Sunday, July 7, 2013


Goodbye, Rocky
9.27.2008 - 7.5.2013

I've gotten personal on The Holidaze before, but not like this.  I apologize if this isn't the typical post you'd expect, but I feel the need to express my emotions and pay tribute to my friend.  See, this past Friday, July 5th 2013, was one of the worst days I'd ever had in my life.  Our beloved English Bulldog, Rocky, unexpectedly passed away.  

It was just a week prior that I first mentioned Rocky on The Holidaze.  We had just won him his rubber pig, which he loved so much, and I had to share the photos with all of you.  I wanted you to see how happy he was, as he always was, when given treats and goodies.  Despite what you may think about Bulldogs, they're full of energy and Rocky was no exception.  He loved to run around, jump, and play with his toys.  He loved people so much that he could never be considered a guard dog.  Despite his baby bark, he wouldn't hurt a fly.  He wanted to give you kisses, he wanted you to tickle his back legs and, if he trusted you enough, he'd let you rub his belly.

I purchased Rocky in 2008 from a breeder in Brooklyn.  Eileen and I had always talked about owning an English Bulldog because they're just so adorable and, I knew, it was the perfect idea for that Christmas.  As soon as I laid eyes on him, only 9 weeks old, I fell in love.  He was the cutest dog I had ever seen and, I knew, he was coming home with me.  

I couldn't wait until Christmas, which was a half-month away, to debut this munchkin to Eileen.  I thought I could, but I was too excited so I decided to introduce them that night.  I told Eileen to wait in the living room, I went into the bedroom where Rocky (who was Bruce at the time) was sleeping, and opened the door.  He ran out, as fast as he could, directly over to Eileen as if he knew they were meant to be.  That they were and I never saw a more beautiful pair.

That night, "Bruce" kept us up for hours and hours.  We were both in College and had final exams that week, but we pushed through, played with him when he cried, and cleaned up after him.  Before we knew it, it was 7am and he was on his way to his first Vet visit.  But, first, we had to give him his new name.  We had always planned, if we ever had an English Bulldog, on naming him Beefcake.  But this little guy was too tough for that.  He was my little ass-kicker with the face of a meanie but, behind the wrinkles, a heart of gold.  It was easy.  He was now Rocky.

We had amazing fun with Rocky throughout our short time with him.  We dressed him as a Bumble Bee for Halloween, we gave him Burger King Whopper's on his Birthday, we gave him a Ninja Turtles blanket, and tablespoons of Peanut Butter when he was a good boy.  He was always a good boy.  There was never a day that went by without Rocky making us smile.  No matter how bad of a day you were having, his head in your lap would make you forget about your troubles.  His little sniffs, his big sneezes, his paw on your foot, or the look in his eye could make you melt.  For as tough as he pretended to be, he loved you unconditionally and he knew it went both ways.  I just wish we had another opportunity to prove we loved him more than he could ever truly know.

There was no greater feeling than laying in bed with Rocky next to you or down by your feet.  When he wanted to wrestle, he'd jump on your head as hard as he could, but when he was tired he was a fluffy chunk of laziness.  In that moment, he was jelly in your hands.  You could take his smushy face, give him the biggest kiss you wanted, and he'd be too tired to care.  Those are the unforgettable moments.  Snuggling up to him, putting my arm around him, waking up to see him still sleeping next to you was a blessing.  They're the moments that make you thank God for life.


Unfortunately, Rocky was prone to health problems and such is the nature of the English Bulldog breed.  As a puppy, he wouldn't eat.  We had to take him to the vet within the first week for blood in his stool.  He suffered from allergies and hot spots in the summer.  We knew the possibilities going into it, but we also knew we'd do everything we could to keep him healthy.  That's where the guilt comes into play and you start asking yourself if you did enough.  For as much as we loved Rocky, sometimes love isn't enough.  I suppose it's natural to question and blame yourself in times of heartbreak, but I know Rocky was well taken care of and loved beyond limits.

