We had to say goodbye to our lovable, athletic black Labrador
retriever, Cody, one week ago. He was 15 years, 8 months old, which is
well over 100 in human years for a large dog. Even though he exceeded
our expectations for longevity by several years, it was still painful to
let him go.
Our vet warned us about 18 months ago that a nerve
dysfunction he'd recently developed would probably be what ended Cody's
life. Each day since then has been a gift to have our boy around:
Unknown to me, Jim read a posthumous "letter from a pet" on the
internet last year, which gave him the inspiration to pen this poignant
"letter from Cody." He gave it to me the very sad day we had Cody euthanized.
I cry every time I read it. So does Jim, but we also smile when we
remember all the cool things we did with Cody, laugh about some of the
funny things he did, and marvel at his trust and athleticism and
So make yourself comfortable, grab a tissue or two, and enjoy Cody's
letter to his favorite people and pups:
Momma, Daddy, Casey, and Holly,
I just want you all to know how happy I am to be in doggy heaven.
It is great up here!
(Non Sequitur cartoon by Wiley
My legs work fine, and I only go to the bathroom outdoors just
like I used to, before I got real old.
Also, I can hear again! The other barking dogs here are all very
friendly, and once in a while I even bark back at them. It feels real
good to bark and run again.
The views are spectacular. I can see all of the places weíve
traveled from Alaska to Florida, and Maine to California, and all the
places weíve lived. Iíve seen more and Iíve hiked more miles and climbed
more mountains than any dog in the world.
I'm looking down at Mom from
the top of Flat Top Mountain near
Anchorage, AK after a fun
scramble to the top. (Age 9, June 22, 2012)
I got to spend two summers in
Alaska; I was 12 on the second trip.
Above and below: Dad,
Casey, and I are enjoying the ocean breeze on a cliff along the
Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia,
Canada. May I go swimming, please?? (Age 11, Aug. 12, 2014)
At the end of my time with you, I could not see the yard or
anything very clearly, and I had trouble hearing you when you called my name.
My mind is inquisitive again now, too. I am sticking my nose in
all the new nooks and crannies here, and chasing moles again.
Exploring used to be a big part of my life. Remember me tugging
you in all directions on our walks, except for the last year or so? And
I like being real mobile, nimble on all four feet, again.
I *loved* running in snow!!!
I want to thank the whole family for taking care of me for almost
16 great years.
You may think you chose me years ago at the kennel, but
that is not quite right. You see, I selected you guys, not the other way around,
because I knew you were a great family that would take really good care
When I was only five weeks old a
really nice man and woman came to my house in
Oregon to visit my birth mama, littermates,
and me. I really liked them, so I ran real fast
to give the lady some kisses before my brothers and
sisters got there! (April, 2003)
I really liked the man, too, and
he decided he wanted to be my adoptive Daddy.
He introduced me to a big yellow dog
named Tater who would become my adopted
sister. The man and woman left
after a while, but they came back a week later
when I was old enough to ride to
their home in Montana. What a great day!
And did you ever take really good care of me!! Especially you,
Momma. I loved rolling around on my back when we sat on the floor
together. You were the one who usually put my food in my bowl and took care
of my water, too. That is all I ever really needed. And you kept the
bowls clean, because you knew that was important to me.
You were my very best special friend. Thanks. You took me to the
vet for my check ups and doctor visits when I was sick. Remember in
Alaska when I couldnít walk? You nursed me through that, too.
Remember the times you laughed at me when I did
something silly on purpose,
and the times you didn't laugh (when you could have)
because you felt sorry for me?
You knew how stupid I
felt walking around with that lamp shade on my head after a couple of
surgeries and you were able to comfort me through those difficult times.
I was 10 when I had a
cancerous spot removed from my belly.
I sure wanted to lick those sutures
after surgery because they itched!
I loved the
affection shown to me by Tater, Casey, and especially Holly.
I felt like their brother, except I liked them so much I could
never fight with them like some siblings do sometimes. I just tried to
return their affection to thank them for cuddling with me on the floor,
sharing toys, chasing sticks together, and stuff like that.
When I was just a little
squirt, Tater let me climb all over her. (May, 2003)
I remembered how good a big
sister Tater was to me so when baby Casey (above) and Holly (below)
chose our family nine and
fourteen years later, I did my best to be a good big brother to them, too.
(October, 2012 and
I know they loved me so much, even when I got old and even though
I could not show them the attention the way I did when I was younger and
full of life.
But you, Momma, meant the most to me because you did the most for
me and we spent the most time together. You really favored me with so
much care and love for all those years.
Mom always let me sniff things
when we were running or hiking together. I was as
distracted by enticing scents as
she was by pretty flowers and magnificent scenery.
(Age 8, Alaska Basin, west side of the
Teton Range in Wyoming, 9-3-11)
I remember when I was young and you and I hiked the AT together.
Wasnít that fun? It was a little scary crossing those raging streams in
Maine, but we made it didnít we?
How many thousands of times did you open or close a door to let me
in or out? How many bazillion hairs did you sweep up? How many hours did
you spend vacuuming? Thank you so much.
I know Daddy loved me, too. I remember the hike we did between Hope
Pass and Columbine. Even though I was still pretty young then,
he had to lift me over those boulders. He spent a
lot of time with me, too, and I love him for it.
Running with Mom and Dad along
the Gulf Coast at Mustang Island, TX when I was 5 (Jan. 27, 2009)
I liked the mountains better,
though, because there were creeks, lakes, and snow to jump in up there.
I was 3 when we all went
running together on the Bighorn Mtn. Wild & Scenic course
in June, 2006.
There is NO WAY I could possibly thank all of you enough for the
help and joy you gave to me during our years together.
I was sorry I had to go when I did, but I was so old. I did not
want to be a burden any more. I had zero energy and it scared me when I
couldnít find Momma. It was definitely time. I really was not happy at
the end, and now I am happy again.
I liked to be close to
Mom (even when I was younger)
so she always kept a doggie bed for me near her desk.
Remember me with a smile on my face because that is the way I
remember you all. I have a big smile on my face now.
My ears are sometimes floppy and sometimes (as you would often
say when I was alert) "precious." I get dog bones any time I want. My head is way out the
window when I go riding around with my furry pals. There are no fences
or leashes here. I can run and go for walks often. Life is great again!
It really was time for me to go, and I thank you for your help in
making it dignified and easy.
I love you, Momma and Dad and
Casey and Holly, and always will.
Next entry: Jim is back in the ultra-running (walking!) game again
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Cody, Casey, and Holly-pup
© 2018 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil