But still I’m a tad down.
Why you ask?
Puppy problems. No, this is not my way of saying trouble with puppy love or anything of the sort. I’m talking about my dogs—Rocky and Luke.
As I’ve said before, these dogs are my loves, but especially Rocky. The more he ages the more he becomes the cutest, disgruntled old man-dog. He walks around and sulks. He barks. He won’t let you help him on to his chair when his hips hurt him too much to jump, no matter how badly he wants to get up. He sleeps a lot. But the second I get on the couch with a certain blue blanket he’s right there by my side, curled up in the nook of my legs with his little head resting on my knees. And the second I get out a treat he’s the first one sitting at my feet, looking up at me with his big blinky eyes.
I’ve had him for ¾ of my life.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Luke, too. He’s one of the happiest, most charming dogs ever. He’s always excited to see you. Always willing to play. And not nearly as neurotic as Rocky was at his age.
^Yes, this is a supper old picture. He has gotten much better looking since then.^
That is why what happened Tuesday night absolutely breaks my heart.
Rocky and Luke got into a fight. But this wasn’t their normal fight where they bark and growl and nip a little until one of them walks off. This was a big, huge, ferocious fight. But the worst part is it was completely unprovoked.
Luke was lying on his pillow. Rocky and Mother walked past. Luke lunged at Rocky and grabbed him by the throat.
I’ll skip the details because, frankly, I can’t bare to think about them. The gist is that the fight went on for about 15 minutes and I honestly thought Rocky was going to die.
I had never seen this side of Luke before. Sure, I knew he had a ferocious side based on the multitude of dead chipmunks and salamanders he was constantly leaving on our doorsteps, but never in a million year did I think he would turn that on my beloved Rocky. But as I sat in Mother’s bathroom, where we had Rocky sequestered after the fight, watching him shake and pace and refuse to fall asleep despite the Benadryl we gave him, I was informed that this was not the first time this had happened. A week or so earlier Luke had done the same thing. It was not nearly as intense of an attack, and a few quick hits with a magazine and Luke released. While the details of the first fight didn’t scar me too much, the knowledge of it and the fact that this behavior of Luke’s was becoming a habit was traumatizing to no end.
So Tuesday night while Mother, Brother and I were gathered in the bathroom watching as poor Rocky walked in circles, boasting a bloody eye, cuts in his ears, puncture wounds on his quickly swelling neck and a tail that was firmly tucked between his legs, we made the heart wrenching decision that we couldn’t keep Luke.
At the time the decision wasn’t too difficult. I was mad at Luke and only concerned with Rocky’s health and wellbeing. Not a single other thing crossed my mind. So of course it seemed reasonable that since it appeared Luke was going to continue attacking Rocky we should protect the obvious (vulnerable and pitty-worthy) victim.
But then Tuesday turned into Wednesday. And I saw Luke out in his yard lying by the gate, just waiting for us to come get him. I saw him start jumping with excitement anytime we walked out the door. And when a potential adopter came over to meet him I saw how wonderfully charming and good looking he is. And my heart broke even more.
I don’t want to give him up (or worse, put him down if we can’t find a new family), but we don’t have any other options. Mother knew all along that Luke shouldn’t be with other Jack Russells (his breeder apparently warned the rescue, who warned Mother’s friend, who warned her). And it is in no way fair to make Rocky spend the last few years of his life as Luke’s potential punching bag.
All this heartbreak is why I spent the entire 1.5-hour car ride to the airport, the 2 hours of waiting at the airport and various parts of our 8-hour flight crying. I’m trying to persevere (and find a home for Luke from overseas) for the sake of my trip (and Papa who is constantly concerned with our fun levels), but it’s difficult.
These dogs are like my brothers.
PS-I'll try to make my next post more upbeat and about Paris.