The Things I Learned from Coco

By Karla Aguas - 12:05:00 PM

I would first like to say thank you to all those that sent me tweets, emails, comments and messages of love, kindness and care. I know that it's not as "deep" or as "grave" as an actual loss of a relative or loved one but to me, this comes pretty close. So again, to all those that sent me messages, thank you. To all those that commented on my Instagram and assured me that Coco is in a better place, THANK YOU. And to everyone that just listened, my broken (but healing) heart will always be thankful.

It's only been two days but I have been trying very hard to see the bigger picture. I find myself going through an "Up-Down, Up-Down" situation. I cry for a bit, then I stop then I cry again. I guess when you look back at the memories that brought you so much happiness, you end up bringing yourself to tears. I miss him still, very very much and my heart continues to feel a pain I thought I had forgotten. This all seems so dramatic, yes, but when you really love someone or something, chances are you give a part of yourself. What makes this even more painful for me is that I know that Coco gave me all of himself. You see, dogs (I can't say the same for cats or other animals because I only really like dogs) love you with all that they are. With every fiber in there being you are the world to them. Which is why this hurts me so much. I know that I will no longer feel Coco's love for me.

But anyway, with all of this being said, I have been praying and asking the Lord to help me see what my pain is preventing me from seeing. Trusting in Him and His plans for me, I know now that Coco's passing needed to happen for me to realize a few things. Allow me to share with you some of the things I've learned from my loving angel, the cutest shih tzu in the world (in my eyes at least), Coco.

The Things I Learned from Coco

Be a Good Listener

Coco is a dog, so obviously he would never actually "talk" to me (although it would be pretty amazing to hear what our pets have to say about us if they could really speak noh?) but he was always there to listen. Granted, I would lock him in my room sometimes and force him to stay with me as I cried my eyes out, but he always did listen. He'd raise his cute little furry head and look at me, as I cried and poured my heart out to him. He wouldn't talk, he would only listen.

We sometimes forget how powerful the act of listening is. And I mean REALLY listening, HEARING and UNDERSTANDING what is being said, not just hearing background noise and jumbled up words. The really good listeners are those that listen, understand, and never judge. I'd like to think that the best kinds of friends are these listeners. The one's that you can pour your heart and soul out, and they will understand and not judge. 

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What Coco made me realize was that aside from learning to become a better listener to my family and friends (I tend to be very madaldal and am very defensive of the people I love so I have A LOT to say when someone hurts them) I have to learn to be a better listener to God. 

The Lord always tries to talk to us. He is forever reaching out to be a part of our lives and send us His message of love- all we need to do is listen. Imagine being able to hear Him speak to us? Imagine hearing His message for us??? During the times you feel helpless and scared, betrayed and unloved, God is always trying to tell us that we are not alone. That He is with us, going through our same pain. All we have to do is listen to Him. 

Love every day you are given

I don't know if dogs are like goldfish and their memory gets wiped clean when they go to sleep at night but some say that "Dogs never forget." I think what made Coco so special was that he loved every day he spent on Earth.

If he had a bad Monday (this usually consisted of a shower and a painful 3 hour bilad under the sun in the garden to help lessen his skin allergies) come Tuesday he would act as if Monday never happened. He would act as if Tuesday was the greatest day ever.

This is what I learned: how many "bad Mondays" have we had? How many Terrible Tuesdays, Wicked Wednesdays, Throw-Me-Under-The-Bus Thursdays and Freaking Out Fridays have we experienced? I don't know about you but I'm only human and sometimes if I have a bad Monday, I feel extra terrible come Tuesday. I don't know if it's cause I'm just so emotional sometimes (that time of the month/I have been known to be a drama queen) but when my Monday is bad, I always feel that my whole week will be affected. Can anyone relate?

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What I learned from Coco is that your "Monday," should never affect your "Tuesday." Any bad day should never affect the new day ahead. Why? Because it's already in the past. Sure you had a crappy day, that doesn't mean you will have a crappy tomorrow right? This is how I see it now:

You cannot control what will happen in your day. You cannot control what people will say or how they will act towards you. But you can always control how you react to these things. Instead of reacting negatively on a bad day, act positively! Why? Because you always have an opportunity to turn the day around and look forward to the coming days.

