We all know that it will not last forever. But when the end comes you’re never really ready to accept it. I had been through this before, but this one was the toughest. She was the one that had my heart more than any other. She was the one I will miss the most.
She came into our lives as just a baby. We had a girl already and a boy. But our girl was at the end of her days. We did not want the boy to be left alone so we thought we would get him a mate to be with when we were not around. Betsy took one look at this new runt and said “I am not going anywhere quite yet.” She hung on for two years after that and left us while she was sleeping in her bed. We became accustomed to having three so wanted a new member of the family. She looked a lot different than the other two, but was quite special in her own way.
What made Cookie so unique? Those fourteen pounds of white with those piercing black eyes was exceedingly smart-- much more so than the others. We had many sharing our house over the years, but this one was so much smarter. Even though she was seemingly slight she was as tough as they come. If you were a lizard or groundhog or opossum who dared enter her back yard, you did not have a chance against this prowler of her domain.
Everyone has a favorite memory of their best friend. Mine was when we went to pick up the kids from sleepover camp and Cookie came with us. She decided to tour the camp on her own. She was so lightning fast it literally took twenty people chasing her down to finally catch her before she met a SUVs tire. It was a sight one never forgets.
She had tacitly been my son’s to compensate for the fact that her older brother was my daughter’s. That all ended when #1 son went away to college. Cookie became mine. Whenever I was home from the moment I woke up she was with me. If I went for a walk she would be the only one with the endurance to keep up and often she was pulling me along. If I was on the treadmill she would be my companion; there the entire time. She would lie next to me on the couch every evening. She slept with us and was often hogging my space as I was always the last one in bed.
But her body betrayed her. Her mind was still as sharp as ever, but her kidneys and pancreas gave out. We tried our best to keep her with us, but it became time and the grueling decision was made to let her go. When the kids and I took her to do the deed, it was a challenge that cannot be conveyed in words. One feels so helpless standing there next to her. You have protected her and taken care of her since she was a baby, but now you cannot any longer. Then the doctor comes in to do what I cannot imagine I could ever do; even though you may intellectualize that you are doing the best thing, your heart cannot tell you that. Then my beloved Cookie was gone.
There is a difference among people. When my wife told a relation that we were soon losing Cookie, he said that is why he could not have someone like that in his life. The loss was too painful. I thought what a horrible way to live life. Lord Tennyson said it best: “ ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
God works in mysterious ways. As Cookie was experiencing her final days, Darling Daughter was told at work of a new friend who needed a home. As the kids were coming home with the ten-year-old we had saved from untold mayhem, I asked them if Rocky knew he had just won the lottery. His second day in the house he crawled up on the couch, brought his front legs on my leg and laid his face in my lap. I questioned why anyone would ever let anyone like this leave their home. He has fit very well with his older brother and younger sister.
I told Rocky that as cool as he appears to be that he has large shoes to fill. At least he has taken over being the one with me on the treadmill. But there will never be someone to fill the hole in my heart for the loss of my best friend. God be with you.