My 17 Years Old Dog Passed Away: The Secret of a Long Healthy Life

Coco, 17 years old dog that lived a very happy life
Coco, the most loved dog

Hi there, pet lovers! Here’s my pure love story about a wonderful happy soul that lived 17 years.

Everyone, meet Coco! He was and still is my best friend for life. He lived the perfect life and he gave us the best memories.

Coco was a medium poodle (caniche). This dog breed has a lifespan of about 12–15 years old. My dog lived with two years more than the average and I did nothing but give him much love.

The secret of a long life for dogs

The secret of a long life for dogs is not buying the most expensive toys, accessories, clothes, or anything material. The secret of a long life for dogs doesn’t consist in getting the best grooming or washing their teeth every day. There is something beyond this. The secret of a long life for pets of any kind is nothing but unconditional love.

A short story about Coco’s life

17 years ago I was in primary school in the 4th grade. One of my best friends by then told me she has a puppy she wants to give to someone that loves animals. Since I was little I was in love with animals so the answer came just in a few seconds: “YESS! I just have to convince my parents”.

My family was good with having a pup, but dad was the only one he wasn’t because he didn’t want to assume of getting care of him. We convinced him that I with my mom, my brother, and my grandma will have care of him. So, the next day I went to my colleague's house to get Coco. He was a tiny dirty 3 months fluff, scared and shaking under a table.

By the way, Coco comes from Cocolino (a laundry softener that is represented by a white curly teddy bear). He was named before I met him because he was looking alike with that teddy bear: a curly fluffy pup.

So, I brought Coco home that day. He was so dirty, his fur was grey instead of white and he was scared and shaking. That night he fell asleep under the table because he was afraid of us. At 4'oclock in the morning, he woke me up by coming to my bed and touching my hand with his wet small nose. I instantly woke up and pet him. Then, the bond was created. I spent two hours playing with him. I slept one more hour and at 7.00 am I woke up to go to school.

When I got back from school and entered the house he jumped on me and he was so happy, wagged his tail and took the slippers while jumping around. That moment made me realize that he will be my best friend for life.

10 years old, me with 3 and 1 year old Coco

From that moment we’ve created a special bond that anyone couldn’t take from us. He was anywhere I was. He was sleeping with me every time, followed me everywhere I went, even though I went from my room to the living room. He was there for me at my best and my worst.

I took him to daily walks, took him on trips, and did him all the annual vet controls. Nothing too special. He ate what I ate. I could never resist not giving him a bit of my food. Even sweets or fruits. I know that there are lots of forbidden foods for dogs, especially chocolate. I gave him chocolate, too. But I never gave him too much. I always shared a bit of everything I ate and he never felt bad. I always watched over him.

I loved him so so much that every time I was supposed to go on a trip without him I couldn't resist crying and thinking about him. He felt my absence every time. When we were together everything was alright.

He was so funny. I’ve learned him to play hide and seek, fetch, and many other games. He loved to jump and run and his obsession was the ball. Every time he saw a ball he forgot everything and ran to chew it.

Everyone in the family loved him so much. Even my father, who said he would never get attached to him, never took him out of the name “dog” got to love him and to take him out for walks, got him food, and got him to the vet when was needed.

He was part of our family. The main ingredients for his healthy life were: love and joy.

The single small health problems he had were: otitis externa — an inflammation of the ear canal and increased blood pressure by the age of 13–14 years. He was a healthy pup till the end of his last year.

His biggest fears were the thunderstorms and the fireworks. We tried to protect him every time by keeping him distracted with other sounds, cuddling with him, and keeping him away from the strongest sounds.

Coco during a thunderstorm — cute, but anxious

We never took him to the groomer, we groomed him every time using a dog trimmer and scissors. Nothing too special. We decided to do this because he was afraid of the vet and every time we took him to the vet he started to shake so badly and at each injection or intervention he had to be held by at least two people. That’s why we decided not to stress him so much and to groom him at home.

Besides all the love we gave him, of course, that a good healthy lifestyle is important. I tried to protect him from both very cold and very hot weather. We were keeping him active with daily doses of play. Playing was a daily routine for us. Daily walks and good food with proper hydration I think there were for sure contributing to a long healthy life.

He was a healthy dog till his last year of life. He was a dog full of life, always jumping and running around even at the end of his life.

I could see the signs of his old age only a year and a half before he left us. It all begun shaking out of nowhere. He was usually shaking if he was scared of strong sounds or afraid of something, but that time was different. Within the shaking, I noticed that his heart was beating so fast. So, I took him to a specialized vet and we found out that Coco suffered from high blood pressure. He took a specific 3 months medication. Then, another sign was that his back legs were not so strong anymore. His walk became a bit slower and his back legs weaker and weaker. Even though he hadn’t his strength like before he didn’t realize that he was getting older and he kept running and jumping. Then the cataract made its presence felt. My beloved fluff was getting older so fast.

He was incredibly strong! He refused to get older and kept being active, affectionate, and funny. But, 6 months before he died he suffered a stroke out of nowhere. I was so scared that I could have lost him then. But I didn’t lose him then. I took him to the vet and he received medication for this. From then, my Coco wasn’t himself. He lost his ability to stay upright and he was walking in circles. Then in his last 6 months, he lost much weight that his bones were visible. We barely walked, but he never quit trying to get up even though he was fallen in seconds.

He became weaker and weaker. He wasn’t there anymore. He couldn’t walk too much but at the same time, he couldn’t stay too much. He couldn't be left alone because he fell very often and he could not get up by himself. He fell to one side of his bones and it hurt him so much that if it had lasted more than 5 minutes he would not be able to resist. He also had a severe prostate that caused him seizures quite often. He woke up 3–4 times at night because of its increased tension and his heart that was beating hard. He couldn’t sit because of his prostate and be doing room shifts, but he fell and I had to hold him until he fell asleep. He also peed and pooped on himself and the smell of these was worst than ever.

My father and my grandma told me to think about the option of euthanasia. When I heard this I was so mad at them. I couldn’t even think of this option. But with each passing day, my puppy felt worse and worse and practically he became a vegetable. He was in real pain.

Then, I began to think more and more about this decision, although it was a huge struggle in my soul. On one hand, I didn’t want to lose my best friend, but on the other hand, I couldn’t let him suffer that much.

One day I discussed with my parents and my brother that probably the decision to help him alleviate his suffering by euthanasia would be the best for him.

So, we talked to his veterinarian who knew Coco from an early age and he told us that this is the best decision we can make for him.

The day I knew my Coco was leaving, I spent hours with him in my arms. I said goodbye to him. I held him in my arms until his last breath. When I felt his body soften then I knew Coco was gone. My heart and brain refused to broke up with him. But I had no choice than letting him go. My father and brother gently took and buried him in the garden. I and my mom planted flowers for my forever friend.

The day Coco left us

I’m writing with tears in my eyes and deep pain in my soul because it is still so hard to get used to his absence. I miss my baby so much I can even describe it in words.

This is the shortest story I could write about my soulmate's dog. I consider myself the luckiest that I was able to spend so much time with him. I’ll love him forever and I hope that when my time comes that he’ll be there.

For all the love for him and for dogs, in general, I’ve started a blog about pets. If you want to check it out, you are more than welcome here, and don’t forget to subscribe if you like it!