Happy Tails: Kona

KONA (October l999 to February l5, 2016)

The day I adopted her from Premium Pet Store (now Petco) at Branham and Meridian Streets here in San Jose, the foster mom at NARF was rightfully hesitant to let a 19 year old adopt a dog. She had said something to me along the lines of needing to have a firm hand because Kona was a bully breed to which I flippantly quipped, “What, you mean I have to beat her?” I was absolutely not serious but she was not amused and as I recall she grabbed Kona from my arms to protect her from me. I promise I never beat my dog or abused her in any way but that story makes me chuckle and hopefully it will help her to remember exactly who I am. She also called my mother which I remember being a bit offended by at the time but I know now it was the right thing to do and she was looking out for Kona’s best interest. Perhaps these two anecdotes are part of why I want her to see my picture and why it is important to me to let her know Kona was a happy dog for the next 16.5 years of her life.

Part of the adoption agreement was to have Kona spayed and to enroll her in training. Kona was spayed but no formal training was ever done. That being said, I also want you to know that Kona was, in my biased opinion, very well-trained. I spent many many hours working with her and the results showed. Kona was an awesome ball dog and a bit of a fly dog. She would do flips off of my chest on command, she would run and jump off of my back to catch the ball, she would balance objects on her nose, and she would jump up into my arms for me to catch her. I trained her with hand commands also and this actually turned out to be really important towards the end as Kona unfortunately was mostly deaf for the last year or so of her life. I couldn’t bring myself to be as on top of discipline with her in her old age but she knew exactly what I was signaling to her; she just got a little ornery and stubborn with her old age. Throughout the years we used her to help train other dogs and their owners because in my experience it always expedited the learning process for others. She just always set a good example.

Kona and I were fortunate in that for at least 10 years of her life she would come to work with me everyday so we were rarely separated. She followed me on more backpacking trips than I can count and would always get way too excited as soon as we turned off of the pavement on to some back road as she knew the adventures that were to come.

I could probably type an entire biography for her but I will leave it somewhat short and just say that Kona was a better dog than anyone could hope for and she was truly my best friend. I kept my promise to her that I would keep her all of her days and that I would give her the best life I could; I believe I succeeded. She is gone but she will never be forgotten. I will always miss her but I will also always smile when I think of her and I celebrate her life with no regrets.

I want to thank the foster mom and all of the people at NARF for bringing my little girl and me together. You do important, frequently selfless work that I fear often times goes unnoticed and unrewarded. Well not this time; thank you all for the last 16.5 years I got to share with my little girl.