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MA dog photographer and her soul dog

A Heartwarming Love Letter From My Soul Dog

Today I received a heartwarming love letter from my soul dog, Kota. I smiled. It’s been just over a year and a half since saying “see you later” to my best friend. Thank you, Kota.

In Memory of Kota Dar
My soul dog, Kota, the evening before she passed

Dear Mom,

I miss you. I love you. I’m doing good!

I’m with you all the time. Every day. Every moment. I’m right behind your left shoulder and I know you can feel my presence sometimes.

I know you weren’t sure if you would ever be able to pick up a camera again after I left you. When you did, it was all that you could do. I’m happy you continue to do what you love. I’m happy to know that I continue to inspire you.

Two days after I physically left you, I was with you when you photographed Kiki in Newburyport. That was a difficult decision for you. You were grieving and all of the pain was raw. You pushed through and you did it. Mom, I’m proud of you!

newburyport harborside little dog with boat
Look mom, I found one of pictures of Kiki!

Thank You

Thank you for giving me my best life. I know I wasn’t an easy dog! I’ll never forget the day that you and dad picked me up. It was a long journey in a van from a place called Arkansas. It was noisy and there were lots of other dogs in kennels. I was in a crate with my sister, Kira.

I was taken from my mom as a sibling. “They” said we were strays. A women took us in, but we stayed outside since her big dog didn’t love other dogs.

Thunder. Stroms. Flooding. Noise. It was a scary place!

I wasn’t sure what was happening, but I was glad to leave Arkansas when I was loaded up into a van. The rescue was called Adopt a Stray – and mom, I even found the link with my adoption photo. I was pretty darn cute wasn’t I? (Adopt a Stray) That’s me – that itty bitty “Lakota” with the floppy ears and round eyes. You didn’t know what you were getting yourself into!

You and dad gave me so much love! I remember the first time being in a house and I felt a carpet and a hardwood floor. You gave me a soft bed with my new name, Kota, on it. My first toy was the loon. I’ll never forget that loon.

I knew I was in my forever home.

Siberian Husky mix in forever home
Mom, look at me so little!!!

The Dog Attack

I remember that day. We were taking our nighttime walk up the cul-de-sac. I even remember you yell, “Look! A Golden”, as Rusty bolted at us full speed. You had no idea he was going to throw me to the ground and bite me.

I screamed. You screamed. You laid on the ground with me and cried. It was so hard to see you cry! Rusty’s mom came running and got him. You couldn’t breathe. You carried me home. I wasn’t even a year old yet.

I was going to be ok. But I wasn’t going to trust many ever again. I needed to protect you from that day on.

I never meant to “not” love other dogs. I had trust issues after that incident. I loved all the dogs in the neighborhood that I met prior – I could trust them.

Thank you so much for working through it all with me! Mom, you were so patient. You always put me first. You did everything to keep me safe from that day on.

That attack WAS NOT YOUR FAULT. I know you struggled with that for years. You did your best and I love you for being there for me.

Photographer Darlene Woodward
Look at us, mom! We made the best team!

Adventures

Mom, we had some good times! I loved Lake Placid and the Devlin Motor Inn!

Remember that day we arrived? There was a big group of men with motorcycles. I think they were called “Harleys”. You were nervous and you weren’t sure how I would react. I remember you laughing as I wiggled my bum over to visit them. I knew these were men who would keep me safe.

Kota Lake Placid New York
Mom, found this one looking over the balcony at the Devlin in Lake Placid

Remember Cobble Hill, Mom? I think that is one of my favorite memories with you and dad! The view was beautiful! It was a warm day, but we did the hike to the top!

Cobble Hill Lake Placid Vermont
Remember our Cobble Hill hike, mom?

We had the best times, mom! Vermont fun, too, and I loved all those hiking trails that we did. I know it was challenging taking me places. I didn’t love other dogs getting in our way and wanted alone time with you and dad.

Mom, I have the best memories of our time together!!!

Snow

Mom, thank you for getting me outside in snow, sleet, and even blizzards. You were the best! I loved our snow days together, especially our snowshoe hikes on the trails behind our house.

