My Guardian, My Angel, My Friend....
I met Cochise "Papa" when I was 10 years old. We lived out in the woods of north Florida down a dirt road that went to nowhere but woods, swamp and river. It was a dumping ground for unwanted dogs, mostly worn out hounds. We always ended up taking in a few or taking the sick ones to be put down at animal control. Cochise showed up one night and he played hide and seek with my mama who at first thought he was a small bear. She eventually gave up on catching him as he was half her size!! She left him some food and water outside of the fence and day by day she brought it closer to the Gate. My step father realized what she was doin and told all of us not to let that dog in the fence we already had a couple of strays. Well wouldnt ya know we were sittin outside one day and the dog was sitting at then gate watching all of us and My step-dad walked over and opened up the gate and said come on in big boy. He strolled in like he belonged there. He wasnt hyper or aggressive at all. I suspect he was a newfoundland mix he was very large with a long shaggy black and white coat. A proud looking and acting creature.
After a while mama noticed him coughing and hacking and he got a very special trip to the vet which we could rarely afford; I think she knew how special he was. The vet gave her the bad news he was eaten up with heart worms and he only had a matter of months to live 6 at the most and we couldn't afford treatments. So she brought him home and went down to the feed store and bought a round of worm er for sheep. She gave this to him every 6 months for 11 years. He never got down or sick he was strong as an ox.
He loved the river, he would ride in the back of the truck standing tall against the cab in front spraying all of us kids with what seemed like and endless supply of slober! If he didnt want to ride he would refuse and walk or run the 2 miles to the river everytime We'd stop and see if he was tired he just run past the truck like it was a game. We had a group of friends growing up and the youngest of them couldn't swim but all of us would swim across the river and leave him on the bank with Cochise and once Cochise saw it was clear with no big kids in the way he would let the boy hold onto his long coat of fur and ever so carefully pull him across the river . When we went back to the other side he would wait till it was clear and pull him back again. He was a pretty amazing dog. He kept snakes away from the house and never let us walk into one if we were walking in the woods. A beast he was very large about 100 lbs and as gentle as a kitten I dint think he had any puppy left in him when we got him. It was rare for him to get riled up or jumpy. I saw him bear his teeth once at a man who was drunk and trying to get his truck backed into our swimming spot so he could he could unload his jet ski. He was slinging dirt revving his truck back and forth never warning us if he was fixing to back over us. Cochise knew bad people a mile away but he never bit anyone.
He was a true alpha male dog i believe he fathered half of the neighborhoods dogs. He fought with the other dogs but never seriously injured any. I had a puppy named Blonco
he was wolf hybrid but he was never an alpha very shy and reserved he only associated with mama and me. Cochise took him under his wing and protected him but never any of the others. Blonco was bigger than him but a sensitive little soul he had. One day when i was about 14 Me and a friend of mine had rode down to the river on the go-cart. I could find the dogs to see if they wanted to go so we just went. We were down there swimming and carrying on like kids do When all of a sudden we saw a dog on the hill what looked like a sharpei pitbull. He charged toward us teeth bared and way behind him was a man running telling us to get in the water. we started to run when we looked back all we saw was a great Big black body followed a by a bigger white body
jump onto the dog just as his front paws hit the water. Cochise had him by the throat and blonco had him by the butt. I never even knew they had followed me. When the man finally got down the hill Blonco took off as he wasnt fond of humans. Cochise had the dog by the throat with his nose in the water I swear he was trying to drown him. The man begged me to get him off of him. I had to talk real sweet and i put my fingers in his mouth he let go. The man put his dog back on a leash and left he apologized a hundred times I told him I was fine i had my guardian Angel with me.
Then the day came I had to return the favor. The river was flooded in 03 and all the woods had turned into swamp perfect for catchin crawdads and cruising through the woods in a canoe. We were paddling along way out in the swamp where it was deep we came around a bend and I saw him tangled up in vines and about 30 ft away on dry land Blonco was whining for his old friend. I didnt even think I just jumped into the black water and swam over to him. I untangled him and helped him over to where blonco was he gave me a little lick a they took off to go home. I got home that night and there he was waiting as always. My friends asked me why I jumped in for that old dog I told em "he would have done the same for me"
I met a boy and got pregnant and moved out when i was 16
Blonco only 6 years old died before my daughter was born. Mama said he grieved hisself to death. It broke my heart but I knew cochise would be fine. He didnt have anyone to look after by then By brother was working and always gone and I was gone too. He was always there at the Gate when I came over waiting for a little pat on the head. He spent his last few years chasing deer and keeping the other dogs in line always protecting what was his. He lived to see both of my children. Towards the end he lost weight and I saw him lose his first fight It broke my heart for him when he was no longer "ALPHA" When I was 21 living in Ga with my husband and kids mama called and said he was gone. I knew it was close to his end and I asked mama where he had died where she buried him. She said she didnt know, He left the same way he came. He just walked off and after he didnt come home for dinner she knew he wouldnt come home anymore.
I miss him everytime i see a dog with his markings thinkin to myself how much of a stud he was. I wish my Kids could have known him better but I think he knew his job was done and we were grown. I remember him sitting on that hill everytime we were swimming , waiting, watching for gators and other dangerous things. I miss you so much my dear old friend I kinda like to think your still watching over me my Guardian Angel....