Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

When Katie smiles


We’re on a roller-coaster around here. Katie has mostly good days, but even during those I can sometimes detect, if I’m observant, her underlying kidney disease.

During an early morning neighborhood walk today.

When I took her to a park to celebrate her 15th birthday a couple weeks ago, I thought we were both having fun. She was walking through the woods with me, sniffing things like always. But our walk was much shorter than normal, and when I looked at the photos after, I didn’t see the usual joy in her eyes. She wasn’t smiling in any of the images.

It was a frosty sort of morning.

That made me stop and really think about the quality of her life, and whether or not she would let me know when she was done. It’s hard to consider end of life procedures when she’s still excited about her meals, still wants to go outside. Still wags her whole behind when you walk in the door.

Is still so beautiful.

You know it’s my supper time again. Right mama?

And then we had a day like today, sunshine and 30 degree temperatures. Perfect sheltie weather. We went on multiple walks around the neighborhood, none of which she wanted to end.

Today, checking her park.

We went to her park — I was thinking we’d just walk around the pond, sure that she wouldn’t have the stamina to walk all the way around the park.

What are you doing taking pictures, mama? We have a whole park to explore!

But once we were there I let her make the decisions and she never once sat down or asked me to pick her up. We took it slow, but we walked all the way around her park’s perimeter, just about a mile.

It sure is a pretty day mama. I get a treat for posing, right?

That, on top of all the walks in the neighborhood should have exhausted her, but she’s been asking for her (numerous) meals right on schedule. And we’ve been on another walk around the neighborhood this evening.

It was a good day, mama!

I’ve looked at the images I took during our park adventure today. I’m pretty sure she was smiling. I guess it’s not time yet. Not today anyway, probably not tomorrow or the day after that either.

Yep, I’m still the Princess Katie and this is my park!

My girl. She and I are lucky we have more time together.

Still so beautiful.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

42 thoughts on “When Katie smiles

  1. Lovely, happy Katie! She is still enjoying her life, it’s clear.


  2. ‘Still so beautiful’ is right. The roller coaster is hard, Dawn. But I think she’s smiling, and her eyes in that last photo…so much love in those eyes. She does love her Mama. And the walks, of course. And treats.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So happy she (and you) had such a wonderful day. There’s still light in those eyes. Not today! She’ll let you know when it’s time.


  4. She is one beautiful Katie!! ❤️ And very happy too! 🥰🤩💖


  5. She for sure was smiling. It’s hard to see them older and not so well, but she’s still enjoying those days out. Savor them. ❤


  6. Katie looks quite happy. ❤ Sending love and hugs. I know all about the roller coaster. I'm on a similar one here with Bella Cat. She's been a member of our family for almost 15 years and it's been an intense week of ups and downs. She has kidney disease, has lost a lot of weight, complicated by tooth problems. I'm going to do what you're doing. Savor our time together.


  7. That smile of hers! It’s so hard when they can’t really explain to us how they feel. The last year for Roxy was tough, but she for sure let me know when it was time. Just hug her tight.


  8. Katie looks like she had a great Christmas! Enjoy each day – sending lots of hugs. ❤️


    • Thank you. She loves having us home, so this covid thing is a gift in her eyes. We don’t go anywhere much at all, and I’ve promised her not to leave her ever again, so no trips for me. Sigh. I wish I could just take her with me like I used to, but we don’t want to be that far away from the vet. Maybe in the spring if she’s still the same. We’ll see.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Aww, she’s just gorgeous … as befits a real Princess! I’m so glad you can share these wonderful memories and walks, Dawn. Yes, I do believe she’ll let you know when it’s time. When the light goes out of their eyes, when they stop being interested in food and treats and playing — yep, you’ll know. At least, that’s the way poor Dallas was (and I still miss him every single day)


    • Yes, for her it’s when she doesn’t want to eat. Currently she’s asking for food every couple of hours or so. In fact I’m up right now because she’s been asking for breakfast since 2:45. I’m so sorry about Dallas, and I think you will miss him forever. I know I will miss my girl forever.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. That’s the very hard part – knowing when to say “enough”. There have been times with Shasta when I wondered if it was time – with her it’s the joints, and the difficulty in getting up from laying or sitting down – then we went to a new vet in our new town, and a change and an addition were made, and now life is better and she even bounces on those front feet a little like she did when she was young. Walks are still out of consideration, but at least she can get up and move around more readily. All we can do is enjoy the time we have with them.


  11. What a lovely dog Katie is, and quite old! Thank you for sharing her with us! We once babysat a golden retriever for a few days years ago, and she was such fun and it has never left my mind:)


  12. She is beautiful! I’m glad you’re making wonderful memories with her still.


  13. Beautiful Katie! Yes, you can definitely see the light and smile in your eyes. My Marlee will be 13 in a few months, and is dealing with kidney disease and liver disease. She had blood work done this morning and some of her kidney numbers were way up from a few months ago. She has to be back at the vet’s in the morning for an all-day test for Cushings. I think about you every day, Princess Katie. It’s hard on us mommas when we know you guys aren’t feeling well. We just love you so much.


    • We gad her tested for Cushings a few years ago when she first (but suddenly) slowed way down. Luckily it wasn’t that, but now I wonder if it was the beginning of all this. Katie’s numbers for kidney disease and liver disease have been up and then we’ve managed to pull them down, still high, but not as high. But this past month they were up again, and we haven’t changed anything. I know how discouraging numbers going up is. I am hoping for good news for your Marlee.


  14. May Katie’s good days outweigh the not so good. I am glad that you both had a full day of happy goodness. Please give your sweet Princess a pat from me. Sending you hugs and prayers. 💕


  15. Aw, Katie is so beautiful. What a wonderful day you gave her! Having had to make that difficult decision this year, I know how you feel. It’s such a responsibility we have as humans to make the humane decision so our furry friends are happy and free of pain as they cross the rainbow bridge. I found comfort in this book – if you haven’t read it, it’s a nice short one and comforting: The Pet Loss Companion by Ken Dolan-Del Vecchio and Nancy Saxton-Lopez. Hugs to you – you’ll make the right decision. xoxo


  16. Hi Dawn….

    Been keeping up with your posts here, and I know this is hard for you guys. The photos are beautiful, as is your writing: you do your princess justice.

    She loves you so much. That’s easy to see…..

    I’m going through this now with my Sundew— so hard to see it approaching. But it does make every moment sparkle with them, doesn’t it?

    Katie has the best parents.


    • Awww Michelle, I have thought about calling you, because I haven’t seen much (anything?) in a long time on FB from you. I have wondered about your pooches. I know they love you so much too. Yes, every happy moment we have I try to memorize to take out and reexamine later on. I’m sure you’re doing that too. I think your two have a pretty good parent as well. Katie sends kisses to them and you.


  17. Keep making memories with her… they last a lifetime and she smiles so beautifully. A happy day for us all! Thank you!


  18. Enjoy each day, she is a beauty. She will tell you when it is time:)


  19. Katie❤

    I hope you have many more good days together. All our dogs really want is to be near us. Everything else is just a bonus.

    Happy holidays!


  20. She looks like a happy girl to me. But I know from having an aging dog in the past that we have to be alert to the changes. Sounds like you are. I hope Katie will give you clear signals. And she still is so beautiful.

    I just realized when you commented on my blog that I’m not getting notices of your postings.


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