Rocky is not the dog I would have chosen if it had been my choice alone. I wanted a Golden Retriever, but my husband wanted a German Shepherd. So we came home with a fuzzy black baby, the cutest thing imaginable. He was a difficult puppy in some ways. He had an unbelievable amount of energy, and affinity for gnawing on human feet. He was a little hard to housebreak, too, but once he got the idea, he really got it. We took him camping at age 6 months, and we were afraid he was going to burst, because he seemed to have the idea he couldn't go anywhere but in our backyard.

From the beginning, Rocky was my dog. The whole family loved him, and he loved them, but by my side was where he wanted to be. And that's exactly where he was for 12 1/2 years. He was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy a year ago, and from that day I tried to pamper him and make his last months good ones.

It ended last night, and I haven't even begun to deal with it. How empty the house seems without him always under my feet. I will always love you, Rocky. Thanks for being my best friend.

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