Oh Cookie, it's taken me almost a month to even be able to face this. You have been the toughest to lose so far. I know it's because of our challenging relationship. I could not have loved you more and yet you were so hard to love. Daddy has written a loving tribute about your life. I will let him share. Be at peace precious girl. I couldn't seem to give you peace on earth. Mommy|
Little Cookie, when I first laid eyes on you, you were a puppy of just over three months of age, released to run out a home's front door and run up to your future human Mommy, Cindy, and jump up as if to say, "Take me home! Take me home!" You were the last of a litter of nine, born of a timid mother penned up in the back yard of the house and sired by "Bilbo," with papers to prove it. Your English Springer Spaniel "mask" was askew, so this little black and white baby's face had a left eye "black" and a right eye "white," so far as the fur's color.
You were black and white, with one large black spot on your back, toward the left side, which had led the breeder family to call you "Spot." Riding home with you neslted in a little box with a pillow resting on Cindy's lap, we mulled over the name we wanted you to have. The black and white coloration led me to suggest "Oreo," which Cindy amended to "Cookie," and it wasn't hard to agree then that we had a fitting name for you.
Once we got you home and set you on the floor to begin exploring, we had that experience of seeing the world anew. The furniture became akin to towering mountains. A ceramic plant holder trailing plastic tendrils in front of our mantle, to little Cookie apparently seemed like a fascinating but forbidding jungle. you also approached the threshold to our back deck with great trepidation; it was as if that journey of a single step were one of a thousand.
But it wasn't long before you were running across the back yard, eyes little slits of pure joy, spaniel ears flapping backward in the breeze. You were full of zest and wanted to play, play, play, all the time. We had a little red-yellow-and blue basketball which you would adroitly "steal" away from your Daddy with a swat of your pay, or I'd play tug with you over your other favorite toy, your little yellow football. And you'd run from room to room, leaping up and down and on and off the sofas and bed in our game of chase. I spent as much time as I could playing with her, but it was always my 40-something self who wore out first. If I asked her to go get the basketball or the football, she'd always come running back with the toy you asked for. YOu liked my tennis shoes, too, picking them up by a shoestring and and carrying them around.
You grew more and more confident. As you leapt the sofa in our bedroom and climbed onto the bed, posing proudly at its corner, front paw poised on the bed post, I would jokingly call you "Snert" and suggest to Cindy that we get you a little Viking helmet, like the little dog in the comic strip "Hagar the Horrible."
Still, you were quiet in those days. YOu never barked at all until you were nearly a year old. You were so silent that Cindy and I called you our "angel doggie" because you never barked.
You had the world's greatest Mommy in Cindy and she always saw to it that Easter, your birthday, and Christmas were special. YOu got cake with candles and presents to unwrap. You loved your educational squeaky bees and squirrels you could pull from their hives, and, later, your singing "Diddle Dude." And always lots and lots of treats, though Mommy was very watchful to keep you at the right weight.
I loved you, little Cookie, like my own flesh. I remember when we were visiting your human grandma and grandpa, when I lay on the floor and hugged you to my chest. YOu relaxed and fell asleep. That made for one of my favorite photos of us together. Sometimes when we all woke up on Sunday mornings, our one day of the week we would sleep late, you would come up from the lower end of the bed and nestle against me, my upper arm, jutted out with my hand folded under my head, became your "pillow." It was as sweet and tender an experience as I ever had with any pet.
After you were three years old, we started sharing the home with an older male Springer, a rescued boy named Sage. The grandparents had a back deck on the second story of their home, with a long staircase to the backyard, which you and Sage took with ease in those days. YOu both loved to explore and romp in the in-laws' spacious backyard and flower gardens. You were always thrilled when your "Grandma and Grandpa" visited and doled out the treats and petting.
Cookie, when your fur was close-trimmed across your back, it was just as soft and cuddly as rabbit fur. Cindy saw to it you each got checkups every six months at the vet, and all your vaccinations on time. Shebought a grooming table and became an expert groomer. She found a recipe for home-made, indigo-blue ear disinfectant and used it regularly, also brushing your teeth. Your Mommy researched for several years over an allergy you developed after one vaccination, which had our little girl licking and chewing her paws, before finally hitting on a cure.
We had Sage in the family for almost nine years, and later, during your life there would also be others we adopted after he passed away. You shared our home with a Britanny named Willa, a Setter named Champ, and a hound mix named Annie. As you grew older, you became snappish at unpredictable times and had scrapes with the other dogs once in a while. Your humans got hurt separating you during your fights. But, though steel gates went up in our doorways to segregate you critters anytime we could not keep a close eye on you, our love endured.
