The following is a letter sent to the Lycoming County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals from Mary R. Hockenbrock, about her dog Cosmo, who she adopted from the SPCA in 2008.
Dear Ms. Stryker,
I wanted to give you an update on Cosmo, who I adopted in March of 2008.
Cosmo has had a very touchy last two years. My mother, Cosmo's grandmother, Beletha June Triplett, came to live with us. Cosmo knew that something was not right with his grandmother and became very protective of her. My mother was brain damaged from an operation and required 24/7 care. For those two years and until her passing on Dec. 6 last year, Grandma became Cosmo's "baby." He laid on the bed with her, and actually had to be taken out of the room while we did her daily care and nursing because he wouldn't let anyone except me get close to her.
I would like to share two short stories about Cosmo with you regarding his grandma.
Every morning Cosmo would get out of my bed and go look into my mom's room. He then would come to me and we started our daily routine. One morning after I checked on her and went back to the kitchen to start her breakfast, he came running into the kitchen in an excited state and ran back to her room. She was having a seizure! He actually alerted me to this situation.
The second story is a little harder to tell, but I will. During the last week of my mother's life, Cosmo and I sat with her all day and night even though we had two nurses who were to relieve us - neither Cosmo nor I could leave her. He slept on the floor and I on a chair, and at times with her. The only time we left her was out of necessity.
The day of my mother's passing was particularly hard on us. We knew she was going to leave, but we didn't know the time. Again, he would not leave the room, so his meals were brought into the bedroom. One hour before she passed, he got up and circled the bed - I didn't understand at the time why. He sat down and looked at me. I gave him a pat on his head and told him that it would be OK.
During that hour, he did this twice. At the very end, I kissed my mother on the forehead and told her I loved her, then on the nose and told her I loved her more and then the chin, I would love her forever, I?told her to reach out and take Daddy's hand he was waiting for her, and she passed. Cosmo left the room while I was turning off the machines and notifying hospice and family.
During the religious ceremony prior to her leaving, Cosmo sat in her room and watched my daughter-in-law and I prepare my mother's body for moving to the funeral home.
He never barked while the hospice nurse came and the funeral director who came to take her away.
There is a moral to this story - I know that he felt the presence of my dad who passed away in 2011 in that room waiting for my mother. Cosmo was so humble, and my dad, who was afraid of dogs, actually was not afraid of Cosmo and loved him dearly. Cosmo was and is my saving grace. We were meant to be together and I am so glad that we found each other.
Cosmo had been treated for depression after my mother's passing - he missed her so much. He is doing better now. It just took a little time and I gave him her little bed pillow to lay his head on.
On March 6, he had an arthrotomy - CrCl debridement and medical meniscal release and right tibial plateau leveling osteotomy.
He is recuperating as I am writing this. Poor little man. Dr. Lewis in Muncy is his attending veterinarian and referred him to Dr. Charles McBrien at the Northeast Veterinary Referral and Emergency Hospital in Plains.
Prior to his surgery, Cosmo developed stress colitis and had a very hard night but the surgery went extremely well. Because of the stress colitis, and the fact that I am a retired trauma nurse, I was asked if I would be comfortable coming to get him on the day of the surgery to take him home.
Not that they did not want to keep him, but the stress colitis was getting the best of him. I brought him home and he had no further problems. He is on a lot of medication and we have our moments when it is time to take it (he is very bull-headed and will clamp his jaw shut). He makes me laugh every time I have to give him his medication because no matter what I do, he knows what is coming - I can't trick him at all!
The long and short of this - thank you for allowing Cosmo to come into my life. As I stated above, he has been my saving grace for two and a half years and continues to be.
Mary R. Hockenbrock
To submit a story about a pet for consideration for a "pet tale" in an upcoming edition of the Lifestyle section, email the tale to email@example.com.