A Dog’s Day

January 23, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Posted in The Pups | 17 Comments
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Dear Rocky,

Today, you are 7. 7!

It seems like just yesterday when we first saw you, a squirmy, fuzzy ball of fluff, all tongue and ears and tail. And those eyes, those gentle, giant eyes that implored us to cuddle you closer. And maybe share the couch or our pillows with you, if we didn’t mind.

Those first few weeks, I thought I’d never get a good night’s sleep again. Oh, how you whimpered! You missed your pack, the familiar smells, the comfort of your furry family. And, oh, how I tired of waking up and immediately cleaning puppy pee. (Yes, it is funny, isn’t it, that I’ve spent the last four years, give or take, not sleeping through the night and cleaning up someone else’s pee? You were good practice, my sweet pup.)

As the months passed, you grew. And grew. And grew. People soon confused you with a pony. But you remain convinced you were a lap-dog, no matter what the scale said.

As you got older, you also got attached to us. You fretted when we left you home alone. You ate books. And pillows. And remote controls. And small tools. And baskets. And so much more that I’ve blocked out to save my sanity.

These days, you’re pretty low-key. I mean, low-key for you. You don’t eat too many things that aren’t dog food, peanut-buttery sandwich crusts, or petrified Cheerios. There is your weakness for the occasional pile of mulch. But only for the fiber, of course.

You play fourth fiddle now, behind the three human children we care for. (Hey, you still rank higher than the cat.) You don’t get as many walks. And you’ve been exiled from the bed, the couch, and all the other soft, snuggly places you were once allowed to sleep.

But you’re still our sweet pup. There’s nothing quite as comforting as all 100 pounds of you (okay, let’s be honest, all 120 pounds) curled up on our feet. The deep, scary bark you use to frighten UPS guys and Jehovah’s Witnesses. The way you run through the house knocking over decorative vases and small children to greet us. And that soft, fluffy face, always ready to share a hug or a bag of popcorn at the end of a tough day.

We love you, Rock Star. Happy Birthday!



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  1. Oh, the first child. Ours is yellow. And has claimed the couch against my better judgement. Gotta love a good dog.

    • Ours sneak on the couch when we’re not home. But they don’t realize they’re shedding machines and give themselves away every time!

  2. I have to confess: I saw that face and my heart leaped to my throat. I just have a THING for dogs. Oh my. And yours is the color and breed of choice for me. Nothing undoes me like a black labby type. Probably the way they start to tell me they love water when we’re still several miles away.

    Our Ode Yedder used to begin to figid and cry as we neared the lake. Then, as car door opened, nothing held her back. Now, as she swims in alpine lakes with freezing temperatures she wimpers when I make her get out and take a break to warm up.

    • Rocky wouldn’t go near the water when he was a puppy. It was the strangest thing for a “water dog” to be afraid of the water! But my husband coaxed him in slowly with treats, and now he gets it. Oh, how he gets it!

  3. I’ve sat and wondered many times what it would have been like if we’d adopted a dog before having a child. That Rocky looks sweet (and sounds practical, re: door-to-door protection!). Is he making his first trip overseas this year?

    • I’m so very sad to say the pets will not be coming with us. They all have temporary homes stateside with friends who know them well, but it breaks my heart to think of leaving them behind, even for a year … And I wonder, will we still have friends when we go to collect our pets after our year away? Or a gigantic bill for damages rendered??

  4. What are your opinions on getting a dog AFTER kids? I know it’s in our future and I am quite afraid…

    • My best piece of advice is to treat your dog like a child. Teach him the rules, give him opportunities to practice (and mess up), and give him the time and attention he needs and deserves. It sounds so simple, yet so many people don’t do it. And then they wonder why their dogs are “bad.” There are very few bad dogs out there, but quite a few bad dog owners! Okay, stepping off soap box now … =>

  5. Happy Birthday Rocky! wow, you are so sweet to remember him. We have given up on the birthdays for the dogs…all three of them. I actually took them on a walk today and they thought I was joking. Poor neglected doggies.

  6. This sounds so familiar, though our story involves a yellow lab, who is almost 10 and only 60 pounds. She answers to the name of Sadie, and though still loved so much, truly does play final fiddle in our house.

    Happy Birthday Rocky!

  7. Aw – nothing better than dog and its family. Rocky sounds like a genuine pal.

  8. Aaaaw! We’re thinking about getting a dog too but I am worried about the work involved. I would want to be 100% ready.

  9. What a cute little face! I love you include all of his faults in an endearing way. He was lucky to have found a home with you. And that photo on the beach is so wonderful.

  10. How sweet! I suppose only with our pets (certainly not our children or spouses) can we so honestly admit, “You play fourth fiddle now.” I thought that was funny. Happy Birthday Rocky!

  11. What a sweetie! Does he get to go to Transylvania?

  12. Happy birthday Rocky! I know what you mean by 4th fiddle. My Kirby was my “first” baby who used to sleep under the blankets with me and now she has her own bed and forbidden from all kinds of places she used to have full freedom in. But our lives would not be the same without her – who else would clean all the food off the floor, saving us from using the vacuum after each meal with our daughter?

  13. […] yesterday, he was a fluffy, wiggly furball with ears as big as his whole body. Today, he’s 9. There’s gray in his muzzle. He […]

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