I saw a Great Dane puppy today that made me think of you. Tall and gangly, boisterously romping and tromping through grass and shrubs and flower beds. Excited by everything, as if this puppy had suddenly sprung into existence; and, was experiencing life for the very first time!
Nothing about the Great Dane pup I saw was anything like you at all. It was all legs and tail and ears moving in several directions at the same time.
You are short, compact, and muscular. Its muzzle was long while you’re a card-carrying member of the Flat-Faced Dog Society. The Great Dane was still a puppy, whereas you’re a senior. Although still a puppy, it was already a big dog and getting bigger – did I mention how short you are?
What I want to believe is that what I saw today in that very large puppy is what you were like once, when you were young. When life, for you, was new. I love everything about you – except the illness that will take you away forever. Someday.
I love the adult you that I met six years ago. But, I wish I knew you when you were an innocent puppy – when life was new. Before you were given away by the person you loved and trusted. Before you were forcibly removed from the only home – the only life – you’d ever known.
Familiar sights, smells, tastes, and textures were gone forever – replaced by an unknown, scary place where even your food and bed were different. And mommy’s cats were gone. Mommy had lots of cats and you peed in the house so she wouldn’t forget about you. So she would remember to love you, too.
Then, we met. You were in a crate inside Choice Pet Market at Scottsdale Road and Shea Blvd, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Driving by, Ellen saw the Arizona Boston Terrier Rescue Adoption Event sign.
On impulse, we stopped and went in. I wasn’t even looking for another dog. We already had a Boston, a Boxer, and a Pug at home. When I saw you for the first time, I turned to Ellen and said: “That’s him! That’s my dog!” You sealed the deal by jumping onto my lap and licking my face.
I have to confess that I. Did. Not. Like your name. Rocky. Who names their dog Rocky?! Turns out a lot of people do. The American Kennel Club (AKC) reports that, in 2016, Rocky was the 6th most popular name for male dogs.I learned to tolerate it, and later actually like it – after The Beatles played Rocky Raccoon in my head for a few months.
Rocky, Rock, Rock Monster, Rock Star, Rocky Boy, Rocky the Rock Elliott. My good boy. My best boy. We’ve grown older together, you and I – you, a little faster than I. Six years ago, you were 3 ½ years old and still had a little puppy left in you. We ran, played, tugged and went exploring when we got sidetracked on our walks. We played in the snow in Denver, ran on the beach in Los Angeles, and panted in the heat in Phoenix.
Your enthusiasm and unbridled joy has never diminished. You love absolutely everything! You always start every walk tugging on your leash, like we’re embarking on the Greatest Adventure Ever!
When you started reaching the end of even short walks with a loose leash, breathless, and needing to be carried up the stairs, our vet at San Dimas Animal Hospital confirmed that you’re in Congestive Heart Failure.
How I hate that three-word death sentence. My grandmother – the one person I loved more than anyone else – died from congestive heart failure.
I know that you could live for years – just not the life we lived before. You don’t even know you’re sick.
Today, our walks are shorter and our rest times longer. Today, we sit together on the floor or stairs or sofa while I pet you and you lick me with more saliva than a Saint Bernard. Or, I talk to you while you look at me like you understand every word – and then lick me with more saliva than a Saint Bernard.
We don’t get to hike and the camera captures fewer action shots of you; but we always have each other. I think I’ll get one of those K9 Sport Sacks or some other backpack dog carrier and lug your 30# around on my back. He ain’t heavy, He’s my puppy!
So, when I saw a Great Dane puppy today acting as if every moment was the Greatest Adventure Ever! it made me think of you. I am jealous of everyone who knew you as the rambunctious, pocket-sized tornado that Boston Terrier puppies usually are.
Mostly, I found myself wishing that we had met sooner so we could have lived more and loved longer.
You’re a Good Boy, Rocky. You’re the Best Boy.
That’s the True Value of Second Chances
Hey, please feel free to share stories about your dog(s). I would love to hear from you!!
BTW, what was the most popular name for boy-type dogs in 2016? Find out here: