There is now one dog dish where once there were two. The spaces in between the walls of our house seem more empty. A seventy pound German Shepherd, apparently, can take up a lot of space. I can still hear the jingle of her tags where she used to walk beside me, blocking my way to the laundry room door at the last minute so I am forced to stop and give her scritchings before moving on.
Husband and I acquired Rosy from the humane society in Phoenix in 1999, back when Husband was only Boyfriend. We quickly found out that Rosy, who was eight months old, was very protective of all things she considered to be hers, especially if it was edible. We worked with her, teaching her to sit and wait while her food was dished up. She sat like a perfect angel but once the food was in the dish and the “ok” command was given, you had better steer clear of that dish.
Rosy was strong willed and did not play well with other canines. We bought a choke chain, a short leather leash, lots of treats, and enrolled her in weekly obedience classes. The classes met in a large park in the early evening. If I remember correctly there were at least ten other dogs in Rosy and my class. Husband came to every class to watch and learn from the sidelines. Rosy was a handful, growling at the other dogs and sometimes lunging. At first we were always put at the end of the line of dogs and handlers and kept separated from the group. But Rosy wanted to be good and liked those tasty treats I kept in my pocket. With time (and a lot of practice and praise) she was doing the sit, wait, and stay commands off leash surrounded by the other dogs in her class.
I used to walk Rosy around our neighborhood every morning before heading off to my college classes and one day got the wild hair to teach her to sit and wait every time we came to a curb. It did not take long for her to start doing it all on her own without any sort of cue from me. It was on one of these walks that we found Dexter. He was a sickly, tick infested, runt of a puppy who needed a home. The day we brought Dexter home to live with us was the day that Rosy transformed from a puppy to a protective mother figure. She showed him the ropes; in no clear terms told him to stay away from her food dish but also taught him how to jump up on the bed, run laps around the house (living room, down the hall, sharp right into the dining room, skid through the kitchen, and around the corner, back to the living room again and again) and how to sit at every curb and wait for the “ok” command before walking on.
I remember Rosy jumping in our backyard pool after a long hot evening walk. She would swim a small circle and then rest her front feet on the second step and just let her body float. We would call this her alligator pose.
I remember taking a long desert hike down into a canyon near Strawberry, AZ to swim in a cool oasis of a creek and how the hot rocks burnt the pads on Rosy’s feet. We were young and stupid and we felt just awful. She allowed us to carry her hammock style in our oversize beach towel until our strength gave out. Husband hiked out and found a guy with a large tool box attached to the back of his ATV. Rosy, setting her dignity aside, allowed us to stand her up inside the toolbox and we all rode out to safety.
I remember how much Rosy liked to eat the remaining ice cubes from our margaritas.
I remember how Rosy would dance in the snow and catch snowballs in her mouth with a wild look in her eyes.
I remember how Rosy loved to fetch sticks of driftwood tossed into the surf but how reluctant she was to give those sticks back so they could be thrown again.
I remember the soft blond fur mixed with browns and black and how her bushy Akita-like tail would go into a full curl when she saw a squirrel in chasing range.
I remember how scared Husband and I were that she would not be good with children and how we feared she could never be trusted in the same room with them.
And how she proved us wrong.
I remember her beautiful toothy smile.
We had thirteen years with Rosy which I know is good for a dog her size but I selfishly want more time. The last several years of her life have been a slowing down and a struggle with various health problems including cancer. She was in obvious distress the night before we had to make that most difficult of decisions. She still found comfort in our being there with her and so Husband and I took turns staying up with her, watching and soothing. The boys woke up at their usual time, around six, and we told them Rosy had become very sick during the night. Things were complicated as Cody has been running a fever for several days and was staying home from school. We got ready as best we could to take Carter to the bus stop and Rosy to the vet. It was awful watching Carter give Rosy some last scritchings and a soft – goodbye, Rosy, I will miss you.
Cody and I met Husband and Rosy at the vet clinic. We explained to Cody that Rosy was not going to be coming home with us, that she was sick and in pain and we needed to help her die and take away that pain. I am not sure what upset Cody the most, seeing us crying and sad or realizing Rosy would no longer be with us. I settled Cody in the waiting room with some books and told him that papa and I needed some quiet time with Rosy. I just could not use the moment of Rosy’s death as a learning experience. It was Husband, myself, and the vet who were present when the drug was administered via an IV port. Her body was ready to go, sinking into that final goodbye with 80% of the dose still left in the syringe. We sat and stroked her soft fur for a couple minutes longer.
Dexter for the first time in his life is the only dog in the house. I think he is uncomfortable with his new role for he has always been an anxious dog, taking cues from Rosy on how to act and where to be. Who will tell him if the UPS man is friend or foe? Somehow he will bravely press on. And so will we.
Rosy you will be forever missed, sweet furry friend.
What a way to start the day! :*( I am sorry you lost a dear friend. We have a mutt (terrier, pomeranian, something else) named Rosie, who we adopted into our family when she was a teeny pup. I was in 3rd grade when my mom brought Rosie home. I am now 24, and Rosie is hanging in there. 80% blind, 90% deaf, she tries to keep up with our 2 year old poodles. We have had a couple times where my mom had to take Rosie to the vet, and was prepared to not bring her home. It was never her time to go. Dogs are just as much a part of a family as children.
