I remember the day we got Rocky. I was about to start kindergarten and mother and father took Brother and I to a breeder. I wanted a girl dog and I wanted to name her Penny. We walked up to a kennel full of the cutest puppies I had ever seen, with their big puppy feet and their loose puppy skin. Immediately, I found a girl puppy that I loved. She was soft and cuddly and fell asleep in my arms. I started my campaign for THAT dog. Meanwhile, father saw another puppy, a feisty boy who was biting his siblings. Father went into the kennel with the dog and he bit his shoelace. I guess that sold Father, because no matter what I said, he wouldn’t budge. We took him home and gave him a bath in a pot in the backyard. Whenever I got sick (which was a lot back in the day), he could sleep with me on the couch and he ate whatever was dropped on the floor. I eventually learned to love little Rocky (who shares my birthday).
Over the last few years, though, we started thinking about another dog. We only dreamed about it because Rocky was quite the little alpha male and we assumed he wouldn’t tolerate another dog sleeping on his couch and chasing his squirrels. One thing we did agree on, though, was that if we got another dog it would NOT be another male Jack Russell terrier.
Then one day, mother came home from running errands. She opened the back of her car and out jumped…another male Jack Russell terrier. Mother informed me that he was 3 years old and used to race, but was then retired and sent to a Jack Russell rescue, where her friend got him before passing him on to us. It was only a trial, she assured me. If it didn’t work out we could return him. I was skeptical.
At first, Rocky was less than thrilled, alternating between barking and snapping at him and pouting. Brother was ecstatic. Mother and I were wary. After a few days, though, Rocky stopped barking and pouting, and also seemed to play with the dog (who’s original name was T-Bone, then Shark, then Luke).
Luke only got lost once or twice. The neighbors only called angry once. He learned not to dig in the trash because that was Rocky’s trash. And Luke and Rocky even began sharing toys. Though Rocky still won’t be on the couch if Luke is.
I miss them dearly. I miss having someone welcome me home so enthusiastically. I miss having someone to sleep with on the couch. I even kind of miss constant barking; Rocky’s high and fast, Luke’s deep and slow. I miss them so much that I have a picture of them on my desk (and Brother does, too). My biggest fear is that Rocky (who is now 13 years old) will die while I’m away. Though, knowing that tough old guy, he’ll outlive me.