Remembering My Boy Cokie “Roberts”

January 7, 2015 | ChangingCourse.com

If you are a long time subscriber of the Changing Course newsletter than you will no doubt recall this early photo of Cokie and me that appeared in each issue.

We were both a lot younger then!

Cokie was a fixture at the “Work at What You Love” workshop/retreats that I used to hold in the living room of my former home in Montague Massachusetts.

Mostly he just hung out while the participants were busy making plans for how to make a living with a j-o-b.
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Other times he preferred to share the teacher’s chair and actively participate in the discussion.



But I’ll let Cokie tell you in his own way, what he loved most about these gatherings…

He was just a year and half when I took him home from a no-kill shelter. The staff there had named him Pokie.

I suppose it was because whereas every other dog would run at the sight of food, Cokie would take his oh-so-sweet time making his way to his dish.

You’d have to really be a dog lover to watch this next video. With that warning, here’s Cokie NOT rushing to his dish.

In fact he was almost never in a rush. Unless that is, there was a squirrel involved. Then he was, I used to tell him, faster than a greyhound!

I wasn’t crazy about the name “Pokie.” At the same time I also didn’t want to confuse him with an entirely new one. So I settled on Cokie.

Despite being a boy, just for fun I added “Roberts” onto his name in honor of a longtime favorite NPR correspondent, Cokie Roberts.

I must admit I did take adolescent humor in the annual call from the vet’s office reminding me about using best vacuum cleaner for pet hair is the best way to please bring in a stool sample from Cokie Roberts. Although I’ve never shared this with Ms. Roberts, I like to think she’d be amused.

Cokie offered many life lessons – like during our morning “delicious selection of treats” ritual

When I first got Cokie there were no cameras in cell phones. In fact, there were no cell phones!
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I have some earlier photos of him packed away somewhere.

But finding them and then figuring out how to use my new scanner? Well, that’s just more than my brain can handle today.

Instead here are a few favorites from the last 7 years…

Waiting for the vet… It was not his favorite place (understatement) yet I can’t say enough good things about Dr. Diamond and the team at Valley Veterinary.

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He’d much rather be in his bed…

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Preferably dreaming…

Or sledding with the dog sitter (who knew!)

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Or snuggling on the couch…

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I used to always tell Cokie he was “smarter and braver than Lassie.” You decide…

Good Boy! He got it right!

Like any self-bosser, Cokie worked really hard!

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Yet Cokie still found time to hang out with his many friends.

This is him with his girlfriend Megan. (He always liked older women.)

In fact, the minute I said her name, Cokie would immediately cock his head trying to understand… Is she here? Are we going there? Where’s Megan?!

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And waiting at the door with his hiking pal Mercie.

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Cokie even loved cats.

In fact a neighbor’s cat used to rub up against him purring and licking his ears.

Apparently mistaking the cat’s “advances” Cokie tried to have “relations” with her.

When I asked my vet if this was normal behavior in dogs he answered with an emphatic “No.”

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Cokie’s first toy was a monkey.

So after that all toys were known as monkeys. He had a cow monkey, a giraffe monkey, a bear monkey…

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Some years before she passed away my mother admired this porcelain dog she saw in a store in Vermont. So my sister Susan surprised her with it.

Though my mother never got to meet Cokie, the resemblance to my future dog is remarkable – even the same red collar!

My dad recently gave me the statue. At first I couldn’t bear to see it. It was too soon. Today his look-alike sits in my office. In the spring I may put it on his grave.

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Finally, two of my favorite photos: Basking in the sun on the porch at the old house in Montague.

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I guess like his “Mom,” Cokie understood that life is all about taking the long view.

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Thanks for letting me share these thoughts and images of Cokie.

Mostly, thank you for letting me share him with all of you for the past 14 years. You rock.

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