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.