Coco is my Present

Finally – 78 days after Steve was robbed of his life and our doghter Coco was severely wounded, she was returned to me from her lengthy and successful medical treatment. I am beyond grateful to her doctors, nurses, and carers who have given her so much love, excellent expertise and amazing healing. Unfortunately I cannot mention their names here, but you know who you are. I bow to you in deep appreciation.

The night of her return, Coco and I slept for 14 hours. Yes, in my bed. It felt soooo good! A deep tension in my heart dissolved. When I woke up, I felt more rested than I had in a long, long time.


Then yesterday, we went to the trail where the unbearable happened. Generous photographer Joe, who donated a memorial plaque (see below) wanted to install it at the place that has become Steve’s “altar”. So many people have visited, brought gifts, poems and sacred objects, meditated there, and held ceremonies for Steve. Thank you.

I was very concerned to bring Coco there, not knowing if she would smell things, remember what happened, and get totally traumatized. But she just stood still, looked at the altar for a moment, and then ran off happily down the trail, motioning for me to join her on a walk.


Without being able to speak to her in human language, I cannot ever be certain if she remembers what happened there, but what I know for sure is that she was fully present in the here-now yesterday.

She was running, ears flying in the wind, sniffing everything, jumping, rolling over, turning around, racing up and down the same trail where her beloved human Steve so tragically died. She was one happy Wonderdog!


As for me – seeing Coco like that, my heart cracked wide open, and with big hot tears running down my face, I howled loudly into the hills, the trees and the ground as I followed her.

The beauty – and the relief – of being present to what is cannot be described.

48 hours have passed since our reunion, and Coco has been able to lighten my heart with her presence, her joie de vivre and her strong,  healing spirit. I love her so much. She is definitely my present!

And if you, dear Reader, live in or near Marin County and are moved to take Coco for a walk, please let me know. She is a delight to be with and loves new friends! Due to my upcoming 7 weeks of radiation treatment (with oral chemotherapy, yuck) I won’t be able to take her for long walks. She loves running freely but cannot rough-house with other dogs, because she is still healing from recent surgery.

In the meantime, I send you my love. May you enjoy the spirit of this season in the company of those who you love and cherish.



One day before too long I hope that the plaque will be set in a rock column, if Marin County permits.


81 replies
    • Le'ema Kathleen Graham
      Le'ema Kathleen Graham says:

      So precious makes my hear sing with joy! Was wishing this reunion of Coco with her goddess you! So happy it came at such a good time!!!
      A very cool Yule got you both!
      And also so glad for the howling release and a lighter heart for you dearest Lokita!
      And my son and I would love to take Coco for a romp for you anytime just let me know when needed. 426- 303-XXXX
      Happy holy healing love peace and harmony!

      • Lokita Carter
        Lokita Carter says:

        Hello Le’ema, that would be sweet. I will email you shortly. I am based in San Rafael now, and you?

  1. Anjali Alban
    Anjali Alban says:

    Dear Lokita:
    I read each of your blog posts and marvel at your clarity and courage. I mourned the loss of your Steve and send you prayers everyday. You are my beacon. My beloved Irish Setter, Dusty, was diagnosed with late stage sarcoma last Friday December 19th and by Monday December 21st he chose to leave this plane. I walk through our home lost in my sadness and deeply yearning to touch his silky fur and look into his eyes one more time. I would love to walk with Coco on the trails. I am attending a day long retreat at Spirit Rock on Saturday and am in Marin quite often. Please call me to connect at 415-505-XXXX. With love and namaste, Anjali Alban

    • Lokita Carter
      Lokita Carter says:

      Dear Anjali, sorry to hear about your beautiful Dusty. I send you love and healing thoughts. I will email you to see what’s possible for you and Coco to meet and go for a walk. Much love to you.

  2. Jyoti
    Jyoti says:

    This post melted my heart. Such healing power in our four-legged beloveds. I am so happy you have Coco back with you to support you in your healing.

  3. Margi Wainio
    Margi Wainio says:

    Hi Lokita–

    Hallelujah–Coco is at home with you! Now you can take your time healing together. You, all of us, are so blessed that she survived–she is a bridge to Steve–she is a wonder!

    I am still burning her candle, and yours and Steve’s. All my blessings for a peaceful holiday time, WonderWoman!

