Stephanie Pearce: Letting go

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Stephanie Pearce

In the past week, we’ve lost two members of our family: our cow, Cocoa Bean, and our dog, Girl. You might laugh at the first one, but she really was part of our family. Not in the same way as Girl, but we will miss her all the same. I don’t know why it amazes me how these animals can touch our lives in such a way and break our hearts when they leave us.

We found Girl on Knez Divide 10 years ago. She wasn’t a young dog but obviously had been dumped. My family, along with my dad, was driving, and dad thought she was a fawn by the side of the road because of her coloring and her size, but my husband was convinced she was a dog. Well, I stopped and backed up. It turned out my husband was right. When we stopped, she just sat and seemed to smile, like she knew someone had come to help her.

We got Girl, which our vet seemed to think was a German shepherd/greyhound mix, in the vehicle, and she immediately took to my daughter, who was 5 at the time. They were inseparable. Girl was very protective of our family but especially of Samantha.

Girl would try to “hug” people constantly by either jumping and squeezing you with her front legs or just by putting her head on your shoulder real tight. She loved to be loved on.

Besides loving Samantha, her other passion was running. She loved when Sam would get on her razor or snow machine, and Girl would run as fast as she could beside her. If she was in the house when she heard the machines start, she would whine and paw at the door until you let her out.

She slept with Samantha every night with her buddy Spud. I would walk in the room and barely see Samantha because the other two dogs were sprawled on the bed. Even when Samantha wasn’t home, she would have to sleep in her room, or she would pace the floor all night.

Now Cocoa Bean was a project my son acquired while in 4-H several years ago. She was the offspring of a cow that Clayton received through a program from Farm Bureau. He wrote an essay and won the cow. He was supposed to keep her until she calved, show her and the calf in the Breeding Beef show at fair, then breed the cow back, and the next fall she would go to the next essay winner. Cocoa Bean was the calf.

Cocoa Bean was the best momma ever. She had those big brown eyes that you knew she could see right into your soul. She kept her herd together, and when she had her babies, she knew where to hide them in the tall grasses. I remember when she had her first calf; we were worried because we hadn’t seen it for a couple of days, so we went looking for it in the field. Well, we knew when we were close because she came running and mooing like crazy. She settled down by the second calf. I will miss seeing her and talking to her out in the field.

It’s amazing how our hearts break when saying goodbye to these critters. Letting go is the hard part. Keeping the memories, that’s the easy part. I’m so glad we got to be graced with their presence.

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