The bean has been in my life since I was in high school as my sister and her then boyfriend, now husband’s, dog. She lived her active, younger years with them and I got to see her grow from the sweetest little saddle-coloured doughnut à l’ancienne, to the active, needy, anxiety-ridden cutie whose sounds are more akin to that of a chicken than a dog.

Coco came to me full time about 2 years ago as a ten year-old senior bean, in a transitionary time of my life. I was beginning to see my anxiety and depression had crippled me in more ways than one and it was time I got help. Coco is no calm, zen, service dog. She’s got issues just like the rest of us; just like me. She has anxiety in the mornings just like I do, she very seldom voluntarily gets out of bed and given the opportunity, would sleep burrowed under a pile of covers all day. We help each other through the hard times. She’s helped me see how getting out for some fresh air and sunshine during our walks can be the cure-all for lethargy, that simply getting my feet on the floor and opening the door to let her out in the mornings is the greatest way to wake up, and random interactions with strangers regarding how cute and lovely she is can bring a truly sincere smile to my face and a sense of connection with the world I otherwise would not have had.

I’ve always understood coco. When I see her little watery eyes looking at me wide and her body start to shake, I can feel her anxiety as my own and know how to calm her down. We get each other and the love I feel for her is ridiculous, over the top, and makes most people who see us roll their eyes. She’s my girl and I’m so fortunate I get to spend her golden years with her.