Pets have a unique way of becoming our real-life spirit animals. They teach us valuable lessons about love, loyalty, and authenticity. In my case, Cookie Bear, my beloved dog, was more than just a pet. She was my real-life spirit animal, teaching me about unconditional love and the importance of honoring my feelings. Throughout our journey together, Cookie showed me how to be true to myself and be there for others. Her presence was a gift that forever changed my life.
In 2012, I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, feeling a bit lonely in the silence of my
apartment. That's when fate brought Cookie into my life. I saw a picture with four little puppies, and I was instantly drawn to one. The woman had only one puppy remaining, and I felt disappointed, assuming the one I wanted was probably already gone. Despite thinking she had already been chosen, the woman told me that she still had the one I wanted left! I was shocked! She was the first puppy to be put on hold for a couple who wanted her, but they never came to get her. She was destined to be my little fur baby! I found out that Cookie was born on May 5th and that made me feel even more connected to Cookie. My grandfather, my first best friend, passed away on May 5, 2008. Cookie added a new meaning to that date. I was so excited to have this puppy; I remember driving over to the woman's house so fast because I did not want to lose this opportunity!
From the moment I brought Cookie home, she instantly became my best friend.
We spent hours together, sitting on the balcony, watching movies, and
cuddling. She filled my home with her presence and filled my heart with love. Her mischievous antics, like tearing apart her bed, still bring a smile to my face. When I decided to move back to New York, Cookie was right there with me, supporting me during a period of healing, self-discovery, and self-love.
Together, Cookie, my then-boyfriend (now husband Daniel), and I began our new journey in Boca Raton, Florida. Cookie loved the sunny weather and she also fell in love with Daniel. Their bond became so strong, that it became amusing to watch them cuddling on the couch while I sat all by myself. I still loved the furball anyway, I could understand why she loved Daniel so much, he's a pretty amazing guy! That's why I also fell in love with him; Cookie validated it! She even joined us on our wedding day and was there with me while I was getting ready. Just her and I! A week after getting married, we moved to Sarasota, Florida, where Cookie enjoyed our new home, more space and beach days.
To ensure Cookie wouldn't feel lonely while we were at work, we decided to bring another puppy into our family. However, Cookie made it real clear that she was not thrilled about this. She only connected with my parents' two little dogs, Chloe and Giuseppe. When we introduced Oreo, an English Cocker Spaniel, into our home, Cookie asserted her diva-like status. While she tolerated Oreo, their interactions were on her terms. Nevertheless, their unique bond and Oreo's relentless love were heartwarming to witness.
Cookie and I shared many special moments, including trips to the studio where I conducted sound baths. Going to the studio was also her escape from Oreo and to be around her favorite humans. I really think she thought she was a human! She would happily greet guests and settle down, ready to relax as the session began. In her own unique way, she sensed when someone needed some extra love and would lie close to them or on their chest. It's almost like Cookie would try to take away their hurt, pain or sadness from their hearts. Cookie was so aware that only after the sound bath ended would she resume interacting with guests again. When Cookie got tired and wanted to leave the studio, she would sit by the door, giving me an intense stare down, making it clear to everyone that she was ready to go. It was both embarrassing and amusing, but I got to give it to her, she always stayed true to her feelings. She would occasionally express my unspoken thoughts through her energy!
In February 2021, our lives took an unexpected turn when Cookie was diagnosed with heart failure. Devastation washed over me as I realized the gravity of the situation. Despite my desire to control her illness, I soon realized that I could only do so much. Alongside her medication, I began researching and implementing a low-sodium diet, incorporating quality food with antioxidants and nutrients. I delved into learning about holistic approaches to complement her medical treatment.
Throughout her battle, Cookie communicated with me in ways that surpassed verbal communication. When she struggled to breathe, she would run to the front door, gaze at me, and then back at the door. She knew what she needed in those moments; she needed me to figure it out. Trusting her instincts, I rushed her to the emergency veterinarian, who stabilized her with oxygen and diuretic injections. This pattern repeated a few times, her silent messages guiding me. She wasn't ready to give up and I would do whatever I could do to listen to her.
During this challenging time, my parents decided to move to Florida, bringing along Chloe and Giuseppe—Cookie's long-lost best fur friends. I was so excited for them to reunite and hoped that they would all remember each other after three years of separation. When Cookie entered the house, she stopped and locked eyes with Chloe and Giuseppe, their disbelief turned into wagging tails. All three of them ran to each other and they all connected noses. It was the most adorable reunion I've ever seen; my eyes filled with tears. Their love remained the same, transcending time and space.
