Cookie’s Last Dance

Cookie 6 months

Cookie the quirky, defective, anti-social white Chihuahua, was my best pal, although I was not his. A natural born heat-seeker, Cookie preferred and deferred to our other pack member, John, because John’s hands were always warm and mine always ice.

He wasn’t very smart for a dog, impossible to train, but he had his charms. The one trick he would perform on demand was the old “gimme five”, or more accurately “gimme four”. Cookie would sit and quickly touch his paw to your outstretched hand, but only if he knew you had a treat in your other hand. He also had his own happy dance, crazily spinning around like a compass needle, reserved for moments of ultimate fulfillment of longing and joy, like suppertime. We tried to encourage this natural behavior and get him to dance on command, but to no avail. Cookie did exactly what he wanted, whenever it suited him. So it had been from the day we brought the little brat home nearly 14 years ago until just last month.

In mid-March, Cookie stopped dancing and eating, not even tempted by his favorite treats, no longer aware of what he was doing or where he was.  Tests at the vet proved inconclusive; systems were failing.  I knew he was slipping away and all I could do was make him comfortable and wait.

That last morning I didn’t know it was going to be his last morning.  I groomed him as gently as possible, dabbing at the bit of dried blood that still matted his fur at the back of his neck where the vet had drawn so many samples the week before. I trimmed his nails, and for the only time in his life he did not protest, and wiped away the bits of yarn fiber that were constantly getting sucked into his soft, brown saucer eyeballs.

After we were done, I set him on the corner of the sofa, his beloved watch post, but Cookie didn’t stay there long. Eyes clouded with cataracts, legs weak and unsteady, he staggered down his little doggy stair steps and, drawn by instinct, found a welcoming spot on the floor, the place where the late morning sun hit and heated the carpet. He circled that spot once, laid himself in the sunny warmth, breathing heavily. I tried stroking him and calming him, but nothing would delay the inevitable.  His head drooped to the carpet, he shuddered and breathed his last.

I never understood, in the movies and TV, when grieving loved ones would say “he looked so peaceful” or “I thought she was just sleeping”.  I get it now.  And I have done some difficult things in my life; I birthed two babies, I sized crochet garment patterns, I lost my dad. But the hardest thing I ever had to do was that morning, bundling Cookie’s tiny, limp, still warm body and taking him to the vet for his final arrangements.

People deal with grief in their own time and in their own ways.  Today I immerse myself in my crochet and have been creating a remembrance. It’s not quite finished; it is a work in progress as is my grieving.

Cookie's Last Dance

In a while I will have my emotions in hand, will likely publish this filet project as a DJC Design so I can share with you Cookie’s Last Dance.

One more thing.  I am not sure if I have figured out how to do this, or if I have the right to do this, but I hope all concerned will forgive me.  This piece of music has helped me, a catharsis in four and a half minutes.  Written by Karen Taylor-Good and Burton B. Collins, produced by the late Phil Ramone, this song, performed by Laura Branigan, might be heard if you click through here a couple of times.

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49 thoughts on “Cookie’s Last Dance

  1. Doris, I’m so sorry for your loss. I feel your pain. My little guy is slowing down and I’m afraid it may not be much longer. They truly are our best friends.
    Take care,
    Eileen :)

  2. Doris-
    I am so sorry for your loss of Cookie. I’m glad that I had the chance to meet the little guy last year.

    Take care,
    Shari

  3. Oh, Doris, I am so sorry for your loss. I feel your pain as we lost our mini doxy in February. Cookie and Wiggles are playing now and are dancing up a storm! Hugs……

  4. I’m so sorry for the loss of you beloved Cookie. I lost my little girl Chloe recently and still think of her fondly. The scarf youade is a beautiful tribute to him!

  5. Hugs to you and John, loosing your four legged baby is so hard, you can be so very proud and happy that you gave him a good and full life….he found his angel when you brought him home!!!

  6. Doris, I am so sorry for your loss and sort of know what you are going through. My beloved little companion of 13 years is going down fast after a bout of pancreatitis in Feb. 2012 where he almost died, but survived to become diabetic, requiring two shots daily over the last year, to develop cataracks and become blind in April of last year, and to be constantly scared and lonely, requiring me to be around at all times, sleeping on the couch to be close to his bed in the living room and to be in a constant state of sleep-awake to tend to his needs as he doesn’t know it’s 3 AM he just knows he’s hungry or needs to go outside. He started not being able to hold his urine over the last few months and we have just gotten this back under control after walking around for the last month or two with a constant wet butt, and he has a constant bladder infection that is being held at bay barely too, and he has to take about 8 pills with each meal. I feel so helpless as a caregiver and so frustrated in not knowing completely what he is experiencing, if he is in bad pain and just toughing it out. I know you would give anything to have all that back to have your sweet little Cookie back and I can only say that he is in a place where he is not in any pain any more, and he knows that he was very loved by you and your family. I send you much love and big hug and hope that with time you can find the days easier to bear. I love the scarf you made, what a loving tribute and can’t wait to be able to make one myself. My sincerest condolences– Gina

  7. Oh Doris, I’m so sorry! Pets are a big part of our lives, so when we lose one, it’s definitely a sad, sad thing. He passed with love, in the company of those who cared for him. That scarf is just perfect!

