance dog! The happy talk was crazy and the excitement was contagious. But then I got the call.
I was notified that there was a possibility that My Diva would not be at graduation. I was told of the reasons and various circumstances that truly don’t matter at this point. The caller went on and on about options. I tried to be strong, I even tried to be optimistic which is my usual tactic when faced with bad news. But this news was just too bad, too unexpected, too personal, too unfair. And so then I did the thing you’re not supposed to do when you get bad news and you want to be strong-I let the feelings in. I let the unfairness take over my mind which was bad enough but then the heavy, unbelievable sadness settled in to my heart and that was the worst of it by far. With those feelings I did the most natural thing you do when your heart is broken in to a billion bits. I cried. The tears slid down my face and my voice became shaky despite knowing that I did not want to burden this poor bearer of bad news with my emotions. True to form, the caller started talking faster with options and maybe’s but I knew my fate. I knew that God’s laughter was loud on this one. I would not get to see my Kimba Girl walk up on that stage and collect her well deserved rewards of applause, love, and admiration. But worse than that, I would not be able to give her those things myself. The promise of graduation had always been the thing I held on to in these many months of missing My Girl and now it was gone. The conversation went on much longer than I wanted with options of my coming to graduation anyway and watching Kimba’s video of greatness. Or the possibility that things might change. There was even mention of some other “surprise”. I was moved by none of it. I just couldn’t see myself attending graduation without my Kimba. That was just too much to ask of me. In fact, my irrational mind said we should call off graduation for everyone until Kimba can come! It’s not fair! I got off the call and had the head in my hands, nose running, slobbery, heaving, inconsolable, heartbreaking sobfest I deserved. It was truly an amazing sight that I am thankful only Quickly was witness to. It was pathetic and sad and heartbreaking but above all of that, it was cleansing. Sweet Quickly Girl laid her head in my lap with a quiet comfort that only the love of a Black Lab can provide.
In the intervening days since “the call”, I have managed to find some peace with the whole thing. I put off telling people as long as I could but when I heard of people making plans and excitement mounting, I had to start telling my family and friends that they had their Saturday back. I got the official call last week just as I saw that there was a lunch being planned by some fellow volunteers and Puppy Raisers after graduation with a request for Kimba’s Krew to join in on the fun. These are people who love Kimba too and were just as excited to see her Greatness come to fruition. Ugh. That was a hard dream to crush. Very hard. But here’s the thing (because there is always a thing): Kimba’s greatness is most known to Kimba and she does not need a whole bunch of graduation commotion to tell her that. Kimba is a working Girl now and she will be doing exactly what she was so tirelessly loved, trained, and encouraged to do on the day of graduation. That knowledge is really all the celebration I need and I am slowly becoming more ok with that. Though I have to say that Saturday is going to be an incredibly tough day for me. No Kimba on her birth and graduation day? Not the plan.
I have packed up her gifts and will be dropping those off at Can Do Canines tonight to hopefully arrive to Kimba before her birthday. I am celebrating “Kimba Birthday Week” on my facebook page with pictures and a look back on her puppyhood. I am doing what I can to celebrate despite the distance between My Diva and me. And so I guess this is the story of how raising Kimba ends. Who knew so much emotion and drama could surround a DOG?? But I think it’s because it was never that simple for me, it was the process of being raised myself and producing greatness that is undoubtedly my best work that causes the tears to come so easily. I have never been so proud and so very thankful.
Be well Kimba Girl and always remember the first Human to put a cape on your gorgeous, black body and inform you that greatness was imminent. -The Human
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