Cocoa — Emerging Hero

Charity Partner: Freeway's Greyt Escape
Location: Brewerton, New York

How do you define a hero? good question. We have the dramatic news catching descriptions of a hero, the ones we are all familiar with. And you have the less heralded hero, the ones that perform day in and day out in sometimes unspectacular, yet steady fashion. That is Cocoa, or “The Coconut” as he is known around the house.

Cocoa actually belongs to my fiance, Ann Marie Stonecypher. He is a 16 year old, partially blind little Shih Tzu with “way too much” personality for an older gentlemen. Ann Marie is fighting Stage 4 bone cancer, and Cocoa is her constant companion. Her bone cancer is a result of surviving breast cancer 13 years ago, and sadly, the disease reoccurred and attached itself to her spine. Ann Marie also runs her own business and the day to day struggles of running a business that pays your mortgage and health insurance, combined with the difficulties of maintaining a “quality of life” can be a difficult task, to say the least. What she does is inspirational, and by her side in the office, on the couch or sleeping in a chair next to her bed every night is… the Coconut. Dogs seem to have a sense of when “life” is not right. They appear to be somewhat “all seeing”, or all sensing. I believe he is her constant companion because he knows more than we could ever imagine. He is there to guard her at night, there to sleep at her feet during the day, doing his best to care for her in his own special way every day.