  8. Doris, So sorry for your loss. The little dickens do leave their paw prints on your heart, don’t they? Sounds like Cookie was quite a character, and know he will be missed. Hugs!

  9. Hugs to you, Doris. I’m so sorry for your loss. Cookie sounds like such a character.
    Thank you for sharing your heartache and know my heart is with you.

    • Tears are running down my face. I lost my beloved dog Anna in much the same way. Our pets are so innocent and show pure emotion-nothing tricky to understand. They look to us for comfort and protection and it breaks our hearts when there is no more we can do for them.

  10. Much love to you and your family Doris. You have written so beautifully and shared the precious moments so openly. Lucky Cookie to have his entire life loved by you all, as he gave you every minute he had xxxxx

  11. My condolences to you. I know it was very difficult to watch my girl cat, Kassandra Maren, slip away in the midst of preparing for my son’s wedding reception 11 years ago this July. I still miss her. No one or nothing can take away our memories though.

  12. Doris, I’m so sorry for you loss. We are struggling with our beloved almost 13-yo bulldog right now. It is amazing how much it hurts to lose unconditional love! Big hugs to you and much love to Cookie as he dances forever in the sunshine of your heart :o) Haley

  13. Doris, I am so sad to hear about Cookie – our little fur-children are so innocent and trusting; it’s so hard to lose one – your tribute to him is wonderful

  14. ouch. we just lost one of our dear dogs. it’s a heartbreak like no other, and it’s amazing what a big space they leave behind. i wish you lots of warm memories of your cookie in the weeks to come.

  15. SO VERY SORRY TO HEAR OF YOUR LOSS. WE LOST OUR DEAR GINGER ON DEC 31 2012. IT REALLY STUNK. IT IS SO HARD TO SAY GOODBYE. OUR LIVES ARE SO MUCH BETTER THAT WE HAD THOSE DOGGIES IN IT. AND YOU KNOW THEIR LIVES WERE SO MUCH BETTER THAT WE WERE IN IT. JUST THINK OF THE LITTLE DOG ANGELS WE’LL HAVE WAITING FOR US. JUST THOUGHT I’D SHARE WITH YOU.

  16. Weeping, again. Usually when people say I know how you feel, they don’t, not really. But I just lost my companion of 13 years to an unexpected, massive heart attack. I know how it feels.

    Though I don’t care for filet crochet as a rule, I would make your pattern in honor of my lost friend if you make it available. I think it would help with my grieving process. I hope it has helped with yours.

    Valli Pherson

  17. Dear Doris,

    The way you spoke about your little doggie was just beautiful. It’s obvious that despite all of his flaws he had a big place in your heart and that you loved him dearly. I am sorry he is gone and I am happy that you shared his lifetime with him. He was truly lucky to have you for a Master. I’m sending good thoughts your way along with a big fat hug! Take care.

    Pam Width

  18. Sorry to hear about your pup Doris. I know what it’s like to lose a beloved dog, I lost my little Annie 7 years ago. We now have 3 more, and they are all wonderful, each one finds a place in your heart and stays there forever.

  19. I’m so sorry about your loss. I too have a beloved Chihuahua who has also burrowed her way into my heart like she burrows into her blanket on the couch. I hop

  20. I am so sorry for your loss, dogs leave such a special place in our hearts, my dogs are like my kids, spoilt rotten and loved unconditionally. Cherish the memories.

  21. I am so sorry to hear of Cookie’s passing. I too, have an “elderly gentleman” who will not be with me much longer. Dogs love us without judgement. I think that is why it’s so hard when their time comes. Lots of photos and sweet memories.

  22. I too am very sorry to hear about your lost. The pain will become less but the memories sweeter. I know because I have had many loves with four legs that I have had yo say good-bye and thank you to.

  23. Beautifully writing. I lost my oldest chihuahua last year(she was almost 14, haeartfailure). I still miss her although her daughter is still with me but she’s gonna be 13 next months so already older too. I fear for the day I’ll lose her too.

  24. Oh, Doris, I’m so sorry you lost your little friend. We know it’s inevitable to lose our furry companions, but it hurts so much. Take comfort in knowing that Cookie was so well loved and couldn’t have asked for a better life. Everyone grieves in their own way, but I find that the only thing that has helped me when I’ve lost one of my beloved kitties is to save another one from the shelter.

  25. So sorry to hear about your dear Cookie. Thanks for posting such a lovely and moving tribute. It is so hard to lose a trusty and devoted little gal or fella. We lost our sweet kitty at 19 a couple of years ago; the house felt empty without her. They surely leave an empty space behind… your tribute reminded me of this, and of how lucky we are that these little guys shared their lives with us.

  26. I am so sorry for your loss. It’s hard to say goodbye to those that have brought joy, comfort and love to our lives. Bless you and your family.

  27. I’d like to add my sorrow to yours. I’ve lost several pet friends over the years and understand your grief. I read once that it is a good thing that pets don’t live as long as we do because if it hurts this much after only 10 or 15 years, imagine the grief if they lived for 60 or 80 years. We couldn’t survive it. These animal friends live with us forever. New pets create new places in our hearts but never really replace the ones we’ve lost.

  28. Pingback: Filet Scarf and Stole: Cookie’s Last Dance | Doris Chan: Everyday Crochet

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