To Kono, From His Mother

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“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”  — Dr. Seuss


Kono collage

A Letter to Kono Kurvers from His Mother, Kelsey Stuart

Today I am very sad because yesterday I sat with my young son Kono and watched as he quietly passed away from my life.  There is a hole in my heart and a void that is almost unbearable and I share that feeling with his person Krista. No parent should ever lose their child at such a young age.  He was only 4 1/2 years old.  He left behind so many friends and caring people who’s lives he touched and I know they will never forget him.

All of my seven children are special each in their own way and each has a person who loves them dearly. But Kono battled something that I hope none of them ever have to deal with….CANCER!  It was a valiant battle and he did not have to go it alone.

I want to tell you a bit about my special boy Kono and what he meant to the people around him.  He was an uncontrollably happy child always wanting to please and make people smile.  Even after his diagnosis of cancer in June 2016 he remained happy and was ever the trooper through 2 surgeries, 2 rounds of radiation, chemotherapy, 50 + MRIs, CT scans, physical therapy, acupuncture and countless other appointments and procedures. He was diagnosed and treated at the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital and Flint Animal Cancer Center.  His doctors and technicians spanned across many departments.  They all tried their very best to help him recover from the devastating effects of spinal nephroblastoma which is incredibly rare.  I went with him to almost all his appointments and treatments and marveled at the care and love each person gave him.  I know they are sad at losing him and they will be forever in my heart as well.

While Kono’s life was short, he lived it to the fullest.  Early in life he excelled at swimming and even swam on his last day.  He loved food, his siblings, purple toys, balls and people…mostly people though because, after all he is and was a Golden Retriever. He went to work every day with me and his brother Kevlar as well as 2 of his sisters Koaster and Khaki. He saw and played with 2 other siblings Kizzi and Korrigan almost every day. He played with is brother Kabota when he came from Florida to visit.  He traveled all over the country with Krista and me and my person making new friends at every hotel and in every animal welfare or cruelty investigation class we helped teach.  He helped teach swift water and ice rescue classes.  He played in the sand and swam in the Atlantic Ocean in Florida.  He ran and rolled in the snow in Wisconsin.  He cruised in the rain in Washington and savored the sun in California.  He went to visit human family members in Las Vegas and comforted Krista’s mom as she battled cancer. We went to NASCAR races in Kansas, New Hampshire, Alabama, Delaware and Virginia. He and I hung out with drivers like Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, and Danica Patrick.  He sat on the pit wall at Stewart Haas Racing watching pit practice and cruised through the race shop greeting everyone he encountered.

His recent claim to fame was being a poster boy for One Cure to help create awareness about comparative oncology…one cure for cancer for humans and animals.  Who better to spread the word than Kono?  He visited the Denver Ronald McDonald houses in Denver to visit and compare notes with kids battling cancer. You see he lived life to the fullest savoring each day and having grand adventures. People should be so lucky.

But now he is gone and a part of me left with him.  My other children mourn the loss also. I can only hope and pray he is running again somewhere with all the other Goldens that have passed through and enriched our humans’ lives.  I will miss rough housing with him and stealing his toys.  I will miss watching him look out of the truck window with one paw on the armrest.  I will miss napping with him using his butt as a pillow as we drove across the country. I will miss his smile, his deep bark, his gentleness, his sense of joy, his touch and his presence in my life. I will miss him and all that he was, but I will always remember him and he will remain forever in my heart.