Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Give him your heart and he will give you his.

Cobi Otis 1994-2012
I've been in denial of this day for quite some time. My family warned me that it would eventually happen but I played dumb to it, not my dog, he'll live forever, he was beating all the odds, he was definitely something special, even the vet said so. Well you can only play dumb for so long until you actually see the effects of time and how it was now taking away my pet, which he was more then, he was my best friend.

I got what would be the biggest, coolest present of my life when I was 8 years old. Before this day I begged and pleaded with my parents on why I deserved this present, I actually negotiated with them, if I score 20 points in one of my basketball games, I would indeed receive this present. I guess I was a dreamer at an early age, I actually thought at 8 years old I'd score 20 buckets in a game, the closest I came was 14 points, I guess when I look back, that was pretty impressive, I had my eye on the prize, I wanted a puppy.

Christmas morning of that year was something of a dream, first off, my brother and sister weren't fighting with me to see who got to go down the stairs first, they told me I could, which should of been my clue that something special was about to happen. When I came down the stairs my eyes immediately focused on this tiny white stuffed dog that was on the chair in my living room, I thought to myself what a mean joke, but then that stuffed puppy turned its little head and looked at me. I was in shock, the only words that I kept saying were, "There's a puppy dog over there." I couldn't believe that what I was staring at was real, he was perfect, he was mine. I would call him Cobi Otis, Cobi after my favorite soccer player Cobi Jones and Otis because I just thought that was a cute name, he was a bichon frise. At that moment Cobi had no idea what an impact he would have on my life.

That was 18 years ago, 18 years is a lifetime and what I learned in that lifetime from a little white puff ball named Cobi are some of the most valuable things I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Cobi passed away on Sunday morning, at my parents house, in my dad's arms. I got word the night before from my mother, that Cobi seemed very out of it, that they were making him comfortable and that they didn't think he'd make it through the night. It was a blow to my system and a fear I've had ever since I moved overseas, I wouldn't be there for Cobi in the end.

I saw him just a week earlier in New York and while he could no longer see me, he went blind from old age, he knew I was there, we shared a bond that only a dog and their owner share. We sat on my parents deck together while I was home and I knew he'd be leaving me soon and when I left my parents house to head back to France I patted his little head and said try and hang on until May, there's someone that really wants to meet you. He was hanging on for so long, every time I left I was amazed that when I came home, there he was standing at the door, waiting to greet me after our months apart, and he was never bitter, he always remembered me, that was love.

When I look back on my life, the one constant that was always there was Cobi. Through the bad times and good times, he never left my side. He was there to cheer me up after a bad race or game, through break-ups and the loss of family members.  All I had to do was pick him up, place him on my lap and he would comfort me, he would make it better. He never judged me, he was always loyal and gave me endless love.

I got word Sunday morning that Cobi passed away, all my memories with him came flooding into my head and I realized I lost my best friend, that may sound crazy to some but he really was. It took me a few days to get up the courage to actually write this for fear that my tears would likely break my MacBook, but Cobi's love deserves to be shared with you. Cobi taught me what it is to be selfless, he showed me what a true friend is, he taught how important being loyal is and no matter how far away you go, when you come back you can pick up right where you left off. Isn't that what we are all looking for in life, in a friend, in a mate? I was lucky enough to get 18 years of that kind of friendship and I will carry it with me for the rest of my life.

I sit here and write this with Wooden, my six month old golden retriever next to me, sound asleep, so content and hope that he can have as good and long a life as Cobi and that maybe I can learn a few more things from him along the way.

Cobi was 126 in dog years when he passed away, which is amazing, he was a fighter until the very end. He holds such a special place in my heart and he will be with me always. Thank you Cobi for allowing me to have such a great friend by my side for 18 years, for that I am one of the luckiest people alive.

“A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbol means nothing to him. A waterlogged stick will do just fine. A dog judges others not by their color or creed or class but by who they are inside. A dog doesn't care if you are rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his. It was really quite simple, and yet we humans, so much wiser and more sophisticated, have always had trouble figuring out what really counts and what does not. As I wrote that farewell column to Marley, I realized it was all right there in front of us, if only we opened our eyes. Sometimes it took a dog with bad breath, worse manners, and pure intentions to help us see.”
― John Grogan

I loved that he loved Kyle. 

One of my favorite pictures, greeting me after a long run. 

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