Our dog of 8 years, Rocky, passed away this week. His body had become a cage of pain for him, and anyone who has known Rocky knows that he was never meant for cages. Rocky spent the first 3 weeks that we had him trying to escape until we spent an entire weekend building him a fortress in which he finally accepted that he was home, and he was safe. Rocky had a long, full, adventurous life, and I know he is happy up in dog heaven, chasing squirrels and eating birds.
Rocky taught us all many things about life, as most pets do. Most importantly, he taught us that a dog CAN eat a magpie in one gulp and not to leave our birds on the floor. Well, those probably weren’t the MOST important things he taught us, but Rocky’s wild side was certainly the most entertaining aspect of our lives for a long time. Even after the children arrived, we still found delight (and horror) in some of the things he would do for fun and attention.
One thing that has stuck in my brain from this summer is the belief that you can do more than you think you can. I know that I am trying hard to live my life without limiting beliefs and negative self-talk. Dogs never think about their limits. They never have self-limiting beliefs like, “Maybe I won’t be able to take down this baby deer that wandered into my backyard.” They just act. And generally, they succeed.
I always loved Rocky’s face when he did something particularly astonishing/horrifying. He would be panting and drooling and have that smile on his face like “That was awesome! Let’s do it again!” That’s the way I want to feel about life, even if it’s only for a few minutes every day. We should all try to capture the insane joy for life that dogs know.
For all the zest Rocky put into life, he also knew how to take it easy. That’s probably why he was my dad’s favorite grand-dog. Both of them know how to relax, and it makes all the difference in the world. In life, you can’t go full-tilt all the time, or you will get burned out. I know one of my flaws is that I often don’t take time to sit and chill out, and it’s probably just as important to my mind and body as all the other stuff I do.
I appreciate the gift of Rocky in our lives. He was a special and unique dog, and I don’t just say that because I have an original portrait of him in our office. The best way I can honor him is to remember the important things he imparted to us through living his life with amazing passion and appreciation for what he was given. Love you, Big Cat!