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Bourbon and Tears

Coco the Glam Girl
On Saturday we had to put our 14 year old Lhasa to sleep. It was a hard decision to make but it was the right decision. She was deaf. She was arthritic. She suffered from stage C mitral valve insufficiency with controlled congestive heart failure.. She was on Lasix, Vetmedin and Viagra for her heart; Proin for incontinence; Rimadyl for her arthritis. 10 pills a day in all.
I understood—her heart was enlarged, she was losing weight, her kidneys, from the combined effects of heart disease and many meds, were dying. She was failing. My head understood this but my heart, breaking, did not. The heart wants what the heart wants and there in her vet’s office, my heart was tumbling over in my chest in a fit of want. I wanted Coco to stay, even as I knew she could not.
I remembered sitting in the yard earlier in the day holding her and looking up at the sky which was cloudless and very blue and wondering: if I just sit here and hold her and refuse to move, will time stand still?
I’m a writer. People sometimes die in my stories. Generally any character’s death makes me sad but
Coco in her spot beside my desk
I know why he or she had to die. I know that their story is over. I didn’t understand why my sweet dog had to die, didn’t understand why her story had to end so soon. I just didn’t. I can accept it but I will never understand it.
Stanley & Coco
We talked we cried, we readied her. Port in place in her leg, I lifted her onto the quilt on the exam room table. As soon as her vet administered the first shot—a sedative—Coco relaxed and fell quickly asleep. When she started to snore I realized, for the first time, exactly how tired she must have been.  A scant few minutes later, still in my arms, her heart stopped, her chest stilled.  And like the wind passing beneath an angel’s wings, she had passed from my loving arms to His loving arms.
The rest of the weekend passed in a blur of bourbon and tears. Bourbon because I wanted to stop remembering; tears because I could not forget.

In time I will stop grieving. But I will never forget.


  1. When the grief eases, how wonderful it will be to remember.

    Dogs show us humans for who we truly are and love us just the same. They teach us so much and grant us the greatest gift of all: to be ourselves. Hard as it is to let them go, we can take much from knowing that we have given them our best.

    RIP Coco. Much love to you, Stanley and Toby. x

  2. You're absolutely right and maybe that's why it's so hard to lose a dog--they see us exactly as we are and love us anyway; we suspect that no one will see us as clearly or love us as unconditionally.

  3. Sometimes it get really dusty in my office. Damn these allergies.

    1. It's been quite dusty around here the last few days ;-)
      I promise to make you laugh soon

  4. Man up, Paice! ;)

    And I imagine our suspicions are correct. I'm not sure people are capable of such clarity.

  5. You've done what I still cannot bring myself to do, and you've done it brilliantly. Much love to you all.

    1. thanks Kenneth. Writing about her helped me process the loss. Also the message you tweeted satuday about her leaving my loving arms for His loving arms really touched me and you'll notice it appears in this post.
      Thank you for your kindness and love. It made a difference in my day.

  6. Larry,

    This morning I finished "What Binds Us", and cried the last 50 pages. Then I visited your blog and learnt about Coco, and cried again.

    I lost my two companions this summer. While being injected, both looked at me with absolute trust and confidence. I did not want it, but I did it to avoid them the pain and agony, after months of suffering and treatment. It broke my heart to do it, but they were right trusting me. Crying is good, is liberating.

    Thanks for a wonderful reading, so familiar to me. Thanks for Coco's post, made me write about it for the first time.

    As I write this, a small rat is requesting my attention biting my ankles. Yes, my fifth German Shepherd is already around because, whoever said you can only have so much of the best, was wrong. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.


    1. Max

      Thanks for writing--and reading.

      I hope you liked What Binds Us, tears aside. It was my first book. I tried to honor all those we had lost while still showing there is a way forward.

      So sorry to hear of your loss. I understand how painful that can be. Coco was a sweet girl. I miss her terribly. Until I lost her, I'd never written about her but I felt she needed to be memorialized and I needed to tell her story so I could heal.

      We have Toby, our other dog, and that has really helped so I understand the fifth German Shepard.

      Thanks again for writing.



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