My Cozy

Cozy and her Kong
In every dog lover’s life, there is one special dog. For me, Cozy was that dog.

Cozy came into our lives in August of 1997 when we were still just newlyweds in a big empty house. Before we had decided on a name, she was just “little blue puppy” because the breeder had tied a blue piece of yarn around her neck. All the puppies in the litter had colored yarn around their necks, but it was the little blue puppy who nudged my elbow and picked me so many years ago. From that moment on, My Cozy and I shared a bond unlike any I’ve shared with any other dog, or person for that matter.

When My Cozy was a puppy we bought her many toys, but only one mattered. From the pile, Cozy picked the Kong, and from then on, it was the only toy for her. If the Kong became lost, Cozy would race around the house until she found it. If it was somewhere that she couldn’t reach, she would bark until someone with opposable thumbs came along to help her. Cozy could not only catch the Kong no matter how hard you threw it, but she could throw it back too. Of course when you got tired of playing she would drop the disgusting drool-covered thing in your lap. If you ignored her she would nudge it with her nose. If you continued to ignore her she would bark at you until you gave in and tossed it to her, at which point the cycle repeated.

Cozy adored me, and I loved her with an intensity that would take me years to fully comprehend. Four and a half years ago, My Cozy drew her last breath.  The ravages of cancer had ruined her body from within, and her pain had become too much for either of us to bear. On March 15th, 2006, I held her face in my hands while she slipped off to sleep for the last time. She was only eight when she died, taken from me at far too young an age. I still cry like a little girl when I think about her.

Cozy Tales
My grief was so intense that I battled depression for years. Not until I decided to write about about Cozy, was I able to deal with the powerful emotions buried within me. Writing a book about Cozy’s life was both a joyful and incredibly painful experience. To write about an event in your life, you have to relive it in a way that’s hard to understand unless you’ve done it. Writing about Cozy’s death brought the event right to the forefront of my consciousness after I had repressed it for years. I couldn’t write about her in public places, because every time I started I would end up crying like a baby all over again. Then, when I’d have to edit the chapters, the pain was brought forth again and again until finally, 85,000 words later, the book was done, and I was emotionally exhausted. Amazingly, this process made me feel better, not only because it forced me to confront my demons, but because it resulted in Cozy’s life being recorded, which is something that I felt she deserved.

S.T. Dupont Fidelio in Blue
Because of the yarn tied around her neck as a puppy, blue came to represent Cozy to me. When Cozy died, I bought a very nice blue fountain pen that I carry with me everywhere.  I have many fountain pens, as I love to write with them. I find them to be a welcome contrast to the digital life I lead. This pen though, this pen is my Cozy Pen. I write in a journal with it, and I write story ideas with it. I have signed important contracts with it, and the resulting engagements have always gone well. Lauren has one just like it, though hers is a ball point like the one shown here. Cozy was our first baby. Cozy taught us that we could take care of a living thing. Cozy taught us about life.

Network Warrior and Rolex
I also have a blue watch. When I published my first book (Network Warrior), I spent the advance on a nice Rolex, which had to be blue. The cover of my first book? Also blue, though that was just dumb luck. Writing that book helped me to deal with Cozy’s death, and this acknowledgement to her is contained within. It reads:

I would like to thank My Cozy, my faithful Newfoundland dog who was tragically put to sleep in my arms so she would no longer have to suffer the pains of cancer. Her body failed while I was writing this book, and if not for her, I probably would not be published today. Her death caused me great grief, which I assuaged by writing. I miss you My Cozy—may you run pain free at the rainbow bridge until we meet again.

Jackson SL2H
Of my many guitars, two of them are blue, and though they are almost identical copies, one was the first guitar I bought after Cozy died. I am not in the habit of naming my guitars, but this guitar is known to everyone in our house as “The Cozy Guitar”.

In a small container in my office, I have all of Cozy’s puppy teeth, a tuft of her fur and the impossibly small piece of blue yarn that I took from her neck when she was eight weeks old. It sits next to her box on the shelf in my office where I spend most of my time. In Cozy’s box is her ashes, her beloved kong, and the collar I took off of her neck the day she died. It is still in the same loop that it was in that fateful day. From time to time, when I’m feeling sad, I’ll take out her collar and hold it. Its cold metal in my hands reminds me that she’s gone, but also that as much as I like to say that she was My Cozy, I never really owned her. No, she chose to be with me. I don’t know if she made the right choice, but I did my best to take care of her while she was here

I think of My Cozy often throughout each day. Life is not the same without her, and even though Annie and Guinness fill our house with love and devotion, I still miss My Cozy-Bear.

