Dear Family & Friends,
As some of you may already know, our dog, Rocky, passed away this year, just before Thanksgiving. While, at first, I was so sad and didn't feel especially "thankful" for anything, I did come to my senses and gave thanks for the four and a half wonderful years I had with the kindest dog in the world.
I want to share this experience with everyone I know so that all may have the opportunity, one day, to know the love of a pet.
I met Rocky at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington in April of 2002. I had met several dogs while I was volunteering for the shelter, that I loved, but Rocky was special. He would dance around his kennel, toy in mouth, desperately hoping to go out for a walk. He always loved going for walks and sniffing, even when his joints were aching and he had trouble going up the stairs, he still approached his daily walks with exhilaration. This dance he would do eventually came to be known as the "Rocky Dance" and he performed it ever so adorably!
Rocky was never a troubled dog, always happy and obedient. I was lucky that he came to me already knowing how to sit and lay down and go outside when needed.
He was such a loving dog who grew quite attached to me very quickly (and I to him). He always perked up at the sound of my voice and looked for me when I wasn't around (at least this is what Trevor always claimed).
He loved Trevor very much, too, and sometimes took advantage of Trevor's love. Rocky and I had an understanding, mornings were for coffee first, going outside second, and he never begged to go out until I was fully awake. When he stayed with Trevor, he knew that he could get away with more. Trevor was so good to him and maybe just a bit gullable so the first thing he would do when he got out of bed in the morning was take Rocky outside. When Trevor and I got married and moved in together, I would often rise first in the morning and make my coffee and patient Rocky would wait. But as soon as he so much as heard Trevor stir upstairs, he would start to beg to go out! Smart dog!
In June of 2004 when we had the cicada infestation in Virginia for a couple of weeks, as silly as it sounds, I was terrified of these large insects and would not go outside other than to go to work. Rocky was so good to me -- he would take himself out to the front yard to take care of business then come right back in. While I know there are dogs ot there that can make life just a bit harder for their owners, Rocky seemed to always make things easier!
He would catch flying bugs for me, and let out a single bark only when the doorbell rang. He didn't destroy things but always pulled the pillows off the couch, my shoes around the house, or jackets off the hooks when Trevor and I went out just so we knew he missed us.
He loved Kathy, our neighbor in Arlington, as she loved him and always gave him Milky Bones. He loved to have the occasional visit with his German Shepherd cousin, Alpha, and his neighbors, Patrick and Ruffin and their dad Mark. He loved Ronny and Bonnie at the shelter for helping him find me. He loved Kristine and the other shelter volunteers for always giving him biscuits and taking him for walks. And he loved his grandpa, my dad, for taking him for walk after walk after walk and his grandma and aunt, my mom and sister, just for loving him so much.
I could go on and on about how special Rocky was in my life. The reason I have sent you this tribute to him is to let you know that I would never have been given the opportunity to have this amazing being in my life if it hadn't been for the people at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. So often people give praise to animal shelters for rescuing animals and finding them homes. Of course they do and that should certainly be appreciated but what I am grateful to the shelter for is helping me find the love and warmth of an amazing dog.
If you have ever considered adopting a pet, I recommend visiting your local animal shelter. If you have ever considered donating to a non-profit organization or volunteering for a great cause, I highly recommend considering your local animal shelter or, particularly, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, in honor of Rocky and all of the sweet, kind and gentle animals that many of you may have met over the years or are fortunate to have in your lives.
I wish you all best wishes this holiday season and hope that you, too, may experience the love and devotion of a wonderful pet.
Please visit the Animal Welfare League of Arlington to adopt a pet or volunteer.
If you would like to make a donation to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, please let them know that it is in memory of Rocky McFarland.
Or, find your local animal shelter.
Jen & Trevor McFarland