It is raining out now—the kind of rain that is slow and depressing—not a grand thunderstorm that thrills. I can only imagine the sky, too, is feeling the loss of Kinsey.
This very clever, almost-nine-year-old Mini Schnauzer was the proud owner of Jill and Linda. They brought her to me when she was just a four-month-old baby-dog for her puppy class. Bright and happy to work Kinsey sailed through her classes and found herself becoming a happy working Delta Pet Partner early in her life. She brought her two humans with her to nursing homes and other spots where she would routinely make people smile as she sat with them for petting, or sat on their laps for a snuggle, or did a few little gag-parlor tricks to make everyone giggle.
When first I mentioned Rally O to Kinsey’s human Jill— Laughing at me Jill said, “There’s just no way.” But, of course, Kinsey would not be daunted by anyone’s doubt—she sailed through her rally exercises and always looked at the distraction toys as if to say, “Who are you kidding, I am so all over that…” I knew then that the exercises would have to be more difficult and perhaps I needed better distraction toys. Kinsey pushed us all to be better and better. She helped shape the lives of her sister Shelby and baby brother Arlo as she guided them on how to live in a human world—Kinsey knew it was all about carrots…
The love that Kinsey gave to and received from her humans was, as so many of us have known from that special dog, epic in its scope. We all have had a dog (and if you’re lucky more) who moves our hearts profoundly and permanently. Kinsey was that dog. Just as Jill and Linda shaped and lured Kinsey’s behaviors for training, Kinsey shaped and lured their hearts for unconditional love.
As I said when Dante passed:
All told, dogs ask very little of us. They ask us for love, they ask us for patience and understanding, and for our mercy and bravery when their time comes. And once they’re gone, they part with one final request: to not let the pain of their loss stop us from someday filling the dog-shaped hole they leave in our lives with another canine soul.
Kinsey will be missed beyond description.