Rocky, a happy rescue dog

Published in About Animals

Not all dogs live the life of Riley in Dalmatia, but some are luckier than others. Here Rocky tells his story.

Rocky, a fine furry friend Rocky, a fine furry friend Phoro: Vivian Grisogono
Rocky had an eventful and unpromising start. He was abandoned not once, but twice, and had to use his own resources (and charm) to survive and find a life and a home. This is a snapshot of some of his experiences in his Pitve home.
 
PUPPY TALK: ROCKY ON RECORD FROM HIS YOUNG DAYS
Any fool can see, I’m the sweetest thing on four legs. SHE (Big Human Mummy) doesn’t like to admit it, but I know she thinks so, ‘cos she smiles when she thinks she shouldn’t, when she’s trying to be cross with me, saying silly things like “no!”, “who did that!!?”, “what’s this supposed to be?!!”, in that loud bullying tone which SHE thinks should frighten me into not doing it (which was always so much fun) again.. SHE remembers finding me tied up on a chain, and then she feels sorry for me, and remembers why she brought me into her lovely warm home. So I can get away with lots - well everything really.

I love playing with my big black friend Chorny. He protects me from those two very big and fearsome elderly ladies Babe and Beba, who snap at me when I’m just trying to be friendly and help them finish their food.

Chorny and I start off very quietly, but if we get noisy SHE shouts, and then we freeze. Chorny holds me so SHE can’t get at me - as if SHE would. Just for a moment everything stops. Then, when we’ve finally played out our play, we fall asleep, and SHE  takes care not to wake us.

SHE’s considerate like that.

Sometimes, Chorny and I are really naughty - or so SHE says - and rip something to shreds. This was only our bed, so we didn’t see why we shouldn’t. But SHE got cross in the usual way. So I pleaded innocence. Moi? Make a mess? While Chorny, being older and by his lights wiser, disappeared. When the dust settled, or more accurately, when SHE’d swept it all up, we made some more mess and went to sleep, and SHE, as always, considerately kept quiet to avoid waking us. You see, I am the sweetest thing on four legs, and I have this situation well under control.

I AM HER RIGHT HAND
I know how to be helpful in the garden. She had these tatty plastic watering cans, so of course it was my duty to chew them to bits so that she bought a proper metal one. I was just keeping up our standards, but I wouldn't like to repeat her language when she found the pieces. The volume was quite deafening. Of course later on she realized how right I was, so now she uses her metal watering can with due pride. Well, that's how I see it at any rate. SHE says she'd forgotten about the plastic episode until I brought it up so tactlessly.

I noticed she does a lot of digging, which is hard work for her, so to make her life easier, I dig holes as much as I can, in case she wants to put something in them. If she doesn’t use them, they’re always good for burying those odds and ends that come a dog’s way when he’s clever enough to look out for things that’ll come in useful one day. But SHE gets cross and shouts. Then, when I saw she’d absent-mindedly dug a deep hole and forgotten about it, I helped out by filling it in - and you should have heard her language! Well, how was I to know the grapefruit tree was going into it? That gaping hole was dangerous to canine and human paws, what if one of us had fallen into it?

When SHE gets angry with me - always unjustly in my view - she shouts. VERY LOUDLY. Clearly her communication skills are deficient. She needs remedial dog-talk classes.
SHE tells me I'm the one who needs training. What an insult. But I like her training methods, so I humour her. She calls me, and I get a delicious biscuit when I run up and sit in front of her looking appealing. She gets a bit confused sometimes, poor old soul, telling me to sit, then to lie down, then to sit again. What can she mean? I wait patiently and look wistful. Sometimes I just go through all the motions quickly as best I can until she makes up her mind which one earns me the biscuit.

SHE’s at her silliest at mealtimes. She gets our plates ready, and then sits down and stuffs her face with a yoghurt or a banana. I bark to alert her to the error of her ways. She won’t listen, but compounds her error by putting down the plates in front of those 3 mutts from up the hill first. I’m last. How can this be? I bark and bark again, and jump up and down, but she does it every time, regardless. When will she learn that I’m the number one, and it’s my right to eat first?

I hear her telling the people who come to visit that they have to ignore me. How stupid, when of course they’ve only come to see me. Most of them, naturally, ignore her and pet me as I so richly deserve, and I reward them by giving them my undivided attention. They sometimes say odd things, like “find yourself a girlfriend”, or “stop nipping my ankles”, as though they can’t understand how I’m honouring them. Odd bunch, these humans, never satisfied. It takes a lot to lick them into shape.

