it’s never easy… to say goodbye

Last Saturday, i took the pup, Cocoa, to the vet for her rabies shot. she’s been fighting kidney/renal issues pretty much her entire life. she has NEVER shown any real signs outside of fairly frequent urination and some bad breath (which is a by product of the toxins not being broken down correctly/completely in her kidneys). in fact, she continues to be VERY excited whenever we take out the tennis ball for a seemingly never ending game of fetch. i asked about the breath during the visit and the vet tech suggested we draw blood and see where her ‘numbers’ were and how she was doing… well, we got a call from the vet yesterday… she’s not doing good. apparently, all of the supplements, drops, powders and whatnot that we’ve tried over the years has run its course. we got a call on sunday from the clinic that the numbers did not look good. the vet himself called yesterday…

vet says she might have a month left.

this has hit the wife and i very hard. Cocoa was/is a wedding present from a friend of mine. he was going back to school and couldn’t take his pup with him, we had been contemplating getting a pup – so we met at a one exit town off of I94 about half way between the both of us… i still remember watching Katie walking Cocoa on the leash in the ditch while he and i talked about what she knew as far as commands and everything else. we got her home and that night, she went into heat. we were told shortly afterwards that she had kidney disease and that she, most likely wouldn’t live past five years. well, we did what we could – took her to a couple different vets before we found a hippie sort of vet (Magnusson Veterinary Service in Hudson, WI) who found us some herbal supplements and drops and pills and powders that were going to help Cocoa’s kidneys. all of the visits, i never really understood the machine that they had but Katie believed in them and that was good enough for me. Cocoa was always relaxed when we went there – of course, when she saw the kitty she got excited – but she never did not want to be there.

Cocoa has been a great addition to our family. she’s been great with Joseph and the other kids at the in-home day care. when they got to be too much for her, she didn’t bite – just tried to get away into her kennel or asked to go upstairs and take a snooze. very patient and very loving, i have always joked that we should’ve named her Shadow, as she was never far away – especially when we were cooking or packing for a trip. her favorite times were playing fetch and the day after or the day of a fresh snowfall… specially, the big snow storms where the drifts were as tall as she was. she would pounce, prance and run all around, chasing us as we played and pushed Joseph around in the sled.

i’m nowhere near being considered a dog-trainer, but Cocoa was able to overcome my shortcomings as a master. she had a great nose in the field and listened better than i could’ve ever hoped. didn’t take me long to figure out to trust her nose over my thoughts on where the birds were. when it came to ducks, she could care less, but pheasants, grouse, quail… upland birds, that was her game. my biggest regret is that i didn’t get her out in the field more often – she loved being in the fields, jumping around. roosters or not, we had fun and i wish there was more left of the season to take her out a couple more times…

we’ve got a month left with her, maybe more, maybe less… and we’re going to cherish every day. it’s very difficult right now, i can’t imagine what it’ll be like when she gets to jump through the snow drifts in the sky. it’s been over 10 years since my first (and last) dog passed away. i still wear his chain to this day. man’s best friend… they truly are.

Today, March 4th, 2011 – Cocoa is still with us and really shows no signs of slowing down. she still gets disappointed when we put the ball away. God has blessed us with an amazing creature.

1 thought on “it’s never easy… to say goodbye

  1. Eric & Katie & Joseph, I’m so sorry 🙁 One of our kitties died 4 years ago of kidney failure (at age 5) and it was SO hard! Thankfully it was quick so she wasn’t in a lot of pain for long, but it was very difficult for the 3 of us (and Thea in utero). So very sorry 🙁

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