My Little Darling Coco

Words can not even begin to express how I’m feeling. I shift between numbness and anger to sorrow and sometimes laughter when I think of my sweet little Coco. She was only ten years old. It’s been a week to the day since she took her last breath and I can’t grasp the fact of it all. She’s no longer with me. I’ll never hold her again. I’ll never see her again. Her beautiful beany eyes will never look at me again. My heart aches to hold her. She’ll never know how much we miss her or how much we want her back. We’re all aching for her…

Coco came to us by pure chance. It was the fall of 2013. Gloria had just turned five. We were in no poisition to adopt a pet because it wasn’t something I was looking for but somehow the idea of having one fell on my lap. Suddenly it didn’t sound so far fetched.

One day our youngest son brought his highschool girlfriend over to the house who just happened to have a puppy with her. Her neighbor’s dog whelped a litter and she was trying to get rid of them. (She wasn’t a breeder. Apparently at some point while she was away her kids didn’t take good care of her female dog.) The second I laid my eyes on that cute little thing I fell in love with her. I knew I had to have her.

Coco came from a Maltese mama and a Chihuahua papa, or was it the other way, I don’t quite remember. It was a small litter, three or four pups. I gave the lady $200. She was so tiny, as she was only a few weeks old. It was my first time adopting a pet and I was really excited. She was a beautiful and fragile little thing. I remember the first couple of nights she cried because she no longer had her mama. It took several days and major sweet talking to finally convince my husband to let me keep her. Oh the irony. Anyone who knows us knows that Coco was/became his dog!

For a small pup Coco was tough, and I really mean that. She was an alpha dog. She challenged the toughest and biggest pups that came near her especially if they came to our home, yet she was friendly to humans but very cautious. She was also very territorial and she did make a good watch dog despite her small stature. She was very confident, she was as they say, a girl boss, lol. She rarely barked but when she did it was the prettiest bark. She was so sweet and mellow, sometimes she behaved like a cat, just lounging for hours on end always looking for a sun spot. She would let me lap her but just long enough to get my cuddle time then she’d want to be let go as if to say, ‘ok mom, that’s enough for now.’ She was the family dog. Everyone had a different relationship with her and each of us miss her in different ways. We all had different experiences yet we all tell the same stories. She was our sweet Coco who loved us back unconditionally.

It was mid morning on April 11, 2018 when my husband called to tell me Coco was hit by a pickup truck. As I type the words it all seems like a lifetime ago, but the memories are vivid. My reaction. My frustration, anger, despair and fear. Almost all of the exact emotions I’m feeling now with the exception that then I had hope.

Fortunately Coco didn’t get any broken bones or open wounds except for minor scratches and cuts but she did suffer a major blow to the head causing trauma. At first the vets weren’t optimistic about any recovery at all but we were determined to give her a chance. We willed her to get better. Of all the vets that treated her just one gave us a positive prognosis and we clung to that sliver of hope. After four days at the pet hospital and lots of prayers we finally brought her home. She was deaf and blind but we were told that was expected and hopefully short term.

Coco recovering from the accident. She suffered head trauma which caused temporary deafness and blindness.

I was determined to nurse Coco back to health. I made it my mission to make sure she got the best care. She was my baby. I stayed up late nights watching over her. I made sure she was safe since she couldn’t see. I wanted her to get back to her old self again. It was a challenge but one that I wanted to succeed in. We saw progress slowly and with each passing day she looked better. I did the best I could and it paid off! In all it took a good 6 months when we saw a complete change for the better. By a year’s time she had made a full recovery. It was as if a miracle.

Coco would travel with us everywhere. She literally was like another child to me. Seldom did we leave her behind and lucky for her she never ever saw a kennel. My mother or my brother would watch her if I needed someone, so there was never an issue looking for a sitter. She was so well behaved in public that most restaurants, hotels and shops allowed us to bring her along.

Coco’s last few years after her accident were the best except for one constant, she developed chronic ear infections in the ear where she suffered the blow. No one knows if the two have anything to do with each other or just coincidence. But unfortunately in 2022 we found out that the constant ear infections/inflammation led to a tumor. So we scheduled the next best thing we could do for her, a TECA (total ear canal ablation) the surgical removal of the entireĀ earĀ canal. By opening and clearing all infected material combined with theĀ earĀ canalĀ removal, the chances of future infection were greatly decreased. On December 8, 2022 the TECA was performed and she recovered wonderfully; that was until last week.

Eleven months to the day after the surgery and we found out she developed another more aggressive tumor. I found a lump where the surgery was done and although my little darling didn’t whimper once, I knew in my aching heart something was very wrong. She began to retrieve and hide and I definitely knew she was in pain (the vet later confirmed) she was in a lot of pain. She didn’t eat for two days before I brought her to emergency. The options were dismal; more surgeries and based on statistics more aggressive tumors guaranteed to follow. Our decision although painful was an obvious one.

Coco’s last night at home.

While at the vet’s office she was too anxious to pay attention to her pain. They had already shaved part of her head. She was on the floor pacing and panting. All she wanted was to leave, to go home. Vin thought of taking her home and giving the kids a chance to say goodbye. At first I thought it might be a good idea, but then it hit me. I didn’t want a crying fest. Besides, she couldn’t be held much, she just wasn’t feeling well and she didn’t look good, she had blood all over from scratches she gave herself and the vet poking at her. I didn’t want that to be the last memory for my daughter. I decided against it.

I picked her up and held her as best I could close to my heart, for as long as she let me hold her. I kissed her gently as my tears streamed down my face knowing what was about to happen. I whispered for her forgiveness and said my goodbyes because I couldn’t bear watch her take her last breath. I handed her to my husband then left the room.

I waited for what seemed like hours. I really don’t know how long it took for everything to be done. Finally, my husband came out in tears. We hugged and clung on to eachother not wanting to let go. I then went in and found her on her side lying on soft blankets on the table. I couldn’t believe it. It was as if she was asleep because she was still so very warm. I caressed her gently and I kissed her as I began sobbing uncontrollably wishing we hadn’t done it. I wanted her back! But it was too late, my little darling was gone.

She was my favorite hello and my hardest goodbye…

Coco

09/03/13 – 11/10/23

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