Giving Thanks

(Or… Thank You, Meghan!!)

As I was going to check my mailbox last night, I was greeted by a large, yellow, goofy dog with sweet eyes and a super waggily tail. I could tell he was young (under a year) and that he belonged or had belonged to someone because he would sit on command and he would throw his paw at me in an attempt to shake. He had a collar, but sadly no tags. I asked a neighbor if they knew who’s dog he was and she said he had followed her from the other side of the neighborhood – about a mile away. (Apparently he had followed another one of my neighbors around too.)

I knocked on doors and tried to find anyone who recognized him. After quite some time walking in the cold, I decided to have my husband come pick me up (I’ve been quite under the weather and just couldn’t stay outside any longer). Before my husband to get to me, the pup had wandered up to a house and acted like it was very familiar to him, then he disappeared. We drove back a little later looking for him but didn’t see him. I hope he found his home.

When I got home that night and was greeted by my dancing and barking Jacques, I got a little teary-eyed. I thought about that big yellow dog following everyone and couldn’t help but think about Jacques’s story.

Jacques had followed some people who were out for a walk in the cold and the snow. He followed them to their home and sat on their doorstep looking into their warm house. I can’t imagine how scared and cold he was – but his luck was about to change. A wonderful person – Meghan – took him home with her. That night, Jacques was safe in a warm house and surrounded by love. Meghan took such good care of him. When she couldn’t locate his owners through phone calls or ads in the paper, she started looking for a forever home for him. And then my life changed forever.

My husband and I joke about Jacques all the time, but at the end of the day we both say how lucky we are and how Jacques has turned out to be such a good boy. He really is.

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So, Meghan, thank you for being so kindhearted and for caring for Jacques. He was just what my heart needed. You, Jacques, and my wonderful husband are a few of the many things I’m thankful for today and every day.

A Poem by Jacques

(Or… Seriously, GO AWAY!!!!)

there’s a mouse in the house

he gave me such fright.

there’s a mouse in the house

he kept me up all night!

there’s a mouse in the house

I couldn’t find him at all…

there’s a mouse in the house

he’s hidden inside the wall!

there’s a mouse in the house

I don’t know what to do –

there’s a mouse in the house

runaway mouse, go, scram, shoo!

there’s a mouse in the house

I hope he takes flight

there’s a mouse in the house

because I need my beauty sleep tonight.

"What do you mean it's in the wall??"

“What do you mean it’s in the wall??”

 

Jacques was desperate for his beauty sleep (because he apparently doesn't get enough throughout the day)...

Jacques was desperate for his beauty sleep (because he apparently doesn’t get enough throughout the day)…

Sleeping on the Job

(Or… I do not care that you are home.)

Since Rocky passed, we are no longer greeted at the door with barks, howls, or yips. In fact, we’re rarely greeted at the door at all. Until Rocky lost his hearing, he *always* greeted us at the door with his booming bark and lumbering frame. I think Jacques just went a long for the ride because he didn’t want to be shown up. We had to navigate our way into the house through the obstacle course that was a giant dog (who had no ‘reverse’) and a small yipping, jumping dog that we were afraid of stepping on. Now… Now, Jacques is just lazy. Or doesn’t care. Or both.

I remember the first time I came home alone after Rocky was gone. It was so quiet as I entered the house. For a brief moment, I panicked thinking something had happened to Jacques. I moved quickly into the house, scanning for a white, fluffy dog as I went… and walked in to find this.

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Yeah. He was fine. Nothing had happened to him. He was sleeping on the job and just couldn’t be bothered. He eventually sat up, stretched, and gave me a “What do you want?” look before remembering I was the one with opposable thumbs who could open the back door. Then he became a ball of furry excitement. I rolled my eyes, let him outside, and didn’t think much of the episode. Until… It happened again. And again. And again.

I no longer panic when I come home and am not met at the door. Instead, I head straight to the living room and find him perched on “his spot” on the back of the couch. I find him there about 80% of the time. I guess he a)1) really likes his afternoon siestas and b)2) feels that watchdog and/or welcoming committee duty is beneath him. Silly me. What was I thinking? Expecting a dog to bark when someone entered the house? That’s just crazy.

Happy Rocky-tober!!!

