The Final Wag

Post image for The Final Wag

by Nancy Newcomer

We lost our good girl this week. Our dear sweet CoCo passed away Wednesday night after living a happy and healthy 9 years. Certainly a nice long life for a bullmastiff, but entirely too short for me. The house has been eerily quiet these past few days. I keep expecting to hear the “thump, thump, thump” of her big strong tail wagging, but no such luck. A friend of mine pointed out that CoCo’s thumping tail was our “alarm clock” for 9 years so it’s going to take awhile to adjust to the silence.

CoCo was my cooking companion which is no surprise to anyone. Forget about turning out a gourmet meal. That dog would happily devour any scrap, crumb or morsel that would come her way, no matter the size, seasoning, temperature or texture. She hung out with me in the kitchen every day and wanted to be where the food and the action was. How is it that a dog can distinguish between the “ripping open” sound of tortilla chips and a package of paper towels? Somehow CoCo knew the difference and would happily remain lounging if paper products were being opened, but miraculously launched her 105 lb body off the floor for the sound of crackling snack food bags.

Although food was a top priority for her, CoCo also loved her people. While most dogs start yapping when a doorbell rings, “ding dong” was the happy sound for CoCo. Never a barker, she was the ever faithful greeter who would run toward the front door, tail wagging and big jowls smiling. Everybody loved CoCo, the gentle giant, and really, who could resist that big fat head, bouncy tail, and wrinkly face?

Although she was often quick to greet, she also had a terrible lazy streak and spent a large portion of her day sunbathing in our driveway. She was SO lazy in fact, that she charmed the UPS man into HAND FEEDING her dog biscuits while she remained sprawled out, without lifting her head even an inch. I guess he had HER number, but JEEZ, really, how spoiled can you be?! As endearing as that quality was, we always wondered if we’d return home someday to find CoCo happily gnawing on a hunk of prime rib while our house had been looted & robbed.

Our kids were 7 and 10 years old when CoCo came into the family and it was love at first sight. She accompanied us to soccer, softball & baseball, the beach, the snow, bar-b-ques, parties and vacation. Everybody fell in love with CoCo, BUT, let’s not gloss over anything here ~ there were a few bad habits and periodic “incidents”. For starters, the puppy years of chewing on the remote control, the phones, Julianna’s feather boa, and the complete annihilation of several shoes. Then there was the sneaking on the coach in dead of night (or day—who are we kidding?), rolling in the oily, dirty driveway, and occasional drooling. In her later years, I caught her devouring an entire stick of butter that she had stolen the from the dining table as well as numerous bagel snatchings. Keep in mind, she was a big girl and could easily grab high objects. My brother-in-law and his wife spoiled her rotten at their house by allowing her on the couch and in their bed. I think they finally kicked her out after awakening them with her high volume log sawing.

It’s amazing how much our dogs add to our lives. They share in our every day routines, our social gatherings and special occasions. They are full fledged members of our families that add joy, comfort, humor, companionship, and warmth to our existence. This past year, I’ve noticed that many of our friends are going through the same thing. We all got our dogs when our kids were younger, and now, here we all are, losing our pets and sending our kids off to college. Talk about a one-two punch. I guess there is nothing new here in the scope of life. It’s just one more passage, one more transition that you go through when you get a few years under your belt. As my oldest sister said to me, “Welcome to Middle Age.” I’m still adjusting to that term which is an entirely different subject for another day!

In the meantime, we are mourning the loss of our CoCo, but are grateful for the time we had with her. She lived a good dog’s life and gave us many wonderful family memories. I’ll miss her begging in the kitchen, her jingling collar, her big droopy face, and most of all, that wonderful “thump, thump, thump.” Keep on waggin’, CoCo, and say “hi” to Cosmo, Max & Rocky…they’re all waiting for you.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Lucy8a October 16, 2011 at 6:34 PM

My heart breaks for you…have lost three myself, and Mitzi, my little Shih-Tzu is getting on up there now, too. Really dread THAT day. My comfort was knowing how happy and loved they were while they were here, and there was no more suffering.

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Nancy Newcomer October 17, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Thank you for your kind words ~ it’s amazing how much we love ‘em.
Take Care,
NN

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Barbara October 16, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Hugs being sent your way Nancy. What a beautiful girl she was. We have 5, they are so much a part of our lives. We have a rare red St. Bernard who reminds me so much of your description of your CoCo. I feel your sadness and your joy at having had her for 9 beautiful years.

