An old song* says that 525,600 minutes make up a year. The math checks out: 60 minutes an hour x 24 hours a day x 365 days a year = 525,600 minutes.
The best I can figure, our sweet Cocoa lived about 7,264,800 minutes.
A much-wanted 12th birthday gift for my son Preston, Cocoa lived an exuberant, energy-filled life.
This photo was taken in the summer of 2018; Cocoa had just turned 13 years old. 13 in "human years" supposedly equates to 91 "dog years." She looks awfully good for a senior citizen, doesn't she?
We adopted Cocoa from the local humane society just after we moved into this house, and it's hard to imagine living here without her. If you’ve ever rung our doorbell, you’ve been greeted by her barking. If you’ve ever placed your food close to the edge of our countertop, you’ve had to fend off her stealthy snitching. If you’ve ever sat in one of our living room chairs, you’ve had to brush her hairs off your clothes. If you’ve ever tried to pet her “sister” Snickers, you’ve felt her nosing her way into your caress.
Sometimes Cocoa would get so absorbed in licking your hand or your face that, when you tried to stop her, she'd continue licking the air around you.
This photo is of Cocoa and Snickers, side by side in one of our living room chairs:
Occasionally they'd share a chair, but more often you'd see them like this:
See how the throw pillow is on the floor beside Cocoa's chair? It never failed that Cocoa would jump into a chair and throw the pillow to the ground.
Every now and then we caught our pups in a pose, like these:
But most of life was like this:
Or even this:
As you can see, Cocoa was no saint. Truth is, she could be awfully aggravating. She could make me so mad that sometimes I almost wanted to kill her.
But I never wanted her to die.
Cocoa ran and jumped and licked her way through millions of minutes until Monday night, when she obviously had a tummy ache. Tuesday morning she seemed a little better, but then on Tuesday afternoon she stopped eating and drinking. Deeply concerned, I made a pallet on the floor beside my bed so that I could keep an eye on her. I checked on her throughout the night.
Sometime between 4:00 and 6:00 Wednesday morning, Cocoa took her last breath.
I am deeply grateful that she did not suffer long. And I am grateful that I did not have to make a decision to end her life. I know this is a mercy.
But my heart is broken. There's no other way to put it.
I think that old song is right. The only way to measure a year in a life is love. Cocoa lived more than 7 million minutes of pure, unconditional, unforgettable love.
I will remember the love.
June 27, 2005 - April 24, 2019
*"Seasons of Love" by Jonathan D. Larson