Our pup Kilo died last Wednesday. My wife, Josie, and I had him euthanized when the vet told us he had an aggressive cancer. Surgery, while an option, wasn't a great choice, given his condition. He was 12 years old (we had him for his final three years).
We originally saved him from the euthanization list at the New York City Animal Care and Control (NYC ACC) thanks to a Craigslist post by Cristina Pronzati of DakodaLove. As you can see if you read the link, we originally took him as our first foster, but when Cristina found another home for him after a few months, we reneged on our deal, and kept him. Cristina didn't mind at all, and neither did Kilo.
Kilo was, from the moment we got him, insane. While they told us he was nine, I never believed them, (his gray ear hair notwithstanding). He had the energy of a six month old puppy, barely able to sit still, even when trying to ply him to do so with a treat. Walking him was not easy.
We got two different trainers to try to work with him. We knew we were in trouble when, after five minutes, one of the trainers said, "This is a tough dog." To be honest, we never really got him under control - he was a constant whiner (an embarrassment to pit bulls everywhere!) and didn't follow directions very well. I tried to sit next to him and pet him or kiss him but invariably, he would either lick or nibble at me (the licks were fine of course, the nibbling, again, we were never able to cure him of - he was a stubborn guy). In fact, the only time I think I ever was able to kiss his back was at the vet, just after he died (Josie and I were in the room with him). We didn't know his history, but he was generally distrustful of humans, usually preferring to keep his distance (unless you had treats, then he'd sit in front of you until he thought you were out of treats).
The thing is, he was a smart dog - Why do I know that?
Kilo ate his own food immediately, I don't even think he chewed it. He knew he wasn't supposed to eat our other dog's (River) food. How did he know? He didn't do it while we were around and if he started to eat it, one quick admonishment and he'd stop. However, once we left, we had to pick up River's food. Why? Because Kilo would eat it otherwise. How did I know Kilo ate it? Because once in a while, I would trick him, pretending to leave only to open the door, and sure enough, I'd find him hunched over River's food bowl.
He also knew how to tip over the garbage can to eat whatever food scraps it contained, and how to free River from behind the kitchen gate (invariably with a loud crash at 3 am).
Yup, he was smart. A smart asshole, to be exact.
But, of course, we loved him. And Kilo truly wanted to be a good dog. For example, he suffered from leash aggression (well, I suffered from his leash aggression). After me admonishing him for going after other dogs for while, he started to try to run past other dogs, so that he wasn't too tempted.
His tail was always wagging (even in the vet hospital when he had to be in some pain). It was always wonderful going home, seeing him happy to see me. Sure, I wish he didn't jump on me as he normally did, but that was our Kilo.
He always looked at us with his soft brown eyes, trying to convey some sort of understanding, some kind of mischief.
On some mornings, he would jump after River, looking like a giant bunny, and would chase her (including jumping on our bed). Those were the happiest moments in our household - all of us watching and laughing at his playfulness.
We never really knew how happy he was, as we always thought his whining was a form of anxiety. We hope that he was. His faults made him who he was - our good boy.