Monday, January 9, 2012

My Dear Cozmo (09/13/1998 ~ 01/04/2012)

Cozmo Scarola (09/13/1998 ~ 01/04/2012)
Our little family of four had a very tough Christmas season and New Year. My 14-year old dog, Cozmo, was happy and healthy, but then he suffered from a grand mal seizure on December 21st that he spent 2 weeks trying to recover from, followed by 3 seizures over 20 hours on January 3rd that left him overwhelmed with terror and confusion for hours between each event. He died peacefully in his sleep at 9:30am on January 4th in my arms... The memory of his beautiful, warm, sunny spirit will stay with me always.
Cozmo and Daizy at Conrad Beach in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia. Summer, 2010.
Cozmo, only 1 hour old, bottom left.
He is survived by my husband and I, and his 17-year old mom Daizy. I'm so grateful that I was there with Daizy for Cozmo's first breath, and with Cozmo for his last breath. And I'm forever grateful that I was able to fulfill my promise to him that I would take him to the beach one last time. The day before he died he had a couple hours where he seemed to feel normal. I drove him and Daizy to Conrad Beach where we were met with the most beautiful and unusual sunset. Somehow I knew this would be his last. I forgot my camera but I absorbed every moment, every expression of joy, for the hour we were there.

Cozmo & Daizy's favourite driving spot, perched on the back seat shelf of our old '94 VW Jetta, 2003.
Every day of Cozmo's life I told him I loved him, and I still do. Every night before I go to bed I curl up in his comfy faux swede donut bed where he died and I talk to him and tell him I miss him and love him so much. I find this comforting and somehow my tears hurt less and less. His scent still lingers, but is almost gone. I know I'll feel so desperate all over again when I can't smell him anymore. I kissed him ever day countless times. My favourite spots were on his cheeks, between his eyes, and behind his ears. When he died I was overcome with grief I never experienced before. I had lost all my grand-parents, a university friend, two dogs and a cat. But my grief from losing Cozmo was severe. I've never cried like that in all my life, and I'm sure my parents and sister can attest to that since I had to call them several times to help me through it.
Conrad Beach, 2010.
Cozmo was a kind, gentle, sweet, loving soul. He taught us to be patient and understanding, to be aware of his subtle language and needs. Since he was 2 years old he had to deal with extensive food and environmental allergies, skin and ear infections, and thus deal with countless vet visits, tests, supplements, pills, diets, and eventually allergy shots which enabled the last year and a half of his life to be healthy and relatively vet-free. We know that with our love and care he lived much longer and happier than nature would have allowed, but still...

I want to remember him always. When he left us, a piece of my heart died with him. I don't know what happens when we die, but I want to believe that when my time comes, he will be there to welcome me. I want so badly for him to visit me from time to time in spirit. I think he visited me in my dream the night before last. He kind of got plopped in the middle of an adventure dream, and I remember suddenly being aware consciously that he was with me. I could smell him and feel him and hug and rub him and tell him I loved him. It was a brief moment where my senses were heightened, and then he was gone.

Canoe trip at Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia, 2004.
I remember the first time we took him to Point Pleasant Park, our local off-leash dog park in Halifax. He was only 3 months old. Cozmo was so scared to walk through the gates. He would take a few steps, then look back at us. And so it went, and we were delighted as his confidence grew and he enjoyed himself.

We took him there every weekend until Hurricane Juan devastated the park. We took him to the beach more often after that, where he ran, swam, played with other dogs, and gorged on a seaweed and crab shell buffet.

The first time he saw a rabbit I was walking him on our street. The rabbit hopped in an empty lot along the road. He tucked his tail between his legs and ran all the way home.

I remember the year I fell in love with him. He was 6 years old. I remember wondering why it took so long, and how I came to love him so much... Suddenly as I write this I'm surrounded by his warm scent. I know he's with me now. I inhale deeply...
Conrad Beach, October 2011.
Cozmo was also game for any adventure. He went on more road-trips and camping trips than most maritimers probably do.
He even climbed the highest mountain in the Adirondacks when he was 10 years old, braving beams and ladders over rocky terrain along the trail. When he was 11 he almost died of hypothermia and drowned when he fell through the ice in the river leading to Conrad Beach. My friends physically held me back as I struggled and fought them to let me run in after him. Fortunately an emergency fireman team rescued him and he recovered after a few days! He loved to go for runs, bike rides, canoe trips, and cross-country skiing, but I think the beach was his most favourite place of all.

Hiking in the Adirondack mountains, NY, 2008. Our view to the left.
As Cozmo grew older, he grew closer to me, and I to him.
Resting on "his" couch, 2011.
When I went to bed, he came with me. He slept next to me on the floor in his bed. When I got up, he got up. If Stefan fell asleep on the couch, he jumped up on our bed and took his spot next to me. When I painted, he lay below my easel. When I worked on the computer as I am now, he lay beside me on the rug. His favourite treat was carrots. He never fussed when I had to nurse him, when I had to give him pills, clean his ears, wash him, administer ear drops and needles. His tolerance, patience, and acceptance of my care always amazed me (though it might have been because of his carrot treats following each session!). After I fed him, he always came to thank me, resting his head in my lap and giving me a very soft kiss and a gentle tail wag. To our dismay, every day, many times a day, he would ask to come up on the couch with us, even though it was his spot and we always invited him. He would stand there and look at us quietly until we tapped the couch and said "come on up!". If Daizy was sleeping in his way, he would never hop over her or walk around her. Until the day he died, Daizy treated him like her son, he respected her like his mother, and loved us all so deeply.
My dear, sweet Cozmo, we will love you and miss you always. May your time beyond the Rainbow Bridge be full of joy, health, and peace. And one day, when my time comes, I hope to see you again...

