We lost our first baby yesterday. Our first fur baby, that is.
We adopted Rocco on August 28, 2004, when he was just eight weeks old. The humane society had an adoption day at a local pet store and my husband and I had gone by separately to “just look,” and when I laid eyes on that tiny brown ball of love, I knew he was the one.
When I was filling out his paperwork, I realized he had the same birthday as me and knew without a doubt that was a sign.
This little five-pound corgi-dachshund-mix we bought home and named Rocco.
We were newlyweds, living in an apartment at the time, so we learned the joys of potty training and crate training (and even having our neighbors call the cops on us because he barked too much when we weren’t home.)
We became a happy family of three. Us and Rocco.
Five months later, we bought our first house and he loved all the extra space and our big backyard and taking long walks around our neighborhood sidewalks.
He was our only child for four years until we welcomed our son in 2008. It took him some time to get used to having a baby in the house, but he was gentle and protective of his little brother.
It was quite a sight to see me out on our walks, holding Rocco on the dog leash, pushing the stroller, and trying to not get pulled away when we crossed paths with another dog. I definitely got the most out of those workouts!
Rocco loved rides in the car, trips to my parents’ farm, where he would run all over the acres of grass, mark every tree he could, and chase us on the four wheeler as fast as his little legs would go.
When he was ten, we welcomed our daughter into the family. He knew the routine, but would still look at us with sleepy eyes when she would wake up during the middle of the night. He loved her just as much as she did him.
Rocco loved everyone he met and they loved him.
Around age 10, he began getting spots of gray in his fur but remained happy, energetic, and healthy.
It was about a year ago when he began having seizures and was diagnosed with an enlarged heart. He took medicine daily, but his health was slowly declining. The last few months, we’ve known it was just a matter of time, but nothing can prepare you for when the time actually comes.
He died on a Sunday. We had been to visit my parents and when we returned home that evening, he had passed peacefully in his crate and crossed over the rainbow bridge.
We cried a lot, told him how much we loved him, and thanked him for 15 years of happiness he brought into our lives. We buried him in his favorite blanket in our backyard.
Our kids who are 10 and 5 haven’t experienced a loss like this, so it’s a balance of navigating comforting them while trying to deal with our own grief.
There really isn’t anything quite like the love of a pet.