azdogmama updated April 12, 2017



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  • Cabo

    We had to let our beloved little Red Bear, Cabo, go to the Bridge on February 12, 2017 to relieve him of his pain.  To say we miss him terribly is a gross understatement.  This is his story, as written by Cabo's dad, Steve.


    Me and My Little Red Bear

    By Steven Aquilino


    He was a mess the first time I saw him. I mean a real mess. His fur was a dirty red color and all matted. He had obviously never been groomed or taken care of. Somewhere under there was a Chow mixed dog that had never really been loved.


    My wife has worked with rescue groups for years and one day about 6 and a half years ago she sent me an email of a dog that desperately needed to be rescued. He was abandoned in a foreclosure a month earlier and the bank was about to take the house. The owners had just left him there in the middle of the Arizona summer. Now, if he didn't get rescued right away, he was going to the pound. That would have surely been a death sentence for him. He was terrified of people and not socialized at all.


    Something about the pictures of him connected with me that day so I offered to see if I could help with his rescue. He looked so sad and alone. I felt though, as if there was so much more to him. He was like me, a bit of a mess but lots of potential. When I arrived, a bunch of good Samaritans were there trying to wrangle my Little Red Bear up and get him in a kennel. A really nice family had offered to foster him until a home could be found. It took all of us about an hour to get him into that kennel. He was so scared and kept running all over the yard. Finally, after many attempts, he was coaxed into the kennel and put into an SUV, headed for a new life.


    Over the next few months we visited him at his foster home and began feeling that he might be a good fit for our family. He was very shy and didn't know anything about being a dog. He had never worn a collar or leash, never been on a walk, and never been for a ride in the car. This was all new to him. He was learning how to have fun and be around new people and other dogs. The one big obstacle we had with adopting him was our current dog, Max (Maximus). He was not dog friendly at all. It took several visits just to get the two dogs in the same area of the yard without Max going nut. If we wanted to make that red dog part of the family, it was going to take a lot of work.


    After many visits and lots of patience, he finally came to live with us. It was December 3rd, 2010. He needed a birthday, so December 3rd it was! He also needed a name. The previous owners called him Cujo after that rabid dog in the Stephen King Book. We thought that was so wrong to call him that. He was a scared gentle soul, nothing like the dog in the book. After a lot of thinking, we decided on Cabo. That was our favorite stop on our honeymoon. It was a perfect fit!


    The first few weeks at the house was very stressful. We kept the dogs separated by baby gates and monitored them all the time. It took a while but they finally got to the point where they could be in the same room and get along somewhat. Max was very scary to Cabo. He didn't really know how to handle his new brother and Max wasn't really fond of him. It made for some very tense times.


    That would pass as the years went by. My Little Red Bear, Cabo, would learn to be a real dog. He would learn to love going for walks, riding in the car, and enjoying snacks. He loved snacks! He would travel to his Grandparent's house in California and enjoy laying in the sun in their backyard. He would get lots of love from his Grandma in Arizona as well. She adores the boys! He would know love unconditional from us.


    Cabo was never the perfect dog. He was cranky sometimes. Didn't like to listen or come when called. He liked to do things his own way. He was his own dog. I guess he got that from being on his own and not getting any real love for his first five years. While it drove me nuts sometimes, I really loved that about him. He's always been such a good boy. I always said that he was hollow inside except for his great big heart.


    We had some scares through the years, he had a couple of cancerous spots that needed to be removed but he recovered. He was one tough dog. Rough around the edges, like me. I honestly thought he would be around for many years to come.


    Then came 2015. Things started to change for the boys that year. Max became very ill. We almost lost him a few times. He was diagnosed with an immune disease that was killing off his red blood cells. It took 2 transfusions and months of treatment before he started getting better. He has been on medications now for almost 2 years as of this writing and still hasn't beat this thing.


    While that was going on Cabo, my Little Red Bear, was showing signs of age. He was having a lot of cognitive problems and showing signs of stiffness. Then it happened. In March of 2016 Cabo started having problems walking. He had severe arthritis in all of his joints. We tried everything. All kinds of medications and injections. Nothing seemed to work. Then one day his front legs went out. He was barely able to walk.


    I was so shocked by this. “He's only 10” I thought to myself and said to my wife, Trish. He is way too young for this. The horrible feeling of losing him was starting to become a reality. He had been with us just over 5 years at the time and it didn't seem anywhere near long enough.


    After seeing neurologist and many tests, Cabo was diagnosed with Discospondylitis. He had an infection in his spine that later turned into a bulging disc. Again, we tried everything. Multiple medications, acupuncture, laser, therapy, you name it. He saw multiple vets and specialists. There was really nothing anyone could do but make him comfortable. But, he is not comfortable anymore. He is in pain and having a really hard time. The dog that loved to go for walks and car rides with his head hanging out the window was slowing down. The strong dog that I knew was slipping away before my eyes.


    That brings us to now. A point in my life where I will soon need to say goodbye to my Little Red Bear, my Cabo. We are so lucky that he made it through his 11th birthday and the holidays with us. When New Year’s came, I knew it would probably be his last one. I gave him a squeeze and wished him a Happy New Year knowing what was coming. The hardest part for me is that he still smiles and he is still Cabo, my Little Red Bear. There is nothing that tells me that today is the day. That he can't do it anymore. I feel like if I make the wrong decision, and let him go before his time, that I will regret it for the rest of my life. I look at him and I know that his time will be soon. I just have to have the courage to do this for him. I have to be there for him in his biggest time of need as he has been there all during mine.


    You see, Cabo is my soul dog, my heart dog. For some reason I feel that he is a part of me and I am a part of him. Losing him is like losing part of myself. I will miss the way he pawed at us for attention, his crazy heavy breathing, the every once and a while doggie kiss he would give me, the excitement on his face when it was time for walk or car ride. I will miss it all.


    Thank you Cabo, my Little Red Bear.

    You will always be such a good boy! We love you!

    Cabo Aquilino 2005 to 2-12-2017 (Rest in Peace, My Little Red Bear)




    Pet Memorial Details

    • Pets Date of Birth December 3, 2005
    • Date of Passing February 12, 2017
    • Favorite Toy Treats!!!

    Pet Memorial Album (51 photos)

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  • stevecam1
    stevecam1 As we approach one year of you being gone, my boy, we miss you as much as ever. As your mama said, it has not been easy. Maxie has had a lot of problems so it has been tough to keep him healthy and feeling well. I hope that you are staying close by and...  more
    January 29 - 1 likes this
  • azdogmama
    azdogmama Cabo Doodle - I just added the photo I took of your paws that popped up on my Facebook timeline. It is so very close to a year since you became our Cabo Angel. I was dreading it, the anniversary, because it is SO sad; but I am trying to look at it from t...  more
    February 7 - 1 likes this
  • azdogmama
    azdogmama It's a year today, officially, sweet Cabo. It seems like yesterday. Hard to pull together feelings that are still really raw and painful on such a day. I love Edna St. Vincent Millay. She had some words that really ring true today. "Time does no...  more
    February 12 - 1 likes this
  • stevecam1
    stevecam1 My sweet Cabo. My Little Red Bear. I should be happy with some things I have accomplished lately but today, I am very sad. We remember you and miss you so much today, one year since you passed. I remember your smile, your fur, your giant heart, the wa...  more
    February 12 - 1 likes this