At the end of the day, 2016 was a pretty good year. That being said, it went out like a lion and 2017 came in like a lamb. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times, with tragic death preceding renewed birth. It is what it is. I just try to take it one year at a time.
The bottom line in a nutshell, Christmas dinner at my brother Paul’s was joyous, although less so for him I’m sure, being his first Christmas without his beloved wife, Shelia. It was a dark and stormy night by the time we opened gifts, and my dogs Gabe and Cocoa bit the dust (ice) several times on the way to our truck.
The next morning, all hell broke loose in my world. My new rescue dog Cocoa, the sweetest, most playful 2-year-old ever, was off-leash for just moments while I retrieved her old, straying companion, Gabe. I’m guessing the sound of two passing snowplows proved irresistible and her sudden dash cost her life. Her many injuries were too severe and a local vet secured my permission to humanely put her down.
Ah Cocoa, we hardly knew ye, yet we did pack a whole lot of fun and love in the five short months we shared. It takes a village … a community mourns. Well, at least my particular townhouse complex mourns, where everyone loved greeting Cocoa — none more so than my next-door-neighbor’s German short-hair, Brita. I often let Jim and Dagmar keep Cocoa for the afternoon so the two gals could romp non-stop and sleep together.
But the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away … He resumed giving New Year’s Day. His vessel was Kathy McDonald of “3 Dog Rescue,” tirelessly rescuing and placing abused/neglected animals since ’08. New Year’s Eve, Kathy emailed an urgent, foster-home plea for Ginger, a pretty, 10-year-old shepherd-mix who became homeless via divorce.
There was no room at the inn (Kathy’s house), and she deemed Ginger too frightened to leave at the shelter or a boarding facility. I met them on New Year’s Day, introduced Gabe and Ginger — then loaded her up for the “Blough Musty Manor.” She’s sleeping beside me on the couch this very second; resting assured I think, that this “foster” will become “adopt ‘er” lickety-split.
And there you have it — fate intricately weaving circumstances toward a good end for recipients willing and able to see it all in perspective. He’ll do that, ya know. It is what it is and the worm has turned. What goes around comes around, and I just take it one day at a time, cautiously optimistic there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
That being said, you probably became aware in a New York minute of my liberal usage of clichés and tediously-repeated expressions which were dropped on our doorstep one year ago along with Baby 2016. I normally avoid clichés like the plague, but once I start, it’s Katy-bar-the-door. Like potato chips, one seems to lead to another and before I know it, they’re dropping like flies and I’ve got clichés coming out my ears.
All joking aside though (to coin a phrase), Cocoa’s sweet and playful nature can never be duplicated. And so I sing to her, “… and I’m bluer than blue; sadder than sad, you were the brightest light this messy home has ever had. And life without you is gonna be, bluer than bluuuue … bluer than blue.”
That being sung, she truly was a priceless gem taken far too soon. If you’re sickened by those ASPCA abuse commercials and it’s possible, please donate in Cocoa’s name to your shelter and/or 3 Dog Rescue. The dog you save may be your own.
As the judge said to the ex-husband in divorce court, “Give till it hurts.”