July 21 is not a good day for me. Yesterday, already feeling blue, I cleaned up after my old buddy, Rocky, who threw up on the carpet just as I was getting ready to leave for a doctor’s appointment out of town. Rocky is around fourteen years old. We don’t know his exact birthday. We found this wonderful dog when he was approximately six months old. He had been abandoned near the Chatuge dam, a place often used as a dumping place for unwanted dogs.
It was hard to believe that anyone would leave such a handsome pup near the road where he might be hit by a car. He fearlessly stood his ground under a tree, shunning those who might want to put their hands on him. When I saw him as Barry and I walked by, I commented that he seemed determined to stay in that spot as though he was waiting for that certain person to come and get him. Little did I know he would end up at my house and become my shadow in his later years after his master passed away.
Yes, Barry spent an hour coaxing the pup into his arms and into his Jeep. It was a shorter time before the pup became Rocky, and Rocky became a devoted pal to Barry.
For twelve years the rescued dog and the gentle man who loved him, were inseparable.
I knew when I arrived home late in the day I’d find the two of them on the deck, Barry in his rocking chair, enjoying the woods and the creatures that lived there, and Rocky curled up near his feet.
As my mother would have said, this dog doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. To know Rocky is to love him. He has fans everywhere. When we brought home Tiger, a grown cat, Rocky accepted her immediately. Now he licks her ears and her face until she finally has more of all that loving than she wants..
I hated to leave my dog yesterday with his big brown eyes beseeching me. Don’t go, he seemed to be saying as I left at 10:30 a.m. I knew he wasn’t well, but I planned to be back home by early afternoon. I’d call the vet if he wasn’t feeling better then.
But my doctor visit stretched out into several hours and soon I realized I’d not get home in time to take him to the vet if he was really sick. I called my friend Denise and luckily she was home. She went to see how Rocky was doing. She found he had vomited two more times and was so lethargic he wouldn’t get out of his bed. He was twitching and acting strangely, she said to me on the phone. She called my vet and met me there with Rocky. I had to leave him overnight hooked up to tubes for hydration. The vet had no idea what was wrong.
On my way home to get Rocky’s bed, my car suddenly stalled in the middle of the road. I started it and drove a few miles but it stalled again. The third time it stopped I had turned on the road where I live, and I managed to pull into a parking lot where I left it. My neighbor Alice responded to my call for help, as she often does, and drove me over to take Rocky’s bed to him. I knew he would be much happier if he had his bed.
So I was without my dog and without my car that I need and love so much. I knew I’d get my car back eventually, but I feared that my beloved pet would not return to me. Only two years ago, July 21, Rocky’s master was taken from us by cancer and a poor medical system.
I will be bereft if Rocky leaves me, too. He is almost fourteen years old. Quite elderly by dog standards. And I am trying to prepare myself. However, tonight July 22, Rocky is home again, and has eaten some broth and rice; he drank a little water and went outside to urinate though walking is quite difficult.
He responds when I talk to him although he is on pain meds, antibiotics and something to help his digestion.
Maybe he'll hang on a while longer.