The inevitability of outliving a beloved pet doesn’t make it any easier when the time comes. Neither does understanding that nearly 13 years, just over 12.5 with us, is a pretty good run for a large dog. For us, that’s roughly 1/3 of our lives at this point, which is most of mine and Kevin’s adult life, and our lives together. Its still not enough time.
Cody was a great dog, our close companion, and we both loved him dearly. Neither of us had ever bonded with a dog as strongly before; he was an integral part of our lives. His loss is heartbreaking for both of us.
We knew this was coming soon. Cody’s quality of life was declining, and we knew he likely wouldn’t make it through this year, or even the next few months. He’s had declining mobility for awhile, but recently he stopped getting up to greet us. He had trouble supporting himself to go to the bathroom. He’s been on an increasing levels of painkillers to keep him comfortable. We weren’t ready to call it yet, he was still so happy so much of the time. He still did his old man version of the supper dance, and was as happy as ever to get chicken earlier this week. There was still a little bit of play fighting on his good days. For him, I willingly cleaned up the messes in the house when he started losing control of his bowel movements a few months ago. We had lots of questions and uncertainty about when we would make the call.
Then there was an accident, and the decision became clear. He could not be saved, and now he’s gone.
I didn’t really want to talk about this publicly. I also realize how ridiculous it is to post a eulogy for my dog on the internet. But the following content is for me, to help me bridge the time until I stop habitually looking for him so much, and can enjoy the happy memories without crying. He had a great life with us, and we miss him.
This goofy shot always makes me smile:
We took him canoeing exactly one time. You can guess how that went. This peaceful shot is not representative of the experience.
Despite being a rescue (as in, literally rescued from a flooding river by a friend of ours when he was 3-4 months old), there is no doubt in my mind that Cody was all Chessie. (Chesapeake Bay Retriver). No papers necessary to figure that out.
We didn’t seek out a Chessie, and might not have kept him had we known anything about the breed:) However, if Cody is representative, Chessies are great. I’d even consider getting another one :p (A long time from now)
My favorite saying about Chesapeake Bay Retrievers:
“You ask a Lab, you command a Golden, and you negotiate with a Chessie.” That is the truth.
Cody got to spend a lot of time by (and often in) the river, pretty much paradise for him.
Cody loved snow
He was a terrible hunter/predator.
When he was young and able, Cody loved going on hikes with us
Fetching sticks from the water was one of his favorite activities. Its almost like he was bred to retrieve things from the water:)
I love this shot of him
He was so goofy sometimes. “Hey guys. Its hot outside. Let me in. I know I just asked to go out 30 seconds ago, but summer is too hot.”
This was his girlfriend (Bela – after Bela Fleck), until she passed a few years ago. We stopped saying her name, because he would try to look for her. He was never that interested in other dogs, but he loved this dog from the moment he saw her. It was strange and really cute.
Did I mention he loved the water? He is a water dog after all. Although for the first two years we had him, he was terrified of swimming. Given the nature of his rescue from a flooded river as a puppy, we couldn’t blame him. Then one day we were all swimming in the lake, and he was alone on the shore, and that did it. In he went. From then on, we couldn’t keep him out.
He loved to destroy things, but was remarkably good about not destroying things he wasn’t supposed to. We had very little chewing damage, even when he was a puppy. One Christmas we discovered his love of unwrapping presents. He was manic. I’ve never seen him so happy about anything. We let him tear up wrapping paper into tiny little pieces. After that, we’d give him things to unwrap. He loved it. My mom would wrap things for him when he came to visit, so he could have something to unwrap, like he was a little kid. We’d save cardboard containers like oatmeal containers (you know, Quaker oatmeal cardboard cylinders), and put treats in it, and roll the top so he’d have to destroy the container to get the treat. Best dog toys ever, except for maybe peanut butter in the kong.
He was a great car riding dog. Loved to go for rides. We used to travel with him more, and he would tolerate miserably long road trips. As long as he was with us and in the car, he was happy. Kevin would take him to work (our shop), and ride around in the little red single cab pick up. Cody would sit up like a person. People around our small town would recognize that tall guy in the little red truck with the big dog. When he was older, sometimes we would put him in the car to go on errands. It was hard for him to get in and out, so we would just let him ride around for an hour or two, and then take him right back home. He loved it. (yes, we were careful about leaving him in a hot car, that was always thoughtfully managed. If we went to Lowes, he sometimes got to go inside, and the cashiers would give him treats).
Neat shot in the snow
I loved his wide range of expressions:
There were many happy days by the lake, his favorite place:
He was a good camper. Didn’t bark. Settled right down at night with us in the tent. He probably would have preferred if we’d slept in a pile on the floor together every night.
For all the pictures we took of him, he never seemed to like the camera pointed at him, and never grew to like the new house we moved into in 2017
This picture makes me laugh. There are not one, but two Cody size dog beds for him to lay on in this shot. But no. He has to make sure the little dog (not ours) can’t use her bed, which he doesn’t fit on.
Aside from travel where we couldn’t bring him, Cody has been a part of our daily lives for just over 12.5 years. On the few occasions we’ve been home without the dog in the past, its been really strange. I have so many daily habits where I interact with him. He’s also the loudest panting dog I have ever heard, and he does it a lot. One of my favorite silly nicknames for him is Sir Pants-a-lot (of Avalon). His panting has been the background audio of our home life for 12.5 years. Its really quiet right now. I expect I’ll still look for him for some time. Its heartbreaking.
Goodbye Cody Bear, we will miss you.