When the boy was two, we lost our beloved golden retriever, Cosmos. It was a rough time for me, and I was nowhere near ready to get another dog. Mr b, however, kept pushing for it. I wasn’t ready and told him so, but I could see that he was constantly thinking about it. One day, I came home from work and mr b and the boy weren’t home. Not that this was particularly unusual, but that day, I just had a feeling. And then I saw the local newspaper open to the classifieds and that feeling got stronger. A few minutes later, they came home & when I asked where they were, mr b said they had gone to the grocery store. I sighed in relief because my feeling was wrong – I was not ready. Mr b went out to the car to get the groceries and I picked up the classified to throw them away before he got any ideas, and the boy turned to me and said the words that changed my life:
“Daddy got a puppy!”
Admittedly, I wasn’t happy, but then mr b walked in with a goofy, bumbling black lab mix puppy & I couldn’t help but love him. He was a few months old, already and not well-trained (which would be my biggest frustration ove rhte next few years. Mr b had come across an ad by an elderly woman who recently lost a dog and replaced him with a brand new, cute as a button black lab. Well, she soon realized that a new puppy was too much for her (and her remaining old dog) to take, so she gave him up for adoption. And then he was ours. She had named him Boris, which was possibly the worst name for him, ever, so he immediately became Rocky.
Over the years, he turned into a great dog. He was so loving – as a young dog, he would practically try to wrap himself around your head like a turban. And he never outgrew the need to constantly be touching you. He was funny – we’d put him in costumes (like a while polyester jumpsuit – and call him Smellvis) and put things on his head and he’d take it like a champ. He was protective – he’d bark at anyone and anything that came near our house. It could be annoying at times, but I always appreciated it – when there was a rash of burglaries & fraud in the area perpetrated by an Irish Traveler-like group going door to door, he scared them off when they came to his door. He was a love pig, but he sounded like a quivering, snarling, white hot ball of canine terror (Family Dog, anyone?). He was gentle – we often found him curled up with a cat or a kid.
One of his most prominent traits, though, was that he was nervous. And what did he do when he was nervous? He shits He shit Big. Some examples:
Your son has a friend over. The friend’s dad and sister come to pick him up. The kids start playing Twister. Rocky is nervous about the strangers and shits on Twister.
It’s Christmas morning. There is much squealing and yelling and wrapping paper being strewn about. Rocky is nervous about the excitement and shits on Christmas.
Mr b is picking up the boy from daycare. He takes Rocky along. He stops at the ATM machine and gets back in his work van. While he is out, Rocky, nervous about being alone in the van, ignores the 3000 square feet of floor space in the van, and instead somehow balances himself and shits on the driver’s seat. Husband does not notice as he gets in, and sits on the driver’s seat. Husband contemplates murder.
You are 7 months pregnant (and in high-gagging mode). Your 2 cousins come to visit. They pet and love Rocky. When he walks away, all present get the “who farted?” look. Rocky, nervous about the stock market, shits on said cousins’ feet. Cousins contemplate murder. You contemplate barfing. The boy cracks up.
You are 9 months pregnant, and driving Rocky to the groomer. This is already a trauma, since Rocky is not a Car Dog. He is flailing about, falling down, hitting the dashboard and being a pain in the ass. In the middle of a call to the office, you get the “who farted?” look. Apparently, Rocky is nervous about automobile travel and shits on the passenger seat. Rocky is suddenly in the backseat, crying softly. You contemplate barfing. You decide it’s a fine idea and do so. You call Husband and tell him of your murder plans.
Despite all that, he turned out to be one of the best dogs I’ve ever known. And now he is gone. I miss my loving, funny, protective, gentle, nervous puppy.