Author Topic: My Special Boy, Cooper.  (Read 325 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline FrankieBlue

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 31
  • Gender: Female
My Special Boy, Cooper.
« on: March 23, 2017, 10:35:05 PM »
Cooper passed away 2 weeks after his 5th birthday, a few months ago. To say we are devastated is a grave understatement. We are enjoying our sweet puppy Frankie but the pain of losing our special boy has been unfathomable. My heart is still so broken and I miss him every single day. Although I don't expect anyone to sit around and read it all, I thought I should find some way to share his story.

I saw his picture and just knew he was it for me. I had never been into Cockers as I didn't know a single person who had one, but once I did the research I thought he couldn't be more perfect. We got him from a rescue, who had taken him and his brother away from a terrible puppy mill. He was 16 weeks old, had no socialization whatsoever and didn't know life outside of a small kennel. To top it all off, they warned me he may have been severely mistreated byway of physical abuse. My heart ached for him and from the moment we met, I vowed to protect him at all costs.

He sat in my lap and that was it, the two of us had bonded in a way that I could never knew possible. The problem was that I was the only person in the whole world that he could love or trust. Cockers are just naturally so sensitive, him even more so. Life outside of our safe space at home was frightening to the point of shaking uncontrollably. He couldn't walk outside for months. Even then, he would shake the entire time. He was too afraid to eat anything when we were outside (we tried everything!) We worked with behaviourist after behaviourist, all wishing to put shock collars on him, or use corrections with a martingale, and eventually told us to medicate him. It was sad to see that not a single person could help him overcome his fear of life and living. Each and every one of them told me to return him to the shelter... an option that I found so hugely offensive that I fired them all.

We were then left with what we started, just the two of us against the world. I had no support in my life with very well meaning though very unknowledgeable people. So, I bought books and read what I could and I figured the recipe for him to come around would be time, love and patience. By the time he reached the age of 2, we were actually able to not only walk outside, but enjoy it. His favourite thing in the whole wide world was stalking the birds and squirrels. That's when he was in his element. Or, forging a new path in the woods no one else had taken. He was the sunshine in our lives.

We decided to move across the country in pursuit of a richer + fuller life, where we could be more in nature and less in the city. We took him on a week long road trip across Canada, stopping everywhere we could to let him explore every inch. He was in pure bliss. I will never forget the look on his face the first time he saw mountains. A combination of shock and awe, he was astonished. I have never seen him light up like that, even for a bird! It was so beautiful.

We lived in bliss for a year in our new home where we hiked in the mountains and played in the woods. I was over the moon with joy to finally be able to give him the life he so deserved. He was flourishing. His confidence sky rocketed and walking was his favourite pastime. He was no longer afraid. He was the happiest I have ever seen him - it was a year of pure magic.

We threw him a little birthday party for his 5th birthday. All I could think to myself was where have all the years gone? I remember him trembling in my lap like it was yesterday. My sweet, strong, healthy, happy boy was five years old and I couldn't have been more proud of him for what he had accomplished. I had no idea how significantly things would change only two weeks later.

On Xmas day we decided to take our dogs to the dog park, something we never did because of his fear issues, but no one was there that day so we let him run around off leash and enjoy himself. A few days later on New Years Eve, a Sunday night, he let out one cough. I thought he had something stuck in his throat but nothing was there. The following morning he coughed again, so I phoned the emergency vet. They listened to his cough and said it was definitely kennel cough, that there was no point in bringing him in because there is nothing they could do for him. "Just watch him, make sure he eats, drinks and behaves like himself" and bring him for any changes they said. I was in agony watching my poor boy coughing he seemed so very uncomfortable, but he was still fine. It's just a cough, everyone said. It happens.

Tuesday night he was himself completely, eating drinking and bouncing around. Yet on Wednesday morning, overnight he became a different dog. He suddenly looked emaciated overnight and his appetite was shot, which as we all know is a red flag for any dog, but especially a cocker! And boy did Cooper love food. I took him straight to the vet where they told me he had developed a severe case of pneumonia. It was strange because his cough was such a dry hacking sound, rather than a wet sounding cough. The vet had no idea what to say other than to give him a heavy dose of broad spectrum antibiotics, along with antibiotic injections and steroids. Cooper showed noticeable improvement by the time we left the vets office. We were so happy and relieved. His appetite was coming back, he was staring out the back doors watching the birds fly around... he seemed to have turned the corner!

