Oh, Coco, where to even start. This girl came into my life eleven years ago when I was housesitting for a family friend. Full of energy with nowhere to put it, she gave her owners a run for their money. Like, literally. They bought her from a pet store for about $1100. At ten months old, the family decided it would be best for her to be surrendered to the local animal shelter as they simply “didn’t have enough time to take care of her.” Thankfully, I was able to intercept her before she was taken in. And man, she changed my life forever.
Following me through my years in school and beyond, Coco has taught me a new form of unconditional love. And unconditional patience. When I first adopted her, she was diagnosed with struvite bladder stones which required immediate surgery. Working as a vet tech at the time, I assisted with her second surgery, which, despite how stressful the entire ordeal was, is a memory I will forever cherish. Since then, she has been on a restricted diet to limit her intake of various minerals that make her condition flare-up or instigate painful bladder infections.
My childhood dream of having a dog to train was promptly dashed due to her restricted diet. Thankfully, Coco has always been eager to please and wanted nothing more than to follow me around, play frisbee, and give some of the best morning snuggles. As the years went on, I found ways to train without relying on treats, which has led to a bond that doesn’t rely on edible rewards. She has taught me so much about communicating with dogs in the language they rely on themselves; body language.
There have been new obstacles to tackle at the ripe old age of twelve as her hearing has become even more selective with each passing year. Still full of love and more agile than I would have ever imagined, she is still able to be the best and most well-behaved companion I could ask for. With our new pup, Kashi, Coco has displayed incredible patience while we train, spoil, and keep her from gnawing off everyone’s ears.
Which each passing day, I am more and more thankful for that spunky pup who came into my life at just the right time. She has been my support, my constant, and most recently, my inspiration. Thank you, Coco, for shining a light on my life up until now, and for many years to come.