Cosmo (racing name Mesa Cajun): July 4, 2000 – July 24, 2015
This isn't a cycling entry, but one of the few things I love as much as cycling is my dogs.
I wasn’t ready to post until now, but on Friday Robert and I had to say goodbye to Cosmo. He was such a good, sweet friend for so many years. I miss him terribly. I was thrilled that he made it to his 15th birthday earlier this month. He’s the oldest greyhound we ever had. He really did quite well in his old age up until about his last week. In August 2011, he had a really bad spell (maybe his heart). The vet got him through that and said that Cosmo might live another six months. For that reason, we have especially cherished every day since then – nearly four years!
We adopted Cosmo in July 2003, shortly after he came off of the racetrack. Robert was into triathlon back then. He had a race in Acworth, just a few miles from the Southeastern Greyhound Adoption (SEGA) kennel. (I've volunteered with SEGA for many years.) We went to the kennel after the race, where we completed Cosmo's adoption.
Those who are closest to me get multiple nicknames, and Cosmo was no different. The best way I know to pay tribute to him is to describe his various nicknames and where they came from.
Cosmo Conehead – Cosmo’s ears always stood up rather than lying back in the usual greyhound rosette way. Several times at GreyFest (SEGA's annual greyhound festival), he won the Funniest Ears contest. Sometimes he even put them together in a triangle, which made me think of the Coneheads from Saturday Night Live.
Barfy Boy – TMI, I know! Poor Cosmo had a sensitive stomach his whole life. He even barfed on that long ride home from the kennel on the day we adopted him. Sometimes he would get this rather green look on his face, and I would say, “No barfy, Cosmo!” It actually seemed to work. Before my time trials, I often get all worked up and nervous. I relax by telling myself, “No barfy!”
Cosmo Klepto – Cosmo loved stealing unattended shoes. We quickly learned to keep them out of reach, but occasionally we would forget. The funniest thing was when he would pick up one of Robert’s heavy work boots and carry it in his mouth. Cosmo also loved to steal stuffed animals, particularly a stuffed bat of mine. Fortunately, Cosmo never chewed up the things he stole. He just carried them to the basement or into the backyard.
Poultry Hound – Cosmo loved any kind of meat, but he went gaga over chicken and turkey. One time I was preparing our Thanksgiving turkey. It was a couple of days ahead of time, and I carried the turkey out to the garage to place in a cooler of ice to brine. I left the bag of giblets in the sink, intending to throw them away as soon as I walked back into the kitchen. Can you believe that in those few moments, Cosmo climbed up into the sink, grabbed the bag of giblets, and carried it down to the basement? There was a telltale trail of giblet juice that gave him away.
Additionally, Cosmo was the best greyhound I’ve ever had for meet & greets and pet therapy. He was so patient. One time a little girl at a meet & greet poked him right in the eye (intentionally), but he didn’t flinch. Another time, we were at pet therapy visiting with a particular man who had Alzheimer’s. Usually this man didn’t respond to us when we walked up and said hello, but that day he sure did. He reached out, grabbed Cosmo around the snout, and began to squeeze! Inside I panicked, but I calmly and carefully pried the man’s fingers from around Cosmo’s snout. None of this fazed Cosmo. It’s as if he knew that this person needed special care.
Cosmo was always the alpha dog, but he was quiet about it. Mr. Spock – my other greyhound, who is quirky and insecure (but sweet) – always submitted reluctantly to Cosmo’s authority but seemed to look up to him, too. Mr. Spock is missing his nemesis. Our beagle Shelly seems rather lost, too.
Twelve years with a greyhound is quite a gift, but I still wish we had more time. I’m grateful for all the love and fun times we had together.