Our dog, Koda (Dakota) died on October 12, 2010. We were pretty broken up about it for a while. For the last 6 months, his rear legs were getting pretty weak from some degenerative, neural something or other. It was getting harder for him to get up stairs and he couldn’t walk far without his back end collapsing every now and then.

Koda also had a collapsing trachea thingy. When we got Koda he breathed very loudly. This was because the folds of his trachea were getting in the way of the air passing through his airway. This eventually made it difficult for him to breath. Surgery was an option but that would have been hard for an old dog and the vet wasn’t convinced that it would solve the problem.

We got Koda 6 years ago when he was 5. He was a 90 pound red Golden Retriever. He loved his toys and loved chasing after them. Koda was also a bit of a goofball.

Some of Koda’s goofball reputation was due to the way that his upper lip would sometimes catch on his teeth. This had the effect of giving him a lopsided grin.

When he found you sitting in a room, he would get whichever of his toys was handiest, place it nowhere near you, back away, sit down and then stare at the toy. He would stare so intensely that he would sometimes start to shake.
Sometimes, we would give up, walk over to the toy and throw it for him. Other times, Koda would give up and move the toy to where we could reach it and throw it.

Once the toy was thrown, Koda would joyously chase after it and pounce on it. Watching a 90 pound dog pounce is a strange thing to see.

One of Koda’s favorite toys was a 4 inch hollow ball with a number of large holes in it. Koda liked to carry it around in his mouth. When he breathed around/through it, his breathing sounded like Darth Vader’s. We called him Darth Koda.

One of our favorite tricks that we’d pull on Koda was to pretend to throw a toy down the stairs and have him chase after it. About halfway down the stairs Koda would realize that the toy wasn’t down there and he’d stop. Unfortunately, Koda couldn’t figure out how to turn around when he was on the stairs. Koda would then finish going down the stairs and then come back up to get his toy.
(Yes. I know. I tricked a dumb animal. It was still funny)

Koda always obsessed about his toys. If he was playing with a toy, the only way to distract him was with another toy. I would watch him playing with one toy and then throw a second toy near him. Koda would forget about the first toy and shove the second toy in his mouth. I would then throw the first toy past him. Koda would then drop the second toy like it was chopped broccoli and shove the first toy back in his mouth. This would continue for a while until Koda figured out that he wanted both toys. He’d shove the first toy into his mouth and then try to get the second one in there as well. In doing this, the first toy would pop out and then he’d try again and again.

The tricks weren’t always one-sided. Koda would often sit beside us with a toy in his mouth, presenting it as though he wanted us to take it. As we reached for the toy, Koda would turn his head away, moving the toy out of reach.

Good dog, Koda

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