Posted on Thursday, June 6th, 2019 at 6:40 am by LaLonde Jewelers
When I would spend time in Alaska, I came to know of a famous dog named Balto, a Siberian Husky.
Balto was the lead dog in a dog sled team that ran the last hundred miles or so to deliver a much-needed serum to Nome Alaska that saved numerous citizens from certain death from a disease called diphtheria. This happened in 1925. Now Balto became a hero. He was taken around the country, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, and New York city. They even made movies about him. There is a bronze statue in central park honoring him.
I want to tell you a story about another dog, her name was Coco. That is what I called her, but my wife called her Coco Chanel. She was a Malti-Poo.
There was nothing similar about these two dogs. One weighed 85 pounds the other 12 pounds. One slept outside in a dog house with straw. The other in a cozy bed with soft blankets. One got three baths a year with a hose in the dog yard, the other went to the dog spa every four weeks. But both had big hearts, not in actual size, but capacity.
Coco couldn’t lead a dog sled team thru blinding snow and over ice covered Alaskan rivers, but Balto couldn’t sell jewelry.
Coco as a 1 year old in local newspaper article “Jewelry pooch is a gem”
Coco guarded our jewelry store, she sat at the front door in the sunshine, barked at any dog that happened by, and greeted any person who wanted to shop here. She let anyone pick her up and pet her as they looked at jewelry. She made everyone feel welcomed.
Coco seemed to know which clients had money to spend and those who didn’t. She knew what kind of food was in each ladies’ purse. The women would ask why Coco was always putting her nose in their purse and I would tell them "I taught her how to find gold coins!"
We have a system of one doorbell ding was the back door and two dings for the front. Some employees would look up and down and left and right with these dings. I would say "if you can’t figure it out than look at Coco. She knew."
Coco won an award from a national jewelry publication, had several articles in the local newspapers and was in most of the advertising from our store.
Photo from award winning article in national jewelry magazine, Coco was 7 years old.
I started walking with Coco, I thought it would be good for her and I. We walked our first day and then the next day Coco laid down on me. I laid with her in the grass and explained to her that nobody likes a fat dog and if she got fat that she couldn’t come to the jewelry store any more. She looked at me and got up and walked and never laid down on me again. We would walk up to 12 miles and she would never lay down. Walk in rain, never lay down, walk in wind and snow, and never lay down.
Coco sat right next to me as I would tell others of the exploits of the famed Balto. I know when we would walk in a light snow with ice patches on the sidewalks Coco was thinking she was just like Balto, crossing the icy rivers and blinding snow just like Balto. I could see it in her eyes.
Well the time came when that big heart in that small body, pulsating softly, started to fade. She didn’t want that to happen, but she finally laid down on me.
This story was titled Coco vs. Balto, but for my money I think it is a photo finish.
I don’t think there is a space in the whole of Central Park large enough for a monument to our Coco.
Rest in Peace Coco
2008 - 2019
Written by Dan LaLonde, G.G., G.I.A.
Lalonde Jewelers & Gemologists
The Gem Expert