Cocoa is the name of my dog — my other dog. I have three. Cocoa is the middle one. They’re all around the same age, but he’s the second one Doug and I adopted shortly after we moved in together, and we adopted him for Brandy really, so she could have someone to play with. Plus I’d read somewhere that anxious dogs do better when they have more pack members around them. Since Brandy was still having a lot of anxiety issues due to her previous owners, we thought that having a pack mate would help. We decided to get a smaller dog because… I’m not sure why… but there were reasons.
Anyway, we went down to the “small dog” shelter in Albuquerque to look at a completely different dog. The small dog shelter was where we were taking Brandy for obedience lessons so she was familiar with the place. The dog we came to look at was simply not gonna fit into our household — way too energetic and high strung. So we looked around and found “Robby” — soon to become Cocoa. Side note, we were gonna name him Brownie, but that was way too close to Brandy, so Cocoa it was. There’s nothing wrong with the name Robby, I just have too much history with the name Robert, and… yeah. So anyway, we brought Cocoa home and man, did we make the right decision.
Where Brandy was anxious and shy, Cocoa is chill and in our face. I’ve never had such a chill dog. He’s like the dog version of my cat, Mister. He and the cat get along too, which is a plus. He is a total snuggler, and blanket hog. The only time he gets anxious is if he doesn’t get any lap time. Then he whines! And, dear reader, he is a whiner. When we first brought him home, he whined all of the time, and unlike children where one can ask, “What’s wrong?” a dog cannot tell you what’s wrong. We must have let him out a dozen times the first few nights before we understood that he was whining not because he wanted out, but he wanted on the bed. Hahahaha! I have no problems with dogs on the bed, so we bought little footstool so he could get up on the bed. A state of affairs our cat was not happy about. Not that they fought, but they both wanted the prime spot between the people. He still whines quite a bit, and it’s still a matter of, “I don’t know what you want, dog.” More often than not these days, he’s whining because one of the other animals is either in a spot where he wants to be, or they’re blocking his way and he wants them to move. He’s not a barker, so he whines.
According to the Humane Society, Cocoa is a Corgi/Chihuahua mix. He weighs about 25 pounds, and looks more Corgi than anything else. His adoption papers say he was a stray when they picked him up, so we don’t know his background. I know that he runs and hides whenever anyone raises their voice. Even if we’re talking excitedly, he’s gone into his box. Oh yeah, we always have a heavy cardboard box, a refrigerator box usually, covered up with a blanket, that he uses for sleeping, hiding, cave dwelling, &c… He hides all the toys in there too. The hoarder. He’s in there now as I type this. Some dogs are burrowers and need that den-like abode to go to. Cocoa and the cat share the box. They all have kennels, but the box affords a different level of comfort I suppose. If he’s not in the box, then he’s up on here the couch sleeping on, or under, a pile of blankets. Or he’s outside. What I think is funny is of all the dogs we have, Cocoa is the one who growls the most in his sleep. He’s the one who has the most ferocious snarls, snap, and yips while he’s sleeping. You’ve gotta wonder what he’s dreaming about in that little dog brain of his. Maybe instead of running into his box/cave, he’s fighting off the big, loud, noisy humans. Who knows?
Cocoa, like Brandy, is about eight years old according to the vet’s best guess. We’ve had him nearly as long as we’ve had her. I think, despite being smaller, that he will live roughly as long as she. His muzzle is already turning grey, and he has difficulties with jumping and running. We have footstools and other helpers for him to get onto the furniture. He’s had joint problems since we adopted him — a common problem with this breed of dogs. I think his hearing is going too. We have to call him several times to get his attention, and more often than not, we have to go up to him and touch him to get his attention. He can still hear, because he does react to things in the environment, but I think it’s touch and go. I’ve observed that it’s usually the other two who come running when a wrapper makes noise. He’ll see them zipping by and follow. The vet says his ears are fine, and I still see him look and move his ears… but I don’t think there are hearing test for dogs. It’s not affecting his quality of life, so I’ll let it be. I mean, he is still lively when he wants to be. More often than not though, you’ll find him sleeping. It’s okay though, he’s got a leisurely life here, and if he wants to sleep all day. I’ll let him sleep.