Rocky was my best friend. Unfortunately I feel that he was more of a friend to me, than I was to him at the end. I regret it and cry alot about it because I miss him so much. I am even crying now writting this. Its been six months now since I lost him and it still hurts. He was such a big part of my life.
My wife bought Rocky for me in March 1997, for my 30th. She got him cheep as the breeder said that he wouldn't be able to show him because of his deformed ear. The ear was folded in on itself and by the time my birthday came in the June it had sorted itself out.
He was growing quickly and becoming a handsome black and tan adult Belgan Shepherd. I would awake at 5.45 have a cuppa and be out with him every morning on our 2 - 3 mile walk. I'd go to work and as soon as I got home he was there at my side. No matter what I was doing, even wanting to follow me to the loo where he would sometimes open the door, come in and sit in front of me wanting his ears rubbed. He loved that, I'd be whatching tv and he would sit up, give me a paw and persist until I squashed his ear to the side of his head and ruffed it up. I guess it was the equivelant feeling of sticking a cotton bud in your ear.
Right from the start he was a great dog. He would allow my two boys to play with him, even when they would stand behind hiw whilst he sat letting them grab his ears and pretend that thy were on a motorbike. They all grew up together and I know that they miss him too.
He loved to go places in the car and always seemed to know where he was, barking and becoming restless when we were approaching my wifes parents house, our static caravan by the sea and pulling onto our street. I loved spending time at the caravan in the summer, when I would take him for long walks along the beach upto the old roman fort, or just around the country lanes. I hardly ever had to have him on a lead and I would only have to say "across" for him to cross a road. He would even stay right by my side when I was on my push bike, just trotting along next to my as happy as larry.
That is how it was up untill about 5 years ago. We moved house, sold the caravan as the kids were getting older and not wanting to go as much. I took ill with a long ongoing illness and we couldn't go out together as much. But he would still come to work with me on a Saturday morning and just lie next to me while I was working in my office. Everyone used to make a big fuss of him a work, taking time out to come and see us and stroke him.
He was lovely on the inside as well as the out, everyone who lived around us knew him and loved him. Even those who were intimidaited by large dogs, such as my mother came to realise how placid he was and loved him. At first people out walking their small dogs would panic, picking them up when he went over to say hello as he loved to ee other dogs. He would love to sit on our front step, watching the world go by and passers by would call on him to give him a stroke.
He started to loose his health about two or more years ago with the onset of arthritis and a muscle wasting disease in his back legs. Not being able to jump into the car and struggling with the stairs of an evening when he would go to bed sleeping at the top of the stairs on the landing. I suppose I was in denial,thinking me and my pal would always be together.
It all went so wrong for me on my sons 18th birthday in July. Rocky must of been in a lot of pain, but being a dog they cant tell you. My son had a party at our house, inviting a few of his friends around. There was nobody who hadn't been before and the night started well. That was untill about midnight when one of my sons friends bent down to stroke Rocky and Rocky bit him. My son, obviously concerned for both his friend and the dog went over to check Rocky.... who bit him too. Both boys had to go to casualty with my sons friend recieving several stitches to his face. Luckily due to him knowing how placid Rocky usually was and his injury looking worse than it actually was he took no action towards my dog....that was all me. It could of been so much worse as I know how strong Rocky's jaws were after whatching him with bones etc. On hind sight I now believe that Rocky was probably warning people away and if he had so desired I am sure he could of done so much more damage to my son and his friend.
The very next day I took Rocky with my wife and son to the vets. The vet told me that the only coarse of action is to put Rocky to sleep.
Which I did.
I regret doing that so much. At the time I wasn't thinking straight. The vet never even bothered to examine Rocky and I held him close to me while I watched the life of my friend slowly going from his eyes and him going limp in my arms while he was put to sleep. There's so much more that I could tell you of my beautiful Rocky but I'm finding this bit so hard. Trying to type through the tears and my heavy heart from what I've done. I will never forgive myself for not getting him checked out properly from another vet and have since changed practices for my other pets (Khan the staffy, Marble and Louie the two cats. The new vets are lovely and very caring, putting the animals first.
Sleep peacefully my friend and I am so so sorry for letting you down when you needed me most.