    Margi Ladywolf

  4. Karin
    Karin says:

    What a blessing to have her back with you! I am so moved by your experience taking her on the trail.
    Let the coming weeks be smooth and may continued love and joy of Coco be at your side. Love u, doc karin

  5. Courtney Schindelar
    Courtney Schindelar says:


    This post melted my heart on so many different levels. I am so happy that you have your girl back home with you. Please contact me, I would love to take Coco out for a walk. Blessings for a beautiful, loved filled holiday.

  6. Samvada
    Samvada says:

    Beautiful Coco and her healing presence, so happy you are reunited. Would love to take her for a walk sometime in the future. Maybe in the New Year I will make it up North and visit. Lots and lots of love to you and Coco, she looks so happy in these pictures.

  7. barbara carroll
    barbara carroll says:

    My partner and are dog lovers and it would be an honor for us to take Coco for walks. We live in Marin and are traveling until mid January and will reach out when we return.
    Blessings, Barbara and Jonathan

  8. Deja
    Deja says:

    As always Lokita, your share touches my heart, brings tears to my eyes, and makes me so happy because you are so amazing in your ability to articulate what you’re experiencing. I am so happy you and Coco are back together and you are experiencing some relief. A dogs love is very healing. I have been thinking how hard Christmas might be for you and I’m sure Cocos presence will help to make it a little brighter. Please know you are very much in our hearts and prayers everyday. Love and Blessings. Deja

  9. Corinna
    Corinna says:

    Oh Lokita! That makes me so happy to hear this!
    Tears were streaming down my cheeks! So touching! Our animals are our healers – they are true gifts from God!
    I was so waiting and hoping for her return to you, because I just knew it would help you so much, to heal your broken heart and spirit!
    Thank god Coco made it through! Her spirit is resilient – as is yours! Together you can do it!
    Hugs and lots of love to both of you!

  10. Leslie Harlib
    Leslie Harlib says:

    Dearest Lokita i would love to take Coco for a walk. Dog energy is among the most healing there is and your incredible words as you have shared this life-altering process, have been comforting to me all along. And now particularly, as I just lost my son, two days ago and am deep int he midst of my own tsunamis of grief. That splendid dog energy, and Steve’s spirit on the trail, would be a wonderful tonic for me…Call me or email me and let me know what times work best for you for me to take her out….Sending you much love and light, Leslie

    • Lokita Carter
      Lokita Carter says:

      Oh Leslie, I send you my love and hugs. Sorry to hear about the loss of your son. I will email you re taking Coco for walkies. She is a super Wonderdog with great healing qualities.

  11. Rani Herman
    Rani Herman says:

    So glad for you and Coco to be reunited and for her healing and strong spirit! Very touching to read your share and know you are back together!! I’ll be in Fairfax in a few days for a week or more and would love to take her for a long walk! I miss hiking in Marin. Please email me or message me to be in touch to coordinate. Sending love and aloha from my last day here in Hawaii🐬 Rani

  12. Dagmar Bohlmann
    Dagmar Bohlmann says:

    Re-JOY-ce! Your description is so vivid I feel like I am on that hiking path with you. Miracles do happen, Lokita. And I trust that your complete healing is one of them.

  13. Lorn
    Lorn says:

    Absolutely beautiful Lokita so glad that you two had this time to share and feel the love from a man that touched so many our beloved Steve.
    Sending love to you and Coco.

  14. Kristin Morrison
    Kristin Morrison says:

    Hello Lokita,

    So happy that your dear Coco is now with you. I have been following your journey on this blog and, though I haven’t commented until now, you’ve been strong on my mind and heart. I wrap you in my prayers a lot.

    Regarding needing a dog walker, I live in Marin and I’d be happy to help you. I owned a dog walking business for many years before selling it a couple years ago. So, I know a bit about walking dogs. 🙂

    Please feel free to email at if you’d like some help.


  15. Christina de Jongh
    Christina de Jongh says:

    Tears of Joy!!! Thank God for Coco!!!!!!!!!! Love love love… may you two enjoy enjoy enjoy each other for a long time!!! love you….

  16. Kim Stanley
    Kim Stanley says:

    Dearest Lokita and your healing four-legged spirit guide Coco ,
    Reading this post this morning has brought me so much joy and tears that you are reunited with Coco, who is like a bridge for you to Steve, as well as a healing force that is so much-needed in your life right now . You are so brave to go back to where Steve’s life was taken, to just complete that part of the healing and to reunite Coco with a safe future of being a dog again and running and playing . After New Year’s eve I will be coming to Fairfax over that weekend and would love to take Coco for a walk ! Let me know how to best contact you!
    Love prevails… Coco has lived on to bring you strength and your healing I am convinced !

