Cocoa: My Dog, My Friend

Well…..today was the day I have dreaded: Cocoa having to cross the rainbow bridge.

Ours was a story of best friends and companions. She came into my life after my previous dog, Tramp who was dumped off on my farm, disappeared. I won’t get into what happened but he was murdered by my neighbor. I will never forget that day in June 2003 when Cocoa healed my heart in the front yard.

Cocoa and I bonded immediately. She was 9 months old when I got her from a family whose kids were so rough on her that they cut her skin trying to “cut her hair.” Never was I happier for brats to exist.

Shortly after that, in August, my two cats Toonces and Muffin were born. A month later, I was splitting from my ex and headed out on my own to live in an apartment in Allentown, PA.

Cocoa made my life happy as she sweetly guarded me and watched over the kittens and my older cats Crunchy and Munchy.  After the passing of C&M she got even closer to me; taking up half my bed and sharing the couch.

We ended up moving a total 8 times together and through it all she was patient and loving. We played together, cuddled, saw each other through sickness….me H1N1 Swine Flu and her through bladder stones.

We finally ended up in the Twin Tiers of NY/PA. While I dealt with emergency gall bladder removal Cocoa was at my bedside. She lovingly let my friends take care of her and me but was steadfast.

Then we found “Mr. Right.” She LOVED Tom immediately and was like a puppy when he came over! It was moving to see. She sat by the door everyday waiting for him and when he came through the door she was all over him and he showered her with praise and affection. I am grateful he was such a deeply wonderful puppy daddy. They had a morning and evening ritual that I was not a part of……one that belonged to only them. I loved that.

When we finally moved to North Carolina, Cocoa got to love and be loved by our grandkids and Tom’s kids and our daughters-in-law. And extended family too. She wagged her tail, was patient (again), and enjoyed every second.

The last two weeks couldn’t have been a better ending. She got to be a loyal companion to my father-in-law. They sat out on the deck for long periods of time… And Mom Kelly showered Cocoa with love too. Then the last couple of nights it was grandkids, treats and love, love, love.

Our final act of love was letting Cocoa go when her cancer made itself known today. We had no idea because she never showed us and it never presented itself, except for mimicking allergies and old age.

I never had children so Cocoa and her cats were my babies. I loved her, sang to her, talked to her when I woke up and tucked her in at night. I tried to show her as much love, every day, as humanly possible. After all, she gave me every ounce of love she had.

I could try to put into words the importance of the companionship Cocoa and I shared, but there is no way to put it into words. She was there when no one else was. She helped me through my darkest period. She laughed and barked with me. And cried and cuddled.

I made up songs to sing to her, told her stories……. Just like I would have for my child.

Cocoa was, is and will always be a piece of my soul. She wasn’t a dog……..she was my friend and child.

I will have to go on without her, but in everything I do she will be there.