Last year, we shared a story about Rocky, a sweet senior dog who was rescued at 17 years old.
By the time Christmas rolled around, he’d had a year of joy and love with his parents, and was still savoring life in his forever home.
Several months later, at the ripe old age of almost 18 and 1/2, Rocky crossed the Rainbow Bridge. But what was truly special about this pup’s time on Earth is that he stayed just long enough to meet his new baby human sister, Hazel.
In a story by TODAY Parents, mom Beth Clark remembers meeting Rocky, who was at the Friends of Anne Arundel County Animal Control where she was an administrator. “I saw this gray-faced, skinny dog and I said to my husband, ‘We’re getting him,'” she recalled. “I was not about to leave that old man to die in a cage.”
Despite his old age, they were grateful to enjoy over a year with their companion, who brought so much joy to the little family.
“Rocky made our life very complete,” she told TODAY Parents. “He loved dancing with us and being near us … as the year went on, it got harder for him to climb the stairs and go on walks, so my husband would carry him up the stairs every night just so he could sleep next to us, and instead of walks we just sat outside in the sun together.”
Rocky was even there for the couple when they miscarried the first time they got pregnant. The pup brought comfort during their time of grief, and when Clark found out she was pregnant a second time, he was there to share in the excitement.
“Rocky didn’t really notice until I started showing, but he was so gentle with me and he adjusted really well with all the baby stuff coming in,” Clark said in the story. “When I wasn’t feeling good, he was always near.”
By the time she was seven months pregnant, Rocky’s health took a turn for the worst as he began suffering from “seizure-like symptoms.” His prognosis didn’t look good, but Clark was determined to make sure he was surrounded by warmth and love, right until the very end.
“They wanted to hospitalize him, but I was not willing to put him in a cage again to be poked and bothered,” she said in the story. “I would rather him be home with us if anything serious was going on … we always kept hope that we would get a little longer with him and we sure did.”
Once home, the pup made some improvement, but his family knew that pretty soon, they’d have to say goodbye.
On April 5th, baby Hazel was born, and the new parents were delighted to have a daughter. When they took her home, a frail Rocky mustered the energy to welcome the little girl home.
“He sniffed her and placed his head near her. It was beautiful and I cried,” said Clark.
Later that night, Rocky’s health really started to fail, and not wanting him to suffer, his family knew it was time to help him cross the Rainbow Bridge. Even as he took his last breath, he never felt alone.
“I called a vet and that night, he went peacefully with his family by him,” said Clark in the story. “We loved him more than words can describe and we still have a very hard time adjusting to him not being here.”
Although the couple mourned the loss of their best friend, they were happy that he got the chance to meet baby Hazel. The Friends of Anne Arundel County Animal Control gifted the family a onesie that says “My BFF grew wings.” They also posted a heartfelt goodbye to the beloved pup:
Clark thinks that Rocky was hanging on so that he could meet baby Hazel.
This couple gave Rocky the priceless gift of a loving home in his last couple years, and their story beautifully shows the sweet companionship that senior animals bring. We are sorry for their loss, but also want to say congratulations on their adorable new addition, little Hazel. There’s no doubt that she’ll hear tales of their beloved Rocky when she’s a little older!
(h/t: TODAY Parents)
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