The View From Here: Cherishing my time with Roxy

When you’re a kid, you think certain things last forever. You tend to think things are easy and hold those small treasures so tightly that you never want to let them go.

If no one tells you to let go, it’s human nature to want to hold on a little longer. At some point, however, we all have to let go of something or someone. As I’ve learned, that doesn’t always mean things suddenly become easier. Nor does it necessarily mean a weight is lifted off one’s shoulders.

My household has always had pets — dogs, cats, birds, rabbits and even turtles. We’ve treated each one like family. I remember how special it is for us to choose a pet — even to this day. Most of our pets have been rescue animals who were in unfortunate situations or just in large litters and were in need of a good home. My family somehow has a knack for picking out the right one — and we usually take turns choosing who gets to pick the next member of the Kelly clan.

I’m happy to say I’ve gotten to pick out three of our dogs — all whom I chose for unique reasons, but I’ll never forget the day our oldest dog stole my heart.

I was in high school when the Blair County Humane Society brought in a bunch of potential pets for students to meet. It was Animal Appreciation Day, but I didn’t see any that caught my eye after going up and down the hall looking at all the animals that were there — so I didn’t make a big deal out of it. I didn’t think my parents would appreciate me coming home from school announcing that I suddenly wanted another pet when we already had a zoo.

Just when I thought my hopes were dashed, I saw a Husky-Rottweiler mixed puppy out of the corner of my eye. He was jet black with beautiful tan markings on his face and chest. I immediately fell in love and couldn’t wait to tell my parents about this dog. I got home that afternoon and we went to the humane society as a family to find out more about him and possibly take him home. When we arrived, however, we received unwelcoming news.

He was gone. Someone had already adopted him — and I was crushed. “I just saw him today,” I shouted through a sea of tears.

“I’m so sorry,” the woman behind the counter replied. “He was popular, but we still have his sister up for adoption.”

One of the other workers gave me a warm hug before going into another room. A few minutes later, she came back with a puppy that looked just like the one I saw earlier that day — only this one had a pink collar on. I knew right away this had to be the one the woman behind the desk was talking about.

“Well, here she is! She wasn’t as lucky her brother, but she needs a home. What do you think?”

I stopped crying at that very moment. I knew this dog wasn’t the one I originally saw, but my family thought adopting her would be better than going home heartbroken — and they were right. I named her Roxy after one of my heroes, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. It was the next best name I could think of since I couldn’t pick Rocky.

Fifteen years later, Roxy is one of the best pets the family has ever had. She’s given us so much warmth and love throughout her life in the form of slobbery, wet kisses — but now, she’s lost the pep in her step and is in pain. We’ve come to that crossroad where we have to do what’s best for her — even if it isn’t what we want.

I know this moment will come sooner than later. There have many times when I thought we were going to lose Roxy due to health issues she’s had, but that feeling couldn’t be any more real than it is now.

Sometimes it’s better to set something free, even if the reason isn’t clear. The feeling of knowing when it’s time to let go — or say goodbye — is like having to throw away a favorite teddy bear or an old storybook with torn pages.

Roxy will soon be running and playing with our other dogs who have jumped over the rainbow, but she has taught me to appreciate everything in life because it can be taken away in the blink of an eye.

Thank you for all the kisses and memories, Roxy. I’ll never forget you!

Erin Kelly, 32, was born with cerebral palsy in Korea, and lives in Altoona. In addition to this column, she also writes for online publications The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, Upworthy, and Real Talk Magazine. Email her at WriterWheels28@gmail.com.

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