Rocco came into my life July 26, 2008. A month before my first nephew (and godson), Richie, was born. And also the same year the Phillies won the World Series. Coincidence this dog came into my life then? I think not. Our family boxer, Diego, died just three days before. After lying on the floor in tears for those long three days, I decided it was time to go to the pet store, even though I swore my next puppy would be from a breeder. Well, in I walked and there he was. The only boxer puppy there. I picked him up with eyes filled of bittersweet tears. He was so calm and chill, I literally couldn’t put him down. A lady followed me all around the store asking if I was getting him and I said “Yep. He’s mine.” He was the first boxer puppy I ever met that wasn’t crazy and nipping at my ankles. I knew he was special and $1200 later we were on our way home.
In those years with him, we’ve been through everything together. I mean EVERYTHING. Moving from houses to apartments, losing my job at Merck, opening Sol Yoga, meeting Chris, Max & Bubba, the list goes on. Major events in my life but also his. He now had to share me with another male boxer, something he wasn’t used to but he adjusted over time. He was my right hand man. For almost 10 years.
Yesterday, January 23, 2018, was the day I had been dreading since August when Rocco’s health started to take a turn. He was SO healthy for 9 straight years, which is amazing for the breed. A little after midnight, I heard him downstairs having a seizure. My husband and I raced down and sat with him hoping he would eventually come out of it, which he normally did the past couple of months. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
They say in dog movies and books that when it is their time, they will give you “the look”. At around 2:00 a.m., he gave me that look. One in which I will never forget. I called the emergency vet and knew it was our time to go. We carried him to the car (another heart breaking visual that I will never forget) and brought our other boxer Bubba with us and we were on our way. I cried the whole way bc I knew it was his last car ride. I knew our 9+ years together was quickly coming to an end. I knew this was going to be the one of the hardest days of our lives. And I was right.
After what feels like days of journaling on an emotional roller coaster of highs and lows, I’ve decided to compile a list of all the things that he’s taught me over the years in his honor. It has been VERY therapeutic writing this list and looking through all of his pictures. Every point is SO true and straight from my heart. And as I approach my 42nd birthday next week, I thought 42 was the perfect number for the perfect dog.
- Dogs are the best roommates.
- Enjoy the little things.
- Travel with your squad, your pack, your tribe. Your feel good peeps.
- Be in the moment. Always.
- Strike a pose when you get new gear!
- They bring the meaning of unconditional love to a whole other level.
- Greet everyone with a wag, a smile or a toy. Whether it is someone at the front door, or a stranger on a walk, do it.
- You can never give or receive too much affection.
- Wag more. Bark less. Whether it’s muddy paws or your dog’s breath reeks, don’t complain. One day you will miss it.
- Drink lots of water.
- Find that friend that brings out your inner weirdo.
- Go for a walk every day. Even if you don’t want to. And do it without multi-tasking on your cell phone.
- Wear your emotions on your sleeve.
- Each day is a gift.
- Hug someone every day.
- Make time for play. Throw a ball, wrestle, play a board game. Whatever. Just do it and make time for fun.
- Enjoy the ride. Roc loved nothing more than going for rides… whether it was next to me on my bike in his younger years or in the car. He loved every second of it!
- Learn lots of tricks. And show them off.
- Snuggle. As much as you can.
- Don’t take tomorrow for granted. Because it may never come.
- Always, always look out for your wingman.
- Always make sure your wingman is feeling ok.
- Walk, sit or stand side by side as we are all equal.
- You are beautiful just the way you are.
- Never stop learning. Learn as many words as you can. Heck, Roc even knew what Chic fil A meant.
- Family is everything. Received these beautiful flowers from the Sol family after coming back from my first walk with just Bubba. The emotions were running wild and the tears were streaming down my face but was such a good reminder on how important family really is.
- Be a pineapple. Stand tall. Wear a crown and be sweet on the inside.
- Take lots of pictures. I am SO grateful I did.
- Boxers do in fact swim! And LOVE IT!
- Celebrate birthdays! They are so special.
- Be patient. If I told Rocco to stay, he would sit there ALL day until I said “Come!”
- Stop and smell the flowers.
- Be curious.
- Take time to stretch.
- Always show your Christmas spirit.
- Spend money on the good sunglasses. Totally worth it for so many reasons.
- You can always lean on me.
- Always make eye contact.
- Fire pits are awesome.
- Leave your mark wherever you go. I don’t neccessarily think dogs have to pee on everything they pass on walks. I just think they wanna make sure the next person or animal coming knows they were there.
- All dogs go to heaven. Never fully understood this until now.
- Saying goodbye is never easy.
Coincidence that we got Rocco an Eagles name tag this season and the Eagles are going to the Superbowl? Coincidence that he was born the year the Phillies won and passed the year the Eagles are back in it? I think not. This dog was one of a kind and will be forever missed. His paw prints will be forever imprinted on every person’s heart he touched, especially mine.