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The Final Wag

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.