I'll never forget seeing my friend, the buddy I once carried home for the first time, lying lifeless on the floor.  I wish I could forget!  I got down next to him, sobbed my eyes out and pleaded with him to wake up.  I knew it was impossible, but I prayed for a miracle.  I hoped for the impossible because I was, and still am, so desperate to see my baby Rocky boy flash me that doggy smile and gallop around with his head held high with pride.  I long for it more than you realize and I wish I could change my reality.  I wish I could bring him back.

As is the circle of life, I was now carrying Rocky out of the very house we once carried him into.  It was a surreal moment and, still, I find myself repeating "I can't believe it" over and over.  I truly can't believe my buddy is gone.  I attempt to look at photos to reminisce on the happy times, but all I do is cry and remember that he's gone.  But as he laid in the Vet's office, he looked like he was sleeping.  It appeared as though he was at peace and I use that as small consolation.  I pet him one more time, kissed him on his wrinkly head for the last time, and said "Goodbye, Rocky.  I Love You."  Words I knew I'd one day say, but never thought they'd come so soon.

Before we left, the Vet's office was kind enough to take a paw print for me.  I always said, when God took Rocky home, I'd like to get his paw tattoo'd on my leg to pay tribute to my partner in crime.  I don't have any tattoo's, but I thought it would be the perfect way to keep him by my side and honor the connection we formed in December of 2008.  Again, I never thought this would all happen so soon, but I intend on following through with my plan.  Until then, his paw print is here and I'm looking at it, remembering how strong he was, as I write this.

I don't know if you believe in signs from above, but I always have.  I've seen and heard things in my life that go beyond coincidence.  Non-believers will certainly disagree and simply chalk it up to coincidence, and that's their fair opinion, but I choose to believe it Heaven, miracles, and signs that let us know everything will be okay.  When Eileen and I arrived home, we parked the car in a spot we ordinarily avoid due to a disgruntled neighbor who doesn't like cars too close to his driveway.  We had plenty of room, but everybody avoids the area, anyway.  But being as upset as we were, we took the first spot we found and it happened to be that one.  As we looked up, the van parked in front of us had a sticker on the back of it.  It was a sticker of a paw.  I said, as I began to cry, "I guess Rocky's sign is the paw and he's letting us know he made it alright."

A few hours later, Eileen attempted to go to work in order to take her mind off of things.  They were understanding and allowed her time to recover, but she pushed through.  After she left, I received a picture via text.  She had just parked the car in the lot and, right in front of her, another car with a paw sticker on the back.  For as sad as I was, it was the first sight that brought a smile to my face.  I like to believe that Rocky gave us each a paw to signify that he's okay and is celebrating a short, but well-lived, life with us in Heaven.  We haven't seen a paw since and, because it could be a coincidence, we've purposely looked for them.  But nope, those are the only two and, for us, it reaffirms our belief in signs and the other side.  It's comforting in a time of sadness and heartbreak.

Death is a part of life.  We all know that and, unfortunately, I've experienced it plenty in my 26 years.  I've been to more wakes than I care to remember, but I understand that it's a part of life and, for as much as it sucks, it's natural.  It's the only thing we can guarantee in this life.  Some may never understand how the death of a pet is comparable to that of a person, but that means they've never had a relationship with an animal.  Rocky was not my pet, he was not an animal, he wasn't even a dog.  Rocky was our best friend.  Rocky was our buddy.  He was there for you, at any time of the day, to offer unconditional love.  Whenever it felt like the world was falling down around us, Rocky was there to make you feel better.  In a life where it's difficult to put your trust in people, Rocky was a friend you never questioned.  You could trust him because, you could tell, he trusted you.  That's what makes it so hard.  He never gave us a reason to be mad or angry.  Unfortunately, the only thing he ever did to upset us was leave us too soon.  It's the only way Rocky could have ever made me cry.


