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My Pookie Has A First Name...

I was changing the words to the famous Oscar Mayer jingle to include Cocoa. I know it makes me a complete dork, but that's okay with me. I hadn't finished before we had to put Cocoa down. This is as far as I got:

My Pookie has a first name. It's C-O-C-O-A. My Pookie has a second name its Pain in the Asshole. I love to cuddle everyday and if you ask me why I'll say, cuz Tippy Homestead has a way with ....

And then I didn't finish. Couldn't figure out how to finish. That's probably okay.

I thought our little bugger would live forever. Really. She was 18 so I wasn't far off, right? Even Pearl marveled at her longevity on her previous visit, "Cocoa, you're still alive?"

Sadly, we had to put our sweet chiweenie down.

She was 18.

I'd had her for 17 years.

I met Cocoa in North Carolina. I was there for my sister Pam's baby shower for her son who's now looking at colleges! Cocoa was one of two little dogs in the house. Pam's friend hosted the shower and Cocoa was in my lap nearly the entire time. She was an incredibly loving dog.

Pam told me a few months later that they were going to give Cocoa up because she was a bad dog. They believed she peed all over the house and didn't want to deal with it. They were going to take her to the humane society. I told Pam I would take her. (Ironically, after we took Cocoa, the other dog in the house peed so it wasn't our little love.)

We did a swap, as I recall. I had Pearl in my car and Pam had her newborn and Cocoa in hers. We met in West Virginia which is about half way. I had our friend Corrie with me along for the ride. We took Cocoa and gave Pearl to Pam for a visit. We stopped to get burgers or something. We got one for Cocoa since they didn't give us food for her. She ate the burger and almost ate Corrie's hand.

We got her home and introduced her to Beeno, my shepherd/retriever mix. She lunged at him and he took a step back. I am sure he was thinking, "What the shit is this?" I think my brother even said something to that effect. We had Beeno and Cocoa in the car. We put Cocoa in her carrier since we didn't know what she would do while I drove. I told Corrie to put her hand in there to try to pet her and she said, "Hell no. You put your hand in there."

The minute we got them to my house, though, they were friends. Beeno was so good with her even stooping to play because he was much larger. Beeno was smart, though. I would give him a treat and he'd eat it right away. Cocoa would stockpile hers as if to taunt him. All he had to do was bark and she would jump up to see what the threat was and he'd grab her treat. She would return to see that it was missing. God knows why that made me laugh so much.

When he died, it was sad for both of us.

Then came Maggie. Cocoa didn't like her. She tried and Cocoa just wasn't having it. Cocoa was the queen of the house and she would let you know. Sometimes I think Maggie thought she was playing because even if she bit Maggie, it didn't do much to her; Maggie was that much bigger and full of fur.

She could run and jump like a dog much larger. She would jump from couch to couch without effort. She would snuggle with you in your lap. She even had her own pillow in our bed dubbed Pookie's Pillow.

We discovered she needed to be muzzled at the vet when, on my first trip with her, she bit three people. Lesson learned.

Jamie liked to use the "claw" (really his hand mimicking a claw) to get Cocoa to unleash the Kraken. She would snarl and then lunge at you. Why did we find that so funny? The picture with this post is what she would look like.

I joked once on Facebook on Groundhog Day that Cocoa saw her shadow and was pissed that there are six more weeks of winter - and posted that picture.

She was incredibly protective of me. Toward the end she would follow me around and lay next to me getting as close as she absolutely could. She'd lay in her bed in the room with me. She'd get up and follow me as I went to the bathroom, the kitchen, my office, outside. Of all the dogs we've had and have, if anyone broke into the house to attack me, I'd put my money on her to kick his or her ass!

How do I sum up 17 years? Cocoa meant so much to me. We'd been through quite a bit together. Heck, I've had her longer than I've had my husband! She outlived two of our dogs. We joked that she might outlive all of us.

This morning I woke up and heard the jingle of Maverick's collar and thought it was her. For a brief moment, I was excited that I might be able to hold her and carry her down the stairs, which she could no longer maneuver. That I might get to feed her one more time or even clean up her poop and pee. Yes, at the end she did poop and pee in the house and we didn't care (well, I didn't - and sometimes I did to be perfectly honest). When you get to be that old, I think you can poop and pee where you like!

As much as I would get aggravated at her constant pacing and walking, I missed it today. I would get annoyed when, in the middle of the damn night, she would stand at the top of the stairs and bark to go down. Up I would go to get her downstairs so she could wander around.

The vet said that while her heart was good, she was pretty well blind and had arthritis. It was also possible that she was struggling mentally. The vet thought Cocoa might not know where she is based on our assessment. The humane thing would be to let her go. As much as it killed me to make that decision, I knew that it was the right thing to do. She had protected and loved me for 17 years. I had to make sure we didn't prolong the suffering. It was time for her to go see Beeno - and Maggie. Perhaps now she would play with Maggie.

We were with her in the end. I held her as she passed. I stroked her before we left. She will be cremated.

Cocoa had many nicknames: Pookie Love (no idea how this came about), Rodent (because she did look like a rat), Snaggletooth (that damn front tooth), Trailer Park Chihuahua (the snaggletooth, the nick in her ear, the tattoo), Wet Fart (When I joked with my brother that he actually did like Cocoa, he replied, "Yeah, I like her like I like a wet fart." My brother notoriously doesn't care for animals.), Piranha (the vet visit, our initial pick-up), Sock (to the blanket that was Maggie).

Cocoa, my little Pookie Love, you are missed, you were loved, you are loved. Rest in peace, Pooks.


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