Being a perfect specimen, not to mention handsome, cute and smart, it’s my duty to keep trying. I have great hopes of bringing her to heel in due course, obstinate though she is. She could shape up to be a credit to me, an example of how much a four-legged friend can achieve with even the most unpromising  human companion.
You see, I am the cleverest thing on four legs, and I have this situation well under control.

DEFENDER OF THE PEACE, THAT'S ME
In between shouting so unnecessarily, SHE is also prone to laugh at me, which is of course totally inappropriate. I am a four-legged creature of dignity, with unswerving loyalty to my undeserving human.

SHE simply doesn’t understand how much effort and energy I expend protecting her. First and foremost from the reckless bad behaviour of those mutts from up the hill. Three of them live with us, though frankly I sometimes think the two black ones should be told to pack their bags, and then be left by the side of the road as I was. That would teach them some better manners and respect for me, the natural leader. SHE says it didn’t teach me any manners, but that’s just her being mean. All that said, Nada is welcome to stay, she’s good fun to play with, and she’s blonde like me, though not nearly as pretty as me, of course.

Do you know, over one Christmas and New Year, when things should have been ultra-peaceful, there was a multiplication of these mutts, five extras piled into the house! We were just overrun with them, tiny ones, young ones, grown-ups, all black or blond, what a mess. It was almost impossible to breathe, and all discipline went right out of the window, despite my best efforts to assert my authority, as SHE had clearly lost her marbles.

Though I have to admit I quite liked having Renči around, who’s mother to almost all of them. I’ve always fancied her, and I’m sure she has a soft spot for me which would surface if only we were ever alone together. But I digress.

As I said, SHE, two-legged ingrate that she is, laughs, one could even say she mocks. She says my legs are too short and my tail too long. She laughs at my style when I run and jump. She laughs even more when I do my best belligerent bark to fend off the enemy who might attack her. She tells me that cars tend to stay on their own pathways, so they won’t harm us if we stay out of their way. Other people who dare to walk down our tracks are usually friends, according to her. If they’re not, she says, she avoids contact, it’s simpler than barking at them. No need to bark. But my duty is to defend her, so I have to give voice when I sense danger.

Her biggest problem is her failure to understand how fierce I sound. She scoffs, making rude insinuations about my “high-pitched trilling”. She even says I shouldn’t bark when I go out in the garden. Doesn’t she know how many potential enemies are lurking around waiting to pounce? Well, I realize it’s a small and peaceful, trouble-free place, but who knows what crimes might be committed if I didn’t forestall them with my fiercest barking?

She nearly split her sides in the fields one day when I spotted a real threat and went into the attack, barking and charging. I admit I did feel a bit silly when she pointed out it was just a rotovator which was left in the neighbouring field to finish churning over the earth ready for the new season. But, it looked just like a Weapon of Mass Destruction in the twilight, and it was clearly my duty to protect her from same while she toiled away digging around her precious olive trees. Act first, time enough to think later, or we might regret it.

Some weeks later, I met a new experience, a challenge which caused the fiercest barking. The whole place had changed, it was all cold and white. But I knew immediately it was done for FUN, so I set about playing, finding my buried toys, I mean essential work-tools, and re-burying them.

Needless to say, those mutts, not to mention HER, didn’t venture forth. Yet again, I showed them who’s TOP DOG.

EATING - INS AND OUTS

I have lots of friends, as you’d expect of one as irresistible as I am, despite what SHE says to the contrary. One of my Very Special Friends is a young man called Frankie. SHE claims Frankie is HER friend, and she knew him and his family way before I was a twinkle in the eye, but I know he only befriended her as a way of getting to know ME.

Frankie is a fine fellow, generous to a fault. He loves animals, but of course I’m his favourite, even though he keeps that a secret between us so the others don’t get jealous. He’s ultra-considerate like that, although personally I think it would do them good to know how important I am. Frankie has a lot of important friends apart from me, but of course I am his Top Dog.

