As most of you know, I had to say goodbye to my best pal Rocky a few months ago. Since then, I've been writing random thoughts about him down onto the Notes section on my I-phone. I combined them into a letter that I wanted to pass along as something other dog owners could appreciate and find comfort in. I read a quote about how everyone thinks their dog is the best dog, and that no one is wrong in that. I intend for this to speak to anyone who has lost the Rocky Hensons of their world.
In addition to writing this letter, I've given Rocky a permanent home on my website. If you scroll to the footer, you'll notice there's a small Rocky image that will open up to a special Rocky Henson page when clicked. There, I've shared a bit more about him and some of the artwork he's inspired me to create. I'm working on several Rocky inspired things behind the scenes that I cannot wait to share!
To Rocky Henson—
I miss you.
I’ve painted you about a hundred times since we said goodbye. And not just on paper; I’ve painted you on everything from our favorite purse to my shoes. We made group text named after you to share favorite photos. Since you were remarkably photogenic, we have endless material to send each other. Scrolling through the texts, here are the 5 things that I seem to miss the most about you:
- The way you would contently sit in my lap all day and snore.
- How you would paw at me to lift up the blankets so you could crawl under the covers.
- Sneaking you into stores by either hiding you in my winter coat or toting you around in my purse.
- Dressing you up in costumes, especially as Santa Paws at Christmas. Also, I hope I didn’t embarrass you the time I had us dress as Thing 1 & Thing 2 for Halloween.
- Most of all, I miss how every time I walked through the door, you gleefully ran laps around the kitchen as if it was the best moment of your life. You have been some of the best moments in mine.
What was so special about having you as a friend Rocky was how you just wanted to be with me. When it comes to showing up for others, your attendance record was perfect and one I will endlessly strive to replicate. Whether I was on the couch or (carrying you) on a walk, you just wanted to be there. It didn’t matter what kind of mood I was in, what I was wearing, or how good or bad my art was that day; you showed up for me and were beyond barks thrilled to be there——like, “run around the room in circles” happy to be there. The world needs more people who love like you; more people who are “run around the room in circles” happy to show up and support others; more people who give love without caring what someone looks like, what their job title is, or what they believe. You unleashed so much of that kind of love into the world, and that’s something that’s incredibly hard to find.
You know what else is rare? Gratitude. And you found happiness in the little things in life: cozying up under the covers at night, basking in the sunshine, and seeing a familiar face. People chase their tails looking for the kind of joy you found so easily. You didn’t care for my new sweater (or the one I tried to make you wear) and you especially hated haircuts. You never ran after passport stamps, pieces of cake, or new shoes like people do; you only chased after your friends. You never dwelled or got angry about the bad stuff either, like how the fact that you were short meant you couldn’t jump onto the couch without help. It seemed like you were just appreciative that someone could help you up, and that there was even a couch at all. The world would be a better place if everyone focused on the small everyday joys the same way you did.
We both know you weren’t perfect though. For starters, you left us sooner than you were supposed to. You also barked too much, couldn’t (or wouldn’t) walk more than 10ft, got crazy when you were hungry (me too though), and had way too many accidents in my apartment. In fact, can I just say that I LITERALLY had to put up with a lot of your sh**? Still, none of that ever mattered because you were perfect where it counted: loving and appreciating others.
You were much more than a dog; you were an example of everything a person should be. You showed me so much love in your 11 years and I hope you felt how much I loved you too. You always enjoyed being carried in the arms of a friend, and I want you to always know that I’ll be forever carrying you with me in my heart. As I do, I hope it's okay if I keep painting you; my imagination puts you everywhere. I can't even picture a beach that doesn't have you running along the shore. I think that's a good thing though; the world needs more Rocky Hensons. By sharing you in my art, I want to brighten other people’s worlds the way you brightened mine; to remind others what love looks like and the small ways they can give it to others.
Love you fur-ever and ever,