Rocky: The Happiest Dog Alive

“No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement, and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog. Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself. I also suspect that we cherish dogs because their unblemished souls make us wish - consciously or unconsciously - that we were as innocent as they are, and make us yearn for a place where innocence is universal and where the meanness, the betrayals, and the cruelties of this world are unknown.” - Dean Koontz

It was in early 2013 that I met Leigh and her dogs for the first time. I made the trip out to Stow on a cold snowy morning, and she picked me up from the train station. We hit it off immediately, and then I met her dogs...three of the most wonderful creatures on the planet. 

But today, I'm going to introduce you to Rocky - the happiest dog alive. 

Here it is in Leigh's own words, because she says it best: 

After celebrating my birthday with friends in 2010, my friend Caroline asked me if I would like another (third) dog. I said, "no", but asked her why she was asking. Caroline had been pet sitting a Collie for neighbors and they decided they wanted to re-home her because they wanted to travel. :(

I offered to foster her until we could find her a permanent home for her. Caroline went back to the owners with the offer, but hey had already shipped her off to family member in WV. By that point, I was mentally prepared to foster, so I decided to go to Forever Home Rescue New England's website (where I adopted Bonnie and Gidget) to look at their available dogs to see if any dogs struck me as someone I could foster. That's when I came across Rocky's Petfinder profile, his smiling face, and his heartbreaking story. I contacted FHRNE to ask if he was coming to MA soon and offered to foster him when he arrived. He arrived for quarantine on the Saturday before Labor Day and was available for adoption at the Open House on Labor Day. I had never fostered before, so I brought Bonnie and Gidget in to meet Rocky to make sure they all got along, which they did. Then I took the girls back home and waited to see if he was going to be adopted that day or not. There were a few people who expressed interest in him, but no one adopted him that day. So, I went back to get him to bring him home with us. That was Monday, September 6, 2010. 

Rocky was at Loving Paws Rescue where Carol Morris Preuss nursed him back to health after he had his leg amputated due to severe infection from being hit by a car days before he was dropped of at the rescue. Then, a few days after the surgery, he also came down with Parvo, which is known to kill unvaccinated dogs and pups, but Carol got him through that too. By the way, Carol also rescued Bonnie (Mustang Sallie) and Gidget (Avalon). The four lower pictures were used in his Petfinder listing. They are what caught my attention. He has similar markings and smile to Bonnie's. And, I was so impressed by Rocky's positive attitude and strong will that I knew I wanted to be part of his life, even if it was just as his foster mom.

Top: Rocky after his amputation; others: early pictures of Rocky on his path to PURE BLISS

Top: Rocky after his amputation; others: early pictures of Rocky on his path to PURE BLISS

When I offered to foster Rocky, everyone thought I would adopt him. But, I had been through a really rough year that year--my 16 year old cat Handsome died in February, my father died unexpectedly in April two days before his 69th birthday, Bonnie underwent heart worm treatment all summer (despite testing negative before being adopted and being on preventative all year), and my job was possibly in jeopardy due to restructuring of the theater department. I already had two dogs and a several cats, including a few I had brought back from PA after Dad died, so adopting a third dog, one with a physical impairment, was not something I could easily do, but I could be part of his journey.

Rocky was adopted on September 24 by a family with a young daughter and another rescue dog. They had come to meet him a few days before, but they didn't take him right away because they had workers in the house doing renovations. It was incredibly hard for us to give him up, but that's what fosters do. After he left, we went on to foster Dillon, Hank, Graham, and Zorro before learning that Rocky's family was having problems with him (or so they said), so I offered to take him back to foster him again. 

He came back to us on December 9. By that point, I knew that I was still going to have a job, which had been my biggest obstacle in September. I could also see that Gidget was extremely attached to him. She liked the other fosters well enough, but she always had a special connection with Rocky. Then on January 9. Gidget's favorite cat, Magoo, a blind cat I brought back from PA, died after a sudden illness. I just couldn't take Rocky away from her again. Rocky officially become part of our family on January 21, 2011.

So, Rocky has three anniversary dates with us: September 6: when we first fostered him, December 9: when he came back to us, and January 21: when he officially became a Hilderbrandt.

Rocky, I'm so glad to know you. You bring so much joy to everyone you meet. <3 

© 2014 Joey Phoenix Photography