Me and My Dog Rocky

November 25, 2008
By Adrianna Reich, Niskayuna, NY

I still remember those funny times when my dog Rocky would run into the wall with a hat over his head, and when he completely ignored a pathway my dad labored over making. That way, Rocky would not have to hurt his hips again. Those were the happy, funny times that I will never forget. But, of course, with everything good and happy, there is always something bad. Rocky turned mad overnight, and it was very hard for me to handle that when it happened.

Before we saved Rocky from near death, we did not know anything about him. Since he was malnourished, he was very thin; we could count every single one of his ribs. Due to his thinness, we could not tell his age. At first, the vet thought he was two, and then they said he was six, but it turned out that he was ten. Rocky’s fur was yellow and it felt like straw. It was disgusting. That was on op of brown dirty fur. The two different colors lay on top of each other, and that made us think he was a German Sheppard.

After a few months full of love and play, Rocky was a healthy, normal dog. He had a beautiful brown coat, and from that we knew he was a chocolate Labrador retriever. He was also at a healthy weight.

Rocky was a fun dog to be around. He was always making us laugh, either at him, or someone else who involved my dog. When I came home from a party with my family, I brought back a plastic hat. I was young at the time, so I found humor in putting the hat over Rocky’s eyes. I wanted to see what he would do when he could not see. I did not expect anything funny to happen, but it turned out that Rocky was not as smart as I thought he was. He wanted to get the hat off his eyes, so he ran in circles, very frustrated. Rocky then ran straight into the wall. It was so hilarious, that I doubled over in laughter. My mom, the party pooper, had enough fun and took the hat off poor Rocky. Five and a half years later, I still think that incident was hilarious.

During that winter we almost got a foot of snow, and Rocky’s hips were bothering him a lot. My dad was thoughtful and decided to make a path through the deep snow that lead to the woods, where he went to the bathroom. My dad spent almost two hours making it for him. When my mom let Rocky out to go to the bathroom, he sped directly next to the path. It was almost as if he wanted to make my dad very, very angry. It worked because my dad was infuriated that Rocky would completely ignore his labor intensive path. My brother and I could not stop laughing at him.
Rocky was probably the best therapeutic dog I knew. He would just lie there, letting me pet him. When I was upset about anything that was all he had to do because I was always calmed down afterward. I do not know how it worked, but he always had the magic touch. After a very stressful day at school, I would come home and see him wag his tail like I was the best thing he ever saw. That just made me feel very happy and stress less.

Soon after he became healthy, he became a mad dog. The first sign of him becoming mad was when he became very territorial. Something snapped in his head; we are not exactly sure what snapped, but something absolutely did. Before that did happen, and someone walked by our house, he would wag his tail, basically saying, “I am here! Pet me! Do not forget about me!” He hardly ever had his fur stand up on ends when a person walked by. Then after the snap, and a neighbor walked by, he would get up and bark ferociously. The bark sounded as if a terrorist were walking by. After a few weeks, almost none of my neighbors walked by my house because they were scared of Rocky and what he could do. He would not stop barking until my mom would come out and soothe him. Towards the end of his life, that did not work either. Rocky would have had to just bark himself until he got sick, which was not healthy, but sadly, that was the only thing that would work. I never did like when that happened.

Another time was when my friend came over to my house and her mom left her car in the driveway. Rocky was inside when my friend rang the doorbell. He growled a growl that I had never heard before. It was a deep, get-away-from-my-house-NOW-or-I-will-attack type of growl. I did not know what to do about that. Then, when my mom finally got him away from the door and let my friend inside, Rocky lunged out the door and went directly to the car. He jumped up and started scratching it. I saw scratches up and down the side of the car when my mom got him down. I felt horrible afterward. After that incident, my mom decided to take Rocky to the veterinarian to find out if anything was wrong with him.

Nothing showed up on the CAT scan, but my mom did not trust it. Like before, the vet said he was two.

As more horrible incidents kept occurring, my mom was debating whether or not she should get rid of him. She then chose to do it; she wanted to cremate my first dog. Her reasoning was that we could not live with a dog that is mad. I was not happy with her choice, but I knew deep down this was the right thing to do for all of us.

The following week was a sad, mournful time. Rocky was my first dog, and the first “thing” I knew to pass away. Every night I would cry, and a couple of nights, I heard my mom cry too. That was very hard for me to deal with. Everybody missed Rocky, that was for sure, and even though he is gone, he always has a place in my heart.

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