Imagine that you are five. Imagine a miniature horse-sized dog with a head that is bigger than your head and with paws bigger than your hands. That was my first image of Cobalt (Cobi) my dog. I jumped up on my bed and flattened myself on the wall. All she did was sniff the air around me and then go to the living room and take a nap. In about five minutes I was over my fear.

Cobi was a Brindle Great Dane. You wouldn’t really see my dog that often; she is usually asleep. The thing is not that I like seeing my dog all the time, but that I always know she is there. When I am sitting at dinner I know she is there. When my parents are walking down the hall, I know the sound to be her nails clicking on the tile. On August 27, 2010 Cobi died, and all the clues that led me to believe she was there without seeing her disappeared with her. I always knew I loved my dog more than anything, but I never really thought how hard it was going to be. I don’t think I have ever felt anything more painful. She was my sister.

We had been home about five hours before. She was up and walking, and she ate her dinner with all her meds. My parents, my grandmother, my aunt and I were at a fundraiser. My parents decided to stay for a little while longer, but it was late. I didn’t really want to be home by myself so late at night, so I went home with my grandma and my aunt. It was around 10 p.m. when we made it home.

Now, I must explain something. We have been leaving my dog outside in the summer because as she got older she wasn’t able to control her bladder.. The first thing I do when I get home is go straight to the back door and open it for my dog, and then make sure she has water inside. Usually the second we close the front door she is at the back door wagging her little stump of a tail. That night when we came in she didn’t get up. I told my aunt that she probably couldn’t hear us yet. I walked to the back door and she still didn’t move. I started knocking on the glass door as I got the key to unlock the door. She didn’t even lift her head and my heart started to race.

When I finally got the door open it hit me that the excuse that she couldn’t hear me did not work. I let out a scream and I almost fell. My aunt had been walking behind me caught me. I start shaking and screaming. I cried. It hurt so much. I can’t even explain it. The only good thing about her dying position was she didn’t look like she was in pain, but had died in her favorite sleeping position.

I couldn’t think straight. It was the first time I had seen the death of a close family member. I was so shocked by her face and the lack of life in her eyes. My aunt dragged me back into the house. I eventually got up to call my parents. I couldn’t get out the words so my aunt told them. My parents were home in minutes. I was still crying and went to the front door to wait for my parents. Before my parents could even get back inside I was hugging them and crying.

Stormi has had Cobi since she was a puppy, and Sarita and I got her when she was almost two years old. Stormi got down on the ground outside and hugged Coco. I still could not bring myself to touch her. Since Cobi has been outside she has been digging a little nest/bed thing for herself in the shade. We were going to bury her and we got all the extension cords so we could get light back in the yard to dig a grave, but then we decided to cremate her. At this point I was still in panic mode and I had pretty much been senseless and everyone was helping me. But when we had to move Cobi into the truck Stormi broke for the first time.

When we finally got her to the vet she had completely stiffened. We all started crying again when the ladies from the vet wheeled her off. They put her in the visiting room. I still had not been able to touch her. But right before we had to go I touched her snout, the softest part of her. It made me a little more at peace but not really enough. I decided to touch her because when I first met her I was scared of her and did not want to touch her, and I did not want to go out the same way. When I say scared, I was not scared of Cobi, but I was scared of touching something dead.

When I woke up the next morning I was still crying. Even now I still feel like I see her out of the corner of my eye or I hear her groaning to complain that we are all too loud. It took me a couple of weeks to be able to go out the back door because I couldn’t get the feeling and the image of her, dead, out of my head. We finally got her ashes and that is how I went out the back door. I picked her up and we went out together.

Cobi will always be loved. She will always be in everyone’s heart who knew her. I will always wish she was here, but I will also always remember that she was a miracle in my life. She lived to the age of almost thirteen – something that is very rare. Cobi you will always be my sister and I will always be yours. We love you and I can’t wait to see you in another lifetime.

by Shine Nair