Skip to main content

Remembering Coco

Two years ago today, we had to let go of our precious girl, Coco. She was fighting heart disease and the effects of old age. We knew it was time and she let us know she was ready. Still, it was hard. She wasn’t the first dog we’ve lost—but in the intervening years, grief had lost its edge.

We’d had to put down my first dog, Channing, after an attack by a neighborhood pit bull. For a decade he’d been my most constant and cherished companion, predating Stanley. I was, to put it mildly, devastated. It wasn’t until we adopted Coco that Stanley stopped looking at me with anxiety and inexpressible sorrow. Weeks after we got her, I was talking to my mother on the phone and something she said made me laugh. She paused and said, “You know, after Channing died I didn’t think I’d ever hear you laugh again.”

It was only then that I realized how deep and visible my grief had been. 

I made an appointment for that Saturday at 3. Stanley left work early and met us there. I’d spent the my rock, falling apart before my eyes. I thought, not for the first time, there is nothing harder to watch than another’s grief. Especially when it is someone you love who is grieving.
When walking got to be too much for her,
we bought her a wagon.
entire day holding Coco, loving her, but he hadn’t seen her since early that morning. He walked into the exam room where we waited and said “I thought I was ready for this, but I’m not,” and dissolved into tears. I sat opposite holding Coco and watched this handsome, strong man, my rock, falling apart before my eyes. I thought, not for the first time, there is nothing harder to watch than another’s grief. Especially when it is someone you love who is grieving.

“She’s gone,” the vet said quietly then discreetly withdrew. I left the room shortly after knowing that if they came for her while I was there, I would fall to my knees, clutching her, still warm, body to my chest and refuse to let go. Instead, I went outside, lay on the pavement, cured into a ball with our other dog, Toby wrapped tight and cried like I would never stop.
Stanley stayed with her in that bright, clean room, the saddest place on earth, until they came for her because he d-said he didn’t want to leave her there alone.

Coco’s ashes sit on a shelf in the library beside those of Channing. And there remains an empty corner in my heart, where she used to sit. 

And now two years after her loss, and ten years after we first brought her home, I remain unsure: Did I rescue her? Or did she rescue me.

Read my original post about losing Coco here


  1. Replies
    1. You may be right. Never quite saw it that way before.

  2. They're so not 'just pets' as some refer to them. They are part of the family. Only someone who truly loves their dog will understand how much they are part of the family.

    1. I agree. I remember when I went to the shelter to pick up my first dog, Channing. I remeber passing a bulletin board with flyers advertising Support groups and counselors for those who'd lost a pet. I was puzzled. The night we walked out of the hospital, without Channing, I understood.

  3. I don't believe they ever leave our hearts. I wouldn't be surprised to learn there hasn't been a day since that you haven't thought of her...and that there are days you talk to her still. All that remains is Love.

    1. You are absolutely right. And you know I have no doubt I will see her (and Channing) again some day


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A Ghost Unseen

My life: I have been a model citizen; a good son; employee of the year, year after year after year. I have lived in the shadows, a ghost, unseen. And now, as my life ebbs away, eternity like a black moon rising, I felt his hands on my body, efficient and cool. My chest was tight, and I was uncomfortable, but I didn’t mind, not really. I had endured worse, much worse. I wished I could scratch my nose. I wished I could move. “Does he not have any family—anyone we should call?” someone else was in the room with us, then. “No,” he said, his hands working. “I suspect he was gay,” he added, speaking of me as if I was already dead. “And you know,” he continued, his hands working, working, “He was of that generation that kept in the shadows.” I recognized his voice now; he was my day nurse. He was a fey young thing, gentle and outrageous, but much loved by patients and staff alike who treated him not as a curiosity to be pointed at and whispered about, perhaps even laughed at, nor as some exotic…

The Corporatorium: I Am Prometheus (Episode One)

I am Prometheus. Prometheus. Say it slowly, roll the letters around in your mouth. Prometheus. It is not my real name but it is name most fitting for me. Prometheus, the creator of mankind and its greatest benefactor, chained to a rock, his liver eaten daily by an eagle, in eternal damnation for stealing fire and gifting it to mankind. Yes, there are definite similarities between us.
I am Prometheus, and this is my story. Except it’s not my story. I wish it was, but I am not unique or special. This is the story of untold millions of hapless chaps and chicklets caught up in the grinding gears of the corporate machine.
This is a faux memoir told episodically. You will be inclined, at times, to laugh at us, and cry for us. Do not hold back either impulse. That is the point of sharing this story—to remind us that life is nothing but a series of small comedies and tragedies. What is important is what we take away from each occurrence, what we learn from each calamity and joy.
What will be…

The Corporatorium: A Platinum Gay (Season 2, Episode 4)

Ask them?” I whispered fiercely.
“No! You ask.” Elvis practically whistled out of the side of his mouth.
“But you brought it up—”
“You agreed.”
The vet, who was the sort of woman who’d drunk Brandy Alexanders in her youth, and then later in life, divorced and resettled, had adopted a pair of Lhasa Apso pups and named them Brandy and Alexander, cleared her throat. Now, she asked, “Is there something else?”
Our dog, who just gotten a series of vaccinations trembled on the stainless steel table, her big brown eyes pleading for escape. She’d only been with us two weeks and didn’t fully trust us it seemed. At this moment, I can’t say I trusted us either.
“Um…yes…can you look at her um…her privates?”
“You mean her vulva?” The vet tech, young, blonde, perky with bright compassion, asked briskly. If not for her love of animals, she’d have been a stewardess: bubbly, unflappable, unmoored.
She rolled our dog onto her back and we all peered at her, squirming.
“What are we looking for?” The two wom…