Rocky was 12 weeks old when he joined my family; life has never been the same.
He came from a private party who had purchased him from a pet store. Two weeks later they found out their son was allergic to dogs. Why I wanted him is still a mystery to me. My dogs had always been large breeds, or at least they had always had long legs. Maybe it was the long ears and sad face that tugged at my heart. I had to take him home. There was just something about this dog.
I was a little concerned that the big dogs would pick on him.
My worries were unnecessary; within weeks he was running the pack. He had a great nose for hunting. He sniffed out every pair of shoes I owned and killed them. Being a natural at climbing furniture (I never knew Bassets could climb), it was difficult to keep him “grounded.” And his foraging talents went far beyond shoes; they included remote controls and cell phones. Once I was searching for my ringing phone and realized the sound was coming from Rocky. I was mortified at the realization that he had eaten it whole; then he moved and I discover he was just lying on it. I could go on and on with stories about Rocky but instead I will sum it up my saying, when I had him with me I didn’t tell anyone I was a dog trainer. He was “Dennis the Menace” in a dog suit.
We were beginning to make headway with the obedience issues.
Then, at about 9 months old he began to whimper and cry whenever the other dogs were around. He moved slowly and yelped if anyone touched him. He was diagnosed with Panostioitis. They do not know what causes this roving bone inflammation and it can range from mild to severe. Rock’s case was severe and though most dogs grow out of it in a few months his raged on for over a year. All we could do is manage his symptoms with pain medication, steroid injections and lots of love, mostly in the form of cookies. Finally it began to fade away and Rocky returned to his natural self. Back to his mischievous antics, my life was once again unpredictable.
Things were good for about a year.
Having seen all the pain he had endured I gladly indulged him. He got lots of cookies, the best seat on the couch and I learned to pick up my shoes and keep track of my cell phone. Then he began to slow down again. I was concerned the bone inflammation was coming back. One day he went out to go potty with the other dogs but did not come back. I called but he did not come. I went looking and found him in the corner of the yard unable to get up on his own. The next two days were torture. They did not know what was wrong; test after test I waited. The vet prepared me for the worst. Then the good news came, he was responding to the treatment they had given him. He was going to be OK.
Then the bad news came.
He had Addison’s disease and would have to continue treatments for the rest of his life. Addison’s disease is when the immune system destroys vital glands in the body affecting the production of hormones that control important chemical and mineral levels. Rocky was OK. He started getting hormone shots every 20 days and was on a daily steroid treatment. But even though Rocky was OK, that was all he was. For two years he lay around, did not want to play and had completely lost his wiggle. You know the wiggle they do when they are so happy it’s not possible to stay still. He started getting allergies and chronic ear infections. I kept him away from other dogs to avoid stress. Rocky was OK, but Rocky wasn’t Rocky anymore. Things were strangely quiet with predictable visits to the vet and budget adjustments to pay for his medical expenses.
In 2007 when the news about contaminated pet food surfaced, I along with all pet owners worried.
The food I was using was not on the recall list but the same manufacturer had brands that were recalled. How could this happen? In order for these and other contaminants to be in our pet’s food there had to be little or no quality control. We were buying food with packaging that said it was good for our pets but it was poisoning them. The manufacturers sounded concerned. They were concerned all right; concerned we wouldn’t buy their products anymore. But were they concerned about our pets? Were they concerned about Rocky?
I started studying dog food.
The more I studied the more confused I got. (Read my article on dog food marketing.) Then I figured it out. The only way I could have confidence that my pets were eating properly was to believe in who was selling it. So, I started studying dog food companies. Through a lot of trials and tribulations I found one I trusted. I started feeding it to all my dogs and cats. I even feed some of their treats to my bird. I waited and I watched. It took about three weeks for the fun to start.
Liz opened the garage door and Rocky walked out onto the driveway.
She hollered to me that Rocky was out and I told her not to worry, he never runs off or tries to get away. I stepped out onto the driveway to call him. He looked at me, tilted his head and I instantly knew, Rocky was back! He zoomed down the drive and into the neighbor’s yard two doors down doing donuts on their front lawn. He led me and two of my friends on a 20-minute keep away chase, up and down the street. If it had been any other dog I would have been furious, but because it was Rocky I was thrilled. This dog had more energy than when he was a puppy. The neighbors watched and laughed. When it was all over, we were all exhausted, except Rocky. Safely in the house, he looked up at me and he wiggled. Since then he has eaten the buttons off the couch pillows, chases Kong (122 lb. Lab) around the yard, and I’m not sure but I think he has my slippers stashed somewhere.
Rocky eats the food and takes the daily supplements and is off the daily steroids and only receiving his injections every 30 days. My entire family of pets is happier and healthier. And, I signed up as a sales rep. for the company.
This is a true story but