Animal Advocates of B.C.
A COOPERATIVE OF ANIMAL-LOVERS AND ACTION-TAKERS                         
"Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace." Albert Schweitzer 1875 - 1965

In Memory of "Cookie"
Remembered by Kim Brower and daughter Christy Quintana

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Cookie, An Unforgettable Dog
by Kim Brower

1994- May 30 2003

When Cookie reached the pearly gates, there was surely a great argument between the Maker and the Devil over who should have her soul. I know that the Good Guy won, as her transgressions (of which there were many) would be forgiven; there was not a trace of malice in her dear heart.

An exquisitely naughty, beautiful dog, a pain in the neck, a great love of my life.

My heart is broken and I will miss her forever.

Cookie by Christy Quintana (age 13)

How can I begin to describe to you the dog who changed my world, a life that shaped me into who I am? How can I make you understand how a mere animal took over my heart? I have a strong will to do her justice with my words, and I will do my best to do just that.

In 1995, when I was 5 or 6 years old, my mother and I encountered a feisty one-year-old beagle, parading around the puppy kennel of the Vancouver S.P.C.A. We brought Dad  to see her, too, and it resulted in a case of love at first sight for all. When I saw her, curled up and sleeping innocently, I knew there was no other dog for me. Short days later, she was ours to keep. Charming and cute, we thought for sure we had found our ‘quiet lap dog’. How wrong we were. Without hesitation or fear, our newly named Cookie was tearing around our backyard, keeping our current dog, Walter, company.

Within days, she had devoured countless food items off our counters and kitchen table, and disembowelled treasured stuffed toys. Months turned to years, Cookie included garbage theft, cat turd burglary, book and boot chewing, learned to open the fridge and our bond became stronger still. But it wasn’t until we began to attend classes as an apprentice dog trainer at Custom Canine, a dog training school, that we became inseparable. I soon discovered that Cookie was clever and hardworking, and soon her trick and command vocabulary grew and grew. We became involved in agility, a sort of obstacle course for dogs, and entered competitions and trials.

One of my fondest memories of the summers of agility was at a trial in late August of 2001. One of the agility obstacles is a chute, a stretch of tunnel that collapses into a fabric tube, which the dog must push through. We ran a flawless course up until that chute, which was the last piece in the course. Cookie shot through the first half of the chute, and I thought for sure it was victory for us. But Cookie changed her mind. I stood in horror, as a beagle shaped lump slowly made it’s way though the fabric and stopped. The only movement in sight was the slow side to side motion of her nose. Calling cheerily, I tried to encourage her through. No result. The time limit passed, and still she lingered. Two, three minutes passed, and suddenly, Cookie had finally had enough. Weary from calling, I still had enough energy left to give out a joyful hoot as we passed the finish line, and the crowd went wild. Nearly 2 minutes over the time limit, we finished at a bronze, but I still feel that was our greatest victory of all.

Summers were the best times for Cookie and I.  Together, we won Best Pet in Show at the S.P.C.A. pet show. The picture you see is Cookie posing for the camera with her trophy. An impromptu trick show for the audience at the Royal City Pet Show ended up in us winning a pet/owner relationship contest, and we won $100. We performed a complicated trick, involving her jumping through a panel of paper in front of thousands of people at the Great Canadian Pet Fair. We finally qualified for our first agility title: Novice Junior handler. But whether or not we brought home the trophies and ribbons, we both had the time of our lives. We became known throughout the dog community at that little girl and her beagle. Even as my summers became more full with different camps and friends, we still enjoyed nothing more than to show off the tricks we had learned together.

Once thing I must stress, is that of all the things Cookie loved, the one thing that topped it all was food. Any kind of food. Edible or non, it was on the menu, any time, any place. The list of things Cookie devoured is long and varied, ranging from the normal (an entire loaf of bread, a plate of party snacks) to the unexpected (a suede glove, a box of crayons). Our house is full of beagle-proofing devices, from child locks on the garbage cupboard to chain-locks on the basement door. Anything with good smell was a beagle delicacy. When I taught her to climb a ladder, it took no more than a handful of Cheerios to get her flying up those stairs and leaping into my arms. Also in the ‘Cookie’s Habits Hall of Fame’ is tearing up the house with our other dogs, Walter and Mary. The three of them would play so loudly that well-meaning neighbors would call us, frantically warning us that our dogs were ‘killing each other’. But I have never seen such close canine friends. And I have never had so close a canine friend as Cookie.

So here I am, trying to describe the life of my beloved beagle. Even a month after her passing, I am still not back to who I was before. As human relationships change and falter, I wonder if I shall ever have as good a friend as Cookie, but I know the answer. I am still in denial. Looking back on what I have written, I have barely ever referred to how she ‘was’ or ‘used’ to be. But I must find a way to be happy without her. Maybe after all, I don’t have to be without her if I can keep her spirit alive in my mind. I used to be a disbeliever in such spirituality, but as I sit alone awake at night, all I have to do is imagine her beside me. I cannot be sad and dark forever about a life that changed me in such a beautiful way. As always, in my darkest times and happiest moments, she will be with me. This must be my comfort until at last we meet again.


2003  
Animal Advocates Society of B.C. Canada


June/03