Laughing Dog Arts

Monday, June 18, 2012

Thank you all

Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful comments and emails regarding the loss of my Rocky dog.  I really appreciate it.  Please forgive me for not personally responding to all the comments like I usually try to do.  Words are difficult right now but I hope you understand and know how grateful I am for your sympathy.

My friend Karen made me this card and I thought I'd share it with you.  I love this poem, and like to think it is true.

Be well.
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Gift of Rocky

This will be a long post, a tribute to my loyal companion of 14 years.  My Rock.  My friend, my buddy, my sweet boy.

  Fourteen years.  That is the longest I've ever been blessed with a dog.  Rocky was born here to Risa, my sweet little female Pit Bull.

Rocky was the spitting image of his mom, Risa.

  That was the only time I've ever let any of my dogs breed.  There is a long story that goes with that decision but I won't go into that here.  I kept four of the puppies and  the rest went to carefully chosen people.  Rocky always went and hid under the deck when people would come to view the puppies, so of course no one chose him.  I hadn't intended to keep him but he chose me.  What a gift he turned out to be.
Rocky always lived in the shadow of the more buoyant personalities of his mom and siblings but he was the first one to go swimming.  He did love the river.  He was quiet and shy, never one to demand attention. 
One by one the others crossed the Rainbow Bridge until only Rocky was left.

I thought I'd keep it that way for awhile, let Rocky be the center of attention for a change.  He really took to that!  Next thing he knew he is the one getting all the best treats.  He is the one that gets to go on all the car rides.  He is the one all the visitors pet and praise.
Rocky dearly missed his doggy family though.  He would sit in the yard and do the most mournful howling, enough to break my heart, which was already broken because I missed them too.

They used to all howl together,

and beg together.  The Rottweiler was Rocky's auntie Kali.

  No one could resist Rocky's soulful eyes.

 Dogs that couldn't stand to have other dogs around took to Rocky like he was their soul mate.  People who didn't like dogs at all tolerated The Rock and were even seen to pat him on the head occasionally.  He didn't jump on people and wasn't inclined to lick. 
He became a sort of mascot in my creativity group and always accompanied me to meetings, where he'd beg for and receive treats from everyone.  He got a little bit spoiled.
He loved playing with his stuffed animals and going for walks.

Then I noticed him coughing a lot and sometimes when he over exerted himself he'd faint.  That was scary.  When I took him to the vet he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and given at most a year to live.  I swore he'd get two years but he actually got two and a half.  Good years too!  We had to stop our miles long rambles through the woods and be content with shorter walks.  Eventually Sadie and then Tonka joined us, both senior dogs content with short walks.  As Rocky's disease progressed our walks got shorter and shorter until in the end, he could only walk to the driveway and back.  He was still enjoying his meals, and seemed mainly pain free. 
 On Sunday, June 10th, we were all out in the yard, enjoying some mild sun.  Rocky walked over to the water dish and had a nice cool drink.  Then he ambled over and picked up an old bone and settled down to gnaw on it.  A minute later we heard a gasp and I hurried to him where he was laid out on his side, gasping his last breaths.  I crouched there in the grass beside him, hugging and petting and talking to him.  He went quickly and peacefully, not two feet from where his brother went, 3 years earlier, also in my arms.  We buried him in the pet cemetery, next to his brothers, sister, Mom and auntie..  As we finished up, we were serenaded by crows, frogs, chickens, woodpeckers, and this song that I played on the stereo:

Rocky, you will remain always in my heart.  What better words can I say than, "You were a Good Dog, and a blessed gift."

Rocky Brattain
May 24, 1998 - June 10th, 2012

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