Frankie and his dad Ivica run one of the best restaurants around, just down the road from us. It’s called the Dvor Duboković, a grand name because they come from a grand old family. They serve up fine food. I know, because Frankie is often kind enough to bring round the bones, which are apparently the leftovers, but which make a fine meal. Or at least they would if SHE would give them to us. Instead, she cooks them up into a soup, and serves it up with our dry food or rice. It’s very delicious, but then who gets to crunch the bones? They seem to disappear, just when we’re all getting ready for the main part of the feast. What does she do with them?

Sometimes on special occasions at the Dvor Duboković Ivica and his friends sing - they’re pretty good singers, I know, as she tells me they’re often invited to sing in other places and even in foreign parts. Frankie often sings in the group, which is called Klapa Bagulin. Sometimes he does duets with special friends like Kevan. She loves the singing, and always goes when it’s on. She talks a lot about the place, so I know that she had a splendid evening there one time with ten young friends from her other country, and one of them was so drunk that he insisted on dancing with her! It quite turned her head. I wouldn’t have allowed her to make such a fool of herself if I’d been there, but this happened before I was around to control her unseemly frivolity.

And here’s the main point. I’ve never been to the Dvor Duboković. She won’t take me. Now I can understand that she wouldn’t want to take those three mutts from up the hill, as they’d definitely lower the tone. But ME? The cutest smartest thing on four legs? I’d be a real asset to the place, people would come from far and wide just to see and hear ME. I’d be such a good host, welcoming all the guests as they arrived. I’d sit quietly under each table and keep the floor clean if anyone happened to drop their food. My handsome presence in the beautiful garden would enhance the magnificent view. I’d also sing along with the harmonies when there’s a party - my shrill trill, as she so rudely calls it, is actually a fine high tone which would really complement those deep male voices.

And when I wag my tail and look ultra-appealing, I’d be the perfect mascot, and we’d all be famous. At the very least, it would be worth a plateful of real food for me, and extra helpings for HER. But she won’t hear of it. She tells me she doesn’t think people would be glad to have me greet them. IMPOSSIBLE, who could resist the sweetest thing on four legs jumping up to gaze lovingly into their eyes, tail all a-wag? And she has the gall to say she doesn’t trust me to be peaceful and calm during my under-table duties, she seems to think I’d nibble ankles, jump on laps or snatch food from the waiters. ME! MOI?? As if I would.

This is a difficult challenge, and I’m working on it. When my friend Frankie comes up with my hoard of bones, which I so generously share with those mutts from up the hill, I ask him to intercede. I know he sees my point of view, as he’s always been terrific at drawing people to the restaurant: they come from miles around, and they all come back again and again, so he understands marketing. I’d be the icing on the cake, the perfect assistant promoter. But he shakes his head and says SHE is so old we have to listen to her - even when her ideas are close to barking mad. Well, he doesn’t say that last bit, but I think he would if he wasn’t always so genuinely nice to everyone, even when they’re being pigheaded and stupid.

She’s let slip that there are often weddings and birthdays and festive fine meals at the Dvor Duboković, and it’s always lots of fun. I also know that other four-legged furries go there, some of them on a regular basis. That's so unfair. I just HAVE to be there. PLEASE, someone, persuade her to take me.

© Rocky, as told to Vivian Grisogono, 2014

You are here: Home about animals Rocky, a happy rescue dog

Eco Environment News feeds

  • Products withdrawn because of serious contamination are on the rise, report finds

    The number of meat and poultry products recalled in the US for potentially life-threatening health hazards has nearly doubled since 2013, according to a report by a consumer watchdog group.

    The US Department of Agriculture logged 97 meat recalls for serious health hazards in 2018, ranging from 12 million pounds of raw beef that made close to 250 people ill withsalmonella to the withdrawal of 174,000 pounds of chicken wraps for possible contamination with listeria.

    Continue reading...

  • Alaskans have been enjoying free, organic meat for the past 50 years. Should other places stop turning their noses up?

    My mother texts me four photos of a dead moose the week I leave Alaska. It is freshly hit. The pebbled pink brains fanning across the pavement have not yet grayed in the brisk autumn air. The animal will not go to waste. For the past 50 years, Alaska has been the only state where virtually every piece of large roadkill is eaten.

    Every year, between 600 and 800 moose are killed in Alaska by cars, leaving up to 250,000lb of organic, free-range meat on the road. State troopers who respond to these collisions keep a list of charities and families who have agreed to drive to the scene of an accident at any time, in any weather, to haul away and butcher the body.

    Continue reading...

