I read an article today about the human connection to dogs and how a pets death can hurt more then losing a human family member..and I was compelled to tell the story about my boy Cobee who we lost this year. I honestly haven't been able to get myself to think about it until now.
I can remember the day I first saw Cobee as if it were yesterday. It was August 26th 2005 and he was one of several puppies in a litter of a close friend who ran a shelter..the second we saw him we fell in love, and that love has never stopped growing.
My wife and I were newly married and we had our hands full, new apartment, new life, new beginnings, and no intention of getting a dog BUT there was something about that puppy, something special, a connection I couldn't put my finger on, but it was there and it took hold of me with great force. I thought about him all night and we decided to bring him into our lives and family the very next day.
Our first stop after picking him up was to my mother's house. She wasn't a dog person but like us fell in love that day and Cobee would have a loving Grandmother for the rest of his life. She would spoil him with a new toy, shirts and sweaters for winter walks, treats and more toys, it never stopped . He was our first child, our love, our baby, never separated from us and we wouldn't want it any other way. We all ate together, slept together, traveled together and made incredible life-long memories together.
My wife traveled back and forth to the West Coast every year (for 10 years) to see her parents and Cobee would go with her every time, we were Pet Parents before we knew what that meant. All we knew is that we loved him, he loved us and we were happy.
Everything was perfect, until Martin Luther King's Birthday weekend in 2007. My wife called me into the living room worried. She said Cobee was acting strange and couldn't move, he was 18 months old. As strong of a connection I had with Cobee my wife's was stronger, motherly, he loved her so deeply and she knew there was something wrong. After an hour he could barely move, hind legs were limp and he was lethargic. We struggled to find animal hospital on a holiday weekend but we did and drove frantically to get him there.
When we arrived the doctor on-call did a quick exam and said she believed he had a herniated disc but would need an MRI to be certain. We didn't have insurance, nor could we really afford all of the tests, but happily gave our credit card to move forward with any hope of saving him. They quickly performed an MRI and confirmed the herniation, next option we were given was surgery or putting him down (which was never an option for us) so we moved forward with the surgery knowing very well he would never be the same again.
Cobee survived but we were told he would never walk again, his herniation was so severe that he had lost all mobility in his hind legs, so we bought him a wheelchair and prepared ourselves for a long rehabilitation. Sevana (my wife) was 6 months pregnant with our daughter but she slept on the floor with Cobee for 3 months, administering medication, giving him water, massaging his legs, taking him out, keeping him in good spirits, being the mom he deserved to have. Then one day a miracle truly happened.
She called me at work crying, Cobee stood up on his own! He took a few steps then fell. We had a glimmer of hope for this angel, this little soul that was always in good spirits even when he couldn't walk, or stand up or eat, drink on his own, God had given him a second chance. Within 2 weeks he was walking, then running, then jumping, things were back to normal and we were beyond thankful and relieved.
Soon thereafter my daughter was born, and Cobee was ofcourse part of the process when she came home, he wouldn't leave her sight, he loved her and as she grew older, her love for him was equal to ours. We lived happily this way for 8 more years, until one day I could tell there was something wrong with him and our world changed forever.
Cobee was diagnosed with Cushing's Disease (a Pituitary Tumor), and while some dogs can live with the prognosis for many years, unfortunately it consumed our boy within 12 months and Cobee passed in my arms, in our home, on March 15th 2018. Part of me died with him that day. I know its hard to understand for people that have never had pets, or loved their pets the way we did, but its true and I think of him almost everyday. Cobee was a part of us and nothing can bring him back.
So, did this hurt more then when I lost my father, or my grandparents or my father-in-law? I can tell you this, for me, it hurt more and it still does.
So how do I cope and how can I give back to the Pet Community? The only reason I am in the Pet Business is because of Cobee, if I hadn't experienced the love he offered and the pain associated with his death I could never have dedicated myself to this industry and to the countless shelter pets that need our love and support everyday
Cobee changed our lives and Ive dedicated myself to help change the lives of all animals that need our help through charities, sponsorships, shelter support and our commitment to quality and care.
I do this for the love I felt and the love I know others feel for their pets. This isnt a business for us Pet Parents, its a way of life.
I love you my Angel Boy, thank you for all the love you gave us during our most difficult times - Run Free Baby Boy, daddy and mommy will always love you.
President and Chairman (IVS)