Cocoa was a miniature chocolate poodle. His name suited his color – hence the name given to him by my husband. He was my friend for 13 years. He was an indoor dog and even had his own dog door so he could go outside whenever he wanted to in order to chase squirrels, chipmunks, or rabbits. However, the only thing he ever caught was a huge turtle – lol. It was his prize and he brought it in the house with his pompom tail held high – so proud that he’d finally caught something.

He had many rubber toys to play with but had several favorites – a red boot and a pink poodle. We’d play chase with him all over the house.
After my husband and I parted company Cocoa began sleeping in the bed with me. We’d go to sleep back to back and wake up nose to nose. His regular bedtime was 10:00 P.M., come rain or shine. Daylight Savings Time blew his mind, especially when we went OFF Daylight Time. Promptly at 9:00 he’d leave the den and go down the hall to bed. If I didn’t come to bed soon he’d come down the hall and peer in the den and give me a dirty look, as if to say, “Where in Sam Hill are YOU”?

In his 12th. year he developed a disease called histoplasmosis. Our veterinarian did everything he could to cure him to to no avail. He got sicker and sicker. At first I’d take him to the vets once a week for treatment, then twice, and on until it was everyday. One day when I took him in Dr. Nall was standing at the receptionist desk. He just looked at me and I burst into tears. We talked and I said that I was waiting for him to tell me I should put Cocoa to sleep, but I knew now that he wasn’t going to do it, because if he did, and I took his advice, and then I was sorry, I’d blame him. I also told him that I’d been selfish because I wanted to keep Cocoa, and I knew I should let him go. The doctor told me to go to work, and let him know my decision when I picked him up that evening. He also said he knew how much Cocoa meant to me. That afternoon I told the doctor I’d bring him in the next morning to be put down.

In my anguish and sadness I took Cocoa home for his last night on earth. It wasn’t a pretty evening. Cocoa’s breathing became labored, then he’d breathe normally for awhile. This went on for hours. At exactly at 10:00 P.M. (his regular bedtime) Cocoa breathed his last breath lying next to me on the couch. It was as though he was saying, “NO, you’re not going to put me to sleep, I’ll do it myself”.
The next day my son and I buried Cocoa in the backyard. We made a tombstone for him with his name, birthday, and the day he died on it. I had cried so much in the last year for him, I’m not sure I had any tears left.

Epilogue: A year later I sold my house and moved to a condo. I had reason to call Alabama Power Company. I talked to a nice lady about my problem. After we conducted the business I’d called for, she said, “Do you remember that house you sold in Cagaba heights”? I told her “yes”. She then told me that she and her husband had bought that house, and had wondered all that time what pet was buried in the backyard. I told her about Cocoa. She said that I could come over anytime I wanted to visit Cocoa’s grave – although I never did. My memories of Cocoa are in my heart. She also told me that his grave was a selling point in them buying my house, thinking that anyone who would bury their pet in their backyard surely were good people.
Cocoa died in 1978, and I don’t think about him everyday, but I still miss him, and I still love him.


Nancy from Alabama