Coco — Shelter

Location: BREWERTON, New York

Coco, all 18 years and 10 months of him, is a partially blind Shih Tzu who just started his first ever medication due to an enlarged heart. Coco belonged to my wife, Ann Marie until I came into her life in 2013. I grew up with big dogs, so this little fellar took some getting used. Somehow, he decided to adopt me. Due to his blindness, I became his “seeing eye human”. He followed me everywhere. It was easy to hear my size 14 boots clomping along in front of him. Soon after I met Ann Marie, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer, a merciless disease that is terminal. Ann Marie fought this disease with grace for 5 1/2 years. Coco never left her side, always sleeping at her feet, always wanting to sleep in her lap, always ever vigilante and eager to watch over the woman who raised him. Ann Marie passed away in December 2018, at age 55. The last two years were extraordinarily difficult for her. During this time I took over more and more responsibility for Coco, and we became inseparable. Ann Mare would refer to Coco as “Robs therapy dog.” She recognized the toll her illness was taking on me, and how much I needed Coco to ease my way through the difficult times. Before she died she made a deal with Coco to watch out for me. She knew how difficult her passing would be for both of us. Imagine someone 6′ 4″ and 240 lbs carrying around a little blind 10 lb. doggy. We are best friends, he saves me every day, and I have no doubt he has the biggest heart imaginable.

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