    • Lokita Carter
      Lokita Carter says:

      Der Kim, thanks for you loving comment. Coco is indeed very precious. I will be in touch via email. Where are you based? I live in San Rafael nowadays.

    • Lokita Carter
      Lokita Carter says:

      Hi Catriona, thanks for offering. Where are you based? On your website I see a beautiful photo of you and two black doggies. Are they yours? I am asking because Coco must not play rough with other doggies for a couple of months. Perhaps we can communicate via email? Love, Lokita

  17. Melantha
    Melantha says:

    Through tears of sweet joy and deep sadness I feel so honored to share in your precious and enlightening insights. Thank you Lokita. With love and continuous healing blessings to you and Coco. I am so happy you have your dear Coco by your side.❤️

  18. Jan
    Jan says:

    Grateful for life. Grateful for hearts opening and re-opening over and over. Grateful for tears that wash, ocean salty brine, amniotic linked fluid. Blessings to all, blessings to the four-leggeds with wagging tails who remind us a simplicity of now, of love, of joy and play. And love to you Lokita, on your journey, in your healing. From a sister who has never met you and who knows you and we are one.

  19. paula
    paula says:

    So beautiful, Lokita. Thank you for sharing your reunion with Coco. I am so happy he is healed, and wish and pray for the same for you. Sending love for continued healing.

  20. Mark Zila
    Mark Zila says:

    Lokita what a beautiful post. I am so happy Coco is back with you. I would love to take Coco for walks. I had to put my dog Chiquita down in September. Email or call me and I can take her. or (760)920-XXXX Love to you and Coco. Yes what a fantastic gift she is.

    • Lokita Carter
      Lokita Carter says:

      Hi Mark, thanks, I will be in touch shortly. Sorry to hear about Chiquita. It is so difficult to loose a loved one. Hugs and love to you.

  21. ane takaha
    ane takaha says:

    Beautiful. It’s true, dogs are such teachers and healers. They live in the NOW with a wide open heart. The plaque and altar are truly wonderful. Blessings to you dear Lokita.

  22. Virgine
    Virgine says:

    So happy to hear the news! Would love to take Coco on our hikes sometime! You can reach me at 415.718.XXXX ❤️ We live in Mill valley

  23. linda zimmerman
    linda zimmerman says:

    Coco must be your Christmas miracle; I am so happy for her return to you and the “Comfort and Joy” she is and will continue giving you. She is so beautiful with soulful eyes.
    Thank you for your Christmas message
    LOVE , HEALING and PEACE to you…

  24. Jason Weston
    Jason Weston says:

    So glad Coco is back with you… She’s such a sweet pup, I remember her well from our visits on Oat Hill Road.

    Sending much love to you Lokita…

  25. Jeannine Grizzard
    Jeannine Grizzard says:

    Dearest Lokita,

    Jim and I lit candles for you and Steve at a remembrance ceremony held during a Christmas eve gathering last night. Not that we needed to light a candle to think of you—we do that every single day. Thank you for your posts and so great to have Coco back in her Mummy’s arms.

  26. Lyndsey Madden
    Lyndsey Madden says:

    Merry Christmas dear Lokita, and sweet Coco. You are a gift to your students and readers. Thank you for letting us into your heart.

    Much love,

  27. cypress
    cypress says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this!!! Tho I have never met any of you, this has touched me! And the wonderful reunion brought tears of joy to me! So happy for you! Sending blessings, love and light… May you heal and prosper!!!

  28. Lauri
    Lauri says:

    Such a beautiful post, Lokita! I am so glad your brave doggy is home for Christmas…. you have done so much good by sharing your story. Blessings to you and Coco!

  29. Laurent
    Laurent says:

    This is beautiful Lokita. I’m glad you got Coco back and that she makes you happy.
    We’re thinking of you. Beaucoup de bisous.

  30. Ian Holland
    Ian Holland says:

    I didn’t expect to read about such transformation, and so this touches me even more deeply. I’ve been emotionally connected to your process and journey all along.

    I finally walked this trail just a couple of weeks ago, and spent a long while just sitting at the alter, making my own peace and offering my own love to this unthinkable event and to all the sentient beings involved.

