Lessons from Cocoa and Sandy

Growing up, I’ve always had an animal by my side. Through my elementary, middle, high school, and half of my college years, Cocoa and Sandy were there. My chocolate Labrador and golden retriever were always large sources of joy and comfort. Watching them grow from puppies to elder dogs, I have learned a lot from them.

Cocoa and Sandy taught me responsibility and how to take care of others. As kids, my mom would divide chores between my two younger brothers and me. We would rotate the chores every day, so we could learn to do it all, including taking care of the pets. I learned how to feed, water, brush, and bathe them. They depended on me and I needed to fulfil that duty to the best of my ability. We went on walks not only for their health, but for mine. Being with them made me realize I needed to not only take care of someone’s needs physically, but also mentally and emotionally. We spent much time together. Sometimes we went on walks and other times just sunbathed together in the yard.

They taught me how to get along with others. They were always friendly to other people and animals. Sandy was always ready to meet someone new and get some love, while Cocoa was shyer but still let people pet her when they wanted to. They were always happy when the mailman or UPS arrived, greeted people who walked down the road, and like to meet new people and dogs in the park. They even got along well with the cats!
Sandy and Cocoa taught me how to mourn and move on. When Cocoa was a puppy, my family had an older dog named Candy. Cocoa became lonely and sad after Candy died of old age. We later got Sandy to keep her company and they became the best friends, never leaving each other’s side. When Cocoa passed away, Sandy was sad her lifelong friend was gone. In both cases, they mourned but after a while they returned to their normal, happy selves.

Most of all, Cocoa and Sandy taught me how to love and appreciate others. They were always sensitive to emotions. If my family or I were sad, they would cuddle up, laying their heads on us. If we were happy, they were ecstatic. They loved unconditionally, even if I would accidentally step on their paws every once in a while. They appreciated everything. Getting hugs, kisses, and treats were always welcome, but they were happiest when we arrived home from school or work. They would jump up and down, their tails spinning in all directions. They would always look at each other, run toward us, and bump each other with excitement. Cocoa and Sandy appreciated the presence of family members and each other.  I learned spending time with those I love should be of the utmost importance.

Gaining a pet is like gaining another family member, but is one that is always happy to see and spend time with you. They bring joy, comfort, and love into your life. Cocoa and Sandy taught me so much about life and love. I may be a different person if they weren’t always by my side, so I urge everyone to give animals a chance and adopt! You won’t regret it—I know I haven’t!

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