Friday, June 19, 2009

Rest In Peace, Rocket

One of the sweetest Greyhounds I have ever known went to heaven yesterday. His name was Rocket and I used to board him at my house when his family went on trips. He came to my house for years & years, and I watched as he grew older. He had cheated death once before, when he was hit by a car and the vet took him home to watch over him at night and nurse him back to health. That health stayed with him until the beginning of this month, when he developed a large lump in his abdomen. 
He was at my house over the Memorial Day weekend, and showed no signs of feeling unwell. He played with us, begged for treats (one time he stole a meatball right off my husband's plate!) and slept on the futon day & night. I didn't even crate him. He was like family rather than a guest. 
A few days after he went home, I got a call from his owner. She was asking about some symptoms she was noticing with Rocket. After hearing what she had to say, I suggested she call her vet and bring him in for a visit. A few days after that she called to say the vet had diagnosed a lump, and Rocket was resting comfortably at home. That was all she said on the message she left me.
Last week I was thinking about Rocket and realized I had not called her back to see how he was doing. 
I heard from her today. It was as much of a shock to them as it was to me, since the day before she noticed his lump, he was chasing groundhogs in the yard and going for long walks. 
She told me they were doing palliative care at home, petting him and loving him, spoon feeding him soup when his appetite was failing, and giving him medication to ease his pain. 
Rocket was a happy, strong and well behaved Greyhound. He never caused me any trouble, even when there were 4 dogs in my house he got along well with them all. I will remember Rocket's quirks, from the way he used to lick my husband's legs for minutes on end, how he used to playfully growl when you tried to grab a toy out of his mouth, and how he would wrap his paw around your leg when he wanted you to pet him. 
I know it is a great loss to his family not to have him around, and it is a loss to my family too. One of the most poignant memories I have of the gentle Greyhound is how he absorbed my tears when my father died. I was boarding him that week, and when I came home from the hospital that night he came to me while I cried and cried. He stood by me and soaked up all my tears until there were no more. 
I am coming up on the 4th anniversary of my Dad's death June 25th. What a twist of fate is it that Rocket passed from this life almost the same time. 
Death comes to us all. His family gave him the final gift of love and caring, to ease his pain forever and give him peace. I know the feeling in their hearts tonight, because that feeling is in my heart too.
Rest in Peace, Rocket. You were loved.

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