Coco's death was freak accident and was very sudden. He wasn't sick, he wasn't THAT old (he was turning 9 this year..) but he died. He was taken from me, from my family. One of the things that gives me comfort was that I knew Coco treated everyday differently. He was happy and excited for every new day so I knew that even if he may have suffered (for those that don't know, Coco was strangled due to a string that our helper used to tie him up with. For the life of me I will never understand WHY she used a string or WHY she had to tie him in the first place). I am comforted by the fact that Coco died a happy dog. And that's what I will always remember about him.

Do not judge someone based on their past

I am flawed. I am so very, very, VERY flawed. I've made a million mistakes in my life. Too many. I've said things I wished I never said, I hated on someone, I've judged, I've lied... You name it, I may have already done it. I'm not naman saying I'm a terrible person (but for my haters out there they probably feel I am) but I am also not the nicest, sweetest, and most loving person either. This, however, doesn't mean I'm not trying to change, trying to become better. That's what Coco taught me.

Coco came into my life at a time wherein I felt I had no one. Picture this: It was 2004 and in the span of  one whole week, my Dad had announced that he was moving out, he had actually, literally packed up his bags and left, and I had gone to my first year in high school being ostracized by my entire batch and being bullied because I was accused of something that I didn't do. Imagine? All in one week as your FIRST day as a HIGH SCHOOL kid. So you can only imagine how LOW I felt. But Coco always treated me like I was the Queen of the World. The queen of his world.

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That kind of love can really make miracles. That kind of love can really change the way a person sees the world, sees themselves. Coco didn't judge me because of my mistakes, he didn't hate on me or ignore me just because everyone else did. No. He just LOVED ME.

Judging someone based on their past or on what others say they are is like sending them off to death row without even a proper sentencing or court hearing. It's basically just saying, "No, you're guilty, and I don't need proof to change my mind." How unfair is that? Have you ever been treated this way? Have you ever felt that someone judged you before even getting to know you? I know I have. And it sucks. Big time.

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So if you know what it feels like and HOW BAD it affects you, then why do it to someone else? What Coco taught me was that I am flawed, you are flawed, we are all flawed. That doesn't mean we're never going to change. That doesn't mean we aren't worth getting to know.

One of my favorite shows in the world is How I Met Your Mother. I remember in one of the episodes, Robin had a new boyfriend named Kevin, her shrink. I will never forget this line and I carry it with me every time I hear something bad about someone. I think you should remember this too.

Kevin puts it perfectly when he says: "We've all done bad things; It doesn't mean we're bad people." 

Just remember that before you judge someone. There is always two sides and EVERYONE CAN CHANGE and EVERYONE DESERVES A SECOND CHANCE.

Everyone's quirks and flaws is what makes them unique

Coco had six toes on one of his hind paws and very few upper teeth that never really grew. He had a skin allergy that would cause his fur to clump up and create "dandruff." He had all these weird "defects" but we all loved him just as much as someone would love a #1 World Renowned Show Dog of TOP BREED. Why? Because he was worth loving.

Coco loved us with a love that can only be felt by a truly innocent, free from prejudice creature. Dogs have a certain kind of innocence that makes them love even those that humanity considers "unlovable." Just because Coco had these "defects" didn't make us love him any less. They made us love him even more. These little things are what made him COCO. These are the things that made him OUR COCO

My mom would call Coco "Panget" every time she saw him. She would say things like "Hi Panget!" "How are you today Pangs?" and Coco would look at her still with so much love. She didn't say these things to hurt him or make him feel like she didn't love him, no. These were her little cariño words to him because of his special little qualities. We should be able to see the same in people.

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I've had people tell me that my nose was too big for my face, that my body wasn't proportioned, that I wasn't as pretty or as tall as this person, that I wasn't as smart as this person, or that my way of speaking was weird. I've had all these things said to my face and behind my back and you know what I have to say to these people?

"Okay. You say I'm this, you say I'm that. But does that make me unlovable? Do my physical traits, weird mannerisms and goofy personality make me someone unworthy of love?"

