Just under two hours ago, our precious Cocoa died in our arms after suffering a naturally-occuring ruptured spleen sometime Friday night. My father continued to administer chest compressions throughout the car ride to the emergency veterinary hospital where she was dead on arrival. Her suffering was incredibly short; she started freaking out and looking for a place to die just minutes before she collapsed. In fact, she spent the entire evening curled up with me on my bed while I was reading and watching television.
We welcomed her into our home on the 7th of May, 2001, after my mother's secretary found her hiding under her car in a darkened parking lot in Silver Spring, Maryland. She was only ten weeks old. We just returned home from my spring semester of my sophomore year at Winthrop when we got the call to ask if we wanted her, or else she'd go to an animal shelter. As we has just lost our previous dog, Sparky, only eight months earlier, my mother had to approach my father carefully. His words were "this is your dog, you're the one who's going to do everything for it." He never stood a chance--Cocoa was his puppy in a heartbeat. We never did find out what type of dog she was. She definitely was black lab mixed with either a doberman or a rotweiler, and that was a toss up based on how much weight she had on her at the time. She was dusted with brown across her coat and had this super thick, rough patch of coarse hair along the center of her shoulder blades, a white star of bethlehem on her chest, one white toe and a whitening muzzle with age.
She was gentle and sweet tempered, she was manipulative and a total bitch at times, and we couldn't help but center our lives around her. Did I mention she was spoiled rotten? Because she was. We think in the ten weeks before she came to us she was abused in some sort, as she cringed even years later whenever someone yelled at her, though we never laid a hand on her. She was nearly potty trained when we brought her home, and she had this wierd habit until the end where she would sit away from her dinner bowl and wait to be invited to eat once it was put down.
Her idea of playing ball was for us to throw it, and she would grab it and keep it away from us. We never threw the ball more than once per game.
The only time she was ever destructive she chewed my sister's cell phone to pieces because she ignored Cocoa (my sister was her favorite human for the longest time) and then a house phone after my sister used it.
The worst thing she ever did was be a trash dog, and even that was very rare.
She loved to go find someone else when the first someone wanted to give her attention. I'd call her to come get a hug or a petting, and she'd run to mother and sit on her feet.
We frequently gave up our big chairs for her if she was already sitting on it while we sat on the floor.
She went for car rides almost every day.
She was addicted to frosty paws. Seriously, she would jones for them. We've got such a stock of them now.
She was terrified of electic woodworking tools, especially the air gun. At ninety pounds she would leap up in your arms standing.
She was a total wimp. If we were ever robbed, she would have been no use. When we did have servicemen or whatnot at the door, she'd stand behind us and force her head through our knees. She looked scary though.
She actually caught both a rabbit and a bird once. She had no idea what she was supposed to do with them once she caught them. The rabbit escaped, but the bird had hit my car and died.
We rarely had to put her on a leash, and if the park was empty, she'd just walk along beside us unleashed.
She once managed to turn our screen door into a knocker when she wanted to come back in. She poked a hole at the bottom of the frame, tore it out from the sliding door mechanism, and would pull it with her foot away from the door and release. Quite effective really.
She still sat on Mom's lap like she was five pounds.
She would sit in the middle of our hallway where it T'd off into the three bedrooms so she always had an eye where her people were.
She'd blend into the carpeting at night, and needless to say we frequently tripped over her. She always had to be in the way--in the center of the room spread out as much as possible or rigidly standing in the path. She had an uncanny knack for finding where she would be most in the way. A real talent, actually. If we were lucky, she'd twist her neck and the eight or so tags on her would jangle.
She always went to bed with someone, and always welcomed in their bed. The only reason she liked mine was because I backed it up to a window. During rabbit season, she'd sit at my window for hours, and wouldn't have a care in the world whether I was there or not.
My sister got her drunk once at a party she had here while my parents were on vacation. Seemed she was quite a lush, she started going after cups like a crazy dog afterwards.
She knew what a Dunkin' Donuts bag looked like, and she knew that the DD guys would throw munchkins in the car whenever we drove through, sometimes a whole bag full of them.
When she was younger, she had a boyfriend by the name of Beau. He lived in the house that abuts our back yard, and he'd dig holes and rip through fences to get to her. According to Kathy, his owner, he'd spend all day on their bed on the second floor looking out at Cocoa.
She loved nuts and Muvico popcorn, but not any from the other theatres or homemade.
She spent very little of her life alone. Either my sister or I were home because of school most of the time until my mother retired, and my father works from home. I once planned my semester classes so I'd be home Tuesday mornings for the cleaning people because she didn't like the crew that was coming in for a long time.
She was adored and loved. We will miss her.
Scary Looking but Harmless!
Cocoa Picture Gallery
Cocoa Picture Gallery