Laughing Dog Arts

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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sonja said...

i am so sorry to hear of your goodby to Rocky. he lived well and now will trot in the memory pasture of your heart always.
be well, sonja

Robin said...

Oh Jan. I am crying HUGE tears for you and for Rocky. He sounds incredibly special. What a beautiful tribute this post is to him! You both were so lucky to have each other and loved each other well! You will be in each other's hearts forever.

Heloise said...

So sorry to read about Rocky, it is very hard losing a dog that has been so much a part of one's life.

Glenn Stenson said...

I'm Still Here
Friend, please don't mourn for me
I'm still here, though you don't see.
I'm right by your side each night and day
and within your heart I long to stay.

My body is gone but I'm always near.
I'm everything you feel, see or hear.
My spirit is free, but I'll never depart
as long as you keep me alive in your heart.

I'll never wander out of your sight-
I'm the brightest star on a summer night.
I'll never be beyond your reach-
I'm the warm moist sand when you're at the beach.

I'm the colorful leaves when fall comes around
and the pure white snow that blankets the ground.
I'm the beautiful flowers of which you're so fond,
The clear cool water in a quiet pond.

I'm the first bright blossom you'll see in the spring,
The first warm raindrop that April will bring.
I'm the first ray of light when the sun starts to shine,
and you'll see that the face in the moon is mine.

When you start thinking there's no one to love you,
you can talk to me through the Lord above you.
I'll whisper my answer through the leaves on the trees,
and you'll feel my presence in the soft summer breeze.

I'm the hot salty tears that flow when you weep
and the beautiful dreams that come while you sleep.
I'm the smile you see on a baby's face.
Just look for me, friend, I'm everyplace!
Author Unknown

Steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve said...

Rocky and his family loved to listen to the crows talk during their walks with mom. As we hoped Jan held Rocky as I was able to watch a crow take a break from raising family in the forest and fly toward Rocky, land in the top of the tree nearby. Upon landing they whooped it up with some crow talk then flew off to the sunrise side of the tree. The Rocks struggles lasted only as long as it took the crow to lift from the forest nearby, fly toward us and land at the top of the tree.Jan received the following link this morning, please copy and paste in your browser and take a short read :

Maggi said...

Oh Jan.

Janet Ghio said...

Oh Jan--I am so sad for you. We love our dogs so much and they are so much a part of our family. Rocky was lucky to have such a wonderful home with you.

artymess said...

Jan I am so sorry I am reading this with tears of sadness but there is joy too that you had such a companion to share your life with .......I know what pain it is to lose a special member of the family...I am sending lots of love to you.....xx

artymess said...

to Steve .that is beautiful....

Corrine at said...

Aw honey I got tears in my eyes. Man Man went the same route and it breaks your heart. You've been there before I know, but some dogs are just so special they sneak inside your soul in a way you never thought possible and just hang out waiting for the day you can be with them again. xox

Deborah said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Our animals become so much more than pets. Love, Deb

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Sitting here with the tears flowing....Rocky was such a sweetie and I always loved hearing what he was up to.
He was family, not a pet, FAMILY.
My heart is with you.
Nothing can fill the void....
Rocky, you were a saint of a dog.


nacherluver said...

So sorry for the loss of your beautiful and beloved friend. Hugs

April said...

Oh, Jan...just read this to Amber and she and I are crying for you! So, so very sorry, Jan! He was definitely a sweet, sweet dog (and you KNOW how I feel about dogs.) I will miss him.

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Dear Jan
I read Rocky's story that you told so well. I have suffered many losses of my own fur friends so I know all too well what you are feeling..the painful desire to see and hold your friend again. But....I also know the joy of having had a special canine friend that holds your heart in a special bond that can only be made when a dog chooses YOU. I pray everyday that I will find that special friend again, but like you I cherish the ones left behind.
Much Love

Nancy said...

What a great friend you had in Rocky. Lovely post and tribute.

Linda Wildenstein said...

Jan: I am so sad for you. But it sounds like Rocky was and incredible soul and shared his love with you and others freely and easily. What a blessing to have known and been a part of such a love. Oma Linda

audrey said...

Sweet Jan,
My eyes are filled with tears and my heart aches for you. I am sorry that your dear friend has left you. I am happy for you that you were with him, Jan, when he passed. This tribute to Rocky is beautiful and tells a love story like no other. How blessed you were to have each other.
Sending love to you, my friend.
xo audrey

Linda said...

'A blessed gift'....what a lovely description of our treasured pets; because that's exactly what they are to us.
Jan, I feel for you at this sad time and wish I could give you a hug.
Rocky was incredibly lucky to have you for a mum.....
Love Linda xxxxx

maddyrose said...

Jan, I'm truly sorry for your loss. This was a beautiful tribute to a wonderful friend. Rocky was a special soul and was as lucky to have you in his life as your were to have him in yours. I wish I was there to give you a hug.

polly said...

The gift our beloved ones give us is not only their sharing life with us, but also the memories that warm our hearts forever--
My thoughts are with you, Jan

Judy Ziegler said...

Jan, I am so sorry. No matter how many time I or friends go through this, it's always So hard. I go through a lot of tears before getting to that peaceful place where it's not as hard as it was.

Peace, Judy

Becky said...

Oh Rocky, you are such a beautiful soul. You brought so many smiles and so much comfort. We'll listen for your howls in the wind. Jan, I'm so sorry for this deep loss. Praying for comfort.

yoborobo said...

Jan, I am so sorry. Rocky had the most beautiful eyes - he looks like you could have told him anything, and he would have understood. I know this has left a big hole in your life. Sending hugs - xoxox

Robbie said...

I'm having a hard time just typing this reminded me so much of Mandy's last hours...but you do have so many wonderful memories! I love seeing his tail wag so much in that video.

Leslie McNeil of MarveLes Art Studios said...

Jan, I am SO so Sorry for your loss of Rocky. Bless your heart, and what a beautiful tribute. He was lucky to have such a loving home, and become such a rock of love for you! I recently lost my girl Micah in March, and it's so hard to lose our pups. They're truly, as you said --- A GIFT. I pray your heart is healing and mending...

Cynthia Myers said...

I braced myself for this.
I told myself I could get through it without crying and now here I am, sobbing.
You were blessed with a wonderful dog and he was bless to have you for his mom.
Thank goodness he had you with him at the end of his life here.