We picked Kibbi as our dog because her breed—Lagotto Romagnolo, or Italian water dog—is known to be good with families and kids. We knew we wanted her to be a therapy dog for the funeral home, and when she was just a few months old, we started her training toward this goal. At just under a year old, she passed her test and was certified as a therapy dog through Therapy Dogs International.
Kibbi loved her therapy work, but she had other great loves: her ball (which she knew how to retrieve perfectly but often chose to hold onto because she didn’t want to give it up) and swimming. She was a water dog, after all. She was happiest when pumping her little legs around Boone Lake, but she would also relish standing in any body of water, even a puddle.
Kibbi was super smart—she knew what we were going to do before we even did. She was sweet and stubborn and mischievous and shy at first but always, eventually, playful. When she was working, she was obedient and generous. She was scared of thunder and hated being alone, but we took her everywhere we could—on errands, to restaurants, on vacations. She had several good animal friends over the course of her life: Nestor García, Kenzi, Serene, Tanner, Sasha, and Kitty. She loved to roll in stinky stuff, dig holes in our mulched beds and plop into them, and run like crazy.
A friend of ours told us once that he noticed that she wagged her tail all the time, and she did. She reminded us to find happiness in the moment. She brought comfort to people in her therapy work, and she brought us joy every day. We often said she completed our family.
This week, after she’d had enough battling with medical issues, we had to put her down. We will never be the same.
She was like the third leg of a stool, and now that she is gone, our stool wobbles terribly. But we have each other, and we will always have our love for her.