^Coco^, An Angel Waits

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February 10, 1993 - April 9, 2002


In February of 2000, when my daughter, Lisa, asked me to take Coco into my home, I had several reservations.  Coco was already 7 years old and I knew that she was ill and I suspected diabetes.  A visit to the doctor confirmed my suspicions.  So we already had one hurdle to overcome.  In addition, I already had my own dog Mandy, a Flat Coated Retriever, who had been an only child for almost 5 years.
While I knew that Mandy enjoyed visiting with Coco, I had no idea how she would react to Coco coming to live with us.  One more hurdle.  But again, things worked out.  Mandy welcomed Coco into our home as her sister.....and they became the best of friends.  Coco had been with my daughter for seven years after coming to her as a very young pup.  But circumstances dictated that Coco needed a new home.  While Lisa did not want to "give her up", having her come to live with me turned out to be the perfect solution.......for everyone.  
I had always enjoyed Coco's company when I visited at Lisa's house......but little did I realize that I would fall head over heels in love with her.  Coco loved to lay on the couch and cuddle.....was always content just to be in the same room with me and Mandy.  Mandy graciously accepted the fact that Coco needed "special attention" and was more than willing to share her position as "top dog".
Mandy even gave up her spot on the bed at night because she understood that Coco needed the extra security as her eyesight began to fade away.  Mandy and Coco kept each other company during my long hours at work. They even made up their own game to pass the time away.  While there were always a number of delicious rawhide bones around, each pup always wanted the one that the other had.  As soon as one of them turned their back for a second, the other would snatch the bone away for their own.......this would go on for hours......each one watching for the opportune moment to grab the rawhide of choice.
I learned every day just how smart Coco was.  She'd had very little "training" while she was with my daughter and had much to learn.....and she learned so very quickly.  Among the lessons that Coco learned was that she wasn't to take food until I told her that it was "okay".  She learned not to jump on everyone who came in the door but rather to wait until they greeted her....and then she would politely sit while these guests would say hello to her.
As I learned to take care of Coco's diabetes, she made it as easy as possible for both of us.  After she finished eating and heard the refrigerator door open, she would come into the kitchen on her own.....I never had to call her....for her insulin shot.  I believe in my heart that Coco knew that these shots were what helped her to feel better.....and she was so very brave and willing to have me give them to her.

Coco loved being outside...........

