Tom Antonino is best known for a touching picture taken in early March by a bystander on a family trip to the beach.
It depicts a man with his pet, an elderly retriever named Cocoa. In her youth, the dog accompanied her owners everywhere, leading an active lifestyle.
But with age, she began to lose strength and energy. And by the age of 16 she stopped walking at all.
The family loved Cocoa very much and wanted to provide her with a dignified old age.
So that the dog can still go out with them in nature, Tom and his wife Lauren made a mobile bed for her.
They put the finished dog bed on wheels and tied a rope to it so that it could be pulled like a sled.
“Cocoa always liked taking long walks with Tom,” Lauren recalls, “and he knew how important it was to her. They once set the record for walking 100 thousand steps down the Virginia Beach boardwalk in just a week!”
When Virginia Beach resident Carrie posted the picture on her Facebook page, she didn’t even know who was in it.
In just a few days, Carrie’s post got almost 29 thousand likes. More than 55 thousand subscribers have posted it on their pages.
And so gradually the photographs taken by Carrie reached Tom’s relative, who told him that he, along with Cocoa, became famous on the network.
Lauren contacted Carrie to break the tragic news: Cocoa left them shortly after this photo was taken.
She sent the girl a photo of the dog, taken in her young years, and asked to add to the post – so that people would know more about her.
“Cocoa has left a deep mark on our hearts. In the last six months of her life, she couldn’t even stand, but we were closer than ever. She could no longer greet people, but she loved when people approached her,” Lauren said.
In her message, the woman thanked Carrie for the attention to their family and their loved one who left them, emphasizing how important it is for Tom and her that Cocoa is remembered as long as possible.