Meet the Mutts: Rocco
Let’s re-visit the dog situation for a moment. At this point in our lives, we had 4 dogs. Four. As in more than average. A house full. A pack.
We’d slowed way down on the fostering, focusing on our own mutts. Although occassionally there was a transient resident on their way to a more permanent existence. That exception is how we ended up with one wayward, very naughty, terribly cute, and altogether unnecessary Terrier.
That’s Rocco when he was brand new to us. Approximately one year old, with three homes and a rescue under his belt already. All soft faced and innocent looking. Heh.
Rocco (originally known as Rocky, which we’ve never called him) aka Rock, Rock-star, Co, CoCo, CoCo Loco, Coke, and a$$hole.
Oh yeah. We’ve saved some of our most choice names for this particular dog.
See Rock, ended up with us for a reason. His prior home was with a co-worker of mine. A guy with two small kids, a busy household, and a four foot fence. Four feet presents absolutely no challenge for Rocco. Four feet is hardly worth pausing in the midst of your run. Rocco can leap four feet without a stray thought. And he will. At the least stimuli. To chase down and bite at his prey. Be that jogger, bicycle, other dog, it matters not. Rocco quickly became a menace to the neighborhood.
His family was at their wits end. Rocco was going to hurt someone. He’d come pretty damn close already. They took Rocco to their vet to be euthanized, I went to pick him up before that could happen.
All that aside, I still had no idea what I was getting myself into. I’m a dog saavy kind of gal. I’ve dealt with some dogs who were serious pains in the butt. Nothing prepared me for Rocco.
He’s a Jack Russell Terrier-ish fellow. Like a JRT, but bigger, taller, leggier. He’s 25lbs. We’ve often said the world is very fortunate he’s only 25lbs. Otherwise we’d have another Kim Jong Il on our hands.
Rocco’s adjustment period was long. By long, I mean years. Ok, maybe just a year. A year before, he acted like he gave a crap what we had to say. A year before he would reliably listen to anything. A year before I felt like we had him any sort of under control. Before I could trust him to greet people, to stay where I put him, to not steal things (anything really) from countertops, trash cans, laundry baskets, anything he was remotely interested in he would take. And then dare you to take it back.
Rocco respects authority. Its about tough love. All positive training? He will take your cookie and promptly lift his leg in your general direction. If Abbey is the Captain of my team, Rocco is my henchman. He loves me because I tell him what to do consistently and often, with absolutely no room for negotiation. If he doesn’t listen, he knows bad things happen. That’s our understanding. I always win. It works for us.
These days, all these years later (going on 8 of them) Rocco is almost a good dog. By almost, I mean he is still the most challenging dog I own. He is my running companion. The only dog who truly enjoys it. He tops out at about 3-1/2 miles. It secretly gives me great joy to run him into the ground. A tired terrier is a trust worthy terrier.
When I made the decision to pick up Rocco from the Vet’s office that day, it was with the intention of adopting him out. A fact I find completely laughable now. Rocco? Adoptable? *snerkety-snort-snort-snort* Even now, as Rocco-lite, he’s not fit for J.Q. Petowner. He’s my official foster failure. We were Rocco’s last stop, one way or another. I consider our relationship sacred. I love all my dogs, of course. But Rocco and I, we understand each other in a different way. He chooses me, to trust me, to listen to me, and respect my authority. Something he doesn’t bestow upon 99.99% of the population. Little did I know, eight years ago, I was choosing him.