Cody by Jamie / your “cousin” Jamie

My mother brought my dog Cody home when I was 2 years old. She was all black except for a white chest and Dalmatian paws, and had one brown eye and one blue. No one at my mom’s job wanted her because she was the runt, and apparently “ugly”. My mom and aunt Debbie named her Cody, because they called her “Kodiak Alaskan bear” because of her fuzzy appearance, and thus the name Cody stuck. She was to be kept at my grandma’s house, since my grandma babysat me on weekdays anyway, so I could befriend the pup.
And befriend her, I did.

Cody was the greatest dog. When I was little she’d run back and forth through the house with me because she loved to run. When I sat on the couch, she’d let me use her as a pillow. She loved to play with me as a little girl. Even when I grew up she still loved to play tug o’war and wrestle with me. She loved to wrestle and play fight, but she was never, ever rough. She especially loved when I growled at her, because then she knew it was time to wrestle. She loved this so much that she thought that every time I was in a bad mood it meant I wanted to play. I used to take her in the backyard, “Terebithia” as I mentioned it in my story about my turtle, Sonny, and that was our favorite place. She loved lying under the weeping beech with me or chasing sticks that I threw. We would go back there every day when I came home from school.
It was our special place.

My family loved Cody. My family gave her the funniest nicknames such as “Queena”, “Puppa doo-doo”, “Queeda pup” and “Pooba”. She was always excited to see members of my family. But the one member of my family she loved the most was my aunt Debbie. We all knew that Debbie was her “mommy”. When she came home from work but was still outside, I’d sing in a singsong voice “It’s Mommy!” and Cody would run for the door, her tail wagging a mile a minute. Debbie always told me stories of how she’d cry after getting in a fight with a friend and Cody would try to cheer her up and if she failed, Cody would cry and whine too. Cody was this way with me, too. She hated to see me upset and if I sat on the couch and was crying, she’d put her front legs over my knee and give me one of her mellow looks. She was my best friend.

Cody was so funny. She was the most stubborn animal anyone could ever meet. When she wanted to go outside, she made sure she got outside. If she wanted to go for a run, she’d break free from her leash and go for a run. I can’t tell you how many times she’s done this. She hated having her picture taken and refused to look directly at cameras for even a moment. If she did something we found hilarious, we’d all laugh at her and she would slink back and get very embarrassed. If she wanted a cookie, she got a cookie. She would bark and howl if we didn’t let her outside right when she wanted us to, it sounded just like she was bickering at us. However, to me it was this stubborn nature of hers that made her so charming. She was a rebel, just like I was.

She had so many expressions, too. Her pointy ears would perk up at her favorite words, and her eyes would widen at the sight of a cat. You knew just by looking at her if she was bored, happy, frustrated, or sad. She was so smart, too. She knew almost everything I talked about. She knew Sit, speak, lay down, which hand?, up, walk, cookie, mommy, grandma, Jamie, out, faster, no, and of course, good girl. She seemed to understand even the longest commands. When you spoke to her, her whimsical eyes showed you that she understood. She was my ideal dog. Sometimes I forgot that she wasn’t human.

Everyone who has ever met her loved Cody. Whether it was the ice cream man, the deli manager, the vet, or even the rowdy neighbors, she could make friends with anyone. My mom once caught my grandma’s gruff next door neighbor, who hardly spoke to anyone, leaning over the deck and petting and baby talking her. When my grandma had a stroke and needed aids around the house, they all loved her and I’ve even caught them talking to her. She was the dog everyone wished they had.

When my grandpa got sick again, my aunt Debbie took Cody to live in her rented house with her boyfriend for awhile. These were her “retirement” years. She loved it there, for she could run freely around the yard and bask in the sun all day long. She adored my aunt’s boyfriend, who spoiled her and ran laps around the house with her. Even when my grandpa was well again, he didn’t want her back. I missed her terribly, but I knew she was happy where she was. I visited her on her 14th birthday and took lots of pictures. I even snapped one as we were pulling out of the driveway. After that day they began to find tumors on her. She went through multiple surgeries which was rough because she was already a bit weak with arthritis from age.

It got very bad once when they found an open cyst on her stomach which was horribly infected. The vets were able to take care of that, the the effects were fatal. First, she stopped eating. Then she lost control of her bowels. Finally, she became immobile so all she could do was lay in her own wastes. I knew her time was coming, but they got my hopes up saying that a pill could possibly lengthen her time that she had left. I knew I had to plan ahead. I gathered all her pictures and began to type a story about her life.

I counted my money to see if I could afford a nice gravestone for her. I knew I would be there beside her when they gave her the injection, whenever that would be. I tried to brace myself and yet have hope, but it was this very night that my mother forced me off the phone to tell me that my aunt had her put to sleep.

I knew it was coming, but I was outraged at first. I didn’t even get to see her. I didn’t get to say goodbye. The snapshot I had taken pulling out of the driveway that day was the last time that I had ever seen her. They took her away from me, without my consent. I knew she was in pain but I had to be there beside her and I wasn’t.

I was so numb that I couldn’t even cry. Even after typing this I can only feel emptiness. Perhaps I can cry tomorrow, when nobody’s watching me. I don’t want anyone to see because I know that it will be the worst cry I’ve ever had in my life. My best friend of 14 years was dead so suddenly, without a goodbye, without a trace. I didn’t even watch them bury her at my grandma’s house.

I’m still in my angry, doubtful, and numb stage of grieving I suppose. I just don’t want to believe that the black mass of fur and love that I so adored since I was in diapers is in the ground and not in my lap. I want to believe she’ll jump on me in greeting again, her tail wagging, her mouth wide open as if she were smiling, her ears pressed back with excitement. I just can’t let it in. I hope they at least held on to her collar for me.

Everyone speaks of this “Rainbow Bridge”. My friends tell me of it and how she’ll be waiting for me there, no more tumors or arthritis, waiting for the day that I leave the earth. I pray that this is true. For I know that if there are dogs in Heaven, Cody will have the most golden doggy halo of all. For Cody helped pull me from every problem I have ever had, from “booboos” at age 6 to my father leaving at age 11 to being depressed and cold at 14.

Cody was my guiding light, she was the best thing that could happen to me. I don’t think I would be alive today without this dog. I need to believe that, the Rainbow Bridge. I need to believe that I’ll see my best friend again… my “cousin”, my playmate, my angel.
I adore you, my Queeda pup…


With all of my heart and soul,