We were so unprepared to say good bye to our friend, and family member that I'm not sure I have the right words to express what it's like now that he's gone. Cooper is so wrapped up in the last few years of everything for us.
He was here before our daughter was born and patiently endured the pushing, pulling and tackling of two toddler boys. Then when Aisy was big enough, he became her best friend, playmate, pillow and constant companion. He barked ferociously at anyone walking by or even vaguely near our house, then licked and wagged his tail in play when absolute strangers entered the house. The barking and his 105lbs kept anyone unfamiliar with him on alert and made Emily feel safe when I was out of town. The truth is that he was totally submissive to even the smallest of other dogs and never bit or growled at anyone. He thought he was a person.
He left white hairs on everything, snuck onto furniture when we were gone, stole food off the counter when we weren't looking and ruined many sets of sheets on our bed with his crazy circling before laying down. We had to keep the bedroom door closed when we were gone. We also had to put a rubber band on the cabinet door guarding the trash can so he wouldn't liberate the strangest of trash items and spread them throughout the house. Sometimes he would drink water so fast that he'd throwup. We got pretty good at managing that.
I wouldn't change any of it. He was happy-go-lucky, loyal, goofy and perfect.
A couple years ago when we first saw the movie Marley and Me, Emily mentioned how much it felt like our own family. She couldn't have been more right.
My kids (and wife) have asked when it will stop hurting and I honestly don't know. Having lost a dog before, what I do know is over time, the raw pain of loss fades and becomes a small part of the joy and memory of their life.
Cooper, we miss you so much and our lives are so much better because of you. Thank you for being part of our family buddy!