The Forever Dog

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The Forever Dog is a simple yet affecting tale about a little boy named Mike who makes a Forever Plan with his dog Corky — a promise that the two will always remain together. But Corky’s death prompts anger and feelings of betrayal until Mike’s mom helps him understand how his memories of their lives together will forever live in his heart.

Bill Cochran, the author of this touching and beautifully illustrated book, was inspired to write his story after experiencing the sudden and quite devastating loss of his beloved 2-year-old Golden Retriever girl, Mo. Becoming sick on a Sunday, Mo went to the vet’s office on Monday and was already gone by that Thursday due to leukemia. A gift to Bill on his 26th birthday, Mo was his first dog, so compounding an already tragic, young death.

To say she was a perfect dog would simply be ridiculous revisionist history, but she was indeed “my” dog . It’s entirely cliché, but she was indeed my best friend, despite her need to destroy at least one thing (shoe, book, you name it) every single day. She loved to swim in lakes after sticks, lie on my bed with at least one part of her body touching mine, and strangely, she felt the need to bring one large rock (yes rock) inside every day after taking her walk. My dad thought she was trying to build a small monument and was simply collecting raw materials.

Within a week after Mo passed, I was inspired to write “Forever Plan”. I was on vacation in California and I remember looking out across the ocean on Pacific Coast Highway and clearly still feeling like Mo was somehow still with me. And she always will be. Forever. Indeed, like the character Mike from the book, I did feel warm inside.

It took much perseverance and passion, as Mr. Cochran spent six years tying to sell the story and five more before it finally was published. But, I cannot imagine him being prouder than any other accomplishment in his life.

Nothing in life is as painful, yet nothing is so inevitable, as losing someone you care for. Whether it be a dog, cat, ferret, parrot, friend or other family member. I deeply hope this story can be even just a little help to someone.

In a review of the book, by Joyce Davis of The Fort Collins Coloradoan, it is noted that when Bill visits many schools and signs books at various events he is astounded at the effect that his 32-page story has had. “Adults seem to be hit harder by it and they cry. Sometimes they hand the book back to me when they find out the dog dies.”

But for kids, the story elicits conversation about their own pets. “They especially like the part where Corky sleeps on Mike’s head,” Cochran says. “It’s all about quirky things their own pets do.”

Dr. Bruce Fogle, a veterinarian and member of the United Kingdom’s the Royal College Veterinary Surgeons, said the book is a valuable teaching story. “It is so often through the inevitable fate of our family pets, that kids are first exposed to the confusing realities of the cycle of life,” he said in a review of the book. “He (Cochran) helps parents, just as much as he helps children, to recognize the everlasting nature of loving friendships.”

When reading to children, Cochran says his biggest message is to encourage them to go home and play with their pets and to ask their parents to take pictures of them with their dogs. “I always regret that I don’t have that many photos of Mo and me,” he says.

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