Dear friends, it is with a heavy heart that I am writing today. On July 4th, my sweet dog Cooper passed away. He has been my faithful friend and companion for over five years and his death leaves me brokenhearted. I think what makes me most sad are the thoughts and plans I had for our family's future. I have all these images in my mind of Cooper growing up beside Quinn, roughhousing with her in the backyard, staying by her side when she got sick, and growing old and grey. I remember being so, so emotional reading Marley and Me but at the same time thinking Marley had had a great, long, life, had lots of human siblings, and had grown old. Cooper will never grow old, will never lick Popsicle juice from one of our kids' legs, and will never be a child's best friend. I can't help but feel that he has been cheated out of a life he could have had, should have had, deserved. I am not one of those people who believes that everything happens for a reason, so I am left in the middle of a search for meaning.
Cooper was hit by a car. I hadn't clipped his leash on correctly and he slipped out the door. While I know that this was an accident, I can't help but feel responsible. It was raining very hard while I was walking around our neighborhood looking for him so I could call him back. A man in an SUV came up and asked what I was looking for; he seemed to already know and regrettably informed me that he'd seen a small dog in the road across from our house. I am so glad that Randy was home with me because he was able to retrieve Cooper and bring him home where he belongs. I cannot get the sight of Randy coming over the hill holding so-still Cooper in his arms. I now know what it means to fall to one's knees.
All day Randy and I have been talking about our favorite memories of Cooper.
*Cooper jumping off the diving board at Randy's parents' and going for a swim
*All of the snuggles we shared during our hundreds of nights together
*How Cooper would always put his paws on whatever you were reading, as if to say "pay attention to me!"
*How he'd always run right into my dad's armchair at my parents' house
*How he would know when you were sad or sick and knew just how to make you feel better
*Poking his head through the bars of our stairs when we lived in Jefferson and pretending he was in jail
*Stealing the wood for one of Randy's projects and carrying a piece bigger than himself up the stairs
*How he'd tear apart a toy in less than a minute and we'd be left with pieces of rope, plastic, or stuffed animal all over the house
*How he'd lived in six different places and ruled the roost in each
*How he would travel with us everywhere we went
*How good it felt to come home to him after a long day
*His undying devotion, his sense of humor, his beard that was never quite dry, how handsome he looked after a fresh haircut
*The way he protected us
*The way he loved us so fiercely and thought we could do no wrong
*The stretches and yawns
*The time he ate my glasses
*The times he got his stomach pumped (twice)
*The way he was the constant in our crazy lives
*The way he was a good friend, son, grandpuppy, and brother
"It is not just that animals make the world more scenic or picturesque. The lives of animals are woven into our very being - closer than our own breathing - and our soul will suffer when they are gone."
~Gary Kowalski, Author of The Souls of Animals