Coco loved being out in the yard.  Even as her eyesight faded she easily found her way around.......knew where she could safely go and what areas to avoid.
Coco endured many physical problems in her all too short life.  As a young dog she suffered a broken leg which required surgery and the implanting of pins to aid in the healing.  She developed a cancerous tumor on her lower jaw which eventually led to the loss of a tooth.  Then came the cataracts which slowly stole her eyesight from her.  And then the diabetes.
But finally, there was glaucoma.  Coco's eyes became very inflamed and she began to rub them almost constantly with her paws.  A visit to the doctor and subsequent tests showed that because of glaucoma, the pressure in Coco's eyes was three times normal.
Her doctor was very honest, letting me know that there was little if anything to be done to ease her pain and discomfort.  We tried eyedrops but there was little difference in her pain.
And this was when I knew......it was time to let this sweet girl go.  I thought that the "decision" to help Coco earn her angel wings was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life..........and it was.  
My daughter Lisa was extremely distraught over my decision......and I will forever be sorry for that.  But I will never be sorry that I helped Coco when I did.  Never.
While Lisa may not have been ready to let Coco go, I think she knew in her heart that it was time......for Coco's sake.
I decided that we could wait two weeks before Coco left for Rainbow Bridge.  I knew that my daughter and granddaughters needed this time with Coco.....to come to terms with Coco no longer being beside all of us in the physical world.
I made sure that I also explained to Mandy that her sister was going to be leaving for the Bridge....and that we would be okay.  Mandy grieved for some time afterward, but I know in my heart that Mandy understands......
Coco and I also talked......many times during that two weeks.....and I know that Coco understood.....and told me in her own way, that it was time......that she was asking for my help.
I talked to Coco daily about how much we loved her, but we didn't want her to be in pain anymore.  I explained in detail to her what would happen when she got to Rainbow Bridge.  I kept wondering if she understood and hoping that she did.  
I asked my sister Carol, Mo's Mom, if she would go with me.  I knew that it would be hard for her but I really needed some moral support.  I knew that I would stay with my decision but I really needed Carol to help distract my thoughts on the ride to the doctor and the ride back home.  I thought that I might also need her to drive.  I wasn't sure that I could handle it.
When Coco came to live with us, I wanted Mandy and Coco to be treated equally.  Coco's diet prevented her from having alot of different "treats", and Mandy graciously gave hers up.  Lisa informed me that one of Coco's favorite things to eat (before her diet was restricted due to the diabetes) was "pizza bones" (crusts).  The night before Coco was to go to Rainbow Bridge, we ordered a pizza and Coco and Mandy had all the "pizza bones" wanted!!!!!
Much too quickly it was the next day.  I tried to keep the day as "normal" as possible but out of the ordinary things started happening.  It rained on and off all day.  Between the rains I took Coco outside to take some more pictures of her.  
Much too soon, it was time to go.  I quietly got Coco's leash out.  It never made a noise, but all of a sudden Coco came running into the kitchen and started jumping up on me.  She was blind.  How did she know that had gotten her leash out???  Added to that was the fact that she had never jumped up on me before when I had gotten out her leash.  Whether we were going to the doctor or the groomer, she would always sit patiently while I put her collar and leash on.  Mandy came into the kitchen to see what all the commotion was about.  Then my daughter came into the kitchen to give our baby a last kiss.  Needless to say it was very difficult to get her out of the house.
We went to the car and she jumped right in the back seat.  I then proceeded to Carol's house to pick her up.  I didn't realize it until much later, but while I was driving my teeth were clenched so tightly that my jaws ached and I was gripping the steering wheel so hard that I bruised my hands.  When Carol got in the car it calmed me down immediately.  Coco was sooooo excited when Carol got in the car.  She had never been allowed to ride in the front seat but she wanted in the front seat so bad....to be with Carol and myself, so I let her.  Coco knew that this day was different.
When we arrived at the doctor's  I wanted to walk around outside with her for a little bit but Coco had already decided how things were going to be.  She wanted to go into the office right away.  When they called her name she immediately headed in that direction.  My dear sister had to stop her for a moment to give her a kiss.
Coco and I went into the room and I laid her favorite afghan on the floor and had her lay down on it.  She laid there with her head on her paws.  I laid down with her and put my arm around her.  We stayed like that for about a half hour and talked.  We talked again about Rainbow Bridge, how much she was loved and about how very special she was.  She never moved from that spot. When the doctor came in she never even raised her head.  When he gave her the shot I just kept telling her over and over to run to the Bridge.  I laid there with her for another half hour with my arm around her and was thinking about how peacefully she went to the Bridge.  Then out of the blue it hit me as to why things weren't quite so "normal" that day.  The things that she had done that were out of the ordinary for her.  This very special fur baby was ready to go to Rainbow Bridge.  As much as she loved us, she had had enough of this life here.  She didn't want to be in pain anymore.  I then knew for sure in my heart that I had made the right decision.   
It was cloudy when we went into the doctor's office.  When I went outside afterwards, Carol told me that the sun had come out for a brief time and we knew that it was then that Coco had found her way to Rainbow Bridge.
Lisa, Mandy and I miss her terribly but we know that she is in a much better place, out of pain, playing with all of the other furbabies, and waiting for us.
When I tried to explain to my daughter that Coco would let her presence be known to us she didn't believe me.  One day when I came home from work, my daughter was crying.  When I asked her what was wrong she replied that she had heard Coco scratch at the back door.  She is now a believer!!!  I have also heard her scratch at the back door. Thank you, Coco, for letting us know that you are still with us and still giving us your unconditional love......

Mandy, me and Coco