This is the love story as told to me by Jericho Mannino, mom of Domori, the Chocolate Lab – Boxer Mix aka, Boxadore or Loxer from Baroda, Michigan.
Tell me about the first time you met Domori, when and where was it?
The week before Valentine’s day 2008, my husband had been telling me he had a gift for me, but I could not have it until Friday, and I had to come home on time from work. He had left a little sticky note around the house that just said “Domori” on it earlier in the week. I knew Domori was fine Italian chocolate, but I had no clue what this was supposed to mean for me. When I came home (late, mind you) there was my husband laying on the floor with this little, tiny chocolate puppy and this tiny little rope toy. It was love at first sight! And I will always remember and refer to this as the best boxer of Valentine chocolate I ever got!
Thinking back, how would you describe Domori’s personality as a puppy? And as an adult?
As a puppy, Domori was very curious, she would do the normal puppy things, get into trouble, and find places to hide. I remember one time she hid under the couch because the footrest was up. I didn’t know she had snuck in there and I had closed the footrest. She was ok, no harm done, but it terrified me! As an adolescent, she would terrify people because of her size and her bark. However, her bark and size were no match for her tongue or love. She would lick you to death before she would ever do any harm to anyone. I was even able to teach her how to take a marshmallow from my mouth, think Lady and the Tramp only with a mini marshmallow! As an adult, she was the majestic dog that we always thought she would be. She was so protective of me and would watch over me anytime my husband wasn’t around. She would sit up in bed and watch out the bedroom door into the rest of the house, just to make sure nothing was coming. There never was, but if there ever was, I knew she would have protected me. Even though she was 75 pounds, she was still a lap dog and would love to cuddle.
And now how would Domori describe your personality, Jericho?
I think Domori would describe me as caring and loving. Even though I do not have any two-legged children, my four-legged fur babies are my children. I believe she would describe me as someone with a big heart, a kind smile, and a very sympathetic soul, never wanting to see any animal hurting or in pain.
What did you learn from Domori?
I learned how to lay in the sun, love the ones who love me, be protective of those who need it, and never turn away a good meal.
What are the top three things you always want to remember about Domori?
1. Her eyes
2. Her love
3. The way being with her made me smile. We put Domori through basic obedience training when she was two years old. There was this one part of the training where she had to learn to not go after certain items that would be of a desire to her. Domori LOVED balls, especially tennis balls and our trainer knew this about her. On this day, the obstacle course was to leave all things dogs love, treats, food, toys, and of course, tennis balls. When they were setting up the course, a big pile (ok, it was probably only 6) of tennis balls were placed. Domori immediately began to lunge and whine for the balls. Our trainer looked right at Domori and said, “I know, you have to wait your turn, Domori.” Everyone in the class went first, she got to see other dogs succeed in the course, get treats, play with toys, and of course, play with HER tennis balls. There she sat, waiting patiently for her turn. When her turn came (last) she did excellently and left everything alone. Then, it was her turn to “go get it” as her reward for doing so good. I’ve never seen a dog happier to jump onto the pile of tennis balls, watch them go flying everywhere, and then try to get all of them at the same time. It is the moment that still makes me smile and cry when I think about her.
When did Domori earn her wings?
October 20, 2017
When did you join Paws?
I think it was October 21, 2017
Do you remember how you found Paws?
I believe Pam invited me after I had made my obituary post about Domori.
What has or is helping you get to the other side of grief? What advice would you share with someone who recently started grieving?
I don’t really know what has helped me get to the other side. It’s been 3 years since Domori earned her wings and I still think about her almost every day. I miss her terribly. Getting another dog whose human I am, has helped with the loneliness of not having Domori here, but it’s still not a replacement (even though I’m sure Domori sent this little lovebug to me). The best advice I can give anyone about how to get through the grief is to not listen to people who try to tell you how to “get over it.” Grieve at your own pace and in your own way. Your way is not wrong, and neither is theirs, it’s what each person needs to do to get through it.
Where are you now in your grief?
I am able to live with it but am not “over it.”
Using your spiritual and intuitive mind, if I could get a message to Domori from you, what would you want to say? What would you want to let Domori know?
I love you; I miss you, and I still think about you every day. I hope I was a good dog-mom to you, and you know that if love could have cured you, you would have lived forever.
And if I could get a message to you from Domori what would you like to hear from her?
Mom, you did everything you could, and I love you too.
Is there anything else you would like to share with your Paws Pack about Domori?
Domori had so many nicknames, but my favorite was Heffahumper! When she would run, she sounded like a horse galloping. She had to have TPLO (The canine equivalent of human ACL) surgery on both of her knees. After her last cancer surgery, I promised her I wouldn’t put her through that again. Little did I know I would only get 3 more months with her. They were the saddest and happiest three months of my life.