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Sadly, we had to help our boy Rocket cross the Rainbow Bridge today. I was able to write this over the weekend while looking at the screen through many tears, as I knew that once the scheduled time arrived, I wouldn’t be able to do this. To say that we are devastated doesn’t even scratch the surface. The boy who answered to a million nicknames and never met a French Fry he didn’t like started having mobility issues about 8 weeks ago, and thanks to his vet who came to the house to treat him, and others who provided help and advice, he was holding his own until last week. We started seeing a rapid decline in his mobility, and his daily routine with things such as strength, appetite and interest in being wherever we are every minute of the day. We each knew that the time was coming, but his decline over the weekend convinced us that a day too soon is always better than a day too late. His vet and her assistant came to the house and ensured that he left us the same way we first met, happy and with a wagging tail. He had a very peaceful crossing. We first met Rocket at a Meet & Greet in a Petco in Indianapolis, IN on a day where we drove for hours through two ice storms, passing a fatal accident on the interstate and constantly thinking that we should turn around and go home instead of going to meet dogs. We continued on, and met all of the hounds on our list of potential adoptees with no success. There was not a dog there who gave us the time of day. After meeting all of those dogs, a big brindle boy in a green coat walked in the door with his tail whipping like he owned the place, and eventually he walked over and leaned into me. He never left my side for well over two hours. We shopped for toys, we walked the store, went outside for a poop and a pee. I still remember the guys from GPA Indy laughing and asking if I had met any dogs of interest – while the big brindle boy was practically attached to my hip. He wasn’t on our list, and he wasn’t even supposed to be there, but his foster had gone out of town and Bev Creamer was keeping him for the weekend. She just happened to bring him to that M&G. That boy picked us. It was meant to be. The rest is history. We bought him a toy and plunked down the deposit to hold him until the home check could be done. He was already costing us money. Yup – he was ours. That day on the way back home, we hit another ice storm, had to stop to get a hotel for the night, and miss the Willie Nelson concert I had waited my whole life to see. He was already costing us more money. Yup - he was ours. (I still haven’t managed to see Willie Nelson in person.) He was brought to us a few weeks later by Shelby (GottaluvgreysIndy) and her husband Ben. They needed to do our home check and deliver him. The wind chill outside was 25 below zero, and the boy was not used to peeing while on a leash. After many attempts, he peed – on the artificial ficus tree in the corner of the living room. Yup – he was ours. That tree graced his turnout area for years. He quickly adjusted to home life, loving walks, car rides, toys, visitors and his established routine that 8:15 PM was time for ice cream. You could set your watch by him showing up at ice cream time. He was also the timekeeper of the nap clock. Almost every afternoon he would approach my chair and stare me down until I asked if he wanted to take a nap. He would then lead me to the bedroom. Again – like clockwork. There are way too many great times over the years to recount here. The biggest event of his life was the day that he and Lexie got married in a virtual wedding right here on GreyTalk with all of their friends in the chat club attending. A wild time was had by all, but what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. He and Lexie never got to meet in-person but he did get to meet his mother-in-law, Lexie’s Mom when she visited us here in Phoenix last year. Over the years he got to travel and was a road trip expert. He traveled to the east coast where he spent time with my family, and he took a big road trip when we moved from IL to AZ, stopping at the Greyhound Hall of Fame to have his picture taken with his Grand Daddy’s Hall of Fame Plaque (Gable Dodge). If the suitcase came out, he was waiting by the car. Sometimes if the car door was open he would get in and refuse to get out. He went to Kanab and other greyhound events such as group picnics. That tail would whip in circles when we would pull into a parking lot and he saw other hounds. Oddly enough, he rarely played or interacted with those hounds, instead preferring to hang with people, because people have treats. He also worked some Meet and Greets before he got older and a little cranky. He worked the Open House at University of Illinois Vet Med School like an old pro. He loved the hundreds of kids who came by to pet him during his shifts there. He also donated blood for a canine cancer study at the Vet Med School. Later, they repaid the favor by treating him a few times in their ER when he wasn’t feeling well. While we had our moments when he bit me and others due to being startled, those things weren’t his fault. Sometimes humans do stupid stuff. It didn’t make him any less “ours.” Rocket was a favorite of the neighbors and people well beyond the immediate streets when we were out walking. He has fan clubs in IL and here in AZ. He also knew every house on our walking route that might have a treat. He loved kids, because kids love to pet dogs. That tail would whip anytime he saw a kid coming his way. We are going to miss this boy beyond belief. He has been at my side, all day, every day for almost 10 years. I used to work from home, and have battled multiple types of cancer for the past several years. Rocket has been my office mate, walking buddy, nurse, doctor and most of all, my best buddy. I think you only get one “heart dog.” I got lucky and found mine on the first try. He was a character. There wasn’t a day of his life with us that he didn’t make us and many others laugh hysterically. Those who watched him or boarded him over the years always commented on how much he made them laugh. That’s probably his legacy – he was hysterically funny. DW also worked from home for years so he was our excuse to get out of the office and take a walk. He loved having his humans at home with him all the time. He was also smart. He didn’t miss any clue as to what was going on around him. If my hand went into my pocket, I must be getting the keys out to go for a ride. If we were talking about picking up dinner, the question “What do you want on it?” was his clue that there was probably going to be a ride to the drive thru. He didn’t miss a thing, ever. We will probably be taking a break from pet ownership for a bit, but the rest of Rocket’s greyhound family will be here to visit and get us through this. Trolley, Snickers, Conner, Val and assorted fosters will still be staying with us as needed to carry on the need for the toy box and all of these beds. We will also be checking in here with our GreyTalk family and maybe attending a few events and picnics in the future. It is going to be a rude awakening for a while to wake up in the morning and find a bare space on the floor, and not see 4 white paws sticking straight up in the air (which still makes me laugh). He had a great last few days. Last night, Trolley and Snickers and their Moms stopped by to see Rocket and brought him some French Fries. On Saturday morning he had his favorite fast food, an Egg McMuffin for breakfast. He had his ice cream that he loves. This morning he had his third favorite thing in the world behind fries and ice cream, Daddyman’s scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese. He made me feed them to him by hand. Not that he’s spoiled. We checked all of his favorite boxes. Run pain-free, Rocket. Go find your litter mate sister Katie Scarlett, your cousin Taylor, your friends Sallie, Boomer, Holmes & Cosmo, and your annoying little old lady sister, Allie. You will be well taken care of by them and all of your other GreyTalk friends who arrived there before you. Be sure to belly up to the French Fry and Bacon Buffet that Chef Seamie is preparing for your welcome party. I also heard that there’s vanilla ice cream on tap. You can eat all you want. There’s no more grumbling tummy. There’s going to be a new hound in a pimp hat at the Bridge Mixer tonight. Sorry girls, he's married. Love you, buddy. Save me some ice cream. I had to add this after the fact. : I got some great pictures the past few days and took this one yesterday when Rocket went outside to do outside things. It’s an awesome picture. He was in pain and having trouble getting up and down, but you would never know it. At the same time, a storm was coming through with the sun out – rain and sun at the same time. We looked up and saw this – double rainbows while Rocket was in the yard. I think his friends at the bridge were letting us know that he will be okay. Then, last night, we were outside saying goodbye to Snickers and Trolley. We looked up and saw of all things – a rocket. It was a booster rocket from the Space-X launch in California lighting up the sky. I guess the signs are just everywhere that our boy will be just fine. As for us, I’m not so sure. Rocket's Greyhound Data Page with a few good pics. If someone with access would add his date of passing I would appreciate it.