THE DOG THAT
I feel a little guilty writing about my dog
again, but then I saw that a former Chronicle columnist just wrote a whole
book about his relationship with his dog. At least Iím not that
Anyway, this is the continuing saga of our two
pugs: Lucy, the smartest dog in the world, and Rocko, the stupidest dog in
When last reported, Rocko had just pooped in the
living room for the 1242nd time, and I was determined to send
him off to college in San Diego with my sons. Thatís when my wifeís
friend stepped in and offered to adopt Rocko.
"Hallelujah!!!" I cried. "Are you
Apparently, her dog had died not long ago, and
she occasionally came over and walked Lucy and Rocko, just for fun. She
had taken a liking to Rocko, and badly wanted him to come live with her.
My wife was not enthusiastic about giving him up,
even for a trial period. But the tantrum I threw when she said
"no" convinced her otherwise. She agreed to give it a try.
It was a win-win. Lucy was thrilled to be an only
dog, Rocko was thrilled with all the attention he was getting from my wifeís
friend, and I was absolutely ecstatic to not search for poops and pees
every morning when I woke up.
It lasted a month, and then came the call. "Rocko
has thyroid cancer," said my wifeís friend. "The doctor says
he has two months to live."
That put a damper on things. The next day Rocko came
bounding home, scampering around the living room looking for new places to
make deposits. Lucy seemed happy to see him, my wife was happy to see him,
even I was happy to see him.
He was back, and he sure didnít look sick. "Itís
a trick," I said to my wife as I felt the lump in his throat.
"Maybe heís not as dumb as I think. I bet he swallowed a golf ball
just so he could come home."
We took him to a vet for an x-ray. Sure enough, he had
cancer, but they couldnít tell whether it was operable. For that, heíd
need a cat-scan (I know, I knowówhy donít they call it a dog-scan.)
$1500 later, we got the results. My wife called me with
the news. It had spread to the point where it was inoperable. She was
crying, and I teared up a bit myself. Rocko didnít deserve this.
We immediately put him on the cancer diet, which means
he can eat anything and everything, anytime he wants. And when he peed all
over the piano the other day, I petted him on the head and told him heíd
get it right next time.
Itís been four months since his "two months to
live" diagnosis, and Rocko shows no signs of slowing down. The golf
ball sized tumor in his throat (Iím still a little suspicious) hasnít
grown, and his energy level hasnít dipped.
The other day I looked at him and I could swear he
looked back at me and was thinking, "Youíre going before me,
But I know the day will come (for him, not me) and it
will be difficult for all of us. Iíve never had to put a pet down, but Iíve
heard from many who have, and itís obviously very emotional.
I canít imagine him suffering. Heís always so
oblivious to everything around him, I keep assuming heíll be oblivious
to pain. But thatís not the way it works.
Yet I also honestly believe heíll beat the odds, beat
the doctors, beat the cat-scans, beat everyone. He may be stupid, but heís
as tough as they come. He looks like a Rocko.
And Iím rooting for him. I learned my lesson. I wonít
send him away again, even for a trial period. Iíll stop threatening to
send him off to college. Iíll happily clean up his poops and pees. Okay,
And before itís too late, Iíll say it: Heís not
really the stupidest dog in the world. He just acts like it sometimes.