Saying goodbye to Rocky

sweet boy

Sometimes life is black and white. Mostly though, and all too often, it's very, very gray. Working in healthcare has shown me that we frequently hold on for too long. We hold on for love, for hope, for desire, for memory, for time, for want of more. Frequently those emotions are born out of selflessness, but sometimes the desire to hold on flips the coin to the side of the more selfish struggle/inability to let go. For both Andy and I, quality of life is more valuable than quantity...after much debate and sorrow and heartbreak this week, we decided to let our Rock-monster go, a function of freeing him from a degenerative disease that was robbing him of ability and spirit, if not of sound mind. He only stopped hiking nine months, almost unable to walk, we decided to let him go while he still had some dignity and joy remaining in his eyes.

typical antics: an upside down boxer smile

What a silly, silly boy. I have met few dogs with his side-by-side goofiness and enthusiasm for life. Not the brightest bulb (you could hear the wind whistling between his ears), but such a lover and always, always up for a snuggle. If I were to describe him as a TV character, his personality would fall somewhere between Kramer from Seinfeld and Homer Simpson.

ear scratchums are sooooo awesome

I came to a personal peace with our decision this week when I finally acknowledged that our giant love machine was really no longer up for cuddling. If there is one thing this boy did, it was that he never turned down luvin'. That was our final cue. 
If we are to list a few memories to elicit laughter, it would be watching him gallop headlong down a trail, desperately trying to catch some marmots popping out of their hidey-holes...only to run into the rock when said marmot dropped back underground. Hunting grasshoppers was also never successful: it's not easy to stalk bugs when you are 75lbs of neither quiet nor dignity.

Scaling six-foot wood fences with ease. Opening the kitchen cupboards, pulling out, chewing open and proceeding to disperse an entire 20lb bag of white rice all over the kitchen.

Standing on top of my Subaru, acting like the king of the world (yes, he scaled cars, too).

Squeaky toy massacres.

Dreaming so deeply that he falls off the couch and gets stuck between the coffee table and the couch on the floor on his back. Like a turtle.

neither dignity nor grace, and he doesn't care one bit

Fifty mile backpacks in Central Oregon. Mountain snow cones and sunny naps in the high alpine. My constant, loyal, hiking companion.

backpacking on Mount Hood, one of our favorite places

checking out Helens with me

cat nap at 8600' elevation

Pig-piles on the couch. He was as excited about couch naps as he was about hiking.

Love you, our boy. 

sunny napping on a Waptus River backpack

Goat Rocks: a special place, site of both our first and last backpacking trips together


Ingunn said...

I'm so, so sorry for your loss. It's wonderful to see these photos of that happy, happy dog, truly a life well-lived. He was lucky to have you as his family, and it sounds like you were lucky to have him, too!

Manda said...

Thank you, Ingunn. I can't explain (and probably don't have to) WHY it is so hard to lose our dogs. We brought him home from a family who had left him outside for almost the first 14 months of his life; he was a silly, silly, bouncing joy of a boy.