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Filed under: Nature & Wildlife, Taking Along the Family Pet

So Long Rocky, It Was Good To Have Known You

April 15, 2011 by · 7 Comments 

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Kingman, Arizona

June, 2010

Our faithful little Australian Terrier, Rocky, was put to sleep this morning. I feel like my heart’s been ripped out. I know that those of us who love dogs will understand.

We began our cross-country, 9-month RV adventure on December 31st, 2009. Rocky proved himself to be a true “Road Dog;” quickly settling in and seeming to enjoy every segment of our trip. As usual, he was always at his happiest when he was with us.
Rocky had a “bad back event” in February, while we were still in Florida. The injury kept him in an animal hospital for 4 days and gained me a new scar on the back of my hand when I tried to pick him up while he was in terrific pain. The vet told us that Rocky had pinched nerves caused by several vertebras that were out of place. But, after a rest and a regimen of meds, he seemed like his old self again. The vet warned us, though, that although his displaced disks were back in place for the moment, we should ensure that he did no more jumping. We may as well have told him not to breathe.

His back went “out” again in May after we reached Kingman, Arizona. I walked the RV park with him for hours, deep into the early morning hours, trying to help him escape his pain. Every few steps were punctuated with a scream that must have told the entire park of his suffering. When I finally ran out of energy, I tied him up and sat nearby, watching him pace back and forth, back and forth, crying out and trying to bite the place on his back that was causing so much pain. Damn…

I sat there until daylight and, with no change in Rocky’s condition and, facing another 112 degree day, I made up my mind to end his suffering. I’ve had to do this 8 times during the past 45 years and have died a little each time as I held my beloved dogs and watched their lives quickly slide away as the vet injected an overdose of anesthetic. I cried like a baby every time, without embarrassment. I did this time, too. Maybe more then ever before…

My wife and I have decided that Rocky will be our last dog, a decision we have made several times in the past, but never kept. I think that we’ll keep the promise this time, though, since, as my wife reminded me that, at this time of our life, we’ve started saying our last goodbyes to family and friends and will soon enough have to face each other’s death… We’ve seen enough of death for now…

So for now, I’ll have to content myself with an affectionate hug and hello for every dog that I meet. Rocky, it was good to know you.

Till next time,

The Traveler

Postscript:  We were wrong. The only cure for a pain that deep, for a loss that great, was to go right out and get another dog. In December, 2010 we rescued Merci (or, Mercy if you prefer) from a kind group in Franklin, Tennessee, where we’ve settled down, maybe for the last time. She’s another Australian Terrier; although they tried to convince us that she’s a Yorkie, but she’s too big and shaggy for that. Who knows? Maybe she’s my Rocky, back to spend some more time with us before heading over that Rainbow Bridge that I’ve been hearing about…

Comments

7 Responses to “So Long Rocky, It Was Good To Have Known You”
  1. Jim says:

    Traveler,

    Here is your Rainbow Bridge

    Rainbow Bridge

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
    There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
    There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
    The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

    Author unknown…

  2. Patti Faustini says:

    Hi Traveler, I know you won’t forget Rocky. How’s Mercy doing? Write and let your Woodall’s readers know what Mercy is bringing to the picnic table.

    Happy Tales,

    Patti

  3. Pat Malone says:

    Hi, Traveler – I feel your pain – I’ve lost 10 dear doggy friends over the years. We now have a rescued Rat Terrier and coincidentally his name is Rocky . We adopted him in Jan. 2009, after our little Westie-mix died of heart failure in Dec. 2008! I’m glad you decided to get another pet. My husband and I felt the same as you when Mr. “B” passed, but we couldn’t resist Rocky’s soleful eyes and a little T-shirt that said “Adopt Me”! My hubby passed away in Nov. 2010 and Rocky has been a great source of comfort! I belong to a rescue group called “New Rattitudes” and if anything happens to me they will find a good home for Rocky.

    Pat

  4. Jon says:

    I am glad you got another dog. Also saddened by your loss. My wife and I know that feeling all to well. We rescued a Cavalier Spaniel 3 years ago and she if the love of our life. Ruby loves to travel in the Motor Home along with her big sister Gretchen a Golden Retriever.

  5. Traveler says:

    Thank you all for your kind comments and input. I particularly like the idea of a rescue service pre-arrangements to take our pet if we pass on first. Although, in my and Maureen’s case, I would hope that one of our children would do the honor of caring for Mercy (or do they care for us?).

    I will post more stories that may include either Rocky or, now, Mercy. I hope that it doesn’t get too confusing for you.

    Traveler

  6. Linda Butler says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that our arms are wrapped around you both and in time may it get softer to think about Rocky. All of us that are pet owners grieve with you. Peace May god Bless you!

  7. Jean says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your dog. It has been 6 years since I had to make that decision for my Maggie and I could cry every time I think of that day. I still miss her, but the beauty of being an RV’er is all the other dogs people travel with. So I get to have a doggie fix any day of the week. Some day I hope to have another dog, but until then I will love all the ones I get to meet along the way.

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