It is with a heavy heart that I report that our beloved pet/friend/companion, Cocoa, passed away last night, March 16, 2009 in the charge of a wonderful person on this island, Susan Hendricks.
As I mentioned in my previous post, Cocoa encountered two dogs on the beach that attacked her. While the attack appeared mild in nature, at least as far as the bites, evidentially she suffered some type of injury to her hip or back which caused her a great deal of pain along with discomfort in getting around.
Over the first few days she had more and more difficulty standing up and laying down. We tended to her lovingly and tried administering to her needs with the few medicines available. She seemed to be improving slightly but would not eat. She continued to drink water and urinate so we were mainly concerned with the eating problem.
Finally, when the problem of her not eating became what we felt to be serious, we called Miss Susan, a friend on the other side of the island that is well known for her compasion with animals and her dedication to their well-being. She advised us to give the dog prednisone and check signs for dehydration. Since we had given her prednison with some good results, we increased the amount according to her instructions. We checked Cocoa for signs of dehydration but she appeared to be fine.
Friday night and into Saturday morning Cocoa was restless and I stayed up with her the whole night. She became confused, walking into things and having more and more trouble staying up on her feet. She finally was unable to rise. About 7 a.m. in the morning she had a seizure. It was traumatizing. When it was over, she was non-responsive. My husband called Susan and she said that she would be over in a few hours as she had people coming and had to take care of them.
Cocoa had another seizure about 11:00 a.m. and again about 12:15 p.m. while Cocoa was suffering with a third seizure, Susan arrived. She found the dog very dehydrated and they began hydrating her. Apparently she was more dehydrated than we acually realized and they gave her about 3 1/2 liters of saline. Her eyes were pinpoints and she showed no sign of being aware of her surroundings. Several medications were administered to stop the seizures and after a long talk with Susan, it was decided that she would take Cocoa to her house to continue treatment.
Preparations were made and we carried her in a sling to the waiting boat. She suffered a small seizure on the dock and they quickly administered medication.
I called Susan later in the day and she said Cocoa had a fifth seizure but was resting comfortably. The muscles had relaxed and her legs were no longer stiff. She was still unresponsive but, otherwise, resting.
At 9:30 p.m. our lovely dog passed away and Susan reached us to let us know. Before I continue we both thank Susan for her compassion, her love of animals and her help. We know of no better person to take care of our pet in their final hours and we know that she showed our Cocoa the same love we would have.
Cocoa was our pet for 12 years having acquired her when we first came to the island. She was a beautiful dog; loving, outgoing, friendly and the Alpha Female of the "pack." She loved to ride in boats, take "walk abouts" with our other dogs and watch over our land from the front porch making sure she missed none of the "action."
We have lost several pets while on the island, more than we have ever lost while living in the states but, then, we share our home with many more of these lovely creatures.
Death never comes at a good time and it will be especially hard for me as I am to leave for a vacation next week. We are hurting but will remember her with love and affection. She was special, as I am sure all people feel about their pets, and there is now a big, empty hole in our lives that she once filled with love.
One last word of farewell, dear friend. Whenever we visit your grave, we will say to ourselves with regret but also happiness in our hearts at the remembrance of our long happy life with you: "Here lies one who loved us and whom we loved." No matter how deep your sleep I shall hear you, and not all the power of death can keep the picture of you and your wagging a grateful tail.
With love, Mommy and Daddy