Rocky Our "Old Man"

by Cari Attanasio
(Rixeyville, VA)

I think this quote from a fellow dog lover on this site really sums up what many of us feel:

"One last word of farewell, dear master and mistress. Whenever you visit my grave, say to yourselves with regret but also happiness in your hearts at the remembrance of my long happy life with you: "Here lies one who loves us and whom we loved." No matter how deep my sleep I shall hear you, and not all the power of death can keep my spirit from wagging a grateful tail.

Eugene O'Neill"

Rocky, a Malamute/GSD, came to us when he was about 4 or so years of age. At the time, I used to rescue Northern Breeds. The pound in TX called to say they had a Malamute, could I come look at him. Upon walking in, there stood the most pitiful looking dog with the biggest ears ever, and when the woman took him out of the kennel, he leaned against me. I knew he wasn't a purebred. Upon asking, when was his due date, she said in the morning, I told her get the paperwork together, he was coming home with me.

Thank god I did. Rocky was my companion for about 10 years, seeing me through sending my then soldier husband off to war, he was there when I needed someone to listen or to curl up when I lost a family member and felt my heart would break into a thousand pieces.

Rocky was so much more than what words could describe. His loyalty knew no boundaries. When the neighbor threatened me, it was Rocky who followed me when I went out riding my horses, though his hips were sore and he was starting to show his age. If I went into a room where he couldn't see me, he would get up and follow me, always my shadow. No one could dispute his love for me. Just looking at those liquid brown eyes told the depth of that love. When I would gently wrap my hands around his muzzle and kiss him, the feeling was mutual. He had such a quiet dignity about him, never a burden, forever my boy.

Letting you go was like someone taking my very heart. We brought you home to the farm where you spent almost 7 years exploring, walking the fence line, barking at those ever annoying squirrels. You are under the shade tree across from the porch where you would lay to watch us do yard work. I planted wild violets on your grave. They are hearty and beautiful, but also free, much like you are now. You're wrapped in your blanket that you laid on by the bed, and as we laid you to rest, a piece of me was buried with you, Old Man.

Thank you for so very much, for giving everything you had and only asking that I love you. And love you I do. I know you're still here on the farm. I feel your presence now and again, and your buddy Dakota has taken up watching out for me. You taught her well.

So rest easy Rocky. I will miss you for quite a while. Maybe with time, the ache and longing will ease. My fingers will stop longing to run through your silken ruff of dark fur, to feel you bump them with your cold nose. And I'll stop having to look out for you when I get up or go outside. I miss your presence following me across the yard and into the barn.

Don't worry Old Man. Words cannot describe you adequately nor do I do you justice when I try. I had 14 and a half beautiful and wonderful years with you. You, of all dogs, have truly earned your place at the Rainbow Bridge, so wait for me old friend, we will meet again.

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Return to 2011 April-June

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