Cahota (“Coatsy”) came into my life when he was 10 months old through a Great Pyrenees rescue I was volunteering with at the time. Initially adopted out at around four months old, his owner returned him to the rescue when she said she had to move and couldn’t take him with her.
Cahota was born with a severe congenital heart defect known as subaortic stenosis with a grave prognosis of living to only two to three years old. I initially fostered Coatsy. I’d take him to adoption events where people would fall all over him due to his sweet nature but when hearing his prognosis, they’d all lose interest. I adopted him shortly thereafter. He’d also end up becoming clinical for epilepsy, having severe allergies as well as hip dysplasia, luxating patellas and hypothyroidism, but every new health challenge reminded me he was still with me.
I decided I wanted him to become a therapy dog. He was so sick, in some ways, but so superficially healthy and perfect. I was inspired by him, and I knew he could inspire others. My dog with the “broken heart” managed to fix mine in so many ways. Once a month, every month, Coatsy would go and visit his friends, bringing them joy.
One day Coatsy got sick. I tried to imagine it wasn’t as serious as it was, and he was hospitalized at the hospital I worked at. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it.
My heart was beyond shattered. He brought so much joy to everyone he met and changed my life in ways there are not words enough to describe. He lived to be seven, my fighter, my “heart” dog in every way imaginable.