As painful as it is, the reality is that our pets often don’t live as long as we do. Knowing this makes us cherish every moment we have with them, ensuring that we give them love and happiness.
And when their twilight years approach, our role is to provide them with all the comfort they need.
That’s exactly what this couple did for their 16-year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Cocoa.
Tom Antonino and his wife, Lauren Slepin, used to visit Virginia Beach to walk Cocoa. It became their favorite place to go to, and the trio has made tons of memories there together.
But when Cocoa turned 16, the once energetic dog began to struggle with walking. That’s when the family from Georgia realized that she was already at the twilight of her life.
As heartbreaking as it was, they had to accept that Cocoa will be leaving them soon. And to make her final days as happy as possible, Tom and Lauren came up with an idea—building a handcrafted mobile bed for her.
“My wife and I, we came up with a way to, with a mechanics creeper and stuff like that to take her [Cocoa] for walks,” Tom said. “We had a rope and a bed, and we’d bring her out.
Cocoa hasn’t walked outside for several months, and the mobile bed allowed her to visit the dog park and watch the sunset by the ocean with her owners.
In February, a woman named Carrie Copenhaver happened to see Tom pushing Cocoa on her mobile bed. She was deeply moved by what she saw, so she took a photo of the pair and shared it on Facebook, where it instantly went viral.
So far, her post has been shared over 55K times.
“I had to stop & express my love for his extraordinary care … compassion, kindness, love,” Carrie wrote on the post’s caption. “I need more people like this in my life.”
Tom, who is not on Facebook, didn’t know at first that they had become internet-famous.
“I found out from my brother-in-law. He said, ‘Is this you?’ and then other people asked, ‘Is this you?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, that’s Cocoa. That’s Cocoa and I going for a walk,’” he said.
He was also surprised at how many people were touched by their story.
“It hit a chord with people that the bond we have with our dogs and our pets – it’s strong,” he added.
Unfortunately, just a few months after she got her mobile bed, Cocoa passed away. Her family was devastated, but knowing that they gave her the life she deserved somehow brought them comfort.
They’re also thankful that they got be with Cocoa for such a long time. 16 is actually years past the life expectancy of her breed.
“Love that our beautiful Cocoa has made a lasting impression and touched the hearts of so many people,” Lauren wrote on her Facebook post. “We miss her so much but are grateful we had her so long.”
Surely, Cocoa was able to bring the beautiful memories she had with her family to heaven.
This story is a beautiful reminder for us to hug our pets a little tighter each night and let them know how much we love them.
Check out the video below to learn more about Cocoa’s story.
It’s always inspiring to see the lengths people are willing to go to just to make their pets happy. But this should be no surprise because our companions deserve nothing but love.
Please share this story with your friends and family!