I've had a rough two days.  I can't sleep at night and I'm having a difficult time finding pleasure from things that I enjoy.  We went to the movies last night in hopes that Despicable Me 2 would cheer us up but, besides a few laughs from the minions, it didn't work.  Eileen cried during the movie and, as soon as it ended, my mind went right to Rocky and I lost it.  It's extremely difficult to shake.  I can't get the image of him lying there out of my head.  I want to forget the pain and remember the happy times we had.  I want to remember the walks we went on.  I want to remember the way he made me laugh and licked my ears.  It's so hard to do all that without soaking in this sorrow.


We don't know what happened to Rocky.  The Vet said he may have had a heart attack due to the 4th of July fireworks.  She also said that English Bulldogs have a much smaller wind pipe than other dogs and he may have lost his breath in the middle of the night.  I wish I knew, but knowing doesn't change the fact that he's gone and we can't bring him back.  Believe me, I'd trade everything I own for another day with him.  Just one more day.  Hell, give me another 15 minutes to say goodbye the right way.  It hurts my heart to know he died all alone in the middle of the night.  I'd give anything to have been there with him, arms wrapped around him, holding him tight as he went home to God.  I only hope that he went peacefully.

I don't push religion on anybody and I'm not one to talk about it publicly, but I do believe that there's a God and that all dogs go to Heaven.  It's what's keeping me going, right now.  I know that Rocky is up there, running around with other dogs, eating peanut butter and Whopper's, as happy as can be.  I'd like to think he misses me, but believing how great Heaven is, I doubt he even has time to be sad.  I'm sure he's having the most amazing time and I know I have plenty of family and friends up there to keep him company.  That's comforting.

If you read this, I want to thank you for honoring Rocky with your time.  He'd give you a big slobbery kiss if he was here.  I guarantee, no matter who you are or where you're from, Rocky would have loved you.  I remember a time when he was less than a year old.  He was still nipping and liked to play rough.  We walked by a couple with their newborn baby in the carriage.  They loved Rocky, called him over to play, but we held him tightly in fear that he may nip.  Then Rocky stuck his head into the carriage.  We got nervous, but he gently licked the baby's toes and the couple laughed and said how cute it was.  It's the perfect story to describe Rocky.  He had a wrinkly face, his teeth stuck out from his bottom lip, he sometimes looked angry, but he was a sweetheart.  He never wanted to hurt anybody, all he wanted was love and affection from whoever he came to know.  It was truly my honor to have known Rocky.  I only wish our time together had lasted longer.

Finally, I'd like to pay homage to my buddy by simply saying:

Rocky, I miss you more than words can ever express and I look forward to the day that we meet again.  I will never ever forget you and I will always consider myself blessed to have known you.  I thank God for bringing us together on that cold December day and providing Eileen and I with unforgettable memories.  I'll never understand why our time was cut short, but I know you're in a better place, an angel looking down on us with a smile. Until the day that I can once again hold you in my arms, God will keep you wrapped in His.  I Love You, Rocky.

If you'd like to pay tribute to Rocky, go buy yourself a Whopper and take a look up to Heaven.  He'd like that.


  1. This is the sweetest post I've ever read - I'm crying with you! {{HUGS}}

    I felt the same way when I lost my Skeeter kitty. He'd slept with me every night for 11 years and I'd taken him to the vet because he wasn't acting right. He had kidney stones and when the vet gave him a sedative to help him sleep the night, he didn't wake up. That first night without him was the worst. I kept expecting to feel his fuzziness up against me. And then my other cat wandered thru the house, calling for him. I just held him & sobbed my eyes out.

    I can't tell you that it gets easier. I still miss him and it's been about a year and a half. More {{hugs}} for you both!

  2. Lisa,
    Thank you for reading my post and honoring Rocky with your time. I truly appreciate your kind words.

    I'm sorry to hear about your kitty, who I'm sure was family, and I thank you for sharing your story. That's very sad, and I know how you feel, but I like to believe that they're up there playing together, having a great time.

    Thanks again for reading and offering your condolences. It means so much to both of us!! {{hugs}} right back at ya! =)

  3. So sorry for your loss. It looks like you made the best of your time together so there is always those memories to keep.

  4. Thank you! We definitely did and those are the memories that are getting me through. I truly appreciate your condolences. Means a lot


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