Because Rocky was a rescue, I never really knew when his birthday was – though through the loss of his baby teeth and some complex math (carry the 2, divide by Pi), I was able to determine he was born sometime in the month of October. Not long after that, the month long celebration known as Rocky-tober was born.

Rocky’s rescue was traumatic (you can read an abbreviated version of the story that was featured on the ASPCA’s Success Stories webpage in 2007 here). I actually saw him get hit by a large truck – twice. As he got older, he seemed pretty goofy and I sometimes wondered if his head struck the pavement when he was hit. His “specialness” became a running joke with my friends and family. (For the record, I believe that he was just a big, goofy oaf who had no idea how huge he was.)

After I rescued Rocky, there was a span of about 7 years where I seemed to constantly come across lost and wounded animals (specifically birds, turtles, cats, and dogs). A lot of them were “special” too. I was jokingly dubbed a “patron saint of lost, wounded, and ‘special’ animals” by my friends. (Some would even argue that I seemed to attract lost, wounded, and “special” boyfriends… but I digress.)

Rocky-tober eventually became not only a month to celebrate my wonderful, goofball Rocky – who was once lost and wounded – but one to remember those animals who are or were lost and wounded… and to love them in all their “specialness.”

This is our first Rocky-tober without Rocky. This year “remembering the lost” has a little different meaning for us, but we will remember all of the love, silliness, and “specialness” that was Rocky. And we will certainly enjoy the “specialness” that is Jacques!

So, Happy Rocky-tober!!! Be kind to the special furry loved ones in your life, and remember to be kind to the lost, wounded or “special” furry souls you encounter. You may just find yourself asking, “Who rescued who?”

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Dear Rocky – A Letter

Dear Rocky,

You were “special” in so many ways. Those who knew you thought you might have been a few fries short of a happy meal. I knew you were just happy go lucky and goofy and that you were smarter than most people gave you credit for. Sometimes. Occasionally.

You were my kindred spirit. We both liked to explore but were just as happy to relax and take a nap. We were both a little out of shape and a little lazy.  We were silly and goofy. We were fighters and could survive tough times. We might have been a little stubborn too. Maybe just a little. We were never very good in social situations – though you seemed to do better than me and made friends almost everywhere despite your crazy antics (or maybe it was because of them).

On my good days, you celebrated with me. On my bad days, you were there to comfort me. And I could always count on you to do something to make me laugh. During your 14 years, you were with me during most of my life’s biggest events – graduating from grad school; moving cross-country (and then moving home because it was too cold up north); moving to a new city where I knew no one; three major operations; buying my first house; meeting the man of my dreams; losing our beloved Niko; getting engaged (I love how you patiently waited during the actual proposal and then how you barked and jumped around after I said yes); getting married and starting a new life – new jobs, new city, new home. Regardless of where we went or what happened, I was happy and “home” as long as you were with me.

Your wet sloppy kisses and bear hugs were some of my favorite things in life. Some of the things I didn’t appreciate as much – your loud booming bark, the trail of water on the kitchen floor after you drank, you hogging the bed, head butting the back door when you were ready to come in – I dearly miss now. I miss YOU. I miss the essence of you – all the crazy, annoying, hilarious, sweet, wonderful things you used to do. I miss them all.

You were such a good boy – so full of joy and happiness even in the end. It was so hard watching you slip away from us. That brilliant light in your eyes started to flicker and then would only shine occasionally. But when it shined – it lit up my heart.

My Rocky Doodles… I love you so much. I miss you so much my heart hurts. But through the pain, I can feel the happiness and joy you radiated as I think about the silly things you did. I also feel extreme gratitude – I am so thankful that the universe brought us together. You were my constant companion and my snuggle bug. My life has been so much better because of you.

I don’t know if there’s a heaven, but if there is, I hope you and Niko have been reunited and that you’re able to run, play, go and explore like you used to. You are always in my thoughts and forever in my heart.

I love you buddily boo.

Love,
Mommy

Rocky_July14_2014 Jacques and Rocky on July 14, 2014. Rocky crossed the Rainbow Bridge later that day.

I have way too many pictures of Rocky to pick a favorite… but here is a glimpse of Rocky through the years.

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