Everything was great until we ate dinner on Friday night. One minute he was fine, the next he rapidly declined. He wouldn't eat... he could barely breathe. He had his head hung low in an attempt to open up his airways. He was really struggling.

We ran him over to the emergency vet who took him in right away. They were stumped. They started throwing around all the frightening words you never want to hear. They couldn't figure out why the antibiotics weren't working, and in order to find out what type of bacterial strain was infecting his lungs, they would need to put him under anesthesia. They told us the likelihood of him surviving it was slim to none as he had declined so rapidly, he was already in a critical state. They said to wait overnight and gave him more steroids to see if it would help his lungs. And so we brought our boy home for what we could never have known at the time would be his last.

He slept in between me and my OH for hours, peaceful for a while. By the time we woke up he was no longer that way. Back to the same head hung low. I sat with him by the shower as they said the warm steam would help him breathe. I held him and sang to him his favourite songs one last time.

It was Saturday morning so of course everyone was horribly busy or entirely unavailable. I phoned every vet in the city for second, third, fourth, fifth opinions and advice on where to go from here. I finally found an emergency vet specialist where they had a critical care unit. Finally, there was hope. I rushed him there where they immediately took him from me and triaged him. While I paid the astronomical fees, I noticed a candle with a faux flame flickering, a sign next to it that read "if this candle is on, it means someone is saying bye to their best friend so please be respectful." I had no idea at the time that later in the day the candle would be flickering for us.

They had strict rules and visiting hours. I couldn't believe they wouldn't let me see my boy, my boy who I had never been away from, my shadow who never let me spend a moment away from him. My boy who even during his worst days, while his lungs were uncontrollably filling up with fluid, would kiss my tears away and try to comfort me. They said they would give us 10 mins together before they started asking me to leave as they said they needed to make him better.

The happiest and saddest moment of my entire life was walking over to the cage they had put him in - something I vowed I would never let happen to him again after what he'd been through - and he stood up when he saw me. He was so weak but he still just had to show me how happy he was I hadn't abandoned him. I hugged him and held him and cried my eyes out. I covered his little body in kisses and promised him I would be back in a few hours with his dad. The hardest moment of my life was walking away from the cage he was held in, terrified that maybe we would lose him.

Perhaps deep down I knew and wholeheartedly didn't want to. I walked the 10 minute walk home sobbing the whole way, praying to a god I wasn't sure I believed in, saying prayers I was taught as a kid in school, desperately searching for a miracle. I bargained. I was home for only 15 minutes before I got the phone call.

My sweet angel had gone into respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.

OH and I rushed over and were there within a few minutes. They intubated him and did CPR for 20 minutes. The vet came into tell us he was stopping, to which I begged him to keep going. Just two more minutes. He was always my miracle boy, maybe just maybe it will be ok.

He was gone.

I ran my hands along the curves of his body one last time. Held his big paws one last time. Kissed the little white spot on his chin one last time. I memorized every last bit of his body, including the little white line on his bum that gave him the appearance of bum cheeks. I hugged him, held him, and like we all must... I had to let him go.

The pain of losing him is like nothing I have ever experienced in my life. The ending of his short life was brutally swift and equally as heartbreaking. I have lost dogs, pets, family members, even my own father. But I promised to keep him safe. And it felt like I had failed. Some understand what I mean when I say he was my soulmate dog. I have had many other dogs who I have loved with all my heart. But for whatever reason, the connection he and I shared was unbelievably deep, wonderful and special. Like our souls were on fire. I never thought I could experience that with "just a dog"... but he was it for me from the moment I saw him, I just knew.

Our little love story was magical. The truth is it always ends in tragedy. We are all victims of fate and heartbreak is inevitable. Regardless of how young he was, how healthy he had been, or how much I love him, for whatever reason it was his time to go.

I still cry for him every day. I miss him so terribly and I know I will continue to do so. Unfortunately that's our journey. He gave me 5 insanely wonderful and challenging years that made me grow as a person in ways I never imagined. He made me better. I only wish I could have given him half as much as he gave me.

Rest in Peace my beautiful angel. I always knew you were sent from heaven. I love you with all my crooked heart.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk