Tom Antonino and his wife created a mobile bed to transport their ailing 16-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever, named Cocoa, around their favorite vacation spot at Virginia Beach
Tom & Cocoa
Credit: Courtesy Carrie Copenhaver

A dog owner found an innovative way to transport his 16-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever around Virginia Beach, Virginia, for the canine's final months of life.

Tom Antonino, who lives in Georgia, frequently visited Virginia Beach with his wife and their dog Cocoa for years. But at 16 years old, the once-energetic pup struggled to walk a short distance, making the trips harder to pull off for the family of three.

Antonino, determined to help Cocoa live a relatively normal life in her final days, created a home-crafted mobile bed that allowed him and his wife to transport Cocoa around their favorite retreat.

"My wife and I, we came up with a way, 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," he told local news station WTKR.

After the couple completed the mobile bed, they brought Cocoa out to the Virginia Beach boardwalk to watch the sunset. There, a woman stopped the pair and took a photograph of them, which she posted on social media.

Tom & Cocoa
Credit: Courtesy Carrie Copenhaver

But Antonino — who is not on Facebook — was completely unaware that, as time went on, the boardwalk 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 told WTKR.

Antonino's sweet gesture for Cocoa was one of the canine's final adventures: she died a few months ago. But, as Antonino told WTKR, his special bond with his beloved pup will live on forever.

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