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The Long Eventful Life of a Serenely High-Spirited Handsome Dog

Our Kaya has left us. Would have been thirteen on Saturday. I doubt if he thought of himself as a majestic handsome dog. Sometimes he thought of himself as a lapdog, in spite of weighing roughly the same as I do.

He was Bob’s dog, not mine, Bob being the more nurturing of us, the more able to tolerate a schedule of walking feeding training. Much as I love dogs, especially this one, I know I can’t/won’t take regular care of much of anything. So I’ve had a perfect arrangement, like being Kaya’s aunt or grandmother: doting on him on my schedule. Delighting in his beauty and grace.


Well, he was often graceful.


He’s had something of a reputation, this dog; he played a little rough. Bred to be a herd guardian, he has kept vigorous watch over us, even in the den. If I was reading on the sofa, he’d sit by me, looking not at me, but scanning our perimeter.

Bob likes big dogs, exotic breeds, working dogs. Kaya was a Kangal Dog, a type of mastiff, one of the national breeds of Turkey, capable of fighting off bears, wolves, and jackals.

The squirrels of Chatham County have to have been something of a disappointment.

He was playful with our Aura …


Up  until she started to annoy him.

In his later years, he became a calendar model: Mr. April on a Kangal Dog calendar.



In his later years, he also became more gentle, soulful, elegant. He more often looked us in the eyes.

I do wish his fierce spirit godspeed.

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  • March 15, 2017 at 7:16 pm Reply

    I’m sorry you’ve lost this amazing animal spirit. <3

    • Peggy Payne
      March 15, 2017 at 7:18 pm Reply

      Thanks, Mamie!

  • Reagan Weaver
    March 15, 2017 at 7:50 pm Reply

    A soul departed. My heart goes out to you both.

    • Peggy Payne
      March 15, 2017 at 7:53 pm Reply

      Thank you, Reagan. Makes me think of your Cary!

  • March 15, 2017 at 8:14 pm Reply

    What a lovely tribute to a sweet and devoted companion. I’m sorry for your loss, Peggy.

    • Peggy Payne
      March 15, 2017 at 8:21 pm Reply

      Thank you, Susan. I keep an eye on your Tucker on Facebook. Happens to be a family name (Margaret Tucker Payne.)

  • March 15, 2017 at 9:10 pm Reply

    Thanks for this post Peggy, Kaya was all I could ask of a companion, and more – till a few years ago he excelled at finding a momoent when I wasn’t paying Very careful, close attention to fade into our woods to wander his kingdom [the world] . Every time, I thought I’d resolved/prevented that problem, but he always out-witted me until a spinal chord lesion steadily worsened over the past 5 years , to the point of no control over bladder or bowels, and no balance or control in his hind quarter. He dragged himself around by his strong front legs in short bursts, 3 yards or so. And still he tried to drag himself away for another adventure. If I could see him he answered the call of extensive obedience training, If not, he didn’t.
    The doggie wheelchair was a struggle to get on, and he enjoyed much greater mobility ’till he tired in 10 or 15 minutes.
    Now I keep seeing and thinking of reminders of his part of our world: pictures, dog care necessities like bags and cans of dog food, his food dish, his collar, and needing to finish picking up feces in his big electric fenced pen – Like all good dogs, he’ll have a permanent place in our memories – I’m real sad that he’s gone, and real glad we knew him and enjoyed him while we could. bob

    • Peggy Payne
      March 15, 2017 at 9:16 pm Reply

      More of this conversation later, Bob.

  • Lee Grohse
    March 15, 2017 at 11:22 pm Reply

    I enjoyed hearing about Kaya from Bob over the years. Sounds like a canine life well lived. Glad the two of you had him for a friend and appreciated his particular spirit.

    • Peggy Payne
      March 16, 2017 at 12:00 am Reply

      Bob and I thank you, Lee.

  • Rebecca
    March 16, 2017 at 1:11 am Reply

    Life would be less of EVERYTHING good if it weren’t for the time we share with our dogs. I am so sad for your loss. What a beautiful way Peggy to celebrate his life.

    • Peggy Payne
      March 16, 2017 at 1:49 am Reply

      Thank you and thank you, Rebecca.

  • Marsha
    March 16, 2017 at 1:25 am Reply

    They leave such big holes in our hearts and homes when they enter Spirit World. So sorry for your loss and glad you all shared good years in your love and care for one another. Our pets tend us as much as we tend them.

    • Peggy Payne
      March 16, 2017 at 1:50 am Reply

      That dog was definitely a caregiver, Marsha.

  • Walter Bennett
    March 16, 2017 at 2:34 am Reply


    • Peggy Payne
      March 16, 2017 at 3:18 am Reply

      Thanks, Walter!

  • Robbie Lane Jackson
    March 16, 2017 at 4:44 am Reply

    I am so sorry that this magnificent friend is gone. I love big dogs; always had giant shepherds. Have an elderly lab who guards me like a hawk. I love that. Makes me feel loved., and safe. Had to put our 15 yr old Pete the Pug to sleep last wk. I feel for you and Bob. These pups had happy lives and loving companions. Know they’re happy, wherever they’re trotting.. Beautiful pics, by the way.

    • Peggy Payne
      March 17, 2017 at 12:06 am Reply

      I’m sorry about Pete the Pug, Robbie Lane. And thank you! I like the picture of dog spirits trotting!

  • March 16, 2017 at 5:22 am Reply

    Your Kaya and my Micah were both gentle giants. They were here to love and protect us, to bond with us and to make us laugh. I loved hearing your Kaya stories and often chuckled as if I were there myself when reading them. Such a strong, beautiful spirit. I am grateful that Kaya got to stay here for 13 years. A nice old age for a large dog! Micah was only 8, but they leave us when they must and much of the tiime, they need a push and permission to take flight. I am very sorry that it was your Kaya’s time. They bring us so very much that is almost unexplainable. Big hugs to you as you remember a life very well-lived. Someone I believe that my gentle giant was there to greet your gentle giant so that they could trade squirrel chasing stories and friendship. Much love and deep sympathies to both you and Bob.

    • Peggy Payne
      March 17, 2017 at 12:04 am Reply

      I love the idea of Micah and Kaya hanging out together, Debbie. I’m going to hang onto that image. Thanks for your nice message.

  • March 22, 2017 at 12:07 am Reply

    Awwww I sure loved getting to know the darling, big galumph, even posthumously. I am so in love with our dog, I don’t have any idea how I will stand it when he passes. So hard – give Bob a hug for me, also you. OXO

    • Peggy Payne
      March 22, 2017 at 3:07 am Reply

      I hope your dog is a healthy young fellow, Randee.

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