When I met my Husband, he had a young throw away shepherd lab mix named Hydro. I had a rescue greyhound still using his track name, Bojack.

Bojack was diagnosed with cancer a month before we were expecting our first child. He died 2-1/2 months after Reade was born. Hydro continued on.

We moved (aka gloriously camped) into a house we were still building, birthed two more children, were adopted by a lot of cats and some horses, and then Rocky came into our world. That was eleven years and two more children ago.

Rocky is a Louisiana Catahoula mix. We knew his mama and she was 100% Catahoula. Rocky, at 6mo old, was going to be thrown away to the shelter. So we brought him home.

Hydro trained up Rocky on where to hunt, how to herd children and horses, and where the best spots on the bed and the floor were. About two years later at nearly 16yo, Hydro took a very peaceful natural last breath here at South of the Fork.

Gretel, our only sought after dog – a miniature schnauzer, made her debut a few years later and a year later another throw away shepherd lab puppy, Daisy, made her way to us.

It became Rocky’s role to now train the girls up to do the work he took over from Hydro. He is a good teacher. They are lousy learners.

Blonde Daisy, Speckled Rocky, Silver Gretel

Rocky is now getting tired. He has been in renal failure for two years. He has to wear a “male wrap” inside. It rarely is wet anymore because his body just is not working like it once did. He is winding down.

I plopped myself in the floor the other night and and just loved on him and got up briefly to take this photo wondering if it might be the last of his photos. Whether it is or not, what an awesome dog.

Sweet Rocky

UPDATE: Six days after I wrote this post, Rocky passed away. It was Imbolc which I think is a fitting time for a creature to leave this space. We thought we were prepared for his passing, but there are still so many tears. So many tears. This was his last photo from Tuesday afternoon, about 12 hours before he struggled through his last breath. We’ll Meet Again.

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