|Krypto, about one year old, enthusiastically being himself.|
So as I said, I mostly had cats... my first one was named Jerry (and as I always told people back then, I knew that Jerry was the mouse in the cartoons... I just liked the name Jerry), and he was followed by Skippy, and that was it for my cats while I was growing up. Much later, after my time in the Navy, I had a Siamese mix I named Selina (you can well guess why), who had a litter of three kittens I ended up keeping named Tigra, Spooky, and Irena. A few years after Selina disappeared (one of the reasons I decided not to let my cats outside ever again), I adopted another cat I named Taz. Those last four cats were given away when I moved to Wisconsin to be with my first wife, and I didn't believe I'd get a pet again.
So flash forward to 2004: Following the death of my first wife, Barbara, I moved back to Washington, and after a fitful search for a new job, I got hired by the newspaper in Olympia, and I moved from Tacoma to there. Although the apartment I lived in didn't want pets, I still found myself thinking I'd like to get a dog, a white dog I could name after Krypto the Superdog.
|Krypto at six weeks old, one of the first photos I saw of him.|
|I meet Krypto for the first time.|
I think the flight to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport tended to make Krypto skittish at times. He was safe and secure in a crate, but I don't recall if he was sedated for his flight. I recall that he got airsick in the crate, so there was some initial clean-up involved... but I'm getting a little ahead of myself. I wasn't able to take time off of work to pick up Krypto at the airport, so Jessi and a friend of ours went up instead, although they brought him to me at work so I could meet him for the first time. As you can see from my face in the photo, I was pretty happy to have him!
|Puppy Krypto with KO and Jaeger.|
|Playtime with KO.|
|Krypto's Superman shirt.|
|Krypto and KO.|
Krypto trained very easy. I realized very quickly that he was very food-oriented... he'd do anything for a treat! He was so enthusiastic that when I gave him the command "down," he'd almost bounce off of the floor, he'd drop so fast! I'm sure part of that was trying to please me, too.
As a puppy, I kind of spoiled him a lot. Evenings in front of the TV, once he and KO had finished their tussling for the evening, he'd be curled up or sprawled on my lap (something he never got out of the habit of, even when he tipped the scales at about 100 lbs).
|Content to wear his cape!|
|Krypto liked playing in the snow.|
|At the beach in Seaside, Oregon.|
|On the couch he used to leap over.|
When Jessi and I got married, there was no question that the dogs would be in the wedding with us. Krypto didn't seem too fazed by the whole event (although it could be that he and KO were sedated slightly to help keep them calm), and he was very well behaved through the entire event.
|Krypto and Tristan|
|After his one of his surgeries to remove a tumor.|
|Krypto and Desi|
Obviously, as he got older, his energy level went down quite a bit. There was no more leaping over obstacles when it was just easier to walk around them. He would sometimes get very stiff hips after lying down for a while in one position. But through all this, he'd still very happily greet me when I came through the door. One of the few things I enjoyed during my year as a truck driver was how happy he'd be to see me (sometimes I think he was happier to see me than my kids were). When I'd take him for a walk, he wouldn't last more than one trip around the block before he'd be too tired. This was my dog that, for a while, had so much energy that we used to take him to a doggy daycare a few days a week to help him burn it off? He was getting older, and I knew that the time I had left with him was getting shorter and shorter.
|Krypto and Rocky|
There were still lots of evenings when I'd sit in the recliner and he'd come over to me, wanting to get up on my lap, but the days when he could get up in our bed unassisted were a thing of the past. When he got sick two weeks ago, I was afraid of the worst. We'd had a couple of hot days in a row, and Krypto never really dealt well with hot weather, but this time it seemed he was doing especially bad. He hadn't been eating, and barely moving. He'd eat and drink if I brought the food and water to him, but even just to go outside required my helping him up to his paws.
I brought him to the vet on Monday, May 19, to get checked out. They did some bloodwork and other tests, and discovered that he was anemic, and that he'd developed a heart murmur. The vet prescribed antibiotics and instructed me how to give him fluids via a sub-dermal drip. They'd offered to keep him at the animal hospital for treatment, but I didn't want him stuck in a cage with strangers... if he was getting near the end of his life, I wanted him home.
He was clearly suffering, and if he wasn't going to improve in a week, I knew I'd have to have him put to sleep.
The following morning, at about 5:30 am, I was at work when Jessi called me to tell me that Krypto had died sometime in the past few hours. KO had been acting very anxious a few hours before, and that was her first idea something had gone wrong. It was very difficult for me to get through the rest of my work day without breaking down.
I got home from work, and there was Krypto's body, laying on the floor. Desi and our foster child thought he was sleeping (that's what I told Jessi to tell them if they asked), and our sitter kept that front up. Tristan was staying with my mom, as there was all-day testing going on with his grade that he wouldn't do, so instead of having him stuck at school all day both days in the office, we decided to keep him out of school.
As soon as I saw Krypto lying there, I started crying. I almost collapsed on the floor next to him, and while I sobbed, I stroked his head. I knew Desi would know something was going on, and I told her Krypto had died. After getting her to school and our foster child to daycare, I called the vet to arrange to get Krypto cremated. It was a difficult morning to get through, and even writing about it now, a week later, I'm still on the verge of tears.
When Jerry and Skippy were put to sleep, I cried, but I got over those deaths quickly. When Selina disappeared, I cried then, but I had her kittens to take care of. When I had to give away those cats and Taz years later, I cried then as well. When we had to put Krosby to sleep, and then only a few months later our kitten Princess was killed, I cried then.
But this was different. They say a man's best friend is his dog, and I think I never really took that seriously until now. I've lost my best friend. No matter what else was happening in my life, Krypto was always faithful and devoted. He was always happy to see me. He was my dog and I was his person. I wish I'd been with him at the end, but at least he was home.
I picked up his ashes at the vet on Tuesday morning, and I grieved again, as I'm grieving as I write this. Krypto is really gone. It seems impossible to believe sometimes... I'll catch something white out of the corner of my eye and think for just a moment that it's him. I still find myself telling the children to feed the dogs, when there's just one dog left here.
I haven't even touched Krypto's collar and cape since he died. I haven't even looked to see where it currently is. I know that some time, I'll come across it, and I'll mourn the loss again. Every time I sit on the recliner and feel like something's missing, I know it'll be him on my lap that I'm missing.
Goodbye, Krypto... goodbye, my faithful friend. There will never be another dog like you.