I hope your boys keep the memory of Rosy strong in their hearts!
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Your Rosie sounds like a sweet little trooper. Our Rosy was also a mix but from the looks of her mostly a German Shepherd. We are all going to miss her so much.
Thanks for the blogging award, I am honored. It is always such a warm fuzzy to know that my fellow bloggers enjoy what I have to say. 🙂
What a beautiful tribute to Rosy. I bawled my eyes out, you are very beautiful writer.
I’m so sorry that you lost your dear and beloved friend, my heart aches for the loss for all of you. I know you will keep Rosy’s memory alive for your boys and she will forever be in your heart.
She will also be waiting at the bridge, if that is what you believe. I have a sneaking suspicion I will never venture farther than the bridge….
Thank you, we are going to miss Rosy something terrible. She was such a great dog, so smart and caring and happy.
What a beautiful testament to a beloved buddy (I write with tears running down my cheeks)…she’ll be at the bridge..
Ah, thank you. She was such a sweet girl, it is hard to imagine life without her.
I understand – not just from having said good bye to three of my best buddies over the course of the last 20 years, but also because love like that is so special…
Dogs are people too. 🙂
Oh, I don’t know about that. I think dogs might just be better than people (well, most people that is.)
I am so sorry about your sweet Rosy! Being a dog person, I can completely understand what you are going through. Thinking of you all.
Thank you. It was nice, although sad, to look through our old pictures and find some nice ones of Rosy. I now have this post to look back on when I am thinking of her.
Oh, I shed a tear for your family today, Rosy. It is clear you were most loved.
When an animal joins our family they become a part of it, forever. She was and will forever be loved.
I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. It is amazing how a dog (or cat) can become one of the family. And when they part from from us, it truly is like loosing a human family member. Thank you for sharing you beautiful memories of Rosy with all of us.
They really do become such a special amazing part of our family. They are with us and involved in our daily lives day in and day out. She has left a pretty big hole in our family.
Thank you for your comment.
Oh, my heart aches for your family. Losing a dog is terribly painful. It’s been fourteen years since I’ve had a dog and I still miss him. What a wonderful dog you had. And I’m so sorry you had to say goodbye. Your post was beautiful.
It is so hard. I keep expecting her to walk into the room any minute. And I feel so bad for Dexter because there is no way to explain to him where Rosy is.
So sorry for you and your family! Losing a beloved pet is so hard. She was a beautiful dog and this was a wonderful way to remember her!
Thank you. She was such a beautiful dog with a kind and good soul.
I am so sorry for your loss. I was crying and trying not to think aout loosing our own boys (they are fine right now, but I always worry too much). I pray for comfort for your family.
Oh, thank you. I hope your boys have a long and happy life. It is hard knowing that they will most likely go before us but knowing we can give them a great home with lots of love (and them giving us back ten fold in they special dog way) is comforting.
I agree 🙂
From the picture of Cody in the basket with Rosy watching protectively, I can tell that Rosy was a queen among dogs. Rest in peace, sweet Rosy.
You are right about Rosy being a queen. She was regal and proper and very protective of the ones she loved. She was tolerant of the boys and their shenanigans but I do think she would have protected them had they needed it.
What a touching story. So much love and affection for Rosy. She has been a cherished part of your family. those 13 years were amazing because she was a part of it . where ever she is now, she is smiling knowing how much she was loved. Beautiful loving words with photos that delights the heart. Thank you…
She was a much loved member of our family. We are all missing her something fierce. Thank you for your kind words.
So sorry to hear about your loss. What a beautiful dog, and a beautiful story.
Thank you. She is very much missed.
I’m so sorry for your loss. I was in tears reading this. It is very close to memories I have of when we lost our first and second dogs. Dogs surely are members of the family. Rosy sounds like she was wonderful. I know you will miss her very much, but hopefully she will live on in the memories you all treasure.
We have a lot of great memories of her so that helps with the pain of missing her. It is so hard loosing a pet especially when they have been a part of the family for so long. I do really worry about Dexter and how he is feeling about it. It is one of those time I really wish I could communicate with him and understand how he is feeling.
I can understand you worrying about Dexter. Animals do know all sorts of things so maybe he sensed that Rosy had been ill. All I can suggest is giving him lots of love, attention and pampering so that he feels very safe and reassured, but I’m sure you do that anyway so it’s actually quite pointless me suggesting it. 🙂 Hopefully, he will come to see that he can trust himself and his own judgements now that Rosy can’t guide him. Our first dog used to hang out with a cat we had. Sadly, the cat was run over. 😦 But after she died he did readjust and he was fine and happy for many years.
So sorry for the loss of your beloved Rosy. Thanks for letting us all peak into this very special relationship in your life. What a beautiful tribute to your four-legged friend.
Thank you, she was such a sweet girl and she will be very much missed.
Awww… this brought tears to my eyes… ;(
It is still so hard to accept that she is no longer with us. She was such a sweet girl.
Lovely tribute. I think the very worst part of adopting a dog is knowing we will watch them die (in all liklihood). I lost my beloved boy almost two years ago and still miss him. I wrote about him here http://liveclay.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/when-do-you-know-its-time/
So true, as hard as it is knowing that you will see them through their old age and into their death, the joy they bring while in your life is more than enough to compensate. Sorry about the loss of your beloved boy. I am looking forward to reading about him.
Thank you for the comment.