Originally uploaded by bugdomman
It took me some time and a great deal of thought to write what I’m about to write. However, It’s almost November and November of last year is when our dog Rocky passed away. I was going to wait until then to write something but something has came up where I feel compelled to do it now. I would explain but I don’t see the need right now and I think it wouldn’t help even if I did. So here goes …
I remember when I was a kid way back in the day living in a small house in Southwestern Pennsylvania that the Summers lasted forever and the winter drug on and life is short. This post is about my treasured friend Rocky but it’s also about losing the pets we love most. So, I’m going to start with m first taste of loss when I was seven or so years old.
the earliest pet I can remember was our English Sheep dog, her name was Tandy. What I remember most about Tandy should be her thick soft and fluffy fur. It should be how lovable she was to all that knew and loved her. I however, remember her death the most because I hadn’t know it until that precise time. No one sat me down at the age of seven or younger and explained to me that the gift of life is fleeting and one day all things that live must die and by it’s very definition, life means death. How can they? Who wants that job? to sit an innocent seven year old down and crush him … no one that’s who. So, I don’t blame anyone it’s just a part of that life I was trying to understand as young as I was.
Tandy didn’t die a dignified death like our collie, Rocky, and Cedric before him. Her death was the result of her love for her family and the lack of paying attention by a neighbor who was driving a little fast. I don’t remember exactly what time of year it was … I think it could have been spring or summer. Not important. You see, then, we lived directly in front of a busy two lane highway and across the road was an open field I guess you might say. My brother (the oldest) and sister, (middle) where playing in the field and Tandy wanted to play with them. So she ran out of our yard and tried to run across the street to be with her family. I was inside watching TV (probably Three’s Company or Sesame St.) We had a large window that overlooked the front yard and beyond that into the field and the surrounding neighborhood off in the distance. I remember seeing my brother and sister and their friends, I remember seeing Tandy run across the road and I remember the truck tires screeching to a halt. Tandy was gone. Oh, sure, she lived for a while but eventually had to be put down because her injuries were too severe. You know, come to think of it I was way younger than seven … I must have been a toddler because I remember being in my mom’s lap waiting for my dad to come out of the Veterinarian’s. I was blind then too in case y’all were wondering, and when I saw him come out of the Vet’s I remember thinking he was closer than he was and then leaped out of the truck and onto the pavement. So, as my dad tells it to this day he had a bad day. Had to put the family dog to sleep, and take his youngest son to the emergency room. However, I live with a reminder to this day. I’ve got a scar on my nose that is most times mistaken for a wart of all things. I got that scar when I landed face first from about six feet off the ground. Sigmund Fried might say that my action was an underlying death wish at the loss of the family pet. I would contradict that notion and say that I was merely acting and not thinking. A a trait I must have abandoned after that day as I don’t take a single breath to this day without first thinking about it rationally.
So losing Tandy the most lovable and soft pet a family of five could ever have taught me a few things I would need later. I learned from losing her that when you love something you have got to enjoy it now. You don’t have a second chance. You can’t put someone or something on a shelf and only take it down here and there. You have got to either love them with everything in you or you don’t at all. I also learned that life is tough and you might as well have a sense of humor or else you risk going mad. One thing I learned that I ignored was that if you love someone you’ve got to let them know. When I was fourteen I lost my brother the same way I lost Tandy. Early, and unnatural. Not a day goes by almost seventeen years later I don’t think about my brother. No, I don’t talk much about him and I don’t even think I’ve mentioned it here but I promise you not one day goes by where I don’t think about him. I have one regret regarding my brother and that regret is I don’t remember telling him I loved him before he died. My parents have told me that I must have. My friends have told me that even if I didn’t they were sure he knew. However, I can’t remember it and how do I really know he knew? I don’t. I’ve lost a few pets over the years and I’ve lost my brother. I have known loss well in my thirty-one years. I have also known heartache and plain old bad luck. It’s tough. Life is hard. No matter who you are or what you do Life will prove itself boss one way or another and the best hope we have is to enjoy every ounce of it we are given.
So all of this brings me up to 2006. My father, a man I look up to and admire. One who provided for his family at the expense of his health and some might say freedom. A man who has never let a day go pass having not worked himself into exhaustion. A man who lost a son. spent that year battling cancer. We found out right before Thanksgiving, 2005 and that entire year was a blur. I have lost my brother, I’m not sure I could have taken another blow if I lost my father too. Thankfully my dad’s strength and his stubbornness paid off and he got better. Rocky however wasn’t so fortunate. As it seems, fate decided that a life had to go and if it wasn’t going to be my father’s then it had to be Rocky’s. That’s how I see it anyhow and I certainly understand how I might be cynical about it but that’s … life. It was just after Thanksgiving 2006 when Rocky passed on. A dog that was so loyal to his family he demanded in his own way to die at home and with the people who loved and looked after him and he in return loved and looked after. I’m not going to go into his last moments here, it’s too painful but I will say that losing him him was just as hard as losing any family member and having survived losing my brother I think I’m qualified to say that. Some people don’t care about animals. They see them as a nuisance or a pest … a problem that is to be solved. Again, I should know that too because in the last few months Rocky was with us an anonymous neighbor called animal control over Rocky because he barked loudly. Which if this neighbor would have came to use we would have explained that he only barked loud because he was old and could not hear how loud he was. I think if people don’t like animals then they have no heart and no compassion and I want nothing to do with them. They are not human. That’s as plain as I can say it. You might be one of those people, and you might write me with a million reasons why you hate animals but I don’t care I don’t want to hear it and please keep it to yourself. I love life. I love those close to me and most of all I am happy that I made it this far. Yes, life is difficult and it’s not always easy but I wake up, I breathe and I see the little wag of Fifi’s tail and I know all is alright. I may walk by our cat Smoky and get my foot tore up yet I still love her and want to kiss her many times even though my head may look like a loaf of sliced bread when I was done. Most of all I hope what I have written here this morning helps someone. I hope that what I have gone through helps them get through what they’re going through and I hope my loss was not in vein.
Peace, Love, & Understanding,