I love dogs, but this will make you cry.  Who is man’s best friend?  His dog of course.  No truer words have been spoken.  Who is glad to see you when you return from work?  Your dog!  Who sticks by you through thick and thin?  Your dog!  Who doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, fat or thin, blonde, brunette, redhead, or bald?  Your dog!  Your dog loves you just because you’re you!!!  All he/she wants is your love and companionship.  When everyone else has left you by the wayside, who is there with that tail wagging and eyes begging just to be with you?  Your dog!

I’ve had many dogs in my lifetime but there are two who are still in my heart after many years since they went to their reward.

Mac was a small mixed breed terrier.  He and our other dog, Cocoa, a chocolate poodle, were roomies.  Actually, Mac didn’t care much for Cocoa, but since Mac was our outside dog, and Cocoa was our inside dog, they didn’t have to meet in the middle much, except in cold weather, when Mac would condescend to come indoors to get warm.  He’d hear the furnace creak and crack before coming on and he’d go stand by the vent and stretchhhhhhhhout out as long as he could to get all the warm air possible.  Mostly Mac just wanted to stay outside and play with the other neighborhood dogs.  Mac was a little dog, but he didn’t know it, he thought he was a big dog.  Whenever there was a dogfight Mac was in the middle of it, and he played with the “big boys” once too often.  He went down in glory like the hero that he was fighting to his demise.

Cocoa was a miniature chocolate poodle, who was my friend and companion for thirteen years.  He even slept in the bed with me, and his regular bedtime was 10:00 PM, whether I went to bed or not.  He’d go back to the bedroom, and if I didn’t come back after awhile, he’d come down the hall, look in the den, and glare at me, as if to say, “Where are YOU?”

The last year of his life he became ill.  As time went on, he got sicker.  I was taking him to the vet every morning on my way to work, and picking him up in the afternoon on my way home.  One morning when I arrived at the vet’s office, the receptionist was not yet there, but the doctor was standing behind her desk.  He just looked at me.  I burst into tears.  We went in an examining room to talk.  I said, “Dr. Nall, I’ve been waiting for you to tell me that I need to have Cocoa put to sleep, but I realize that you never will, because if you did, and I did it, and then I was sorry, I’d blame you.”  He told me that he knew how much I loved Cocoa, and to go to work and think about it, and let him know that afternoon when I picked him up what my decision was.  I did!  When I picked Cocoa up, I told the doctor that I’d let Cocoa suffer too long, because I was selfish, and didn’t want to give him up.  I told him that I’d bring him in the next morning and let him put him to sleep.

That night Cocoa lay beside me on the couch all evening.  His breathing would alternately be strained, heavy, and hard, and then normal.  This went on throughout the evening.  At exactly, 10.00 PM – his bedtime – he breathed his last breath.  It was as though he was telling me, “No, YOU won’t put me to sleep, I’ll do it myself !”

Rest in peace Mac and Cocoa.  I love you.

“Epitaph To A Dog”

Near this spot are deposited the remains of one,
Who possessed beauty without vanity,
Strength without insolence,
Courage without ferocity,
And all the virtues of man,
Without his vices.
This Praise, which would be unmeaning flattery,
If inscribed over human ashes,
Is but a just tribute to the memory of
All of our dogs.

George Gordon, Lord Byron

  • robin in fl

    because of my LOVE of animals ,it’s VERY hard for me to say much on this subject.I get VERY emotional..All i can say is what i have always said to people who lose their beloved animal friends…as long as you gave them a loving home and cared for them throughout their life,it’s a good thing .There are so many unwanted animals that will never have love at all.The ones that get it are the truely the fortunate ones.

    i have a few geriatric dogs and cats here right now that i know i will lose soon.people use to ask me if i ‘rescued’ animals,i always replied,”No,THEY ‘rescued’ me. :)

    • Nancye


      I know….I know. I’ve often said that I didn’t know if Cocoa was mine or I was his. I guess it was both.

  • HolyChristAlmighty

    At the beginning of this summer I felt confident that a 40lb bag of dog food would be my German shorthair pointer’s last. OK, that turned out to be premature thinking. But, about two months ago the dog couldn’t jump on the bed anymore (the only furniture he is allowed on). I’ve notice in the last two weeks he is having trouble climbing the stairs. He’s been on arthritis meds for two months and they don’t really seem to help. This morning he would have tumbled down half a flight if I had not been watching and secured him from falling. I feel it is Kevorkian time for my beloved dog, Hansie. As I type, yep, he’s hanging with me. But I truly believe I do have a wonderful opportunity to painlessly decide his proper end. My decision will be based solely on love. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the same options for our fellow human loved ones?

  • Joel

    A wonderful story and one I can certainly understand. I am now 81 years old and I have dog memories you wouldn’t believe. I’ve owned a lot and gone trhough lots of heart rending times. My last little dog, Mitch, grew old and had alzheimers, if dogs have that. But he got to the point he did not know me. Once when I was feeding him, i inadvertantly hit his nose. He yelped and jumped back staring at me in unbelief, even as I tried to pet and reassure him, it was unintentional. But for once, he would not accept the apology and kept backing away as if he had no clue who I was.

    I kept him fenced but thief entered the fence and stole gasoline from my shed, then left the gate open. Mitch was gone and I never found him. I determined then not to get another, for fear that I would leave HIM, and they take it very hard. There is a beautiful poem called Rainbow Bridge. If you’ve never read it, go to my website and read it. http://hebronics.org/bridge.html

    • Nancye

      I have heard that poem before, but it still gave me chills.

  • Nancye

    This was supposed to have been posted with the article. I guess I goofed!


    • Nancye

      This link doesn’t work anymore. Sorry!

  • Michael B

    What a sweet tale of love that so many of us dog lovers understand too well. I have the most amazing 2.5 year old cocker spaniel that I hope will have many years left.

    When that final day comes, I know it will crush me to say goodbye, so every day is a gift I can’t describe.

    Love and protect your dogs well. They are magnificent creatures.

    • Nancye


      P.S. When Cocoa died, the next morning my son and I buried him in the backyard. I wrote his name, birthdate, and when he died on the stone. The next year I moved to a condo. I left Cocoa at “home”. A year later I had reason to call the Power Company about my bill. After we had conducted the business, the lady I was talking to asked me if I remembered the house that I’d sold. I told her “yes”. She then asked me what kind of pet was buried in the backyard. I told her about Cocoa. She said – and I believe her – that the little grave was a selling point to her family for buying the house. She said, “Anyone who would bury their pet in the backyard must be good people”.

      As for Mac, the neighbors buried him in their yard because after the fight, in which he lost his life, he was so beaten up, they didn’t want my children to see him like that.

      • HolyChristAlmighty

        My first German shorthair pointer (both were shelter rescues)who died at 13 yrs of age was not buried in our backyard, but most wouldn’t know that. There is a solid resin life size statue of him in the yard. Far more impressive as a tribute to “Buddy” is a solid stone relief of his head made by my brother. Neither homage is meant to fool anyone that our dog was actually buried there, but I easily understand how anyone could make that assumption.

        In a related story; my neighbors admitted they bought there house because I had a handmade “Welcome To Bedford Falls” sign up during the Christmas season. They too felt anyone who loves the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” must be OK.