We said goodbye to Cooper today.
We knew this day was coming. Now that it’s here, it feels exactly the way we imagined it would … saturated with deep sadness and the aching of a broken heart. We’ve had Cooper for all of his life—thirteen and a half years. He’s been with us through the worst of times and the best of times. He’s been a continual source of joy and laughter, as well as comfort and consolation. Cooper has been a gift from God and we can honestly say that we’ve loved him and enjoyed him every day since he first padded into our world. He became so deeply integrated into our lives that now everywhere I direct my thoughts, Cooper is there.
The world was truly a better place while Cooper was in it. He lifted people’s spirits simply by being present. When we would take him out for a walk, virtually everyone who saw Cooper would break into a smile. Little kids would want to pat him and tourists would ask to take his picture. He was a therapy dog by nature.
Cooper’s gentle spirit and calm disposition made him so endearing and easy to live with. We took him with us whenever we could. And when that wasn’t possible, we missed him until we returned. We were amazed at how quiet he was, and could probably count on one hand the number of times we heard him give a full-on dog bark. For example, when Cooper wanted to go outside, he would let us know with an almost whispered woof. We have no idea how he trained us to do that.
Some of Cooper’s favorite things included running on the beach, riding in the backseat of the Mustang with the top down, wildly shaking his stuffed bear with a large jingle bell tied onto it, and doing his happy dance on his back in cool grass while kicking his legs up into the air. Most of all, Cooper just loved being with us.
When Cooper was a young dog, I took him running with me. As he got older, we took him for walks. Gradually, those walk got shorter and then slower. Finally, the walks ended. Last night I carried Cooper up the stairs to our bedroom where he was accustomed to sleeping. I laid in bed awake all night, wanting to be comforted by the fact that Cooper was still with us. I got up several times just to see him and touch him while I still could. As morning dawned, I found him sleeping along side our bed as he often did.
I’m going to miss Cooper’s presence. I’m going to miss seeing him when I walk in the door and being greeted by his adoring face. I’m going to miss hearing that soft woof and finding his toys scattered about. I’m going to miss everything about my dear precious friend. For thirteen and a half years Cooper has filled my life with wonderful memories. He leaves behind so many empty spaces in me that were filled uniquely by him. I miss him and I’m heart-sick, yet at the same time I’m so deeply and profoundly grateful for God’s gracious gift of Cooper in my life.