10 October, 2011


We put Rocket to sleep. He lived 11 1/2 years. He was larger-than-life dog.

As a puppy, he loved to cuddle in your lap. He quickly grasped all the basic dog tricks branching out into some unique tricks as well. He was a super-intelligent labrador retriever.

The kids taught him how to climb the slide and then turn and slide down. When the kids were doing 4-H for dogs, it was held at the elementary school where Rocket liked to show off his sliding skills on the big slide.
He actually dropped out of 4-H for various reasons. One being the leader who raised labs declaring Rocket to be fat. He needed to go on the green bean diet and lose weight. All this did was cause his incredibly sensitive nose to find other food and helped cement his wandering adventures. He had many doggy friends, including, Rocky, the dauschaund who lived across the pond. He could be found in about four reliable places but once left home for four days while some kind family, taken in by his happy attitude tried to adopt him. His nose led him on many adventures.

When we got another puppy, he was happy to include him in his adventures. Rusty had a barking problem so I bought two electronic collars; one a barking collar for Rusty and the other a stronger one to try and keep Rocket home. While the barking abruptly ceased, I can remember hitting the wand repeatedly while Rocket looked back at us and kept on trucking.  He may have felt the collar but it wasn't about to keep him from his appointed rounds. He was adept at maintaining his disappearing act. He could be right next to you on the patio and the minute you turned your back, he was gone. As in, don't know which direction. He was a master at stealth. The kids like to play hide and seek with him. He particularily enjoyed this game and was successful finding them 100% of the time. "It's all in the nose."
He was also known as Houdini. He was the only dog I've known with thumbs. He once caught the spring connector on his chain on his toenail (trying to escape) and had to have a vet cut the connector off. We then switched to a screw-on connector and he was able to unscrew that a couple of times.
His companion, Rusty, was willing and able ( and a little jealous) to go on adventures with Rocket but soon became uncomfortable being away from home. Rusty would show up back at home  long before Rocket.

Rocket's most endearing trait was a love of costume. He loved to dress up for Halloween and occasions in-between. He is a white lab that went trick-or-treating as a Dalmation, Army Dog, Red-Hot Chili Pepper, and SuperDog.
He didn't mind wearing big glasses either.

He liked to sleep on the couch as it was super comfy.

He was smart enough to figure out if you threw the ball, if he just stood there, you would eventually go get the ball yourself.

The last few years, since the kids left home, he liked to be in the jungle moment. He would go through the hedge and turn around so only his head was visible. Then he would lie down. Once in a while, he would pop his head out. He also like hanging out beneath some trees in the front yard with overhanging branches. He liked to peer out at you. He also developed this habit of wedging himself underneath the furnace duct in the garage. He would curl up and sleep there but maybe that was to save himself from Rusty.

This last year, his hind legs started getting pretty stiff and finally a little loose. He awoke stiff and had to go through an elaborate stretching ritual. I used to put both dogs into the laundry room so I could back my car out of the garage to go to work, Then I would close the garage door and put the dogs back into the garage. Even though he was a white lab (Yellow), he could disappear into the night quite easily.
But in the last few months, he would sleep through this morning ritual.

He especially like peanut butter in his Kong - about the only toy he could not chew up. He did like to demolish his toys. He is also the first dog I had who would bury his bones. And remember where they were later. We first saw him bury a bone during a camping trip. Which he loved - except at night, when every little sound caused him to whimper and growl.

He had a massive stroke/seizure on Saturday morning and never really recovered. I had to go in to work for a few hours and while I was gone, he had two more big seizures. It was difficult seeing him in so much pain with no chance of recovery. Our vet came out and put him to sleep. Rocket had a good long life.

I buried a chew bone with him so he would always know where to find it.


  1. Oh my, what sad, sad news. I'm so sorry to hear that Rocket had to be put down. It sounds like he was quite the individualist. My sincerest condolences to you and your family.

  2. Rocket sounds like he was much loved. I'm am sorry for your loss.

  3. Dear Kathy, I'm so sorry to hear about Rocket! He was so beautiful, very special and beloved friend of your family! You wrote so nice about him! I send you strength and love - you have difficult time and it's surely not easy to concentrate to your work and home matters.
    xxx Teje

  4. I'm so sorry. You must feel bereft. x


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