Monday, March 1, 2010

Joe's Best Friend

It has been a difficult couple of weeks. We had to put our beautiful and loving dog, Cosmo, to sleep on Saturday. It's OK, because it was his time. There is a time for everything and we knew this was coming. He was going to be 14 this year. That is a long time for a very large Golden Retriever.

I fell in love with Cosmo the day I saw him. He was the only male of three puppies. He would roll over his sisters and then look like he had just won the game. I had just had a miscarriage weeks before and was a little emotional at the time. We already had Molly (our female Golden) but when Matt and I looked at Joe, we could not say no as he was also falling in love with this fluff ball. So we paid the $350 which was way more than we had and took him home. Matt loved him and our other dog, Molly, was not sure at first, but went right into the mothering mode within days.

A new puppy is a lot of work. We were living in a new town, Folsom. We had a tiny backyard in this townhouse. We had no friends yet and all our family lived miles away.

Cosmo was a handful, not at all like the laid back Molly. He wanted and needed to have a bigger place to play. The potty training was wearing me out. By the end of the first week I was worn out. Joe came home to a crying wife,
no, I was sobbing. I told him I was a failure as a dog person - maybe we need to give him back.

Joe knew I had been going through a lot with the move and the miscarriage so he bundled Cosmo up and took him back. It was only 4 blocks way so he walked back to the people we had bought him from.

I started to cry the minute they left. What had I just done? I was so regretting my emotional decision that I wanted to scream. I had lost a child and now a pet. Matt gave me big hugs and was sad, too. We waited for Joe to come back.

A few minutes later I saw the beautiful sight of my husband and, in him arms, the fussy little ball of fur who had no idea what had been going on. We rush to them and with tears kiss them both. Matt was so happy and even Molly was glad to see them. What happened? Why did you bring him back? You knew I needed him, didn't you? Joe calmly explained that the owners were not home.

Again, I burst into tears and knew that Cosmo would be mine forever and, of course, Joe would be, too. We all hugged and kissed. So that is how we found Cosmo 14 years ago.

Saturday we had to say good bye in the vet office. The vet said she would give us a few minutes to say good bye. As Joe stroked Cosmo's head, Cosmo lifted up his paw to "shake", as if to say It's OK and and put it in Joe's hand. Cosmo had not done that in years. It was like he was saying good bye to us, too. When the vet said it was time to go, Cosmo jumped up, bad hips and joints and all, and walked away without a limp or a stumble with the vet assistant . Joe looked at me with tears in his eyes and we both knew Cosmo was ready to go, too.

What comfort it was to have those little gestures that we knew where not normal for this sick dog. God has a wonderful way of preparing us and giving us comfort in this normal process of life.

So this blog today is for Cosmo. The animals in our lives are true gifts from God. They comfort us when we have hurts and losses. They love us unconditionally. They don't judge us. But, unfortunately, they are in our lives for such a short time. He was, however, in our family's life when we needed him the most.

Now Matt is grown and gone, Joe has a new position at his work and I am traveling the country teaching. How different things are from that day I cried when I saw Joe walking back with Cosmo in his arms. Thank you God for that sweet gift.
Doggy heaven is full of comfy sofas that mom doesn't make you get off of.


  1. I will have to show my husband your story - I want a long haired golden retriever so badly and he doesn't want a dog! Maybe someday when we're retired and not gone during the day. Beautiful story (and pictures) - so sorry for your loss.


  2. My deepest condolences. Losing a pet is so very hard.

  3. I'm so, so sorry about Cosmo. I know how very difficult it is when the time comes for a beloved pet to go to the Bridge. I've lost my share of dogs over the years, and it never gets easier, even when we know it's the best thing for them and that they're ready to go.

  4. Oh, I am so sorry for your loss. But you made a wonderful tribute to Cosmo, it is such a great story-thank you for sharing.
    We have two young dogs now (2 YO rescued mutt and 3 yo Alaskan Malamute) and I really, truly can't imagine my life without them. They are a gift and they teach us every day how to love. They deserve every bit of our love and attention. Here is one story that will warm your heart:

  5. Oh, Mindy, I am so sorry about your sweet Cosmo.
    Hugs from me.

  6. I am so sorry for your loss. Cosmo was clearly loved and a member of your family. But what a wonderful 14 years you had with this amazing guy, and how lucky he was to have found you!


  7. Hello,
    I just happened along your blog this morning and your story of your pet, Cosmo. I am sorry for your loss of such a sweet looking pet!! I believe you are correct, God does give us pets for our little non-judgemental companions, to bring friendship and unconditional love to us. My daughter has a kitty that stays close by her side, day and night, when my daughter is ill. It is so sweet. And she does bring comfort to my daughter, it is cute. I also wanted to tell you that you did such a nice job writing your story--it was very engaging. May God's sweet comfort be yours during your sorrow.
    Beverly in WA

  8. My heart and prayers go out to all of you! Our 4-legged kiddos touch a part of us that no human can. I remember you speaking of Cosmo, during our classes at QID in January, and I enjoyed seeing him in the video. Thank you for sharing him and your heart with us.
    Beth L. (in Phoenix)

  9. I just read your blog and wanted to send my condolences. It's never easy to say good-bye to a beloved pet, but I am sure you gave him a very happy life. I'll bet he's in doggie heaven playing with my woofs now...
    Take care,

  10. Melinda and Joe,
    as a pet owner who has had to make the same decision as you I undertand your grief and saddness. Someone sent me this poem when my little dog had to be put to sleep and it gave me much comfort. I believe what it says and I hope it gives you comfort too!

    The Rainbow Bridge

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

    Author unknown...

  11. just read of Cosmo this morning and sweet tribute you wrote.sorry for the loss of a friend that loyal. our animal family members give so much richness to our lives. they are always "now "in the moment and try to teach us that, no words needed. i have had many a kitty fur person guard me and then leave .most recently a cat boy of 19 years left. a horse of 23 years was the hardest goodbye of all, that sweet grey mare. and even the pet rooster of 5 years, left footprints on my heart. when you think of them know they were well loved by you .