In Memory of KatoKatoStory

   a story by Rick and Ruth Bramblett

It’s always hard to say good-bye to our beloved pets. Losing them tears our hearts out and leaves a hole that never truly heals.

Through our years of volunteering, Rick and I see firsthand the joy of animals reunited with their families, while others find their loving forever home. The smiles and excitement of any animal during their “freedom ride” can’t be beaten. Sadly, not all animals entering the shelter can be saved. Some are too sick and others too severely injured. Having to let them go is never easy.

Kato came into our lives as he sat quietly with his head bowed low in his dog run. He was such a sad looking fellow. Kato was an eight month old Cane Corso mix with a pretty misty, grey coat and a hint of orange brindle.

We learned more about Kato and the hip dysplasia he had in both of his hips. Without surgery, his prognosis wasn’t good. By then, we were smitten with Kato, like we are with all the shelter animals. We were prepared to fund a portion of his surgery as well as go forward with a fundraiser for the rest.

In the meantime, we took Kato out several times each day for easy walks so he could keep moving. During the day and at shelter closing time, we made sure he had a big fluffy bed of blankets and comforters. Kato was no longer sad and quiet when he saw us coming down the dog run aisles. He was sitting, waiting and woofing for his turn to enjoy some time outside. We waited and hoped for good news about surgery for his hip dysplasia. However, good news did not come.

On the evening of March 20, 2015, we were told of the agonizing decision to end his pain. Surgery was no guarantee of future good health, and while it was a blow to our hearts, we knew losing Kato was always a possibility. Rick and I brought Kato to the surgery area of the shelter where the veterinarian, vet tech and shelter manger were all waiting. Kato was surrounded by an army of love. We all gave him his favorite treats, rubbed his head and then it was time.

We were with him when the vet gave Kato the injection, and the vet tech held him gently. By then, tears fell quietly from my checks onto his soft velvety head. As the injection began to work, he was lovingly lowered to the floor with his head in my lap. Rick stroked his side and I continued to talk to Kato telling him he would soon cross the Rainbow Bridge where he would run pain free. I also told Kato that we all loved him and that he was a dear sweet boy.

The veterinarian checked Kato’s heart. As it started to beat slower and slower, I continued to gently stroke Kato and recited him a verse fromAmazing Grace.

“Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come,
‘Tis grace has brought me safe this far
And grace will lead me home.”

Our eyes met for an instant, and then Kato was gone. I doubt there was a dry eye in the room.

Kato’s story is being told to honor his life and all of the animals’ lives that are way too short. Please join Rick and me in our efforts to raise money for HSCC’s Honey’s Fund to specifically help very sick and injured animals like Kato. Honey’s Fund was born in 2009 to raise money for Honey, a dog that came to the shelter in need of medical attention for severe pelvic fractures where expenses exceeded normal shelter medicine vetting costs. Honey’s Fund is always in great need. Rick and I have the lofty goal of raising $4,000 for Honey’s Fund, but together we can make it a reality, we are donating the first $500 to Honey’s Fund, so please join us in giving to such a worthy cause. I’m sure if Kato could, he would thank each and every one of you.

As life ebbed away from Kato, I told him I knew we would meet again one day. With a gentle kiss to his head, I whispered, “Go home with grace dear boy. May grace lead you home.”

In loving memory of Kato and all of the animals that leave us way too soon,