  • As Hitachi and Toshiba abandon plans for new British nuclear reactors, Damian Carrington assesses the merits of the technology

    All sources of electricity face the same trilemma in the 21st century: carbon emissions, continuity of supply and cost. The UK government has placed a big bet on nuclear power, but reactors meet only two of the three challenges. Nuclear power is low carbon and a secure source of electricity – but it is hugely expensive.

    In the era of climate change, generating power without belching out carbon emissions is vital. While building nuclear plants and fuelling them requires concrete, transport and so on, the overall emissions are similar to windand solar power. All produce far less carbon than coal or gas-powered stations.

    Continue reading...

  • A complete overhaul of what we eat may be the only way to meet the needs of a planet in crisis. So what’s on – and off – the menu?

    The world faces many challenges over the coming decades, but one of the most significant will be how to feed its expanding global population. By 2050, there will be about 10 billion of us, and how to feed us all, healthily and from sustainable food sources, is something that is already being looked at. The Norway-based thinktank Eat and the British journal the Lancet have teamed up to commission an in-depth, worldwide study, which launches at 35 different locations around the world today, into what it would take to solve this problem – and the ambition is huge.

    The commissioners lay out important caveats. Their solution is contingent on global efforts to stabilise population growth, the achievement of the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement on climate change and stemming worldwide changes in land use, among other things. But they are clear that it depends on far more than just these basic requirements. The initial report presents a flexible daily diet for all food groups based on the best health science, which also limits the impact of food production on the planet.

    Continue reading...

  • Paris agreement for the sea recommended as rates of plastic pollution to skyrocket

    A new global agreement to protect the seas should be a priority for the government to stop our seas becoming a “sewer”, according to a cross-party group of MPs.

    Plastic pollution is set to treble in the next decade, the environmental audit committee warned, while overfishing is denuding vital marine habitats of fish, and climate change is causing harmful warming of the oceans as well as deoxygenation and acidification.

    Continue reading...

  • Scientist Brad Lister returned to Puerto Rican rainforest after 35 years to find 98% of ground insects had vanished

    “We knew that something was amiss in the first couple days,” said Brad Lister. “We were driving into the forest and at the same time both Andres and I said: ‘Where are all the birds?’ There was nothing.”

    His return to the Luquillo rainforest in Puerto Rico after 35 years was to reveal an appalling discovery. The insect population that once provided plentiful food for birds throughout the mountainous national park had collapsed. On the ground, 98% had gone. Up in the leafy canopy, 80% had vanished. The most likely culprit by far is global warming.

    Continue reading...

  • Rising temperatures can be charted back to the late 1950s, and the last five years were the five hottest on record

    Last year was the hottest ever measured, continuing an upward trend that is a direct result of manmade greenhouse gas emissions.

    The key to the measurements is the oceans. Oceans absorb more than 90% of the heat that results from greenhouse gases, so if you want to measure global warming you really have to measure ocean warming.

    Continue reading...

  • Campaigners say it will cut pollution, but opponents claim it will hit poor people hardest

    “I’m just really glad the ULEZ is coming. Children’s lungs can’t wait,” says Jemima Hartshorn, a Brixton resident who helped set up campaign group Mums For Lungs.

    Continue reading...

  • The continent’s largest land mammal plays crucial role in spiritual lives of the tribes

    On 5,000 hectares of unploughed prairie in north-eastern Montana, hundreds of wild bison roam once again. But this herd is not in a national park or a protected sanctuary – they are on tribal lands. Belonging to the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of Fort Peck Reservation, the 340 bison is the largest conservation herd in the ongoing bison restoration efforts by North America’s Indigenous people.

    The bison – or as Native Americans call them, buffalo – are not just “sustenance,” according to Leroy Little Bear, a professor at the University of Lethbridge and a leader in the bison restoration efforts with the Blood Tribe. The continent’s largest land mammal plays a major role in the spiritual and cultural lives of numerous Native American tribes, an “integrated relationship,” he said.

    Continue reading...

  • Prospects for species look dire as federal science body finds that only one of the country’s 16 populations is believed to be stable

    Half of Canada’s chinook salmon are endangered, with nearly all other populations in precarious decline, according to a new report, confirming fears that prospects for the species remain dire.

    The reportby the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada concluded that eight of the country’s 16 populations are considered endangered, four are threatened, one is of special concern and the health of two remain unknown.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds