Rest Well, Rocky 1997-2011

  I remember the day I found you, or perhaps more accurately, when we  found each other.  You were all ears and feet and boundless energy.  The  lady at the shelter handed me some forms, which I could hardly fill out  because I was so enthralled watching you.  When I brought you home,  you looked around, wagged that stump of a tail, and stretched out on the  floor.  You were HOME.  We had a fenced acre lot and it took you about  6 minutes to mark every tree inside the fence.  You and the kids grew up  together in that yard, I remember laughing at the way you would stay  glued to Nog’s heels if he was outside.  Back then, you were allowed in the  house, and your favorite activity seemed to be to find the most  comfortable looking person in the house and weasel your way into their  spot.  I can’t count the times you wound up in my chair while I was relegated to the floor.

When we moved to Tennessee, you endured a hellish car ride from West Georgia to Nashville.  You never liked being in a car.  The entire farm was yours from day one.  You knew every inch of it in no time at all.  You hunted rabbit, squirrel, and various other Tennessee wildlife.  I don’t think we saw a squirrel from 2002 until 2007, when you must have decided they could roam freely on your property once again.  You loved to swim in the pond and creeks, and I could spend hours watching you unsuccessfully try and catch the small fish with your teeth.  Worst fisher ever.

You were my friend, and I relied on you to watch our property when were away or while we slept.  Your deep, ominous bark would always alert me to approaching cars.  You protected the whole family, and I loved you for that and countless other things, buddy.  When cancer ate away ate your muscle and left you weak, you still dutifully followed me around while I mowed or puttered in the barn.  A few weeks ago, when a pack of coyotes crossed a little too close to our house, you dragged yourself up and let loose with that bark again, and they scattered back into the hollow.  That made me grin.

I made the painful decision to put you down to rest myself.  There was no way I was going to make you endure a car ride only to wind up at a terrifying vet’s office for your final journey.  Instead, the Primary Wife and kids spent a nice day with you, said their goodbyes, and you and I went on our last walk into the woods together.  My good friend James put it nicely as “walking you across the bridge”.  It was perhaps the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I felt you deserved to rest and in the end, I was at peace about it.  I love you, Rocky.  You will be missed forever.

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12 responses to “Rest Well, Rocky 1997-2011

  1. amber

    I’m sorry to hear that. I know that must have been very, very hard for you.

  2. Brought back memories of a couple years back, having to take our old past- her- prime, Samoyed for the final ride to the Vet. she hated getting in the Van for a ride–knew it usually meant a ride to the Vet and pain (usually for her anal cysts). She didn’t want to get out of the van when we got there, and we had to drag her by the leash. My husband would not carry her, he couldn’t stand the intimacy at such a time. The Vet assistant was terrific, holding her, talking into her ear while the Vet administered the dose. It was one of the hardest things we ever did. I can’t even imagine doing it ourselves. Now we have another dog in the Winter of her years. I get tears thinking of going thru it again.

  3. I left you a voice mail…but I wanted to also comment here and let you know that I am thinking of you & the family. It pains my heart to imagine how difficult that act of mercy was for you to carry out. Amanda & I loved Rocky…he always was the first to greet us when we came up to the farm. We love you guys, and will be ready with hugs next time we see you.

  4. Amber, you have no idea. I had to get past the feeling of…betrayal? Not totally there yet.

    Ginger, He greeted everyone and seemed to know when someone wasn’t “right”. He must have missed with you. ;)

  5. Pam, Thank you, and I’m sorry that you will be dealing with this before long. The vet experience has NEVER been good for any of my pets.

  6. Stacy

    so sorry for your loss…..we lost one of ours 5 years ago, and it still brings tears thinking of her.

  7. I’m so sorry. What a hard thing to do. I couldn’t do it myself, I know that for sure. Fortunately living in the city we have a vet that does house calls for this express purpose — enduring a car ride and a cold vet’s office is not how one’s best friend should spend their last moments on earth. You’re very brave.

  8. Mack:

    Well, if there is a doggie heaven (which, imo, is more likely than a human heaven) Rocky has by now met my old pal, Calvin and they are both pissing on the hubcaps of the rich and tiresome.

    I have to think that Rocky had good bozodar, but a better heart. After all, he let me in the house, too!

  9. Demo, must have been the cheeseburgers stuffed in your pockets.

    Beale, vets who travel are impossible to find, especially on a weekend.

  10. Our vet made a house call in Cheatham county when when our boy’s hips hurt too much to get up and down any more, but I guess it’s rare. He’s buried where the blackberry patch was because he always loved going with us to pick. He’d curl his lips up out of the way and pick the lower berries. I still miss him. Rocky had a good long life with you, Mack.

  11. I missed this post when you first put it up. A fitting tribute to a good friend. I always enjoy dog blogging, even when it’s about saying goodbye.

    My story, if you are interested. Spring of 1996, I stopped at the Don’s Market in Santa Ysabel for food and partyables as my friend, my fiance and our dog were planning a hike and a piocnic. Two country girls were selling their last pup. They said he was a cross between a Labrador and a Golden. When my wife to be took one look at my face, she knew it was all over. He was a little black and white sheep dog. Looked like he could have been from Scotland hundreds of years ago. A real San Diego outback/Little Sierra dog. The likes of which I may never see again. Picture the dour and Presbyterian alpha from the popular movie Babe. He was a priest and very holy. I loved that dog with all my heart and he knew he was my charge. He became fast friends with my wife’s dog, a springer/rottweiler mix. The two were a fairly impressive pair.

    All his adult life, Duffy suffered from skin allergies, so the vet put him on triamcyclinone which I am sure shortened his life. It did free him from hot spots, bare patches and dry skin. When he was about nine and one half years old, something inside him started to fail. He quit eating in November of 2005. Desperate, we learned how to force feed him special food which he tolerated for four months. Knowing that a lot of country folk were breeding goldens and mindful of the mix that I was led to believe was his true ancestry, (a throwback or missing link to be sure,) we made up our minds we would get a golden to be our next dog. We ended up with the pick of the litter and his little sparring partner, William and Chauncey. I intentionally used to curl Bill up with Duffy for an imparting of the spirit. Duffy actually taught them many useful skills for getting along with humans and proper decorum. Just shy of his tenth birthday, Duffy began refusing water and no longer tolerated force feeding. We knew it would be the end. Accustomed to euthanasia as the normal solution, (who would euthanize their father or mother?) I thought it was time to get ahold of the vet. My wife could not abide. We live on a canyon sort of in the coastal palisades. He had a special place that he used to go to be alone. We knew because it always left him covered with burr clovers which he would carefully remove out of his own fur with his teeth. He went there to die. Every night for three nights I went to the edge of the mesa and called his name. Finally, he came home to me. We were very grateful. We didn’t want his corpse to be eaten by coyotes and racoons. We kept him in the yard until he passed. It was a very moving experience.

  12. Awesome story, FJ. I particularly like the idea of an older dog teaching younger ones how to best interact with their humans. Duffy might have been one of those “one of a kind” dogs we sometimes are allowed to have for a period of time. Thanks for sharing that with us. Be well.

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