Ode to Cocoa

Photo by cottonbro studio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/silhouette-of-dreamcatcher-during-sunset-5601484/
I lost my girl Cocoa this last Sunday.  I can’t believe it has just been a week since she died.  It was SO sudden!  The day before, on her walk, she seemed her normal self — sure a bit lazy when running, but that was just who she was.  😊  Even at supper, her appetite and energy seemed normal.  But later Saturday evening, she was lethargic and acting weird.  At one point, she was just standing above her water bowl, staring at it, and not moving, not reacting to my voice.

This was the second time she had this type of episode.  About 6 or 7 weeks prior, when staying at Mona’s, she had exhibited similar behavior, according to Mona.  She also had not eaten much if at all the day previous to me picking her up.  But, within a day after being back home, her energy and appetite increased back to normal.  So, I chalked it up to just something she ate.

In any case, when I woke up last Sunday morning, Cocoa had zero appetite.  She was moving around, but very little energy.  Later in the morning, she laid down, and could barely stand up.  She kept trying to sit up, and kept collapsing back to her side.  It was super worrisome.  Meanwhile, there was a raging blizzard outside (the biggest storm in Denver in over 10 years.)  But, I had called the 24-hour emergency vet clinic near me, and they were open — and I was confident I could navigate the streets to get here there.  So, I figured I’d watch her for another hour, and if she did not improve, I was gonna take her in.

I set up myself up with my laptop, right near where Cocoa was laying, so I could work nearby.  I covered her with a blanket in case she got cold.  Not longer after I got settled there, I looked up, and Cocoa was very quiet.  I went over and sat down on the floor next to her, and it became clear that she had quietly passed.  It was SO sad; so surreal; so unexpected!  I just say there, watching for breath signs, listening to her chest for heartbeats.  It took me a while to really accept it.

I sat there for about 30 minutes — slowly processing.  Accepting.  Crying gently.  Max and his friend, Owen, were upstairs, so I texted Max to come down by himself.  He came down, and we said good bye to my girl — my friend of the last almost 11 years.  I was kinda a mess, but I wanted to share the passing with someone else who loved her.  I felt it was important too for Max to have a chance to be with me in my grief — to express his own feelings, but also, to see how I processed it.

After about an hour, I covered her up completely with the blanket, and kinda went about my business at the house.  I was not sure what to do next.  I really was still in a little bit of shock and perhaps denial.  I finally called the local emergency clinic, and made arrangements to take her over there to be cremated.  Later that evening, I bundled her up, put her in the truck, and navigated the, by that time, nearly impassable streets, to take her in.  I said my goodbyes there, and let her go.

It has been a week.  I miss her still very much.  Cocoa was my loyal friend through the really hard times of my divorce, and the years afterwards — as I navigated my path as a single dad.  She was a constant presence in my life and in my growing kids’ lives.  She was always so happy to spend time with me; lived for going for walks; and loved spending time with me, sitting on the front porch, watching the neighbors go by.  She was a great dog!  I am grateful for his life, and for the companionship she provided.  She will always have a place in my heart, along with my other loyal dog friends.

All my love, my girl!

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