As Cookie's condition worsened, the diuretic medication required constant adjustment. I knew the day would come when the medication would no longer be effective. Eventually, I had to learn how to administer the diuretic injections myself. Heart failure in dogs leads to fluid accumulation in the body, and the injection aimed to alleviate the discomfort caused by this buildup. The responsibility was challenging and stressful, but I was determined to do whatever it took to keep Cookie comfortable and happy.
As my birthday got closer, I made plans for a special trip to celebrate. However, my main priority was making sure Cookie could join us. I think I knew in my heart that our time was running out. I was mentally caught in a place of denial, avoidance and knowing. We arranged a glamping trip to Westgate River Ranch Resort, a getaway where we could relax in nature and savor our remaining time with our Cookie Bear. Little did I know, Cookie had a different trip planned.
The night before our trip (day of my birthday Dec 18), Cookie appeared to be doing better, filling me with hope. I pleaded with her not to leave me on my birthday, fearing the worst. Little did I know, midnight would bring us unexpected sorrow. Cookie began coughing uncontrollably, and her breathing took a sudden turn for the worse. Desperately attempting to remain calm, I encouraged her to breathe and administered the diuretic injection. But this time, the medication did not work and now I'm starting to feel scared, panicked and hopeless.
I knew we had to rush Cookie to the emergency hospital. As we sat in the car, a sense of helplessness washed over me. I realized this was the end of our journey together, at the same time I was still trying to tell myself the opposite. Thoughts raced through my mind, searching for a way to reverse the situation. But deep down, I knew this time was different. With heavy hearts, we entered the veterinary hospital, where we were met with the heartbreaking news that Cookie was no longer responding to the diuretics.
In a small room, we were reunited with Cookie, her tongue slightly tinged blue, and her breathing heavy. I knew I had to make the most difficult decision—to let her go. Holding her close, I poured out my heart, expressing my love and gratitude for the beautiful soul she was. As I gazed into her eyes, I told her to stay calm and look at me. With our eyes locked, pupil to pupil, I witnessed the spark of life gradually fade from her eyes. It was the most intense moment that I have ever experienced, shattering my heart and leaving me utterly broken. The pain in my heart was overwhelming.
Cookie didn't pass away on my birthday, but she waited until the next day to leave. Overwhelmed by grief, sadness, and tears, I struggled to calm my heart. My husband, who initially believed he had accepted the situation, found himself devastated by a flood of unexpected emotions. Cookies presence was so strong, that the home now felt cold and empty. Though our trip had lost its original purpose, I insisted we go as planned. Being in the house in that moment was not helping us feel any better. I realized the trip was never meant for Cookie but meant to be a place for us to grieve. We decided to go, took our other sweet pup Oreo and started our drive there.
We arrived at this beautiful natural location surrounded by trees, horses, and campfires, with only the two of us and Oreo. Since it was December, the air was a bit cooler, crisp and refreshing, there were Christmas lights everywhere beautifully decorated. My husband and I had a few moments where we laughed and smiled, while carrying heavy hearts. We were grateful that we had that trip booked, because nature surely is the best medicine for the soul.
As time passed, messages of love and support poured in from people whose lives Cookie had touched. It warmed my heart to learn that she had comforted so many people who were going through struggles during sound baths, without my knowledge. I was surprised to receive flowers/messages honoring cookie and the impact she had on their lives. Reflecting on her strength, authenticity, and boundless love, I found myself simply in awe of her. How could a non-verbal creature impact so many without uttering a word? She simply spoke the energy of unconditional love. God's creatures are truly beautiful, they are our teachers of life and love.
While healing from the loss of Cookie, I discovered newfound strength within myself. I often revisit the final picture we took together, the night I hugged her as she rested her head on my shoulder. Looking at that picture, I now understand that Cookie was saying goodbye. Her eyes and facial expression revealed a profound understanding of what was to come. We both knew! A year later, we moved into a new home, embarking on a new chapter without Cookie physically present. It was a challenging transition, with her ashes resting in a small box now. Before moving in any other belongings, I placed her box in the house first, ensuring that she would forever be a part of our journey, she is never forgotten.
Pictures & memories of Cookie Bear decorate our new home, making us smile and laugh. We think of her every day, she may be gone but she will forever live in our hearts. Cookie, my one-in-a-lifetime dog who transformed me, taught me the true meaning of love. She will forever be my Mystical Cookie Bear, my forever best friend and soul mate!
The Mystical Cookie Bear
05.05.12 - 12.19.21