Rocco The Wonder Dog
When Roc was a puppy I use to call him Rocco The Wonder Dog because I never knew what he was getting into when I wasn't home. He has chewed up everything from eye glasses to underwear, shoes to toys, trash to trinkets, and everything in between. (Let's not even talk about what he's stolen off the charcoal grill or dinner table!)
But as he's gotten up in years (77, God love 'em, in dog years) the title Wonder Dog fits him even more now, but NOT because of the mischief he gets into, it's because of his awesome personality. I wish I had just one smidgen of his positive attitude and zest for life.
Rocco has allergy problems that started when he was 4 years old (28 in dog years) and as a result he is constantly congested. Every day for the last seven years his nose has run. Literally, all the time -- copious amounts of nasal mucus flow relentlessly from the poor little guy's nose. (We're talking serious boogers here.) And obviously, he can't wipe his own nose or blow it, so we do it for him. We're all use to doing it now, and we don't even think twice about it. In fact, even some of our regular household guests do it. (Thanks, Hank! Rocco loves you!)
He has a touch of arthritis, too. One of his hind legs stiffens up on him and it takes him a few minutes to get rolling after a nap. There have been times when his leg has given out on him, too, making him fall. He can't run or go for long walks anymore (but he's still willing to take a short jaunt around the yard) and he needs a boost to get in the truck, or up on the bed.
His cataracts are making it harder for him to see. When I hand him treats, they fall to the floor because he doesn't see it clearly. He takes a bite of air instead of the treat. He bumps into things and got a sore on his leg the other day.
Some folks have told us we should 'put him out of his misery'. This is appalling to me.
Put him out of his misery?! -- aka kill him?! My answer is always the same, "Ahhhh, NO!"
I often wonder, is that supposed to make OUR lives easier? Or do these incredibly cruel people actually think we'd be doing Rocco a favor? Regardless of their intention, the fact remains that he's a part of our family and we're not going down the physician assisted death route. No way. Not as long as he's still wagging his tail and stealing from the trash.
This week I was home sick for two days with a nasty head cold. Rocco and I curled up together in bed. I took turns blowing my nose and wiping his nose. The whole two days I complained. "My head hurts, my nose hurts, I hate being sick, I can't eat, I can't sleep, I'm cold ... wah, wah, wah."
Then it occurred to me: Rocco, God love him, NEVER complains! He just deals with it.
Obviously Rocky can't talk and complain like a human, but he could complain in other ways. He could get moody and snap at us when he isn't feeling good but he HAS NEVER done that.
I started to really think about this:
The poor little guy has been sick everyday for the last seven years and he's never once snapped at anyone. He still gets up from his nap and waddles to the door to greet whoever is coming in, with a tail wag and sloppy wet kisses. He is always willing to go for walks or rides when WE want to go even though he might be sore and not really feel like it himself.
When my daughter dragged a kitten home Rocco showered the little stray with affection. Licking its little face and letting it curl up with him. He even let the little kitten eat out of his dog dish right along side him. Not many dogs would be so kind.
Rocco doesn't have a mean bone in his whole body.
So, here's the point to this post: My dog is teaching me to be a better person!
- No matter how crummy I feel, I will get up and greet visitors with a smile
- I will share my food willingly
- I will be loyal to the end
- I will not snap at others
- If I am asked to go, I will go for walks and joy rides
- If I can't run, I'll walk
- I will be kind to strays and to the homeless
- I will accept a boost if I need one
- I'll focus on what I can do, rather than dwell on what I can't do
Dogs really are man's best friend!