For the second time in under a year, we announce with great sadness, the passing of another of our beloved pack. Our sweet little Rosie passed at 3:35 am Sunday 26 June 2016. She lived an all-too short 12 years and 26 days.
Like Lady & Scoober before her, Rosie lived a life that most other dog’s would truly envy. She saw her share of the world, had a great home with a favorite nest in each room, and a predictable routine with lots of good food and regular, invigorating exercise in the mountain air, lakes and streams.
Rosie lived the good life until mid-day last Monday (20 June 2016), when something inside her seemingly broke. She was unsteady on her feet and walking around with her tail tucked away between her legs in apparent severe pain. At the time we didn’t know what it was, but thought she may have eaten something toxic (maybe chocolate or dead animal, etc).
When we got her to the vet for treatment, she had a 104.9 degree temperature (dog normal is in the 101-102 range). She was also nearly in septic shock with a white cell count as low as our vet ever sees. She was one sick puppy, and on top of that, they found a large mass in her abdominal cavity.
So they treated the fever and infection and tried to figure out if the mass was the source of her extreme discomfort. On Wednesday, during a laparoscopic procedure, the vet determined that the mass was attached to her cecum (sort of a dog appendix) and likely removable. He then opened her up and removed them both.
Over the next few days we continued to treat her pain and infection and tried to give her a shot at a rebound. From Wednesday evening to Friday, the presumptive diagnosis moved toward peritonitis, as her pain and discomfort continued and proved difficult to manage.
Then Friday we found out that the removed mass was a malignant sarcoma, fairly aggressive, and likely already spread.
The poor kiddo couldn’t get a break. Given the number of ailments she was fighting simultaneously, we felt that if there was going to be any sort of chance at a bounce back, it might take a few more days of recovery time, taking us through the weekend.
Mike’s tender loving care was able to coax her to drink and get some broth down…but she never could bring herself to eat again.
Saturday evening she began a downhill slide. Her body temperature felt really hot to the touch. We got her some ice packs and eventually were able to cool and calm her for a few hours of modest rest, albeit with her eyes open, and reasonably alert.
She watched me watching her for quite a spell…and around 3:30 am, Mike got up from a few-hour nap and came down to be with us. She watched him enter, alertly following his movement with her eyes. He greeted and petted her. After which, she then turned her head, put it back on her pillow and within a minute, her heart just quit.
We both felt, in that moment, that she had waited for her beloved Uncle Mike to come back in, before she passed on. He was her rock and refuge. She was his faithful and loyal companion.
Rosie was a great pack contributor over time…but had some difficulty early in life. Please indulge me the telling, as it is therapy for me right now.
Rosie was a Foster before she was a Murphy. I adopted her, in August of 2004, at three months old from a Pueblo shelter that had set up shop one Saturday outside a Petco in Colorado Springs. I observed the litter she was a part of, with its 6 bruising males, bouncing around, stepping on and biting each other, and a really sweet, seemingly well adjusted, calm female among the 3 females. So I got in line to tell them which of the Jack Russell, Chihuahua, Sharpei mix pups I wanted.
As fate would have it, the lady in line in front of me, asked for and got that very female. So, I went back to the litter, and found Rosie. She seemed a little car-sick or something, slightly groggy or nauseated, but generally sweet too, as I interacted with her.
So I chose her, signed the paperwork and we were on our way home. But before I got out of the parking lot, my heretofore unnamed Rosie was pooping green puppy poop on my grey leather backseat interior in my truck. All of my best, consoling, cajoling tones and dog-speak had no effect on the dog who didn’t know me yet. And she obviously wasn’t over her ride up from Pueblo, and here I was making her ride again. Such was the inauspicious beginning of Rosie and I sharing a pack.
About this time, still in the parking lot, cleaning up poop, my cell phone rang. Mike was calling me from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to tell me he had arranged to get me a Cocker (Lady) from his nephew Steve.
Had he called 20 minutes earlier, we’d likely have never known Rosie.
As it turned out, Rosie became the most challenging dog of my adult life. She had Jack Russell purpose, tenacity and keen-mindedness, with Chihuahua alert to danger instincts. It was an odd, new mix for me, as I’d become accustomed to the mellow of old Cockers.
Rosie looked strikingly similar to Santa’s Little Helper, the Simpsons’ cartoon dog. And she had some comically quirky behaviors. For example, when she decided it was bedtime, she went up and went to bed, no matter what anyone or any other dog was doing. Likewise, if people were visiting and needing a place to sit on her couch, she would look up at them, as if asking, “where are you going to sit? Because this is my spot.” It often made me cringe, as I would hustle her down from her refuge. But I knew I was the one who had conditioned her to believe that up on the couch (or the chair or the bed) was her comfortable, safe zone.
Just as Lady never met a stranger, Rosie felt all strangers were the bogeyman, until proven otherwise, repeatedly. And even people she knew, were the bogeyman while they were walking up the stairs to the house. She was consistent that way.
