It Took All Rocky’s Strength To Hold On Until His Baby Sister Was Born

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There is a reason dogs are known as loyal creatures. Stories of their steadfast and unconditional love can be found in cultures around the world.

Some have proven their dedication to their humans through acts of courage in the face of great danger, while others have returned to their companion’s side, even after death.

For one family in Maryland, their dog Rocky showed his loyalty not by protecting them from danger, but through holding on to his own life until he could meet the newest member of his family.

Before Beth and Michael Clark adopted Rocky from Anne Arundel County Animal Control (AACAC), he was already 17 years old, with a history few other canines would envy. Roy’s former owner kept him outside, where he often escaped, only to be picked up by the AACAC.

“He just looked so sad,” Beth Clark told the Dodo.

The Clarks intended to simply make a donation to the shelter when they stopped by the AACAC, but It didn’t take them long to make up their mind up about adopting a new animal when they saw Rocky’s frowning snout. They brought him home for the holidays, where he had no trouble making a place for himself.

As advanced in his years as Rocky was, he loved playing with his new family. And when the Clarks became pregnant with their first human child, he helped them announce the birth and took very special care of mama.

“When I started showing, he was a lot more attached to me,” Beth said.

The Clarks gave birth to their baby daughter, Hazel, on Wednesday, April 12, and brought her home to meet her older brother the next day. Rocky was happy to welcome her, but his demeanor had changed.

Hazel may not recall the furry face that first greeted her when she grows older, but her parents will no doubt remember their time together. Rocky gave his baby sister a few loving sniffs, prodded her with his wet, 18-year-old nose, and a few hours later he was gone.

“We’re still adjusting to Rocky not being here,” Beth told the Dodo. “I’m just really glad he was there when we got home.”

Chris Collins of Friends of the AACAC wrote a touching tribute to Rocky and baby Hazel on Facebook, leaving their followers reaching for the tissues.

“Dear Hazel: Someday your mom and dad will tell you all about your first dog, Rocky,” Collins wrote. “Everyone loved the story of a young Fort Meade couple who came to AACAC right before Christmas 2015 just to drop off donations, but ending up adopting a frail 17-year-old dog named Rocky. Rocky thrived in his new home with your mom and dad, and each update of his exploits was avidly followed by his many fans.”

“Early Wednesday morning, you were born, and Thursday evening you went home with your proud parents,” Collins continued. “Rocky, now well over 18 years old, was there to meet you…but not for long. Rocky had been slowly fading in recent months, and late Thursday night he peacefully left the world that you just entered. Before that happened, your sad mom and dad took a picture of the two of you together. Someday, they will show you that picture, and tell you how wonderful and how loved your first dog was, even though your lives only overlapped so very briefly.”

“Goodbye, Rocky, from all your many friends,” Collins wrote.

As hearts heavy with sadness at the shuttering of a great light named Rocky are also able to celebrate the birth of a child named Hazel, we can be assured that the story of this incredible canine will not pass away.

The Animal Rescue Site wishes the best to the Clark family and the countless others who have been touched by special furry friends. Not everyone is allowed the privilege of animal companionship, and sometimes for surprising reasons. To read more about the frustrating circumstances that have denied Sir Patrick Stewart from adopting his own dog, click the button below and make it so.

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee. Find more about Matthew on his personal website.