Snowshoe with your dog
Look mom! I found this one of me and dad on a snowshoe.

Thank you for getting that fence for our backyard! I’m sorry I jumped the 4 foot fence when I was puppy and you and dad were so scared I was on the loose. You always said, “Kota will end up in Canada!” I was not easy to trust. I just liked to explore. You did a good job keeping me from escaping after that. I admit: I was a handful.

The fence was a good idea. Thanks for letting me enjoy snowy winter days just sitting out there and reflecting. I was so happy!

Husky mix winter season
Mom, I loved to just sit in the snow.

Friends

I know I didn’t love everyone, mom. But those that I loved and trusted were my friends until the end.

Falko is with me now. He arrived about a year after I said goodbye to you and dad. He was my best dog friend in the whole world! Bruno is here, too. And Parker. I watch over Loki. He is getting old. I will be here for Loki when it’s his time and I will show him the ropes. I love seeing my dog friends.

Husky and Shepherd walking
Mom, I found this one of me and Falko from back in the day.

Mom, thank you for giving me the chance to say goodbye to my best “human” friends. I know I had a small circle of trust. Thanks for inviting the Tighes over the night before – it was so nice to see Kevin, Elaine, and Erika. They make the best pulled pork and I always loved when they brought over leftovers from their BBQ food truck. I enjoyed their visits each Christmas Eve. Tell them I miss them!

And Judy. It was so good to see your friend Judy. She is the biggest dog lover and I loved her as much as you did.

I’m sure I made it harder to say goodbye – I was so excited to see them I got a spurt of energy and ran around! I could tell Kevin was questioning your decision and it upset you.

Photographer Darlene Woodward with her soul dog
Goodbyes – Mom, I smiled right up the end!

Saying Goodbye (“See you later”)

Mom, that must have been the most difficult decision you and dad ever had to make. I tried so hard to act like I was feeling great! Those last few days were difficult. I didn’t feel well. I couldn’t sleep and I paced every night. I was uncomfortable.

I remember that night I did my best to let you know. I nudged dad at around 2:00 AM and you got out of bed and came over to me. You laid on the floor with me and cried. I laid right there with you. You said to dad, “She’s telling us it’s time.” I know that you knew because I always loved my space, but at that moment I wanted to be close to you.

August 11th, 2022. Mom, you hate 11’s. September 11th always triggered the emotions and I know you lost some wonderful friends at that time in your life.

I was also 11 years young. You gave me 11 BEST years, mom! Try to smile through the elevens and remember the good times.

I know that you and dad struggled with the decision. But it was time. I never felt any pain and I’m so glad it didn’t get to that point. I thank you for that.

You gave me the best life any dog could ever have.

You loved me unconditionally.

You kept me safe.

I’m with you always.

Thank you for loving me.

I sent Halo to be with you and dad. You needed a companion. She needed you. Halo loves to be loved and I will be with you, Halo and dad forever.

XO Kota

Husky Mix Realism Tattoo
Mom, Cesar Perez did amazing with the tattoo!

11 thoughts on “A Heartwarming Love Letter From My Soul Dog”

  1. Very well written & emotional Love Letter from your soul dog KOTA!!! Know you will always miss her. We all will miss her. The Photos are beautiful & add dimension to the Letter!

  2. I can’t imagine how difficult this was for you to get through – you had me bawling. But what a wonderful way to spend Valentine’s day, reminiscing on all the wonderful times you had with your soul dog, Kota.

  3. After reading that beautiful letter from Koda, I’m crying. Such beautiful memories. I didn’t realize she was attacked by another dog as a puppy going through her “fear period”! The same thing happened to my springer spaniel, Chloe. It’s so difficult trying to train them to trust other dogs. So I understand what you went through to keep Koda safe. It’s such a long process but you made it work and gave her such a beautiful life until your last goodbye. Koda is waiting for her Mom and Dad so you can all continue your beautiful adventures. Thanks for sharing this heartfelt
    “Letter from Koda”! It is a beautiful remembrance of your beautiful girl. ❤️

  4. What a great way to remember a lost pet, than a letter from them and the adventures you shared. It made me teary to read the one from Kota to you. Huge hugs!

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