Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Final Resting Place: Saying Goodbye to the Most Adorable Chocolate Labrador Retriever

August 1998. I had just graduated from college and moved to a new town with my boyfriend. He was introducing me to his new roommates and giving me the tour of the town house when I looked up to see the most adorable chocolate Labrador Retriever I’d ever seen perched at the top of the stairs.


“Aww,” I gushed as the thick dog stared at me. “I’ve always wanted a chocolate lab! What’s his name?”



And before my question could be answered, that most adorable chocolate Labrador Retriever barrelled down the stairs, knocked me off my feet, and humped me as I remained shocked and helpless on the floor, pinned by 85 pounds of unleashed testosterone and drool.  Little did I know that the man who owned this crazy dog would become my husband (that’s a different story for a different day). And the horny dog himself would become my pride and joy, my running partner, my bed mate, my first child, my children’s first pet, my best buddy.




Cody was 2 years old when I met Mr. Roller Coaster. He was past the puppy stage but not quite past the possessive nature of a dog who had never had to share his owner with another human. Suddenly this new lady enters the picture, and Cody has to relinquish his longstanding place in his owner’s bed, his car, and his heart. Cody declared his resentment by staring me down, chewing up my unmentionables, and incessantly humping me.




But soon my relationship with that most adorable chocolate Labrador Retriever changed. Suddenly I was the one feeding him and walking him and taking care of his basic needs. His resentment turned to loyalty. He became my dog. He followed me around. He obeyed my commands. And I don’t think he ever humped me again.




Cody was there when we moved to our first duty station. He was there when our son was born. He was there when Mr. Roller Coaster deployed to Iraq. He was there when we moved across the world to Japan. He was there when our daughter was born. Cody was a part of us, an important member of our family. And when he got sick and I called the vet to schedule the appointment to put him down, my heart broke into pieces to think of a life without that most adorable chocolate Labrador Retriever. But he was in pain, and it was time.




Cody never made it to his appointment. He passed away in his bed in our bedroom in the middle of the night after suffering his third seizure. Mr. Roller Coaster and I were with him. We were able to say our goodbyes and tell him how much we loved him. It was December 16, 2007.



Why am I retelling this story now, 4 years later? Well, until a few days ago, our beloved Cody had yet to find his final resting place, we had yet to fully let him go. You see Cody died while we were stationed in Japan. Because we didn’t want to leave him there, we had him cremated and brought his remains back to the States. No man left behind right? But years passed, and we never had the heart to bury him. His remains rested inside the decorative container the Japanese crematorium gave us to house the urn, which we tucked away on a closet shelf at our family's cabin in the mountains. Every time we visited the cabin we gave Cody a little smile, promised ourselves we would bury him one day, and then closed the door again.


Every time but this time.





This past July we welcomed the most adorable black Labrador Retriever into our family. Gunner could never replace Cody, but he has filled a void that we’ve been unable to fill in our family since Cody died. And I think that’s why we were finally able to say our final goodbyes to that most adorable chocolate Labrador Retriever. Four years after his death, we finally buried our beloved Cody, we finally laid him to rest.




Goodbye Cody.  We miss you.  You’ll always be in our hearts.
 

14 comments:

  1. Oh. A little cry first thing in the morning isn't a bad thing... really. *sniff* Thanks for sharing that. What a great story.

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  2. That's such a great story. I'm dreading the day my dog has to be put to sleep. I admire your honesty with this story and I'm glad that you got the courage to finally bury your best friend. I'm sure he's still protecting and loving your family from doggy heaven :)

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  3. Oh this was heartbreaking. It's wonderful you found a new puppy to help you heal and were able to bury your Cody!

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  4. This was such a great story. I shed a little tear for cody, and hugged my dogs a little tighter today.

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  5. This hits way too close to home today. We had to say goodbye to our Black lab just yesterday. She had bone cancer and was in pain, almost making it to her 9th bday. The house does feel quite empty without her...

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  6. dammit. I knew before opening the link that reading this at my desk at work was not my most brilliant idea... (why don't I EVER listen to that voice in my head??) what a beautifully written piece, totally tugs at my heartstrings (and I'm certain it's not the preggo hormones this time) and yes, I did have to grab a tissue. (thankfully the building is quiet this week, and almost no-one is in my office) thank you for sharing such a wonderful pup with us.

    *sigh* I should probably stop complaining about OUR chocolate lab being a giant pain in my bum most of the time as I know that he won't be around forever either... darn putting things back into perspective. someday I'll miss that dog.

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  7. That story brought tears to my eyes. It sounds like Cody was a great dog.

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  8. Ok wow now that I have tears running down my cheeks. What a great story of a great dog! They truly leave paw prints on our hearts in ways that non pet people can never understand. It is hard to find that resting place but I'm glad you guys and Cody have found his resting place.

    Now onto many happy memories with Gunner!!

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  9. Such a great post doll. I love stories like this especially because I treat my dogs like my kids and it is so painful when you lose one of them. So glad you and the family are all at peace. {{big hugs}}

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  10. Wow, what an emotional post especially when its an animal lover reading the post. Throughout my 26 years, I've had to "let go" of 3 beloved dogs of mine: Fluffy, Muscle Man and Spot. Both Fluffy and Muscle Man we had to have put to sleep, however Spot passed on his own. I was 14 years old when Fluffy passed and 21 when Muscle Man passed and right there with both of them when it happened. I think that is one of the hardest decisions that have ever been made in my life. You always second question yourself, are you doing the right thing - what if it isn't their time. I cried and cried as they slowly drifted away, but it was a blessing that they were no longer in pain. Spot on the otherhand, I wasn't there when he passed. He just passed this past year and lived with my parents. Not that it makes it any easier, but I didn't nearly feel the pain that I felt with the prior two dogs as I will physically with them whwn they passed.

    I'm so sorry of the pain that you went through with Cody, it's never easy. But I'm glad that you were able to move forward with welcoming another beloved dog into your lives. With no doubt, Gunner will bring you guys lots of love and bring you years of happiness and joy.

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  11. Awwwww! You got me very very teary at work!! This is a beautiful post and I love the pictures and the story behind them. My parents' dog is now ten and I am dreading the day they tell me it is her time, I love that girl! And now with Rylie I could not even imagine... she is just a pup so luckily I have a long time before I have to go through that, but it is definitely going to be difficult. *hugs*

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  12. OMG I teared up so bad! How sweet of you to bring him back to the states and make sure he had a proper burial. :) I can't imagine what its like to lost a pet like that, and in your very arms! :( Love the pictures of Cody, he was a very beautiful dog. They are such a big part of our lives and really are like our children. I have a golden/lab mix and shes my everything. I cant imagine life without her. I hope this new pup brings you lots of love and great memories to you and your family.

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  13. Sniff. This made me cry...and I'm at school with a bunch of 1st graders. We had a sweet dog like Cody. His name was Sam and he was a beautiful Golden Retriever. He died two years ago at Christmas time. It's so sad to lose a pet :( I'm glad that Cody is in his final resting place. He was a beautiful, sweet boy!

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