Kuta's Grace
Kuta's Grace

August 2, 1998

Dear Steph,

I wanted to tell you about Kuta's passing, and truly thank you for making it possible for me to have him in my life. The years that I shared with him are very precious....what a strong and beautiful spirit that creature had. Even in his last days, that tail wagged and he looked people straight in the eyes when they came to him.

Kuta had contracted leptospirosis. It is a disease with a five day incubation period. One day he was full of energy and joy. The next day he passed diarrhea, and the next-- there was hemorrhaging throughout the digestive and urinary tracts. That afternoon he was taken to Dr. Ahana's, who ended up being on vacation. So the following morning, Biene and Hal whisked him up from there and took him to Dr. Basko, who took him off I.V. fluids, for his liver was simply not processing anything. He was given milk thistle. Then the boy was taken home and put on my (his) bed.

For the next three days, Biene, Dania, and Billy were with him 'round the clock-- comforting him and administering milk thistle and liquids with a syringe, in the hopes he would take and expel those liquids..... There still was hope that he could recover. During this time he was given medicine and acupuncture to relieve pain. Throughout this period he would acknowledge peoples' presence with a strong gaze and gently wagging tail.

Saturday night, Biene spent the night on the bed with him. He was lying on his side with head on the pillow, and she kept her arm over him. He would be still for a while and then become restless, get off the bed to go outside and try to expel liquid. The night was passed like that. The next morning he went and lapped up water. Then he looked at Biene in the eyes and began what was to be a journey of farewell.

First he meandered through the writing room, then the living room... then out to the lanai where he laid down in his favorite spot in the shade. At times throughout this journey Biene helped the "little drunken sailor"stay upright. He went outside and coursed all over the yard-- down by the studio, the ditch, over to the lychee and pua kini kini trees, and up by the car. Everyone was encouraged by the lapping up of water and this burst of energy.

A Sunday appointment had been arranged with Dr. Basko. When Kuta was put on the examination table, he was exceptionally listless, then began to breath heavily and foam at the mouth. Dr. administered a shot to ease the pain, and phoned me in Montana. He said, "Susan, your dog is dying. He has such a strong heart, he will keep living through the pain. Let me help him out." Through my tears I said, "Yes, of course, thank you."

He was buried at Biene's land at Kokee...at a spot where redwoods filter the sun, over-looking the stream. He had given many people happiness-- there were eight people at the ceremony, plus five of his dog friends. Everyone had a hand in digging his grave, and then took turns speaking about Kuta, wishing his spirit a good voyage and a hui ho ('til we make our circle again). A wooden cross was put on the grave which was circled with river rocks and covered with a symphony of blue hydrangeas. Biene put a tennis ball in with him to play with in the clouds. What a beautiful spirit took the form of a dog this lifetime.

I wanted very much to share this with you. I feel that we are connected through him and know you understand.