A tribute to Rocky
Whilst Christmas is a time of celebration and family, last Christmas Dr Jason sadly lost his beautiful pup Rocky. This was and still is a devastating loss, as their bond and love for each other was immeasurable. Dr Jason wanted to share his and Rocky’s story with our clients, as you are all a part of his extended family, and thank everyone for their well wishes and support during this difficult time, as it was appreciated deeply.
Goodbye Dear Friend
Tuesday the 20th December 2016
Rocky first came into my life ten years ago. I ‘inherited’ his care when I arrived back from a fishing trip. He was terribly sick but was still a happy boy, banging away with his tail into the side of his cage. I took an instant liking to him despite his appearance. Rocky had the face only a mother could love. He was emaciated with chronic vomiting that failed to respond to intravenous fluids and medication. It was decided that he needed surgery immediately. Unfortunately his family couldn’t afford the surgery. They made the hard choice to surrender him in the home that he would live and be fostered into a loving home.
Rocky would have to fight to survive. His systematic illness made him a dangerous anaesthetic candidate. Once Rocky was anaesthetised the extent of his illness was plain to see. In later years, I would come to learn that Rocky would eat anything. This time it was an entire corn cob. Half of the length of his small intestine was dead and needed resection. This part of the bowl was removed and the two ends sutured back together. This is an extremely delicate procedure where the sutured bowel can break down days to weeks later. I decided I would take Rocky home with me for rehabilitation and then find him a suitable home. He still needed to put on over ten kilos and have his skin disease treated. Due to the extent of ongoing care he would need, finding a suitable home would be difficult.
Rocky made a full recovery from surgery and his skin cleared up will with medicated washes and antibiotics. Once his health had improved he was officially on the market to be re-homed. I never did get around to that part…
Most of Rocky’s days were spent sleeping on the deck in the sun. You could set your watch by him alerting us that 7pm is dinner time! Overall, he was an easy dog to love and care for, even if he did need weekly medicated baths, ear cleaning and medication. Ten years went by so fast.
Six months ago Rocky started to develop odd behaviours. At first he started to increase his water consumption. Blood and urine texts fail to highlight any abnormalities. Later he developed dementia and would pace the deck. Finally he lost his appetite. I had a difficult decision to make. We decided to get Rocky an MRI, as his behaviour suggested a tumour on the thirst centre of the brain. I knew what the results were when the specialist entered the room. I went back to see him one last time and kissed him good bye. He never woke from his anaesthetic.
I have to manage grief everyday in my job. I euthanize animals I have known since they were puppies and kittens. I console the client, often fighting to hold back tears myself because I can feel their pain. Even now as I write this my emotions get the better of me. It is a little bit lonely now on the deck.
Rocky was a much loved companion… a loyal but lazy friend. I am thankful that he came into my life. He was always there when I needed him. I think of him every morning when I am having my cup of coffee. His ashes are buried close by in the strawberry pot he loved to sleep on.