This summer, one night my boyfriend called me at 1 a.m. because Coco had somehow poked herself in the eye out in the backyard.
This is not unusual behaviour for our dog.
I kind of wish our veterinary clinic had a loyalty program, because with the inordinate amount of times we’ve had to visit, we could probably fly to Hawaii. Or whatever the equivalent is for “Vet Points”… free de-wormer for life?
Coco’s constantly bashing herself into inanimate objects… like walls. And the bottom of the table. Even a parked tractor. She’ll eat anything, from licking a full stick of butter into nothingness, to scarfing up a bottle of Aleve pills (worthy of an overnight trip to the vet and two follow-ups) yet is as slim as a whip (another trip to the vet because her skinniness was getting me dog mom-shamed. According to said vet, she’s the perfect amount of skinny. That’ll be $80, please).
Life as Coco’s mom has been a wild ride.
I’d always wanted a dog of my own, since we had nothing but cats growing up, but I’d never pictured myself with a German Shepherd. And dogs were always – sometime in the future. Not right now. My boyfriend already had a dog, a beautiful Border Collie/Doberman cross, so I had all the dog cuddles I wanted.
But then, one day at work, as I was getting out of my car, a client drove up, parked behind me, and waved for me to come over.
“Do you want to see something?” he asked, opening the backdoor of his car. Which was an eye-raising intro, but I knew him to be an eccentric fellow already.
“Hmm,” I said, but went over to look. In the backseat was a box of puppies. So closely intertwined that one was indistinguishable from the next.
“They were going to be shot so I just took them,” he said. “Would you like one? They’re purebred German Shepherds.”
If there was ANY ounce of sensibility left in my body after hearing about the impending slaughter of tiny baby animals, it was erased by the words “German Shepherd” and the fact my boyfriend had been very nostalgic over his childhood German Shepherd recently and it was still the honeymoon stage and I was very mushy about that kind of thing. So -
“Yes,” I said, in shock.
With that, his daughter passed me a puppy: “She’s the last girl and she’s the runt of the litter.”
And that’s how fast it happened, folks.
Still in shock, I turned and walked into the office, cradling the crazy small puppy in my arms. She made a soft rumbling noise, deep in her belly.
That’s when she became real to me. She was small and weak, so malnourished, pretty dirty, and seemingly helpless. But she still had enough of her own about her to rumble at me. Letting me know she still had a say in the situation.
And to this day, Coco always has a say. She’s the most talkative dog you'll ever meet.
Indulge me with these next few gratuitous iPhone puppy photos that are making me tear up -
The first weekend was stressful. She threw up everything we fed her.
“I picked the puppy that’s gonna die,” I said tragically.
But, after a trip to the vet (of course), she slowly started to gain weight and show off her feisty personality.
Some fun facts about Coco now –
Her ears are bigger than her head.
She likes putting on her backpack because she gets to carry her own treats.
Her best friend is her biological sister, Bella. They act as if they are going to kill each other (just like human siblings), and then fall asleep in a cuddle puddle. Her other best friend is our dog, Chloe. She'll lick Chloe's face like a mad-woman until Chloe won't be able to take it anymore and starts herding her around the house (border collie instinct)!
She hates being alone so if we leave her without Chloe or Bella she eats everything. A couch. The floor. Ya know.
She can open our garbage can and kitchen cupboards, and the garage door at my boyfriend's parents.
When I’m in pain, she lies on top of me on the couch and I wake up either spooning her or her spooning me. She likes nothing better than to be with me, so if she’s feeling insecure, she’ll run up on the top of the coach and try to sit on my shoulders.
I can no longer pick her up with one hand or carry her in my purse, but she is by my side, my constant companion, and truly my child.
Oh, and Coco’s eye? Yup, she somehow managed to scratch her EYEBALL but after some eye drops and pain meds, she’s totally fine.
Happy Birthday, Miss Coco Morrison-Rose. We love you.