One day, I opened the steel gates, invited the dogs, at this point meaning Annie, Willa and you, to pay attention, and I told you all you were to get along with "no-fights, no bites," using the foam-encased plastic bat we had bought, at a trainer's suggestion, to pound the sofa or the floor as I said "no fights, no bites." YOu all knew, from experience, what that bat meant, and you all hunkered down, getting the message. After that, and after Mommy accepted that you could mingle again, you all got along all right for the rest of your life.
In time, you decided to sleep on the sofa at the foot of our bed rather than in bed with us. Late in 2012, you stopped being able to spring up onto sofas. So, you took to sleeping on the dog beds Cindy had lining our home. Then, you started pawing at the water bowls in the dog feeders, turning them over several times so that we had to mop up the mess. We had to start keeping the water dish away and giving you a chance to get a drink of water from time to time. What Cindy and I had always believed would never happen was, at last, happening. You, Cookie, our sweet-and-demonic little springer spaniel, were growing old. We started leaving your harness on to provide a "handle" so we could help you up and down our deck steps, particularly in the mornings and at night, when it was most difficult. Over the coming months, you started scratching at magazines lying in baskets in the bathroom, or you would tear off rolls of toilet paper, or trap yourself under a chair or table, or corner yourself in dead-ends at odd times, standing, facing a corner of a room or the deck outside, immobilized until we tapped her on the shoulder and reminded you of the here-and-now. YOu eventually lost interest in your dog food. Just as she had with Sage and Champ before, Cindy began trying all sorts of dietary combinations to entice Cookie to eat, including plenty of home-cooking, rice, beef, and chicken, sprinkled with medications encased in nuggets of peanut butter.
One day, midweek, upon arriving home for lunch break from her nearby office, Cindy found you sprawled on the slick floor,struggling to get to your feet and bawling pathetically, for who knew how long. Cindy took you to the vet, who prescribed some muscle relaxers and advised us to give you three days. YOu recovered until you were no worse than before. To try to prevent that happening again, we marshalled the dog beds and other non-slip materials. At night, they lined our bedroom floor. By day, once we had to ship ourselves off to our workplaces, they lined the hall at the opposite end of the house.
But, you were unhappy being cooped up for hours in our little hallway. YOu barked and bawled as we left, and forced herself through the steel gate and into my wife's art studio, rampaging around and upsetting many items. We started shutting the door to the room.
The night of August sixth was a tough one. Cindy and I had both had to wake up at all hours of the night and help you get dislodged from under the desk or go outside to relieve yourself, but you often just stood there in the yard, seeming lost. On that final night, your clattering toenailswoke me and I went out into the living room with you. You remained too restless for me to doze off on the couch. I took you into the back yard a couple of times. The second time, after waiting a long time, I decided to go back to the couch and check on you later, next time I awoke. When I stepped onto the back deck again, you had climbed up there on your own. But, you were "cornered." I brought you back inside, onto the couch and sat on the loveseat with you cuddled against me. YOu hadn't let me cuddle her for several years like that, until lately. You seemed frightened, and I couldn't blame you. You didn't like what had been happening to you and you wanted to fight it, but you couldn't. I held you and tried to console you, stroking you tenderly and whispering my words of love. At length, I lay back down, and to my relief, you at last lay back down on the dog bed beside the sofa, and slept.
The morning of Wednesday, August 14th, 2013, Cindy and I both left for work separately and in a hurry. Neither of us recalls if we shut the regular door to her studio room that morning. But when Cindy came home for lunch, she found your lifeless body, still warm, but not breathing, on the floor of her room. You had forced your way in there again, opening the steel gate and entering the room to rummage around. For some reason, a rumpled plastic shopping bag lay atop your still-warm form. We knew the end for you was not terribly far off, but you were doing well enough that neither of us expected that day to be your last.
Our angel doggy had, at last, gone to Heaven. And so, we say our sad farewell.
8/14/14 I can't believe it's been a year already. Cookie, I hope you're keeping everyone in line at the Rainbow Bridge. I miss you every day. Sometimes it feels like you're still here, I guess you are here in our hearts always. Until we meet again, beautiful girl, I love you! ~Mommy
8/14/15 Two years have gone by, I cannot believe it.I still feel your presence daily. I think of how you left us, often, and it still makes me sad. I hope you have found peace where you are,I'm still looking for mine.I will love you forever,beautiful girl. ~Mommy