Hug your dogs while you have them. Every time you’re too busy for them will be a time you regret after they’re gone. Cozy’s short life impacted me more than I could have imagined. I only hope that she knew how much I loved her while she was here. Take some time to let your dog know how much you love them. Tell them Cozy sent you.

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10 thoughts on “My Cozy

  1. Wonderful story which made me cry like a baby. Thanks for sharing your memories of an incredible dog and an incredible bond.

  2. Hello There GAD,

    We love your account of My Cozy. You know, dogs are special in so many ways. I grew up with a Westie called Rinty and I still miss him even now. Sometimes I hear music of the seventies and he is there, in my memory. A beloved friend.

    Hope someone out there thinks to pubish your Cozy book.

    All the best

    Hector’s hooman

  3. You made me cry. And you made me at last take a deep breath I’ve been needing for 4 months. Four months ago today I lost my cat – she & I shared that once in a lifetime bond you speak of for almost 18 years. She’d been ill for a couple of years, requiring daily treatments at home, which kept her more than alive. They kept her pain free, healthy, happy, with me. But there was no cure, I knew that, and I blogged about her, about the heartbreak, about the guilt, about the love, about the impending loss, and without the words, without writing them down, I don’t think my heart would have survived as intact. When she died, I blogged that, blogged the next few weeks about the emptiness, blogged for her and for my soul. Thank you for making me feel not so alone in this feeling.

    I know your book will be published. I can’t wait to get better acquainted with My Cozy. She sounds fabulous.

  4. We have the thick maroon collar from Shamie, our Old English Sheepdog complete with years of tags on the D ring. It has been hanging by our cellar stairs since 1992 when he had to put him down. He came love live with us the week we moved into our enw house in 1980. He was with us for 12 years, helping us with raising the kids. The sound of his collar tags jangling was unmistakeable and instantly recognizable.

    Occasionally, I will bump that collar when going down the stairs, which then makes that jangly noise, and for a few seconds, I have our old friend standing next to me with that look of “wanna play?”

    It is one of those truisms… “If you have to ask, you won’t understand”.

    And now I understand why the rolex was blue. 🙂


  5. What a beautiful story. It must have taken alot of courage for you to write the book, which by the way I can’t wait to read. The way you describe Cozy and you bond seems alot like the bond I have with my Sherman, and from time to time I wonder how he will be taken from me, it’s not a thought that I like to think, but it is one that it is inevitable.
    Thank you for sharing a bit of Cozy.

  6. Thanks, GAD, for As a tribute to Cozy, we are all richer for our new friends. Personally, I love to torture my newfs with the wonderful sounds of Cozy. I have my “kids” as a result of yours.

    Thanks again,

  7. Gary,

    What a lovely tribute! I have written about painful things in my writing career, but I haven’t written about my own dogs yet. Merlin is my first Newf – and my heart dog – and although hale and hearty now, I know that I will have to face the end much like you did. and, I know that I will have to commit his memory to a more permanent medium.

    Bless you for having the fortitude to endure reliving Cozy’s time on earth. I know who difficult it must have been.


  8. Gary,

    Awesome tribute. We recently had to have an almost 7 year old Newfie we had just rescued from a kill shelter helped across the bridge due to a debilitating spinal injury. We’d had him for just 6 and a half months and he’d already wiggled his way so deep into our hearts that it just absolutely hurts to the point of crying at the drop of a hat to think about it. That was not quite three months ago. He was definitely a “heart dog”. He just filled us with so much happiness and joy. He absolutely trusted us with everything even after having been dropped into a hellacious place to be picked up by whoever after having lived 6 and a half years of his life with someone who didn’t want him anymore. He was a very good dog and never gave us any problems, I think his only error was he kept getting out. He was an outside dog and wanted to be with someone, so he escaped a lot. Go figure, he’s a Newf and wanted to be with his people/person.

    He fit into our pack of two other Newfies and was just so grateful to be in a family. I wrote about all the stuff we went through to try and remedy his problems with our vets and about his final moments with us after having to make the final decision. It is T O U G H. Like Mike Stevens said…if you have to ask, you don’t get it…and really never will….I’m so lucky to be a part of a couple of wonderful absolutely fantastic dog communities who “just get get…”.

    It is never easy to say goodbye, but sometimes it’s the nicest thing we can do no matter how much we question ourselves. I do it every day since we said goodbye to Grady our beautiful broken boy.

    Hugs to you, your wife, family and pups.

  9. Gary–I’m reliving the weeks with your manuscript as I read this blog. And, it’s every bit as good as I thought it was then. The visuals add a lot, as they did with Annie and the vacuum cleaner. Looks like you have a readership ready to take this journey with you. I just feel fortunate to have been along…Sue

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