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Man builds mobile bed so 16-year-old dog can enjoy beach trips

Tom 2.jpg
Posted at 12:56 PM, Apr 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-05 20:58:00-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - If you have been on social media the past few months, you may have stumbled across a photo of a man pushing his dog on what appears to be a mobile bed.

The sweet pup's name is Cocoa and the man pushing her is her owner and dad Tom Antonino.

"My wife and I, we came up with a way to, with a mechanics creeper and stuff like that, to take her for walks. We had rope and a bed and we'd bring her out," Antonino said.

At 16 years old, walking became just too much for Cocoa, once an energetic Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

However, the handcrafted mobile bed still allowed her to do her favorite things like go to the dog park, sit by the ocean and watch sunsets at Rudee Inlet.

Tom and his family, along with Cocoa, live in Georgia but spend a lot of time in Virginia Beach. During a recent trip, the duo was walking along the boardwalk at the Oceanfront when a woman stopped to talk to them.

Tom said she was kind and impressed with Cocoa's transportation. She asked to take a picture and post it online. Soon the shares on Facebook exploded, and unbeknownst to a Facebook-less Tom, the photo went viral.

"I found out from my brother-in-law. He said, 'Is this you?' and then other people asked, 'Is this you?' and I'm like yeah, that's Cocoa. That's Cocoa and I going for a walk," he said with a laugh.

However as all good things come to an end, so did Cocoa's walks. She died recently, but not before making a lasting impact on so many.

"It hit a chord with people that the bond we have with our dogs and our pets - it's strong," he said.

This story originally reported by Erin Miller on WTKR.com.