Rocky the Intrepid

Rocky was battling the mean roads of Louisiana when our son Kevin rescued him from the pizza pickup driver who was doing his best to run over him. He put up a good fight, but he was out of his weight class. Ever after he planted his feet and barked fiercely at all other pickups except Kevin's red one. I'll always wonder what he was called before, but the name Rocky seemed just fine with him.

The happy, wholesome guy you see in the photo is a far cry from the mangey, battered fellow with the big gash across his back and the bleeding mouth that Kevin gathered up. Teeth and courage are a poor match for an inflated tire and a metal bumper. I will always be grateful that Kevin was too busy rescuing the dog to deal with the pizza driver.

The dog to be named Rocky gave only a little yelp of pain when Kevin picked him up and tucked him in his truck. The sweetheart took the shaving and stitching up to be the help that was intended. We had to wonder why a little beauty like him was wandering all alone on that highway.

Rocky obviously had a mission. He had been on the road a long, long time, and his poor callused feet never quite regained the flexible, textured pads of healthy dogs' feet. For months, Kevin had to be careful that no one accidentally let Rocky out because he would then have to round him up again. Always Rocky came back willingly, but it made us sad that he missed somebody so much that he wanted to push on.

Fortunately Rocky and Kevin's sheltie, Rowdy, became the best of friends. That helped even though it was Rowdy's territory, and he was an alpha dog. Alpha worked at everything except meal time. Rocky was all business over his food bowl, and Rowdy's expression was always, "Well, okay, if that's how you want it." Rowdy had always had food.

Rocky's food aggression was such a change in personality that I was reminded of a story Ring Lardner wrote. It was about a man who was lost in the Alaskan wilderness. Starving before he was rescued, he cunningly attacked the wolf who was following him. With only his bare hands for weapons, he killed and drank the sick wolf's blood to survive. Once aboard the rescue ship, he hoarded food that became impossible to eat. The ship's crew would have to strip his cabin. Hunger apparently leaves an imprint, and Rocky had to be put on a diet. His idea of hoarding food was to store it in fat. We didn't have to search out Rocky's stashes.

Kevin and both of his shelties had come to stay with us for a while following the disaster of hurricane Rita. Kevin left Rowdy and Rocky with us while he went back to Dallas to start a new business.  While he was off rebuilding a life in Dallas, the "boys" adopted his parents. It soon became apparent to us all that there would be too much heartache all around if the dogs had to leave us and be alone while Kevin worked long hours. So he left them with us.

Rocky and Rowdy enjoyed his visits and faithfully watched for a red pickup truckRocky at Home for the rest of their lives. Rocky claimed an old throw rug and seemed content to stay. He never again attempted to leave. He certainly captured our hearts, and I believe he found his home.