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Finding Purpose

75 days ago, on a Thursday afternoon, God called Kai home.

I did not understand why she had to go so soon...I still don’t fully understand.

I do know that she is an incredible blessing on my life. She was instant friends with every person she met and loved with abandon.


Kai is named after the song "Let The Waters Rise," by Mikeschair. It is still astounding to me how much this song captures Kai and how this dog changed my life.

Let the Waters Rise

Don't know where to begin
It’s like my world's caving in
And I try but I can't control my fear
Where do I go from here?

Sometimes it’s so hard to pray
When You feel so far away
But I am willing to go
Where you want me to
God, I trust You

There's a raging sea
Right in front of me
Wants to pull me in
Bring me to my knees
So let the waters rise
If You want them to
I will follow You
I will follow You
I will follow You

I will swim in the deep
'Cuz You'll be next to me
You're in the eye of the storm
And the calm of the sea
You're never out of reach

God, You know where I've been
You were there with me then
You were faithful before
You'll be faithful again
I'm holding Your hand

There's a raging sea
Right in front of me
Wants to pull me in
Bring me to my knees
So let the waters rise
If You want them to
I will follow You
I will follow You
I will follow You

God Your love is enough
You will pull me through
I'm holding onto You
God Your love is enough
I will follow You
I will follow You

My storm started weeks before I had even thought about getting a puppy. Hanna was 5 at the time, but would often come up lame after a long weekend of trialing. We decided to take x-rays and found out she had arthritis in both wrists. My agility days with Hanna were limited at best. I was happy she was otherwise healthy, but I was still crushed.

In the middle of my sophomore year of college, I thought I was in no place to get a puppy. I had classes throughout the day and I was living without a backyard, in an apartment.

But when I heard about a local litter of Border Collie puppies, I could not resist emailing the breeder.

Kai was born unilaterally deaf: she was deaf in her right ear. I knew this before I had even met her but I felt incited to go see her anyway.


She was 8 weeks old and full of spunk the first time I met her. I did not observe any handicap in her, but I still had doubts. I went home with a big decision before me: was I ready to take home a unilaterally deaf dog?

I was actually driving when I made the decision. As usual, my radio was tuned into The Fish, our local Christian station. I had only heard "Let the Waters Rise" a couple times, but that time it captivated me. I turned it up so I could take in the lyrics and by the end of the song I had made a heartfelt commitment to take care of this little split faced, black tri puppy.

I decided on naming her after the song so I would always remember that promise I made to myself and to the puppy. “Kai” means "ocean" in Hawaiian.

Because of school, I could not take Kai home until she was 13 weeks. After my physics final on a Wednesday afternoon, my Mom and I went to pick Kai up.

Kai was the smartest and sweetest puppy that I have owned. She was an utter joy to work with; however, I had a ton of adjusting to do, previously coming from a crazy Hanna dog. She had a softer mouth and was less food driven than Hanna: those were the things we would both eventually bond over.

A week and a half after I took her home, my first storm with Kai began. It was the first morning I had her at my apartment in Davis. I had just opened the front door of the apartment when a garbage truck in the parking lot, not 20 yards away, inverted a dumpster-full of trash, emitting a massive crashing noise. Kai was terrified and that experience left her with a severe fear of traffic noises, especially large trucks. She was afraid of leaving the apartment out of the front door. We could not take normal walks because she was constantly stressed when she was outside. Training sessions essentially ended when she heard a truck, regardless of whether we were inside or outside. When we came upon a truck during potty breaks, she would bolt to the end of her leash to get back to the safety of the apartment.

This storm challenged me. I had never dealt with a seriously fearful dog before. But we eventually worked through it together (Hanna, Tara, and Jeni helped too). I’d say she was about 10 months old when she could be outside without constant stress. But Kai was still sound sensitive because she could not locate sounds. I played pointing games with her to show her where sounds came from which helped her to focus on me more, rather than worry about the source of sound.

Overall, however, I'd say the amount of compensation Kai was capable of still amazes me. Other than sound sensitivity as a puppy and an occasional wrong turn on the agility course, she was not really handicapped by her unilateral deafness.


The rest of our storms were smaller, of course, in comparison to sound sensitivity. Kai was a distracted young girl and enjoyed running off to visit other people and dogs. This was a training problem on my part which we overcame with tricks and better recall training.

The day I lost her, I got the urge to take Kai to the park which was not usually where we trained. But I took her anyway and we played with a new tug toy I had bought earlier that morning. Even though we were doing simple recall and shadow handling drills, I remembered feeling so satisfied with the dog that she had become. Things that had previously distracted her did not get in the way that day. I believe God blessed me with that experience before I had to say goodbye. That last training session with her was amazing, and I will remember her that way.

Here’s to a good dog and an amazing friend.
Kai, you are loved. You will run on green fields with the best dog-sitter imaginable till the day we meet again.


God called Kai late afternoon on July 5, 2012. She passed from this life due to water intoxication. For more information, visit http://agilitybliss.webs.com/waterintoxication.htm

4th of July

week 27/52

Finally, after 3 hours in the car

checked into the hotel

and off to the beach!


back to the beach!

up, up, up the stairs

week 26/52

I graduated on Father's day

celebrating the summer solstice!

Kai's tongue

starters gamblers and week 25/52

Surprise!! Kai is actually in advanced gamblers.

This unexpectedly came in the mail today along with her advanced jumpers title. Kai is awesome

These were for week 25 - finals got in the way of posting

pretty dog and pretty new shoes

last week of being an undergrad

I will miss this class

and Kai explored campus for the first time

Grand Prix and Steeplechase tomorrow :D

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September 2012


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