I have grieved and shed many tears over the tragedies that our great city has endured this year.
I shed tears when I saw the devastation of the tornadoes and I shed tears as I watched reports of the shootings in the Oregon District.
My heart broke for those people who lost their homes. My heart breaks for the families and friends of the Oregon District victims.
Those are devastating tragedies for the city I love so much, a city that has done so much for me.
So what I am about to write about is very small in the grand scheme of things. But for Nadine and me, it is a personal event that has caused us to empty our tear ducts since late Sunday afternoon.
Our beloved dog, Cooper, suffered a heart seizure Sunday afternoon and he is gone, gone at 9 years old.
Everybody believes their dog is the best ever and, yes, we believed he was the best, a very special member of our family.
On Sunday morning, my friend and driver, Ray Snedegar, picked me up to take me to the Reds game. As always, Cooper grabbed one of his stuffed animals and with his friend in his mouth, he howled his special greeting. He ran back-and-forth, as happy as he always was.
Every time a friend or a stranger showed up, Cooper grabbed one of his stuffed friends and howled. He never met a stranger. He loved everybody. Kids in the neighborhood, sometimes five or six at a time, came to our house to ask, “Can Cooper come out and play.” And he always did.
Cooper and his sister, Paige, loved the UPS driver. They recognized the brown truck, even if it went by without stopping they ran to end of the driveway, hoping he’d stop. If he did, he gave them pats on the head and a treat.
Like Nadine and me, Paige already misses her constant companion. They were inseparable and she senses something is wrong and wonders, “Where is Cooper?”
Nadine works hard on her flower garden and Cooper loved flowers. He would stop in the yard and smell them. Nadine asked me this morning, “Who is going to smell my flowers?”
They let me hold him at MedVet before he left us. He was not responsive, just lay still in my arms. But before he departed, he said good-bye. He lifted his beautfiul white head, looked me in the eyes and gave me four or five kisses. It was his last act.
Every night, when I went to bed, he jumped up beside me and rolled on his back for his nightly stomach rub. He loved that.
Like all dogs, he loved riding in the car and loved his walks through the neighborhood. I took Paige for a walk last night, her first time without Cooper. She loves walks as much as he did. But she wasn’t the same. She knew.
Cooper was a schnoodle, a schnauzer-poodle mix and he was a beautiful with bright brown eyes. We named him Cooper, in honor of Cooperstown. Strangely, he didn’t like to play ball. His stuffed animals were everything. Paige, the female, loves to play ball, three and four times a day. Cooper watched, stuffed animal between his feet.
For all of you who have dogs, the best friends you’ll ever have, give them a hug for me. I can’t give Cooper a hug. I wish I could.
He is up there now, entertaining everybody with a stuffed animal in his mouth, howling in delight, and I know I’ll see him again. He’ll want to go for a walk, ride in the car, roll on his back for a rub and invite me to smell the roses.
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