We’ve had dogs for my whole life but none of them were all mine or chosen by me. Rocky was the first dog, well thing really that I loved unconditionally – he was my best friend, my kid’s best friend and just the most wonderful companion to us all.
Some background – over 12 years ago I decided I wanted a dog. I had just moved back home after University, just got my first full time job and bought my first car – clearly I had on my big girl pants. So I booked a half day in work, roped in my baby sister (13) and off to the dog pound we went. I should mention at this point that I did have a partner – a partner who was sent a quick text saying “I’m taking a half day and getting a dog” and then my phone was switched off lol. I should also mention at this point that although our offer had been accepted on a house, we were both still living at home with our parents (My mum had a dog already).
There were only 3 dogs in the pound so the odds on me finding a dog were low except we saw this Black Lab Cross who got so excited his whole back end wiggled like Beyonce in one of her music videos. Laughing my head off I asked to take him a walk – his walk continued with his wiggle, how could I say no! For the measly sum of £25 Rocky wiggled into our lives – I couldn’t have put on a price on the happiness he gave us.
Cue lots of arguments with parents/partner I dug my heels in and wouldn’t budge on taking him back and 3 months later (3 months of hostility lol) we moved into our own house with Rocky in tow. We had 12 years of fun – he came into our first house with us, wore a tie for our wedding day, was there for both babies (and loved them as much as I do) and was very much a big part of our family.
Back in August I thought he was panting too much so I took him to the vets – they did an ultrasound to rule out anything serious and it was then we were told that he had a tumour on his liver 😦 Devastated is not the word – I couldn’t eat, sleep or stop crying.
Once we got our heads around the news we asked how long and the vet said weeks to couple of months. Well what we did get was 4 months, yes 4 WHOLE months and you wouldn’t have known he was even sick… Water tablets taken every day drained the fluid and made his life enjoyable. Our kids created a bucket list so we went everywhere with him – he was living the life – I have a billion photos to prove it!
And then the day came where he went downhill…. we had been at the field throwing ball (his favourite) when he came to me in a panic. I could see his eyes were not focusing properly and we took him to the vets – he had suffered a small stroke. We took him home and spent the next week cuddling him ( he was a big softie), taking even more photos and then one day I just knew I had to make the call….
I had stayed up with him all night and cuddled him, slept with my hand on him and just stayed with him as he was being very clingy. The next morning he tried to come upstairs to me and it took him so long, he wouldn’t eat/drink and he couldn’t get up off the floor. People say “you’ll know when it’s the right time” and up until then I couldn’t get my head to that point but the look he gave me was “right Mum, I’m fed up now, help me”. He was begging me to make the decision for him .
We allowed all the extended family down to say goodbye then rang the vet who came to the house. Rocky lay in his favourite blanket while I held his head in my arms and my husband had his paw and then he was finally at peace. I cry as I even type this as that day will never leave me… neither will the feeling of guilt I still have for making the decision.
And so life went on – well some sort of life. I refused to be in the house on my own, I avoided being home, I battled on but cried every day. People who don’t have dogs just don’t understand – I heard “it’s just a dog” and some other nasty things. Until you have experienced the unconditional love that a dog can offer then I say you shouldn’t comment. My husband will still joke that Rocky was the true love of my life and who am I to correct him..
I have his ashes and I was able to get his pawprint before he died. I have that in a frame with his photograph as well as the pawprint tattooed on my inner right ankle, the side he always walked on…
Rest in Peace Rocky 2006-2018