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Nancy Newcomer October 17, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Thanks Barbara~ that means alot to me. I would love to see a photo of your St Bernard–I’m a sucker for big dogs :)
Take Care, NN

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Sally Newcomer Ginochio October 16, 2011 at 7:48 PM

I cried reading your words. Then I laughed. Then I cried again. She was the best dog.

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Nancy Newcomer October 17, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Thanks Sally-I’m glad we brought CoCo up to the folks in August-she LOVED being with the entire family and she certainly enjoyed watching Brian cook the ribs :) She really was the best dog and I’m glad you guys got to be with her. We are SO sad, but she went out as gracefully as she could. She was a one of a kind.
xo Nancy

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Jan October 16, 2011 at 8:15 PM

What a beautiful description of your sweet CoCo and what she has meant both to the family and others who knew her. She was a wonderful dog!

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Nancy Newcomer October 17, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Thanks Jan-she was the BEST.
xo Nancy

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Jane October 16, 2011 at 8:22 PM

CoCo made everyone feel like they were special. What a perfect tribute to a perfect friend. xo, jane

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Nancy Newcomer October 17, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Thank you Jane.
xo Nancy

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Ronda October 17, 2011 at 1:59 AM

I’m sooo sorry for your loss! After the loss of our family dog of 15 years, I vowed to not get attached to another dog as it was too painful when they pass. Oh but that is never the case…a few years later Bailey was put in my path. What an amazing dog! But…as sweet as she is she is a Great Dane, with an even shorter life expectancy. I dread the day that she passes. I feel for you and your family. (I bawled like a baby when I read your tribute to CoCo) Take care and know that someday you will see your beloved pets again! <3

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Nancy Newcomer October 17, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Thanks so much for your kind words, Ronda. I would LOVE to see a picture of your Bailey! Enjoy every minute with her.
Take Care,
NN

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Tessa October 17, 2011 at 9:33 AM

My heart goes out to you, Nancy. I know the sadness and grief of losing such a dear canine friend and member of the family. You said it so well with emotions of gratitude and joy for her. Brings back wonderful memories or our dog, Kiley (Australian Shepherd), who passed away 3 years ago. Thank you so much for sharing your memories and love for CoCo with all of us.

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Nancy Newcomer October 17, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Thank you Tessa. I think everyone can relate on some level~ we all go through this at one point or another~ I appreciate your kind words. I’m sure your Kiley was awesome :)
Nancy

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Samantha October 17, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Nancy, I just lost two sweet doggie companions this year.. I know how it hurts.. Just knowing other people care helps, but does not take away the sadness of them not being there with you.. That beautiful life is gone from that body, but that life you will see again I am sure..

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Nancy Newcomer October 17, 2011 at 12:57 PM

I am sorry to hear about your dogs Samantha–that’s tough to lose 2 in one year-jeez. You are right-it is SO sad, but it helps so much to have other people care. You are so sweet.
Thank you.
NN

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Lisa Brown Castaneda October 17, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Oh Nancy…….That CoCo was a special girl. When Juan and I visited you guys she was right there checkin’ us out and even slept with us for awhile. And layed in the driveway rolling around!! She will be missed dearly but truly loved forever. Now she can play with my sweet Buford and Bodie!!!

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Nancy Newcomer October 17, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Thank you Lisa for your sweet words and memories about CoCo~ I didn’t realize she snuck in your room, but like I said , she loved her peeps :) That was our girl! I loved your dogs and all the stories–they are SO much a part of our lives.
xoNancy

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Carol Sweatland October 17, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Loved your truly amazing, well-written story. So sorry for your loss. Glad you have so many good memories to cherish. They sure become a part of your family. My dog is going on 15 years old, so I know that time is coming soon. Thanks for sharing.

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Nancy Newcomer October 17, 2011 at 1:50 PM

Thank you Carol.
NN

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Denise Cutbirth December 14, 2011 at 8:26 PM

I know how important CoCo was to your family. I remember the first time I met that big pooch. I was impressed with your love and pride for that dog. I am so sorry for your loss.

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Nancy Newcomer December 14, 2011 at 10:02 PM

Thank you Denise. It’s been 2 months and I keep expecting her to be waiting at the front door :(
She was a great companion and we have lots of wonderful family memories.

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