Happy birthday Koa- no joke

Two years ago this February, we took an hour and a half drive north to the Retrievers and Friends rescue to meet a 6 year old black lab named Lucy.  She was feisty, glossy, and fun, a slightly older version of Brody. We loved Lucy.

But then the rescue volunteer suggested we take a look at another dog, one who didn’t photograph quite so well but was kind and sweet and might be a good match for the family. There she stood, with her hangdog face and her defeated posture and her barrel chest and her gnarly teeth, just sitting back patiently. She came over with her tail gently wagging, licked my daughter and then my son, and sat down. “It’s OK,” her face said as we petted Lucy. “I just wanted to say hi.”

And that is how we ended up driving home that winter morning with Kekoa.

I didn’t realize until some time later, as I was going over her paperwork, that she was born on April 1st. It seems a bit of a cruel joke that so many pranks have been pulled on her in the past.

Hey Kekoa, I’m going to give you a good home- April Fools! We’re giving you to a rescue!

It’s OK Kekoa, the rescue is your home now- April Fools! We’re just a waystation! We’re finding you a NEW forever home.

Well Kekoa, you have a forever home now- April Fools! Now that my first dog died I don’t need you any more. Back to the rescue with you.

And so on, and so forth, until she came home with us, and with us she will remain. Now I know she has you all bamboozled into thinking she’s this perpetual sad sack, but in retrospect I think we’ve done a fairly decent job of making up for lost time the past couple of years.

Right off the bat she learned that in this house, you won’t be hit, shocked or neglected, but you will have to wear hats.

And pose for pictures.

And wear MORE hats.

And on occasion, a full costume.

But you’ll have friends.

And adventures

That make the hats

And the diets

And the costumes

All worthwhile.

Because though your family may embarrass you

On a fairly regular basis, at that-

You never have to doubt that you are loved and wanted- bad teeth, piercing separation anxiety and all.

Happy Birthday, Kekoa!

Filed: Blog, Daily Life, Musings, Photography, Picks of the Litter Tagged:
  • Happy birthday Koa! So glad you took that walk over and found your forever family!

  • Sue W.

    Happy Birthday, Koa! And bless you and your families’ heart, Dr. V, for taking the black dog, the sad dog, the one that gets passed over…and over…and over. Hurray for the “underdog”!!

  • Deborah Mendez

    Happy Birthday! May there be some (homemade) chicken jerky in your future!

  • This made me tear up a little in my cereal =)

  • Anonymous

    Happy Birthday dear sweet Koa! You hit the lottery with your family. So happy to see you smiling girl!

  • JaneK

    ahhhh, I didn’t know her story….. glad it is a happy one! and Happy Birthday!

  • Vonny

    Aw Koa. As much as I think Brody is a terrific beautiful boy, this one just melts my heart. Big hug to a mostly somber-faced (but dignified) lovely and very lucky lady.

  • Anonymous

    Awww, that made me cry! In a good way. I just love Koa! I wish her many happy birthdays ahead in her REAL FOREVER home. 🙂

  • Steph

    Happy Birthday, Koa! So glad you are in a forever home with parents that believe once they get you they keep you!

  • Petcarenlove

    Awe Dr. V that made me cry!! She has such a wonderful home with you, costumes and all!! 🙂

  • Lisa W

    So sweet. Happy happy birthday, Koa!!! You found a great family after all of your trials. Much love to you from afar!

  • Got several of my classmates crying with this post. Happy Birthday Kekoa!

  • Jeanne

    happy birthday to koa! maybe in the next year you’ll post more happy/fun pictures of her. we get to see brody out exploring and surfing and such – koa must have fun sometimes, too!

  • Amy

    Happy Birthday Kekoa! After all you have been through, no wonder you have separation anxiety. You don’t want to lose this wonderful home. Of course, if you ever change your mind, I don’t ask my friends to dress up or wear hats. It’s always as you are at my house, weeellll except for mud. I do require the removal of mud when in the house, and if you roll in nasty stuff, it is bath time. Two firm rules, here.

  • Anonymous

    OMG, happy tears!

  • DebCharb

    Such a great story and wonderful pic’s. I just adopted a 5 year old Choc. Lab a couple months ago and she is so……….grateful to be in a loving.

  • Karen Bennett

    I love to hear this type of story. I know that one day Boxen and Bella will leave us and we will be able to give a rescue dog a wonderful home. Until then THANK YOU for loving this baby! I’m sure she doesn’t mind the hats!

  • vcoleman

    Happy birthday hugs to Koa!

  • Leigh

    Best story ever! Her sweet soul can be felt even through pictures, that means she’s truly special. Hurray for rescue dogs!

  • Tamara

    Awwwww, happy birthday to you Koa. I’m sure you know you are loved and home for keeps. Lucky you :o)

  • solangehan

    This is what did me in: “it’s okay, i just wanted to say hi.” happy birthday sweet girl.

  • Kristen Seymour

    Aww, happy birthday, Koa. What a wonderful story, and what a gorgeous girl. No joke.

  • Happy Birthday <3

  • Happy birthday Koa, you lovely lady.

  • Vanesha

    This felt like a love letter to a precious girl. Happy Birthday Koa, your folks sure do love you <3

  • Cathey

    Happy Birthday Kekoa! That day you brought her home was one of those “everything happens for a reason” days. I love all your posts, and having goldens in common, you know how I feel about them, but from the first photo of Koa, she has pulled my heart right into the center of my computer screen. I can’t say why I love her best, but I do. I sit right here (at WORK!!) crying my eyes out for the thankfulness I feel that she is in your home and fully loved and appreciated and not anywhere else.

    I think she has an ‘old soul’ and know’s how lucky she is. It’s in her eyes.

    I have owned more than a few dogs, and I have my favorites, but Kekoa is my absolute favorite dog I wish I owned. So if you ever need a doggy sitter, I can drive out from Iowa . . . . be there in two days!

  • Kamnel

    Happy birthday Koa. Have a wonderful life with your forever family.

  • I especially love the picture of Kekoa with the cat ears, it has nothing to do with the fact that I am a cat, it is just that I love dogs in costume…. I hope you had a good birthday Kekoa!