We live in a world where beauty and physical appearance is as important as the air you breathe. I'm not saying we're all shallow and superficial, but you do have to admit that sometimes the world just screams at us "If you aint good looking, you aint worth it!" (Yes, the world is a big black grandmother with a bucket of fried chicken Haha) This doesn't mean that we have to act according to what the world tells us everyday. 

Just because someone looks different, talks different, acts different, dresses, smells, shops, dances, sneezes, walks differently from you doesn't make them a freak or a loser. It makes them different from you. It makes them, them and you, you. What would happen if we lived in a world where we were all the same? Where would all the creativity and fun be? NO WHERE.

So get to know before you judge. Always have an open mind and an open heart when meeting new people. Never judge because you never know what kind of a person you could be missing out on. Coco taught me that.

Always appreciate the time you have with someone

You never know when someone or something will be taken away from you. This is why you have to be able to cherish every moment you have. Live every moment to the fullest.

Now that Coco is gone I have so many shoulda-woulda-couldas in my life. I feel so guilty now because at one point I got so busy with my life that I left him behind. I chose to set him aside because I wanted to make room for so many other things. And now look, Coco is gone. Gone for good. Nothing I say, nothing I earn, buy, or do will EVER bring him back to me. And you know how painful that is?

I'm not saying you have to hold on to everything and stop your life from happening or going places. Do whatever it is you want to do, follow your heart, work towards your goals and dreams, but never, ever, EVER forget those that have been with you and loved you from the very beginning. 

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Death is a very painful thing and I believe is one of the most painful things in life right next to REGRET. There is nothing worse than not being able to hear, see, touch and be with a person or a thing that you once spent most of your time with. Whether it be a relative or a pet, a friend or a lover, losing someone because of an accident or a sickness is just too painful. That's why it's really important to cherish every moment you have. 

What I learned and what brings me so much pain is this: NEVER LEAVE BEHIND THOSE THAT LOVE YOU. NEVER. I wish I could spend even just one more hour with Coco to make him feel all the love I have for him. To let him know how sorry I am for leaving him behind. NEVER ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN TO YOU, please. That is my wish for all of you who are reading this- I hope and I pray that you will NEVER have to feel that you never got the chance to make someone or something feel loved because you got so busy with life. Never leave them behind. Just remember Lilo and Stitch- OHANA.


Love with all your heart

This is the last thing I want to share in this lengthy entry. Above all things, LOVE. Love with all your heart till there isn't any more room to love. And then, LOVE SOME MORE. One NEVER loses anything by loving someone else.

Love is something that is unique to all of God's creatures. Love is something that God Himself has given us by sending us Jesus. God loves. And so should you.

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Coco loved us all with all that he was. He treated us like royalty. The royal family of his life. When I would come home from school, Coco would greet me as if I had been gone for years. He would look at me with so much love that his cute, black beady eyes would show my reflection, would show my smile at seeing his face.

I have learned that in the end, the only way you lose is if you never love. If you never choose to love someone. So I say LOVE. LOVE ALL THE WAY.

Love yourself. Love your life. Love your family, friends, pets and even your enemies and those that despise you. Always, above all, love. It may be hard, but you will come to find that in the end, it makes you a better person. It makes you understand even just a little bit, how life works.

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Jesus died for us because He loved us all. People He didn't even know, people He didn't even meet. He loved even those that hurt Him, insulted Him, tortured Him and mocked Him. If He can do that, then we should be inspired to do the same. So love. Love love love.

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That's about it. Thank you again for reading and listening to me. I hope I made sense with all that I said. My heart is still hurting and the tears still keep coming but I know that someday soon I will be able to look back and remember Coco with nothing but laughter and smiles. I just miss him so much and I can't believe he is really gone.

So thank you, Coco, my little Cocie, angle, baby boy and loser- for teaching Mommy so many things about life and herself. Thank you for loving Mommy and making her want to be more of what you thought she was. Thank you for making me feel a love I never knew I could feel from someone as small and as cute as you. Thank you for loving Mommy. She loves you very much and she misses you every day. I love you Coco. You will always be my little angel and NO DOG will ever be able to take your place.

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12 comments

  1. Hi Karla, I know it's difficult to share stories about your private life to us and as your reader I admire your honesty. I can feel you're going through a rough time and still you are able to blog positively. You're really a tough woman. I hope everyone (including myself) can be inspired to see the good in everything.

