Back in 2011, when Rocco wasn’t yet three years old, I made the decision to dedicate a page here at The Manofesto exclusively to him. However, like so many ideas that have sparked over the years I failed to follow thru. That’s been one of my weaknesses in life…I procrastinate, become lazy, and don’t follow-up on things like I should.
Having said that, I do seem to recall that there was some kind of internal logic about my decision to scrap The Rocco Chronicles. I remember watching one of those infotainment shows…maybe Inside Edition…when they did a feature about an adrenaline junkie and his pug. The guy took the dog skydiving & surfing, among other things. I looked at Rocco and said “Sorry dude…Daddy’s just not that exciting.” And that was eight years ago. I’m even more boring now. I felt bad for Rocco; here was this other dog jumping out of airplanes & hanging ten, meanwhile my boy was doomed to a life of watching TV & living with me.
The other reason I didn’t go forward with The Rocco Chronicles (and this boggles my mind at the moment) is that I decided I just wanted to be in the moment & enjoy Rocco, not constantly be mining his life for content. At the time I didn’t think there was much about our life worthy of writing about anyway. Looking back I now realize how wrong I was. Don’t misunderstand…I’m not wrong about how uninteresting my particular lifestyle is, and to be honest I’m okay with that. However, despite never having gone on any extreme adventures Rocco is one of the most fascinating creatures I’ve ever known, and I probably could have written dozens of chapters about him.
I didn’t write those chapters though, and at this moment I deeply regret that misguided decision.
A few days ago I lost Rocco. He’s gone.
In October 2009, when Rocco was a little over a year old, we watched alleged “comedy” Marley & Me starring Owen Wilson & Jennifer Aniston. I question its credentials as a comedy for one key reason, and anyone who has seen the movie knows what I’m talking about. As I held Rocco while watching that movie I wept. I hadn’t cried like that since my mother had passed nine years earlier. Little did I know that someday I’d be living the exact circumstances played out in the film. Or perhaps down deep inside I did know and was upset because the realization was something I’d not pondered until that moment. At any rate, to paraphrase Forrest Gump, Rocco had got the cancer and died on a Tuesday.
I am fortunate enough…given the situation…that I have a job in which I work weekends and am off during the week. I’ve been a mess the past few days. Not that Rocco was all that noisy or rambunctious, but The Bachelor Palace is way too quiet & lonely without him. I realize that my deep sense of loss may seem silly to some. It’s just a dog, right?? All I can say is that anyone who holds that opinion has never had a pet. I feel so lost right now.
I had always assumed that after Rocco I’d almost certainly want another dog. On one level that is still true. While Rocco can never be replaced I would very much like to have another little one to take care of, talk to, & love on. Rocco gave me a purpose, a reason to get out of bed in the morning. When I was in the hospital for several weeks this past summer he was my motivation to get well & come home. There were times when I was out & about running errands and I just wanted to get home to Rocco. Now?? I don’t even want to be here. It’s no longer a home, just a roof over my head. Having said that, my circumstances have changed a bit over the years. I have to give a huge thank you to my sister, who took care of Rocco back in 2015 when I was in the hospital for a couple of months, and my neighbors Sammie & Bernie, who looked after him when I was gone in the summer. However, can I count on being that fortunate in the future?? Taking care of Rocco on a daily basis…feeding him, cleaning up after him, giving him lovins’…was never a problem, but I do have limitations and I’m not sure about bringing another dog into my life. I have decided to not actively seek another pet, but if God decides that it’d be a good idea I am open to considering it.
I anticipate an imminent return to regular programming. I have to get up and go to work in the morning. I have plans Saturday night. Life moves forward. I hope the tears stop soon. I want to be able to smile when thinking about Rocco, not be profoundly sad. Perhaps I will feel the urge to write more about him in the future. I’m not quite sure about anything right now.