This week has been one of the hardest in my life as we said goodbye to our sweet little constant companion of almost 15 years. My baby. My friend. My CoCo.
It is through tears that I write this post, but I feel this is just something I need to do...to honor one of the best dogs I've ever had. She was more than special, and I fought to hold on to her as long as possible - but it really came down to what was best for her, and not for my own selfishness. We let her go gracefully and I thank God that Dean was strong enough to be there with her, showing her love until the end.
CoCo came to us soon after we lost our other lab, Lady, to cancer. I was not wanting another dog so soon, but our daughter worked at the local veterinary where there was a six month old lab that had come in for adoption. She called and asked us to come look at her. After all of 10 seconds, Dean said "come on, let's go home"....and so it began.
CoCo was a wild child in the beginning and she was not an easy one to tame down. Whoever had her the first few months of her life didn't seem to have trained her in any way. With a little time and a lot of patience, she turned out to be the best natured and most disciplined dog we've had. She was so smart and could understand almost anything we said to her. I have read that dogs have the intelligence of young children, and with CoCo, I believe that is true.
Before we brought her home, we had already adopted our cat, Molly, and they did not know what to think of each other...but, it didn't take long for them to co-exist. Many mornings I'd walked in on them...Molly on the dog bed, and CoCo on the floor. They had a love/hate relationship; however, they were "siblings" and seemed to know it. We'd have to put CoCo up outside while we went to work, and Molly would be upset if we didn't get 'her' dog in before dark.
When CoCo turned around nine years old, she started losing her eyesight. First in one eye, then the other. The doctor said that it can happen with labs...for some reason, they stop producing tears. For years, we had to put drops in her eyes and keep them as clean as possible. Nonetheless, she still seemed to enjoy life.
Enter Tiger, our other cat that we adopted in 2010. He was not used to being around other animals, but it took only a very short time for him to become CoCo's best friend. He kept a sharp eye out for her and never let CoCo get too far out of his sight. One evening when I was looking out of the kitchen window, I saw him get in front of her and coax her back when he felt she had gone too far in the front yard. Today, he is lost and confused, looking all over for her and it breaks my heart even more.
The last month has been particularly hard. She started going deaf and I believe her sense of smell was also just about gone. When I spoke to her, she looked confused and couldn't tell where the voice was coming from. I had to put the food right up to her because she couldn't find it based on smell. Any quality of life that she had left was quickly slipping away from her and I really didn't want to make that appointment, but I couldn't let her keep going like that. She was having a hard time standing up and watching her just lay on her bed with her eyes open and looking dazed just absolutely broke my heart. She became very antsy most every night, and yes, we could have medicated her, but really....what kind of life would that be? The doctor said that it was about her dignity and we agreed it was time. I can honestly say that it feels like my heart has been ripped out. So many people feel that "it's just a dog", but to me, she was one of my babies.
All I can hope is that she knew that we loved her and that she will be waiting for us. I can't stand the thought of spending eternity without her. For now, I want to picture her running free and happy until we can play ball together once again.
Until then, my Puppy!