Lawrencetown River, 2011.
Cozmo's art wall, in his memory...


  1. Daina, I have tears in my eyes reading this. Cozmo was blessed to have you as his owner; as you were blessed to have him in your life also. I'm sending you LOTS of love and many, many hugs. Those of us who have lost beloved pets know your pain.

  2. Daina, what a beautiful post of your memories with Cozmo. You're in our thoughts; we hope, hope, hope you get strength daily!

    Monica (Randall's wife)

  3. That's beautiful Daina - you got me going now.

  4. Beautifully written

  5. Daina, this was beautiful to read. A wonderful tribute to a very very special friend. I got teary reading it. Cozmo will be with you always. xoxox

  6. This brought tears to my eyes Daina, this is beautiful. Cozmo was so lucky to have you & Stefan - what a life he led! xo

  7. What an amazing friend you had in Cozmo, you're writing has brought me to tears. This is from Andrew Hemmens, reading through Erin's profile.

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  9. Beautiful Daina. Sending you healing vibes and positive energy to help you through. I am positive that you will have many spiritual visits from Cozmo. I have spent much time with many wonderful old dogs, trying to give them comfort in their later years, and have many times had spiritual visits from them, often at the time of their passing when I wasn't even aware it had occured, I believe strongly that they romp and play at the 'Rainbow Bridge' or something like it while they wait for us.

  10. Damn it, you made me cry! What a wonderful momento to beautiful Cozmo and what a great friend he was. I hope you find some peace and are visited by his spirit regularly.

  11. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your heart and life with Cozmo. What a dear companion. I am so glad to have met him... and you.

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  13. So sorry for you Daina. It's amazing how much someone can affect our lives. It must be so hard but I am happy that you could share Cozmo with us. He sounded like an amazing friend!

  14. Daina, your mom sent me the address to your blog as I have just purchased the hatted lady as an urn for my Sweet Willow. I am crying my eyes out right now as I know this will be my last day with her. I slept with her on the floor last night trying to make her feel more at ease, but we ended up in the yard most of the night til it started to rain. Thank you for writing such a beautiful tribute for such a beloved friend. I have loved my Lil Willow for over 14 years and she has been everywhere I've been in the world and I feel like she has loved me better and longer than any human besides my mom, I will miss her terribly and wish I could have been stronger and less elfish to have let her go sooner, but I have been unable. I hope she does visit me in my dreams. Thank you.

  15. Daina, your mom sent me the address to your blog as I purchased "the Hatted Lady" from her as an urn for my Sweet Willow. I am so touched by your tribute to beloved Cozmo. I have loved my Lil Willow for over 14 years and she has been my everything and loved me better and longer than any human (aside from my mom of course). But the bond is more special somehow. I can't hardly bring myself to say the words or write that I will put her to sleep today. I slept with her on the floor last night to ease her confusion and struggle, but we ended up out in the yard most of the night until it started to rain. I wish I could have been stronger and less selfish to have let her go sooner, but I was unable. So today will be the last day with the love of my life. I hope I dream of her. Thank you for your comfort. Natalie

  16. Natalie, I am so sorry... Losing Cozmo was truly the most difficult, heart-breaking, confusing time of my entire life. I know I had never cried like that before, even as a child. I never doubted we did the right thing. He was filled with terror from his seizures to the point that he had lost his voice from hours and hours of screaming/barking (he never barked, he was a peaceful quiet dog) and hurting himself by walking into walls and pacing for 20 hours/day until his poor legs were collapsing. It was horrible. We were all surviving on maybe 2 hours of sleep/night. And just before this all began, just 2 weeks before, he was so healthy and happy. It was awful, but do what is right for your Lil Willow and try not to tear yourself up inside. It will get better, I promise you. It's been 5 months now and I still silently cry for him sometimes (like right now...) but I promise you your thoughts will change and your heart will begin to mend. She might not visit you for 2 weeks, but she will. Cozmo came to me after 2 weeks of praying for him. I should note here that I'm not religious. He came to me as his dogself until I realized it was him, and then he changed into a little boy so we could talk. He was crying and he hugged me and told me he loved me (I used to tell him I loved him maybe 20 times a day for). He said we didn't have much time but I could ask him anything. He described where he was and he didn't like it there. It was dark and there were a lot of humans that were sad, but that the animals were passing through faster than the humans and that he would be going someplace nice very soon. He said it would be a place similar to how I would imagine it to be. He was sad because he missed me and loved me, but I never felt anything but love from him. It helped me so much, our special talk together. It was so real, and nothing I could have ever imagined. After that dream, he was gone. He never visited me again and I don't feel him around me anymore, which does hurt sometimes, but I'm happy to know he really is in a better place now. My thoughts are with you today... She knows you love her... Don't hold back what you feel, just allow yourself to grieve and love...


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