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    1. Hi there. Thank you so much. I try not to share a lot of my personal life but I feel there are certain things that happen that I need to share. I like being able to write in this blog because to me it really is an outlet and whenever I feel God is speaking to me, I would like to share His message with others too. Thank you for that, I am getting tougher through every fall and I know you will too. All of us can draw strength in tough times if we learn to have Faith and TRUST in Him. Thank you again for your comment.

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  2. Ate Karla, I agree with all the things that you've said. ^ ^ But what makes this entry special for me is the fact that people shouldn't judge someone based on their past. Often times we are hesitant to trust someone because of what they did in the past. I guess it's really hard for us to take the risk and be open-minded to the chances that the person has changed already. But we also have to take note that nobody is perfect, and because of that I think we all deserve second chances.

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    1. Hi Jean. Thank you for reading this entry and thanking you for sharing your thoughts on it. Yes I really think we all need to make a more conscious effort to try and not judge someone based on their past or on what others say. It may be hard at first but with God's help I know we can do it :)

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  3. I've learned a lot from this post which I can however relate. I tend to judge people bec of their past. I see them as an old person (way back from their past) and it seems like I can't move on lol. I can't 100% see the good in them though they really have changed. This helped me a lot. Thank you! :)

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    1. Hi there dear. I'm happy that this entry has helped make you see that it is possible to try and accept someone for who they are now rather than judge them for who they were. I think it's important to really try and be fair and open to meeting new people despite what others may say. I hope you can try this out and be more open to new people. :)

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  4. Hi, I was trying to stop myself from crying but I failed. I've also experienced this but the difference is, it was my rabbit that died. Days after my rabbit died, a little angel was sent to our house. It was a puppy. Now, what I want to share is, people (and pets) doesn't really leave you alone (not in a creepy way). They will always remain in our hearts and they will always be remembered. They've taught us how to become responsible in our own ways. They made us realize the importance of having a good connection with God and with everyone around us. Like what you've stated here, they also taught us how to listen, how to care and most of all how to love. It applies both to human and animals because that's what we do. I know you get what I'm trying to point out. :) Coco is now with God and he's probably playing together with the other animals up there. I'm sure he's still listening to your random rants but I'm sure he wants you to become a stronger person. He may not be physically present, but he'll always be a part of you. I hope you feel better. And who knows, Coco might send you another angel! God bless you. :)

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    1. Hi there dear. Thank you for your kind words! I get teary eyed when you said that Coco might not be with me physically, but he will always be a part of me. I really feel that! I think it's cause it's still so fresh that I give importance to the fact that I can no longer physically hold him and be around him but I know that in time I will be able to move on be happy knowing that Coco is in a much better place (I really don't care if it's true or not but I really do believe in a Doggy Heaven) so I think Coco is there, happily eating a million treats and watching over my family and I. Thank you again, this was so comforting! :)

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    2. I really do think there's Doggy Heaven up there. Or at least an Animal Heaven. :) As much as I love reading your blog, this is just my simple way of comforting you (even though it's through the internet). :) You'll get better in time. :D -@ichapuff

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  5. hi ate Karla. :) I super Love all your entries! it really made sense. just don't mind those FEW HATERS. kase mas marami pa din naman kaming nagmamahal at umiidolo sa'yo. you inspired me big time! hihi. to the point na mas lalo kong iachieve yung pangarap kong maging model when I saw you. so yeah, Thank you for inspiring us. (thousands of people behind you) God Bless! :">

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    1. Hi Joyce! Awww thank you so much. Yes I won't- I no longer think about them or even mind them. I'm just happy that through time they have lessened and lessened because I chose to ignore and just continue living my life as best as I can. :) Awww.. you are so sweet naman! Always remember that you can achieve anything that you set your heart and mind to! And never forget to PRAY! :P

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    2. YES. :)) cause they're just "insecure" mga inggeterang frog. as long as you're happy with what you are doing. and that's good to hear. haha. wala naman kasi silang magandang maidudulot sa'yo. you are really A-W-E-S-O-M-E. :"> yes I am because you are woth it. opo ate Karla, I will. always! :)

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Thanks for reading my entry! I hope you enjoyed it. :)