    I’m in San Rafael, often in Fairfax, and offer my time for anything you need. I would be honored to serve you by helping to walk Coco. Your words, every step of the way, have greatly inspired me, to not only continue to walk a path of love, but also to be fiercely authentic in expressing what is real for me, regardless of what is expected by anyone else. You’ve already turned your personal loss into a vessel for healing, transformation and absolutely beautiful inspiration for all who tune in. And Coco is just pure Buddha nature. What a teacher for us all!

  31. Wendy Wenzel
    Wendy Wenzel says:

    Merry Xmas Lokita! What a wonderful way to end the year and to be able to have Coco there to support you in your upcoming treatments. Tim and I would love to walk Coco and visit the trail. We can come as early as next week or in January whatever works best for you.. Please FB message me🌷 xoxo

  32. Diana owens
    Diana owens says:

    . Dear sweet Lokita thank you for your wonder filled Christmas note of hope and life. I send you gratitude and support as you reclaim your life and your health. I am with you now and always. You are such a teacher and an inspiration to all of us. love you so much. Diana

  33. Barb
    Barb says:

    Lokita – you truly are an inspiration. My partner David and I took several classes from you and Steve and your teachings and spirit made such a difference in our lives. As I have followed your story I have so often been moved to tears because of the depth of what you have been willing to share of your struggle and the lessons you are learning. You continue to teach just through being who you are each and every day! I am grateful Coco is back with you and I will continue to send prayers to you from Iowa.

  34. Sue Tobias
    Sue Tobias says:

    Hurray for Coco – what a blessing! And hurray for her Veterinarian/Nursing team! Veterinary behaviorists think that a dog’s memory is short, so hopefully she doesn’t remember anything from that traumatic day. I wish I lived close to you so I could walk and play with Coco!

    I love you, Lokita,

  35. Dilly
    Dilly says:

    Thank you chere Lokita for sharing Coco’s pictures . We can feel the joy he is bringing to your life. Bless him. Sending you a big hug from the Algarve/Portugal

  36. Karuna Gutowski
    Karuna Gutowski says:

    Lokita dearest, I am so happy that Coco is now with you. May her presence be healing and help you through this next round of treatment. So much love and gratitude to you for sharing this very courageous journey you are on. My heart is with you, Love, Karuna

  37. Rajyo
    Rajyo says:

    Dear Darling Lokita, your courage, strength and wisdom shine through your writing. I am soon grateful that Coco is back with you to help you heal, and show you how to love and let go even more fully into the present moment. When I am back from my travels I will walk Coco.. and in the meantime, all the best with your chemo…not fun, but you will get through it

  38. Margi Wainio
    Margi Wainio says:

    Hi Lokita,

    I have been tracking Coco’s healing process all along since The event, as I consider her to be the greatest miracle gift in your life since Steve left the planet. As brutally as she was attacked, we know that her survival defies all logic.. Obviously, you needed for her to make it in order for you to survive yourself–she is the embodiment of your’s and steve’s loving relationship. Ladywolf, my 90% Alaskan Grey Timberwolf who left her body about five years ago, has told me that Cocoa almost did NOT make it, but knew that she absolutely had to survive in order to show you that you could too. Like Ladywolf, Cocoa is a cross-species being, and I find myself able to talk to her through Ladywolf. Right now she is telling me that she is a strong and powerful healer too, but that that she is tired now, just as you are–and that you both need to surrender a little of your personal power just for now and just rest together in tender time until your natural energy is restored to you!

    Ladywolf and I bid you and Coco adieu for tonight with a hearty a-a-a-a-a-r-r-r-r-r-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!!

    Margi Ladywolf

  39. Jonathan Warner
    Jonathan Warner says:

    Dear Lokita:

    We’ve never met, but I have heard your story through mutual friends, the media, and that very altar which I saw on the trail during one of my own walks. I live in West Marin, grew up with dogs and care for others’ dogs. I’d be overjoyed to take Coco with me on any of my regular hour-long journeys in the woods. It seems like you have many offers, but please contact me if you’d like that.

    All the Best,


  40. Sienna Smith
    Sienna Smith says:

    Wow Lokita, I am taking in your beautiful words and experience. Dog ears flying in the wind ~**~ I can hardly believe all that has transpired for you in the last almost 3 months. Life can change so fast like a blink of an eye… and yet I know that LOVE last forever. I am touched by your raw beauty and stripped down presence. Such a vulnerable and powerful place to stand. Thank you so very much for sharing your journey with us. My kids and I would love to take Coco anytime. You have my number.


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