Kira’s Happy Tail – By: Shannon Brandl

We sure didn’t need another dog…. But sometimes the dog picks you. Let me start by saying I’m a runner. I run 5Ks, half marathons, full marathons and I’ve even thrown in an ultra-marathon for good measure. I do most of my training runs solo. As you can imagine – its gets lonely, and quite frankly, it can get a little boring. I mentioned to my husband that I was interested in adopting a running buddy. Partially for company and partially as protection. It’s amazing how even the sweetest pup is a deterrent and provides a level of safety like no other.

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At the time I had a little poodle mix. Lilly was a too small to run with and she was battling many health problems. A few years earlier she had to have her eyes removed due to acute glaucoma. In the recent months it was determined she had a brain tumor. We were just doing our best to keep her comfortable and happy in her last days. Her special needs and my 25 years in the veterinary field (kennel kid, assistant, certified technician) along with my now being a special needs teacher prompted me to look at dogs with special needs as my new running buddy. Sight impaired – no. Missing limbs – no. Deaf – why

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I started looking at all of the sweet dogs needing homes – I would have happily taken ANY of them. How was I ever going to pick one that might be a good fit? Then I saw Kira. Those ears! That sweet look in her eyes! And I could tell her tail was wagging in one of her pictures. I immediately felt a connection. I I told my husband about her. I think he could hear in my voice that there was no telling me no. I showed him the pictures. (Undeniably cute!) I contacted the rescue – All Paws in St. Charles, MO. I filled out the application and crossed my fingers.

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I was so excited to get a call from rescue goddess extraordinaire Laurie Metzger. She had already called my vet checking on the status of Lilly. We discussed some of her health issues. She then told me the words I hoped to hear – “We are holding an adoption event tomorrow. I will hold her until you meet her. If you like her you can take her home the same day.” Guess we were road tripping to St. Louis!

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The next morning we made the four hour drive to St. Louis. We brought Lilly along. Kira seemed less than interested in us. She was so bonded with Laurie. But I was in love. We brought her home. The first few days were tough for her. Every time we went outside she looked for Laurie. It broke my heart. Slowly but surely she came around to us and began to trust us. Now she is MY girl. She is quite a character. Her whole body wiggles when she is happy to see you. Evenings you will find her snuggling on the couch. She sleeps under the covers next to me (much to the chagrin of my husband). She loves her monthly BarkBox – destroying toys is a favorite activity. She has her own toy box FULL of fun things to play with and she will dig through to find her favorites. And she is the best running buddy ever!

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Kira LOVES our runs together. She recognizes my running clothes and it usually takes 5 minutes to get her to stop doing zoomies around the house so I can get her harness on her. She runs along the right side of the path in a perfect line. She will look back at me for direction on which way we need to turn. The best part is that barking dogs in houses or behind fences don’t phase her!

I went in search of a running buddy and got that and so much more!

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(And for the record – I can’t imagine ever having another hearing dog again. Deaf dogs DO rock!)