Last night, as we were getting ready to go to bed, Jason called up our two other dogs (besides Fran), Hoss and Coco. Hoss is an English Mastiff and Coco is a Toy Poodle. We like to call them Big and Little Enis, if you will. Yes, they are quite a pair to behold. They never came, and so Jason came back into the house, miffed. I went outside and called Hoss and soon I heard the tinker of his collar, running up the hill behind the house. Coco never came. I thought he was just being a little snot, like he does sometimes. It never in a million years occured to me that he did not come because he couldn’t.
This morning, we expected Coco to be waiting for us when we left the house. He was not. In the hurry of the morning (we were late) and for all of the events that have happened this week, I did not notice that I never saw his little fluffy self bounding around our legs. We left work soon after lunch. Coco did not come to the gate. He is always, always waiting with Hoss at the gate. Jason and I were now really worried. Did he get hit by a car? Stolen? Attacked by other dogs?
We, with Hoss following us, rode to the back of our property, calling for him. No answer. We passed the pond and rode down to the bottom of the hill behind our house. Hoss ran over to the small creek and took a drink. But he didn’t come back to me. Instead he just kindof stood there. I knew that he had come from that direction the night before. I had a bad feeling. I turned my head and saw a tiny pile of fluff. The fluff moved. I ran to Coco. He was laying in a small indention in the ground. I thought at first that maybe he had fallen into a hole and broken a limb.
I asked Jason to get me a flashlight from the truck. Coco whimpered, but could not make eye contact with me. His breathing was rapid and weak. I shone the LED light in his eyes. His pupils barely responded. Emotion took over and I knew immediately that this was really, really bad. His limbs were almost frozen in place. Carefully, with tears running down my face, I gathered him in a blanket. We carried him to the house and I checked his pupils again. Even though he could not see me, I knew that he recognized me. We put him in the truck and as I was placing him in the seat, it occured to me that the blanket I had used for him was black, like a death shroud. I had a sinking feeling.
I called our vet’s office to tell them we were in route. Before we made it to the main highway, I turned around to check on him. His pupils were dilated and he was no longer breathing. Coco was gone. I couldn’t catch my breath, so I had to have Jason call the vet to tell them we would not be coming. I cried the whole way home.
We adopted Coco from an animal rescue almost 2 years ago to the date. He was a good dog; he was Hoss’ running buddy and sleeping partner. I know now that Hoss was not coming up to the house that night because he was trying to help his friend. If I had thought for a nanosecond that Coco was in pain, I would have gone looking for him.
He was a poodle with the heart of a terrier. He barked at strangers and was not afraid to nip them if they did not heed his warning. He was an excellent ratter, by choice. He would tear up the boxes in our storage area to get to the tiniest mouse, and he always knew when there was one around. He loved to be petted and groomed. You could tell that he loved a haircut by the way he pranced around…except for the day that I had to shave his ears because he had a run through the woods and got them all knotted. That day, he hung his head in shame.
He was not one of those spoiled rotten little poodles that everyone has pictured in their mind. He was my “ATP”. All-Terrain Poodle. Just like God meant poodles to really be. Adventurous, fearless little hunters, with a heart of gold.
He loved to swim and would fetch pinecones that you threw into the lake. That is, if Hoss didn’t get to them first. He loved to bite the ankles of anyone daring to come too close to the kids.
I loved him for the annoying, but loving little dog that he was. I know the Coco is up in Heaven, probably biting the angel’s ankles. We love you.