And she hated being left alone. My job requirements in Colorado Springs brought out an anxiety in her that only shredding man-made items would quell. Rather than leaving her puppy self to have free reign in the house during my duty day, I would leave her in a closed, tiled bathroom, with nesting materials in it. I would come home to a scene that could only be explained by running a towel thru an industrial shredder, along with a roll of toilet paper. Basically everything below the countertop was absolutely destroyed.
So I adjusted, instead leaving her in a crate, along with something soft to lie on …but she destroyed that too. I became convinced that if I’d have left a brick in the crate, she’d have found a way to shred it also.
But her finest incorrigible, youthful moment was the 48-pack of toilet paper incident. You know what they look like, a big cube of plastic, wrapped around 12 (also wrapped) four-packs of TP. I had bought the cube and brought it home and set it in the living room floor, and then I went shopping elsewhere.
When I came home, the pile in the living room looked like the remnants of an overturned toilet paper delivery truck, after being run thru the aforementioned industrial shredder. Of the 48 rolls, maybe five were mostly in tact. Another half dozen or so were gnawed on but could be partially salvaged for use in my bathroom. And the rest were a total loss/shred fest. Three dozen rolls (and all the plastic wrappings) were completely shredded. Unbelievable~!
I nearly lost my mind. This dog needed more full-time love and attention. But my love came with limited patience and a full-time job. And I had a proven “rolled up newspaper” dog-training strategy. It had served me well with Cocker pups. It just did not seem to work that way with her. After negligible results, I had to learn and adjust to find what worked with Rosie.
In the end, it took her Uncle Mike to patiently coax the full time “good girl” out of Rosie.
I initially felt like Rosie was put here to teach me patience…
Until I moved to Montana and our pack became 5. Lady imprinted on me…and Rosie upon Mike.
Over time, Mike truly brought out the best in Rosie. She loved his patience and consistent, evenhanded approach. It calmed her anxious tendencies and she flourished. And in some ways, I’d say Rosie coaxed the best out of Mike.
On multiple occasions, Rosie fearlessly stood up for the pack. The day our neighbor’s dog (twice her size) leaped from a vehicle and ran 100-yards to attack us (Mike and I with Lady & Rosie on leashes), Rosie met that dogs aggression with her own, getting the best of it, while protecting all of us. I erringly tried to restrain her, burning huge blisters on my hand pulling on the retractable leash cable. I should have let her go at it unrestrained. That was the day I knew without a doubt that she would selflessly represent our pack. She’d fight for us and ours, without being an instigator. She had both a strong will and a heart in the right place. She was one of us, willing to fight for the rest of us, as she knew our pack was worth fighting for. I was henceforth and forevermore, an unequivocal Rosie believer.
The older she got, the more consistently a “good girl” she became. After Lady’s passing last summer, she began a sort of renaissance with me. She would wait at the top of the stairs for me to come up, like Lady had previously done. She seemed to know that I needed that. And I appreciated her generosity in sharing oxytocin with me.
It took me a few years to find a zen place with Rosie…but I ultimately did, after seeing how beautifully she responded to Mike. And just recently I had settled into the realization that she seemed to finally be enjoying her place as the Queen Bee of our pack…and then all too shockingly soon, last Monday came along.
Rosie passing feels like the end of an era for us. For 5 years we had three dogs. For another 6 years, we had Lady & Rosie. And within a year they both passed.
I had hoped Rosie might make 15-16 years, but it wasn’t to be. She did her best. Mike and I will miss her terribly. We didn’t see this coming and feel a little bit cheated.
Such is life. None of us know how much time any of us have. So we must make the most out of every day.
Now, we must focus on the great memories to get through the sadness.
We’ll always cherish our memories of Rosie. I won’t ever forget how great it continually made me feel to see her and Mike sharing the same kind of bond that Lady & I had shared. I felt like Rosie gave me a little credit for bringing her her Uncle Mike. I also felt like Rosie and I shared a sense that we knew better than anyone (or anything), just how great a person Uncle Mike is, and all of us who know him, know that that’s a consensus, slam-dunk of the truth!
Rosie loved her Uncle Jay, for a lot of years, seemingly because he brought her her Uncle Mike. But for the last several months, Rosie was pretty happy with both of us. She was truly relishing her role as the lead canine, in a high-functioning pack.
When we’d come home from recent trips, she would whine & groan and wiggle/writhe her whole body in excitement to see us, for ten minutes straight. Exhibiting just genuine delight to be reunited with her pack. Her enthusiasm begat our own.
Those are a few of the unforgettable memories of a sweet, loving dog. She will be sorely missed.
To those who knew and loved Rosie, we say thank you. And a special thanks to all who kept her for us. You know who you are (Shaun, Steve and K, Amanda, Life, etc). She truly loved staying home more than traveling. We appreciate all of you who would come so she could stay in her comfort zone and routine. And we know she appreciated it.
Rosie loved her home and pack. The remaining members will do our best to honor her good memory.
Rosie has an honored place in our yard, not far from Lady and Scoober.
Sincerely Jay & Mike