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Dogs And Determination
Mommy Musings
Cocoa and Pump

I’m still at a loss for words.

I told myself sharing this once, here … in this space … my column, would be plenty. Yet three weeks later, I still have words to share and my heart is still a bit empty.

The dogs are still missing. But I know they’re alive and someone has them.

Now please spare me any more heartache for the next 500 words or so, because I know there are more than a handful who want to tell me I’m wrong and to move on.

After all, they’re not chipped. Well, one is but that sweet Pitbull named Pump took three tries before choosing his forever home. As life goes, his chip is not up to date with his current owner – my boyfriend.

The pint sized blonde, dingo looking dog called Cocoa is the ringleader of the two. She’s a cuddler; well, he is too and well, our laps are pretty empty these days without them.

These are ranch dogs and since we’re in Oakdale, California my hope is a large number of you understand what that means – they don’t leave. Oh sure, I’m not gonna lie for purpose of painting a great story, they wander but never far.

These dogs are smart.

They each showed up out of the clear blue on separate days several years ago and adopted the ranch, my boyfriend and his children. And as all good pets go, in time a large community of people adopted them right back.

Cocoa is known to climb into the lap of company and make herself known rather quickly. Only to be followed by my boyfriend sharing, “I’ve never seen her do that. She must really like you.”

Even I heard these words when we first started dating and yes, it worked.

Oh how I wish I had a dollar for each time I heard him share this with a visitor. In turn it makes them feel special and she feels love – winning.

Early on, I came to learn how much his dogs meant to him. He has more than two and ample space and love to provide them with. He’s never far without a dog or two, they’re lucky animals to have him and he’s just as lucky.

We talk a lot about animals, dogs especially and the impact they have on our lives. The memories they provide us, as well as our children. The unconditional love they give, the tears they catch and the laughs they prompt.

I still recall one time well into our relationship waking with Cocoa by my head, his trusty hunting dog at my feet and Pump on the floor beside us. I asked what he would have done if I wasn’t a dog person?

“Simple,” he replied quickly, “you wouldn’t be here.”

There’s a lot about that piece of my personal life I rarely share in this space. The column title after all is Mommy Musings, here’s the twist – today my kids come home from a six-week stay with their father and in time will learn the dogs are not out at the ranch.

Late last week I spoke to a friend who shared her grandchildren were praying for the safe return of these two dogs. Noting they were each just tore up knowing Cocoa and Pump aren’t there. That gets me in the tear ducts just typing it.

So why share this piece of my life now? I guess because I’m hopeful and hope filled. This experience has taught me so much about friends, family and total strangers all hoping to help us in some way. As much as I’ve enjoyed this rally, it’s time for them to come home where they belong.


Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.