When I was still a mortal dog, and Tanner Bub passed to the Bridge, I entered his dreams and walked with him to the banks of the River of Life. I watched my friend, who started the walk old and sick, become young and vital again. When I arrived on the Immortal side, it was that young, vital friend who greeted me.
When Tanner passed, more than eight years ago, he had a little sister, Cocoa Puff. Like all of us Cocoa grew older, and as she did life threw many tribulations at her, seizures, arthritis, the loss of an eye, until finally, this week, Cocoa had no fight left, and her mom assisted Cocoa on her final journey.
Cocoa was many things, the co-founder of social network for dogs, a sibling to humans, a sibling to dogs, and a daughter.
After her passing, and before she went to the Bridge, I met Cocoa in the Land in Between where I showed her how to enter the Tanner Brigade, the social network site that we created together in 2009.
We walked by her house, and mine, and past many empty houses that, when their owners went to the Bridge, remained standing, a testament to their lives, and then over to the new construction, where lots of our new friends had built happy homes and filled our site with love and laughter.
I showed her Blogville, a place she never visited in her mortal life, and the home of the Idaho Pug Ranch, who, like Cocoa, lived in Pocatello Idaho. “I am sorry you never got to meet them in the mortal world, but I am going to introduce you to Mabel when we get to the Bridge. You are going to love her.”
Finally, we went into Facebook Land to see the final remnants of the place where we first met Doggyspace and Enzo’s shiny new garage.
Then it was time to cross the River of Life and for Cocoa to become immortal. It was raining when we arrived. The clouds, filled with our parent's tears, had opened over us. I made sure I collected all my mommy’s tears to help my garden grow.
I gave Cocoa the angel oath, Scooby designed her wings, Lady Bug showed her how to fly, and Leo promised to teach her how to become a ghost and visit her family.
Then Cocoa saw her angels siblings: Tanner and Ruger. She went to Tanner first. They hugged for a very long time. They had an inseparable bond, and now they were together for eternity.
Tanner let go, and Cocoa turned to Puppy Ruger, the dog Tanner personally chose to replace him. Tragically Ruger got sick and went to the Bridge at a young age. Ruger had triggered Cocoa’s motherly instincts and made her want to play like a pup again. When Ruger departed Cocoa lost the desire to play, but, when she saw her little brother, she took off chasing him, and they did not stop for a half hour.
While it was a joyous at the Bridge back in Pocatello, the family was in mourning. Cocoa had not just been a daughter; she has grown up with her human brother Alex. They had that special relationship that only a boy and his dog can experience. They grew up together, until, as human boys must do, Alex moved away. Cocoa knew this was part of loving a boy when he spread his wings; she had to let go. But just before Cocoa got her wings, Alex joined his mother for Cocoa’s final trip, to give his support to Cocoa and his mom, just as Cocoa had raised him to do.
Cocoa also left behind her dog brother Max, who is lost without his big sister. It is hard for a mom to lose her pup, and even harder for mom to see another dog she loves mourning. Max, you will see Cocoa in your dreams, and you have her and two other brothers just waiting to take you on amazing adventures. I know you miss seeing Cocoa in her mortal form but look for her in your dreams.
And most of all Max, Cocoa needs you to take care of the person your angel siblings love more than any other person in the world, your mom Trudee, who now has four angels at the Bridge, including Rommel, who arrived before dogs became proficient at computers.
Having gone through it before does not make it any easier. Mom Trudee is going to need all our love and prayers because a big part of her heart is now at Rainbow Bridge.
But she is a tough woman, a great dog mom, and a fighter. We know she is lost now, but, between her and Max, and her three angels, she will find her way out of the darkness.
She has a lot of angel power to light the way.